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Commercial Palace

12-14 King Street, Saint John, New Brunswick, E2L, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1982/03/18

This image shows the upper storeys of the front façade of the building.; Commercial Properties Limited
Commercial Palace
This image shows the entrances for 12 and 14 King Street.; Commercial Properties Limited
Commercial Palace
This image shows the entrance of 12 King Street.; Commercial Properties Limited
Commercial Palace

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1877/01/01 to 1881/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2004/08/16

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Commercial Palace is a four storey brick commercial building on the western block of King Street. The building is located in the Trinity Royal area and was recognized in The City of Saint John Preservation Areas Bylaw in 1982.

Heritage Value

This building is significant as one of a collection of Italianate and Second Empire style commercial buildings that were built between 1877 and 1881 after two thirds of the City of Saint John was destroyed in the Great Saint John Fire of 1877. Commercial Palace is also significant as the site of James Manson dry goods business. Manson arrived in Canada from Scotland in 1855. He met with immediate success having been well schooled in Campbell’s great dry goods establishment in Scotland. His business exhibited a full line of the richest dress goods of the finest British and foreign manufacture as well as fashionable costumes made on the premises. He rebuilt his popular Commercial Palace on the site of his original building. The business expanded after the fire with the establishment of branches throughout the Province of New Brunswick.

This building serves as a reminder of the strong will of the Saint John merchants to rebuild the city after the fire. The brick and stone architecture sent a message that the city would be more fire resistant in the future. The elements and level of design demonstrate that the city was rebuilt in grander fashion.

Planning and Development Department - City of Saint John

Character-Defining Elements

The architectural elements relating to the Italianate style of the building include:
- form and massing;
- red brick building with white enameled brick patterns;
- 2nd storey windows including four 2/2 rectangular openings, top sashes with Roman arch;
- 3rd storey windows including four 2/2 Roman arch openings, top sashes with Roman arch, with circular light above;
- 4th floor windows – six 2/2 Roman arch openings, top sashes with Roman arch;
- 3rd and 4th floor windows have white enamel bricks for keystones;
- projecting corner trim;
- projecting line through portion of the building, creating two store fronts.
The Store Front
- decorative rope carving over storefront windows and door portray a picture of Saint John’s marine history;
- consists of 3 large storefront windows and two entrances;
- transom windows are wavy and opaque;
- Doric columns in doorway;
- large segmented arch window above door;
- recessed entrance.
The Interior
- tin ceiling in lower floor.



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)

1877/01/01 to 1877/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

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

Function - Category and Type


Commerce / Commercial Services
Shop or Wholesale Establishment


Textile or Leather Manufacturing Facility

Architect / Designer

Dumaresq and Dewar


Alexander Blaisdel

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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