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Philip Templeman Building/J.T. Swyers General Store Municipal Heritage Site

Philip Templeman Building/J.T. Swyers General Store, Bonavista, NL
Philip Templeman Building/J.T Swyers General Store, Bonavista, NL
Philip Templeman Building/J.T. Swyers General Store, Bonavista, NL

Statement of Significance

Formal Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Building, Structure or Land

Description of Historic Place

The Philip Templeman/J.T. Swyers General Store (also known as The Harbour Quarters) is a three storey, wooden building which retains its historic storefront. It is located at 042 Campbell Street, Bonavista, NL and overlooks Bonavista Harbour. The municipal designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Philip Templeman/J.T. Swyers General Store has been designated a municipal heritage site by the Town of Bonavista due to its historic, aesthetic and cultural values.

The Philip Templeman/J.T. Swyers Store is historically valuable because of its association with Philip Templeman, a Bonavista merchant and Legislative Council politician for whom the building was constructed. He was a successful businessman who, by 1913, owned one of the largest fishing and supply businesses in the country. Subsequent to his death and the Great Depression, the Bonavista premises were sold to J.T. Swyers, who became involved in the international fishing trade and shipbuilding. His meticulous record keeping has provided the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador with one of the most complete collections of mercantile records of an outport fish merchant, covering the period 1884 to 1928. Swyers was an original member of Newfoundland Associated Fish Exporters Limited and was one of the eight leading salt fish exporters in Newfoundland.

The Philip Templeman/J.T. Swyers General Store has aesthetic value because the three storey building is an example of an early 20th century mercantile premises. The main storey of the original, central commercial building has a typical storefront with large windows on the front facade and a sign band spanning these windows, bearing the name of J.T. Swyers in traditional font style. The second and third storeys each feature three single hung 2/2 windows.

The Philip Templeman/J.T. Swyers General Store has cultural value because it is located in a prominent and well-recognized area of Bonavista. Bordered by the Ryan Premises National Historic Site, the Templeman/Swyers Premises were constructed as a waterfront property for the purpose of conducting marine and fishery related business. Because of this, all facades of the building were commercially used. Located opposite the main entrance to the harbour the large building is highly visible from within the community and from the water. It is a cultural landmark which epitomizes a particular time in Newfoundland history during which the fishery was an integral aspect of culture and society.

Source: Town of Bonavista Town Council meeting minutes of 2006/08/14

Character Defining Elements

Exterior elements of the original centre portion of the building including:
-dimensions and massing;
-location and orientation opposite the main entrance of the harbour;
-number of stories;
-three bay facade;
-peaked roofline with front gable end;
-deep eaves returns;
-narrow clapboard sheathing;
-and dimensions and type of windows in front façade.

And the storefront elements which relate to the building’s original commercial style and function, including:
-multi-paned showcase windows;
-window openings;
-door type, placement and arrangement;
-recessed entryway;
-panels under display windows;
-end brackets for signage;
-style of trims and mouldings;
-and sign font and style.

Location and History

Community Bonavista
Municipality Town of Bonavista
Civic Address 042 Campbell Street
Construction (circa) 1910 - 1915
possibly a Strathie
Strathie Family / Philip Templeman and Company
Style 19th Century Mercantile
Building Plan Rectangular Short Façade
Website Link