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Niagara Apothecary National Historic Site of Canada

5 Queen Street, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, L0S, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1968/11/28

General view of the Niagara Apothecary National Historic Site of Canada, showing two façades, 1990.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, 1990.
Corner view
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Other Name(s)

Niagara Apothecary National Historic Site of Canada
Niagara Apothecary
Pharmacie de Niagara
Niagara Apothecary Museum
Musée de la Pharmacie de Niagara

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/03/25

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Niagara Apothecary National Historic Site of Canada is a fine example of a late nineteenth-century commercial establishment and pharmacy. It is a white, single-storey clapboard Georgian building situated on Niagara-on-the-Lake’s main commercial street, Queen Street Distinguished by a central door with an arched transom flanked by two large arched display windows, the building is readily identified by its prominent sign and the three dimensional mortar and pestle proudly situated above its door.

Heritage Value

Niagara Apothecary was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1968, because it is one of the very few remaining examples of an old apothecary shop.

The heritage value of the Niagara Apothecary National Historic Site of Canada lies in its rich representation of a Confederation-era pharmaceutical practice and business premises. Its value lies in its exterior form, in its interior furnishing and features, in its original late nineteenth-century materials, its functional design, its site and setting. The Niagara Apothecary served as an apothecary / drug store from at least 1866 to 1964. It is one of the oldest continuously operated pharmaceutical practices in Canada. Built ca. 1820, both the exterior and the interior of this building reflect its refurbishment as a commercial apothecary in the late nineteenth century. In 1969 it was acquired by the Ontario Heritage Foundation, restored, furnished and interpreted for public visitation by the Ontario College of Pharmacy.

Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, 1968.

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that contribute to the heritage value of this site include:
- the location of the shop on Niagara-on-the-Lake’s main commercial street;
- its siting, flush to the sidewalk;
- the simple rectangular massing under a pitched roof;
- its vernacular interpretation of Palladian-revival architectural style with the entry on the gable end, returned eaves, finely moulded wood trim, and clapboard cladding;
- the Italianate features of its shop windows, including the tripartite organization of the central door and flanking display windows cased in wooden surrounds with pilasters defining the bays;
- the three-dimensional mortar and pestle mounted in the pediment;
- its ornately carved, wooden dispensary, surviving black walnut and butternut counters and cabinetry, elaborate plaster mouldings and crystal gasoliers;
- the surviving original interior layout;
- evidence of later use of the interior as a drug store (such as the soda fountain).




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Historic Sites and Monuments Act

Recognition Type

National Historic Site of Canada

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1866/01/01 to 1964/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce

Function - Category and Type




Commerce / Commercial Services
Shop or Wholesale Establishment

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Québec

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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