Queen Street between Sydney and Richmond Street

Powse Bros, c.1895, Courtesy of the Public Archives and Records Office

Powse Bros, c.1895, Courtesy of the Public Archives and Records Office Acc 3466/HF72.66.18.9

The section of Queen Street between Richmond and Sydney Street has a tradition of retail activity. The east side remains one of the finest rows of late nineteenth century brick buildings in the City.The Norton Building, at 92 Queen Street, like so many others in Charlottetown, was touched by fire. Constructed by merchant, Daniel Brenan in 1843, he would run his business from there for 27 years and was well known for the square fig tobacco he made on site. When Brenan passed away, businessman, Owen Connolly purchased the building. Later, shoe company, Dorsey and Goff would move in, followed in 1888 by hardware company, Norton and Fennel. In 1892, fire damaged much of the interior and R.B. Norton purchased the damaged building, extensively renovating it. A new brick facade was added at this time, featuring the name “Norton” carved into a stone at the top. Later, it would change hands and a variety of businesses would operate from the site including: a shoe store, a cafe, and an insurance business.

Queen Street east, Pre 1892, Courtesy of the Public Archives and Records Office

Queen Street east, Pre 1892, Courtesy of the Public Archives and Records Office Acc 2301/257

The building next door was also affected by the 1892 fire but undaunted, J.B. MacDonald’s Dry Goods was rebuilt and back in business the following year. Burke Electric now operates from the space.
Proceeding north to 96 Queen Street, a commercial building, built by merchant Hugh Monaghan, was constructed in 1879. The Prowse Bros. business eventually took over the property. Hon. Lemuel E. Prowse (1858-1925), merchant and politician, began his dry goods business on Queen Street in the 1880s. His brother, Mayor of Charlottetown and Senator, Hon. Benjamin C. Prowse (1862-1930) became a junior partner. Prowse Bros. sold a variety of items including men’s wear, carpets, boots and shoes. It would later grow and expand to dominate this section of the block until the store closed its doors in the 1960s.

Queen Street, c.1970, Courtesy of Catherine Hennessey

Queen Street, c.1970, Courtesy of Catherine Hennessey

The 4 October 1960 edition of the Guardian newspaper noted that the Prowse Bros. had sold the Monaghan Building to the Canadian Tire Corporation. It would later become Custom Interiors and Fabrics.

Next door, George Full’s 1874 brick commercial building would become part of the Prowse Bros. as well. Full occupied one shop and his brother, Charles, worked from the other. George Full sold various items including clothing and boots. An 1888 advertisement for his business indicated that he could be found on Queen Street “at the sign of the lion”. It would later become home to the Island Radio Centre and Adella’s Millinery.
The brick edifice on the south east corner of Queen and Richmond Streets was part of the Prowse Bros. business referred to as the Stamper Block. It was named for the family that had long been associated with the corner.

Dominion Building, Courtesy of the Ives Family

Dominion Building under construction, Courtesy of the Ives Family

Across the street, the Dominion Building was constructed in 1955 to house civil servants. A number of houses were either demolished or moved to streets like Sydney and Rochford to accommodate it. The modern building was declared surplus by the Federal Government in 2002. It was purchased and redeveloped into apartments and office space in 2012.

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