National Grocer’s Building (Cataraqui Street)
The current owner, Ric Barr, has amazing plans for a modernist repurposing of this grand old site. He has hired an architect and is currently in consultation with the City’s Planning Department.
A little bit of background information was kindly contributed by John Grenville for future reference and includes:
“copies of the relevant material from 3 Kingston directories that are available digitally. The land on the south side of Cataraqui St. between the railway and Rideau St. appears to be vacant until 1918-19 when there is an entry for ‘Ordnance Depot’, 3rd Military District’. However, in the 1924 fire insurance plan, the building is marked as vacant. There is a 1929 amendment to the 1924 plan which might show changes to the National Grocer’s Building in accordance with the plans prepared by Power’s architectural firm and located in Library and Archives Canada (see entry). These are plans of what are likely to be the alterations to the building to accommodate the use by National Grocer’s. John is trying to get a digital copy of the 1929 fire insurance plan for the Cataraqui Street area.
Unfortunately the plan is not available digitally and a copy would have to be ordered from LAC. Although John has not seen the plan, he suspects that this is the same plan that the current occupants of the building, John and Michael Sinclair, told Jennifer McKendry, architectural historian that they got from the archives.
This part of town is truly an interesting area – not a part of the City for which a great deal of historical research has been done. Some have suggested that it may be one of Kingston’s very earliest concrete buildings, possibly a munitions storage depot following WWI before it became property of the National Grocer’s Company. At that point a rail spur came to the big door on the west side of the building.