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American Express Building

20-22 Canterbury Street, Saint John, New Brunswick, E2L, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1987/06/29

This photograph shows the contextual view of the building, 2005; City of Saint John
American Express Building - Contextual view
This photograph shows the roof-line and the detailed openings, 2005; City of Saint John
American Express Building - Upper storey
This photograph shows the storefront, 2005; City of Saint John
American Express Building - Storefront

Other Name(s)

C. A. Munro Building
Édifice C. A. Munro
Saint John News Company Building
Édifice Saint John News Company
American Express Building

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/03/11

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The American Express Building is a three-storey brick Italianate building with a street-level storefront and ornate brick corbelling at the roof-line. It is located on Canterbury Street within the Trinity Royal Heritage Preservation Area of Saint John.

Heritage Value

The American Express Building is designated a Local Historic Place for its architecture and for its association with American Express Company and The Saint John News Company Ltd.

The American Express Building is recognized as one of a collection of commercial and residential, Italianate and Second Empire buildings that were built between 1877 and 1881 after two thirds of the City of Saint John were destroyed by fire in 1877. This building is a good example of commercial Italianate architecture from the rebuilding period in Saint John after the fire. The use of brick and the quality of the workmanship in this building represent the will for the city to rebuild, as well or better, after the fire.

The American Express Building is also recognized for its association with the American Express Company. This building was built circa 1878 for bankers Simeon Jones and Company but, by 1883, it was occupied by the Intercolonial Railway and the American Express Company. The latter remained in this building into the 20th century. In 1882, American Express launched the money order business, which proved an almost instant success. The company introduced the world’s first traveler’s cheque in 1891 and within ten years was selling more than $6 million in cheques annually. American Express Company became known for its charge card.

The American Express Building is also recognized for its long-time occupancy by The Saint John News Company. This enterprise moved into the building shortly before the outbreak of the First World War and remained here until the 1960's. The Saint John News Company Ltd. was a wholesale magazine and newspaper distributor. Canterbury Street was noted for its many printing houses.

Source: Planning and Development Department - City of Saint John

Character-Defining Elements

The character defining elements that describe the American Express Building include:
- rectangular three-storey massing;
- symmetrical front façade;
- brick exterior walls;
- rectangular 2/2 vertical sliding windows;
- brick corbel brackets below a slight cornice;
- segmented arch window openings with ornate design;
- continuous brick label hood moulding;
- continuous sandstone sills;
- street-level storefront with a cornice and pilasters.



New Brunswick

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (NB)

Recognition Statute

Municipal Heritage Preservation Act, s.5(1)

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Preservation Act

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design
Developing Economies
Communications and Transportation

Function - Category and Type


Social, Benevolent or Fraternal Club


Commerce / Commercial Services
Bank or Stock Exchange

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Planning and Development Department - City of Saint John

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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