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Hiram Walker and Sons Limited Main Office Building

2072, Riverside Drive East, City of Windsor, Ontario, N8Y, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1978/02/06

One of the finest examples of 16th century Italian Renaissance architecture in North America.; City of Windsor, Nancy Morand
View from Detroit River
The elegant exterior features fine terra cotta ornament and long, narrow Roman bricks.; City of Windsor, Nancy Morand
Detail of terra cotta frieze.
A double staircase, capped by an ornate portico, leads to gardens overlooking the Detroit River.; City of Windsor, Nancy Morand
Detail on riverside portico.

Other Name(s)

Hiram Walker and Sons Limited Main Office Building
Canadian Club Brand Center

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1892/01/01 to 1894/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/07/05

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The main office building of Hiram Walker and Sons Limited is a magnificent late 19th-century Italian Renaissance style building of red brick and terra cotta, surrounded by manicured lawns. It is located beside the Detroit River, adjacent to the distillery's operations in the former Town of Walkerville.

This elegant and lavishly ornamented building is recognized for its heritage value by The City of Windsor, Bylaw 5895, 1978.

Heritage Value

Distillery magnate Hiram Walker founded the “company town” of Walkerville in 1858 and as his business empire prospered and grew, so did the town. Designed as the head office and flagship building of the Walker empire, its opulence reflected the prosperity of the firm in the late 1800s.

Modelled on the Pandolfini Palace (circa 1527) in Florence, Hiram Walker's head office is considered one of North America's finest examples of 16th-century Italian Renaissance architecture in the Florentine style. Characterized by exceptional architectural detailing and superior materials, its aesthetic quality is reinforced by its landscaped setting on the Detroit River. With one-and-a-half storeys on the street side and two-storeys on the river side, the elegant exterior contains lavish terra cotta ornament, long narrow Roman bricks, finely crafted brass entrance gates and lanterns, and an ornate portico on the river side.

Constructed from 1892 to 1894, it was designed by the firm of Mason and Rice of Detroit. The firm's head draftsman, 23 year-old Albert Kahn, was responsible for much of the luxurious interior, which boasts mahogany and walnut panelling, fine woodcarving and imported marble throughout.

Sources: City of Windsor Bylaw 5895, 1978; Building Analysis Form, December 2, 1997; and City of Windsor Heritage Planner's files.

Character-Defining Elements

Key character defining elements that express the heritage value include its:
- palatial design
- superior craftsmanship, materials and ornamentation
- landscaped setting on the Detroit River adjacent to the distillery's operations
- red sandstone base and steps
- long, narrow red Roman bricks and terra cotta ornamentation
- finely crafted brass entrance gates and lanterns
- double staircase and ornate portico on the river side
- interior design and detailing
- vestibule mosaic, mahogany and Circassian walnut panelling
- Mexican onyx, Normandy and Egyptian marble details
- fine woodcarving.




Recognition Authority

Local Governments (ON)

Recognition Statute

Ontario Heritage Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Designation (Part IV)

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce

Function - Category and Type


Commerce / Commercial Services
Office or Office Building


Architect / Designer

Albert Kahn



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Office of Heritage Planner, City of Windsor

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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