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Shaw's of Perth

1, Gore Street East, Perth, Ontario, K7H, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1984/01/24

View from the street; Rideau Heritage Initiative 2006
Shaw's of Perth
Exterior view; Rideau Heritage Initiative 2006
Shaw's of Perth
Exterior view; Rideau Heritage Initiative 2006
Shaw's of Perth

Other Name(s)

Shaw's of Perth

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/01/04

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Shaw's of Perth is an L-shaped, two-and-one-half-storey building that has been continually operating from this original location since 1840. Situated on the corner of two main streets, Gore and Foster, Shaw's is an integral part of the streetscape and a large contributor to the economic and social development of the town of Perth.

Shaw's of Perth has been recognized for its heritage value by the Town of Perth By-law #2520, 1984.

Heritage Value

Shaw's of Perth opened in 1840 as a store, saddle shop and printing office and is one of the oldest Canadian businesses still operating out of its original store front.

The Honourable Roderick Matheson built both his private home (now the Perth Museum) and the store. Originally a saddle and harness shop the store later also served as the print office for The Perth Expositor (forerunner of The Perth Courier). When Henry D. Shaw of Smiths Falls, married a daughter of Matheson, in 1859, he opened a clothing store on the site. It was run by the family until the 1970's.

This two-and-half-storey L-shaped commercial building is constructed of coursed squared local rubble sandstone and common bond yellow brick. Its high gable roof with a plain frieze at the eaves has three chimneys. A cut-stone covered carriage way connects the main building to the original coach house and stable which is entered along Foster Street. Two windows on the south gable end are square-headed with radiating brick voussoirs and stone lugsills. These small windows are set in lead.

The store originally fronted on Foster Street, which was the main street in Perth in the mid-1800s. When Gore Street became more prominent as a main thoroughfare the owners covered up the openings along Foster Street and used Gore Street to enter their establishment. The original lettering stencilled directly on the Foster Street facade, “The Store with a Smile – Shaw's – Perfect Service,” is still visible.

The Gore Street facade presents an imposing commercial design with its street level display windows and upper level two-over-two windows of the larger building section, each with a single stone lintel above. The smaller end section of the building however, has two slightly larger windows, with stone arch lintels. The gable end and rear facade are constructed with yellow brick.

Shaw's of Perth occupies a key position on one of the best surviving heritage streetscapes in eastern Ontario and is characteristic of important architectural tradition in early Canada.

Source – Town of Perth By-law 2520, Heritage Perth

Character-Defining Elements

Character defining elements that reflect the heritage values include:
- L-shaped design
- coursed squared local sandstone
- common bond yellow brick
- high gable roof
- plain frieze at the eaves
- three chimneys
- cut-stone covered carriage way connecting main building and original coach house and stable
- original sign on Foster Street facade - “The Store with a Smile – Shaw's – Perfect Service,”
- windows and stone detailing of Foster Street facade
- windows and stone detailing of Gore Street facade them
- siting on the corner of two main streets (Foster and Gore) making it an integral part of the streetscape in Perth




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



Roderick Matheson

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Town Hall, Perth, Ontario

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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