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Perkins Building

2, Wilson Street West, Perth, Ontario, K7H, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2002/02/12

Side detail; Rideau Heritage Initiative 2006
Perkins Building, Perth
Front view; Rideau Heritage Initiative 2006
Perkins Building, Perth
View of street corner; Rideau Heritage Initiative 2006
Perkins Building, Perth

Other Name(s)

Perkins Building
Perks N' Things

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1946/01/01 to 1947/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/01/04

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Located at 2 Wilson Street West at the intersection of Wilson and Foster Streets, the Perkins building is a two-storey post WWII structure built in 1946-1947.

The Perkins Building has been recognized for its heritage value by the Town of Perth on 12 February 2002, By-law 3424.

Heritage Value

The Perkins Building reflects an interesting period in the Municipality's history, when all were looking optimistically to the future, after World War Two. Straying away from traditional architectural styles, the Perkins building embraced the Art Moderne design reflected in the works of architects such as Walter Gropius and his Bauhaus school and Le Corbusier.

Designed by A.L. Radbourne in consultation with Joe Perkins, the building featured the popular streamline trend in modern styles of the era, which pervaded not only architecturally, but in art, fashion, interior design, and most importantly, automotive design. The concept of an automotive dealership was relatively new to Ontario towns like Perth during the 1940s, and the Perkins Building epitomizes the interesting shift away from the traditional architectural forms pervasive in Perth up to this point.

The Perkins Building replaced three properties, including a stone building on the site which originally housed the automotive dealership. In an effort to appeal to both town and country clientele, Joe Perkins combined the International Harvester and General Motors dealerships at the site as well as a bowling alley. The newly constructed building contained a show room on the ground floor large enough to display three cars, as well as two service bays separated from the showroom by a low curved divider. The rear portion of the second floor housed Perkins Bowling Lanes, which was Perth's first indoor eight-lane bowling alley. The remainder of the second floor has traditionally served as office space.

In 1991, the gasoline station elements of the building were removed including the prominent Texaco sign (the building housed various gasoline suppliers over the years) and fuel pumps. In 1994, John Stewart, a prominent local heritage entrepreneur, purchased and converted the building into a commercial shopping centre named "Perks N' Things," while maintaining much of the building's architectural integrity.

Sources: Town of Perth By-law 3424; Heritage Perth; Katherine Ashenburg, 'Going to Town: Architectural Walking Tours in Southern Ontario' (Toronto: Macfarlane Walter and Ross,1996)

Character-Defining Elements

Character defining elements reflecting the heritage value include the:
- flat roof line
- curving exterior walls
- glass block details
- emphasis on horizontal lines, the signature of the International architectural style
- stucco wall painted a neutral colour
- large window panes which reveal the building's hung wall construction
- building's hung wall construction
- use of metal accents
- orientation close to the commercial centre of Perth at the intersection of Wilson Street and Foster Street




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
Shop or Wholesale Establishment

Architect / Designer

A.L. Radbourne



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Town Hall, Perth, Ontario

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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