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McSweeney Building

700 Main Street, Moncton, New Brunswick, E1C, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1996/09/23

The McSweeney Building, fronting the south side of Main Street, retains most of the original exterior details.; Moncton Museum
McSweeney Building - 2009
The Peter McSweeney Company, Ltd. is depicted in this artist's drawing.  Most of the exterior details exist on the structure today.; Moncton Museum
Peter McSweeney Company, Ltd. - c1903 - drawing
The Peter McSweeney Company, Ltd. was still the largest store in the area at the time of this c1912 photograph, looking south from Botsford Street onto Main.; Moncton Museum
Peter McSweeney Company, Ltd. - c1912

Other Name(s)

Peter McSweeney Company Limited
McSweeney Building
Peter McSweeney Company Limited
Tramways Building
L'édifice Tramways

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/03/31

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The McSweeney Building fronting the south side of Main Street in Moncton, New Brunswick, is a three-storey, stone and brick Italianate commercial structure that was constructed in 1901.

Heritage Value

The McSweeney Building Local Historic Place is designated because of its important association to the economic development of the Moncton area. When this commercial property was designed by J. C. Dumaresq and built by local contractor T. D. LeBlanc, it was the first department store in Moncton. It also contained the first electric passenger elevator in the area, attracting crowds from as far away as Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. Two Canadian Senators have been associated with the building’s economic history; Senator Peter McSweeney Jr., and Senator James Ross. Senator McSweeney became a Canadian Senator in 1899, and was noted for his role in the "Early Closing" movement in the House of Commons. This movement produced a smaller house that was more ready to do business by avoiding late hours, heated atmosphere, furious partisanship and lengthy speeches. Senator McSweeney was also involved in the creation of the Red and Green tag campaign. This bargain day campaign was planned around times of the year when tides allowed travelers by boat to arrive in the morning and leave in the evening.

The McSweeney Building is also designated for its Italianate architecture. The three-storey façade of stone and Milton Pressed Bricks, with arched window openings and decorative masonry details, are almost completely original. Although it was designed as a department store with an open concept for the Peter McSweeney Company, Ltd., details of the subsequent government offices, court chambers and utilities that occupied this building from the 30’s to the 70’s is readily apparent. Original wooden columns between floors support the entire structure, making the walls principally ornamental.

In 1996, the McSweeney Building was designated a Heritage Property through the City of Moncton Heritage Preservation By-Law #Z-1102.

Source: Moncton Museum, Moncton, New Brunswick, second floor files, “700 Main Street”

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements relating to the exterior of the structure include:
- four Doric pilasters separating 2nd and 3rd storey windows;
- central Ionic pilaster;
- smaller pilasters between window pairs east and west side of façade;
- 1 over 1 windows with hinged transoms;
- 3 over 3 central windows with hinged transom;
- dated decorated parapet with broken pediment;
- moulded cornice with modillions;
- ancone keystones acting as brackets for 3rd storey sills and architrave;
- blind transom arches in window openings;
- arch voussoirs extending into spandrel area of blind transoms;
- main level pilasters and engaged pillars separate storefront windows;
- original storefront bulkheads;
- dog-tooth brick course over 3rd storey windows;
- exposed metal beam headers over central windows;
- exposed metal beam between 1st and 2nd storey;
- moulded window sills.

The character-defining structural elements include:
- three-storey square massing;
- stone and Milton Pressed Bricks in stretcher bond;
- wooden support columns.

The character-defining elements relating to the interior of the structure include:
- original boxed-corner window frames and fire exits;
- wide window stools and moulded aprons on 2nd and 3rd floor office windows;
- original wood floors;
- skylight;
- bottom-hinged transom windows over frosted single paned doors;
- original wooden support beams;
- fire exits with two 4x5 glass block windows separated by a large single pane;
- 10x10 glass block windows with central hinged rectangular light for ventilation on 2nd and 3rd floors;
- electric elevator.



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

Function - Category and Type


Auditorium, Cinema or Nightclub
Commerce / Commercial Services
Eating or Drinking Establishment
Commerce / Commercial Services
Office or Office Building


Commerce / Commercial Services
Shop or Wholesale Establishment

Architect / Designer

J. C. Dumaresq


T. D. LeBlanc

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Moncton Museum, 20 Mountain Road, Moncton, New Brunswick - second Floor, back office files - filed by civic address

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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