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Key Number: HS 6252
Site Name: H.V. Shaw Building
Other Names:
Site Type: 0401 - Mercantile/Commercial: Office or Administration Building


ATS Legal Description:
Twp Rge Mer
52 24 4

Address: 10229 - 105 Street
Number: 29
Street: 105
Avenue: 102
Town: Edmonton
Near Town:


Type Number Date View


Plan Shape: Rectangular Short Facade
Storeys: Storeys: 4 or more
Foundation: Basement/Foundation Wall Material: Concrete
Superstructure: Poured Concrete
Superstructure Cover:
Roof Structure: Flat
Roof Cover:
Exterior Codes: Massing of Units: Single Detached
Wings: None
Number of Bays - Facade: First or Ground Floor, 3 Bays
Wall Design and Detail: Plain Panel
Wall Design and Detail: Entablature
Wall Design and Detail: Plain Parapet
Wall Design and Detail: Carving
Wall Design and Detail: Inscription or Date Stone
Wall Design and Detail: Decorative Brick
Wall Design and Detail: Balcony
Plain Eaves
Roof Trim - Verges: Not Applicable
Dormer Type: None
Chimney Location - Side to Side: Side Left
Chimney Location - Front to Rear: Rear
Chimney Stack Material: Brick
Chimney Stack Massing: Single
Roof Trim - Special Features: None
Window - Structural Opening Shape: Segmental
Window - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Head: Voussoirs
Window - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Sides: None
Window - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Material: Brick
Window - Sill Type: Plain Slip Sill
Window - Sill Material: Wood
Window - Trim Within Structural Opening - Sides: Side Lights
Window - Opening Mechanism: Fixed
Window - Special Types: None
Main Entrance - Location: Centre (Facade)
Main Entrance - Structural Opening Shape: Segmental
Main Entrance - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Head: Voussoir
Main Entrance - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Sides: None
Main Entrance - Trim Outside Structural Opening Material: Brick
Main Entrance - Trim Within Structural Opening - Head: Decorated
Main Entrance - Trim Within Structural Opening - Head: Flat Transom, Single Light
Main Entrance - Trim Within Structural Opening - Sides: Decorated
Main Entrance - Trim Within Structural Opening - Sides: Side Lights
Main Entrance - Number of Leaves: 1
Main Entrance - Number of Panels Per Leaf: 1
Main Entrance - Leaves - Special Feature: Glass
Main Stairs - Location and Design: None
Main Stairs - Direction: None
Main Porch - Type: None
Main Porch - Special Features: None
Main Porch - Material: None
Main Porch - Height: None
Exterior: The front facade is topped by a partially crenellated parapet and stone coping with the name plate inscribed in the centre; segmentally arched windows with stone sills; constrasting stone and brick in a radiating voussoir pattern.
Three bay structure with central entry; segmental arches at ground level and fourth floor; full basement; chicago windows; name plaque - 'H.V. Shaw Building Erected 1914'.
The Shaw Block was designed to be fireproof, and consists of a concrete structure with red brick sheathing. For its small size, it is one of the most decorative of Edmonton's early warehouses.
Although the large windows and emphasized vertical piers are characteristic of the Chicago School, the decorative treatment at the top is not. The multiple archivolts of contrasting brick and stone voussoirs are unique in Edmonton. Other unusual features include the checkerboard brick pattern at the parapet, the treatment of the vertical piers as Gothic buttresses, and the arched and recessed entrance.
The building was designed to be fireproof and consists of a reinforced concrete structure with red tapestry brick cladding. The main (west) facade of the Shaw Block is one of the most decorative of Edmonton's early warehouses. The first three floors of the facade display several basic elements of the Chicago School of Architecture: vertical emphasis of the brick piers, repetitive recessed spandrels and generously proportioned in-fill windows.
An interesting treatment of the piers as Gothic buttresses occurs where they descend from the parapet down to the tops of the fourth floor windows and again at their transition into the first floor belt course. This design element effectively provides the building facade with a clearly defined classical base, mid-section and top. The piers also express the intrinsic load-bearing nature of the brick building material used at this facade; where the mass of the material must increase as the building loads and forces increase. The structural logic of Gothic buttresses was expressed in much the same way. The transom light panels at the tops of the fourth floor windows were originally painted white to visually tie-in with the stone buttress caps; these windows were later scraped clean and this design continuity has been lost.
At the fourth (top) floor the decorative treatment of the multiple archivolts of contrasting brick and stone voussoirs are considered unique in Edmonton. This detail is more elaborate in structural intent and execution than the deeply corbelled brick dentils of the Metals Building of 1914, designed by the same architectural firm.
The recessed checkerboard pattern panels at the parapet elevation are also very prominent. Each brick square within the composition is further defined with a cross motif, again with references to other local work by the same architects. The top of the parapet carries a strongly articulated cap course of stone, emphasizing the piers and the central structural bay of the building.
A cast stone (concrete) plaque proclaiming the building's name and erection date is located at the top, centre bay of the building. A stylized, bud-like husk or bellflower motif in a graduated, descending order of size, is incorporated on either side of the plaque.
The recessed main entrance is bordered with arched voussoirs and evenly spaced, cast stone patterning. Stylized, cast stone leaf designs are also set into the brick wall on either side of the main entrance, reminiscent of those on the Metals Building, also designed by Magoon and Macdonald.
The concrete technology consists of a rectangular structural grid approximately 12' x 18'. It is composed of simple span concrete column beams, purlins, and two-way slabs. The material is in complete view throughout the building and no attempt, other than paint, was made to conceal its natural and rugged board-formed appearance.
The lower, ground floor belt course of the east facade has been covered with green and white ceramic mosaic tiles. The original finish in this area was parged, cast-in-place concrete. The tile covering represents an intrusion of modern materials on an otherwise original facade.
The Shaw Building is a rectangular, four and one-half-storey structure constructed of steel and reinforced concrete and sheathed in red brick. The front facade is topped by a partially crenellated parapet and stone coping with the name plate inscribed in the centre.
Segmentally-arched windows with contrasting stone and brick in a radiating voussoir pattern. The remaining windows are rectangular except on the ground floor and the entrance where they have segmentally-arched openings. Excellent example of painted wall advertising can be found on the exterior sides of the building.
Interior: The top floor was to be occupied by Shaw for cigar manufacturing purposes. The entire top floor was to be laid with white tile and the walls treated with water-proof cement. The fourth floor areas incorporate extensive use of metal-framed, venting skylights and octagonal mosaic floor tiles near the large, west facing arched windows. The original freight elevator, wood stairs and solid plastered balustrades, basement washroom, and fire-hose apparatus can still be found in the building.
Environment: Neighbourhood: Downtown Property Features: None Located in warehouse area. Lot Size: 150' x 150' Warehouse district; built to streetline. Located in the middle of the block on the east side of 105 Street, the Shaw Building is the tallest structure on that side of the street. Across the street are seveal modern structures including an eight storey office building. The Shaw Building is constructed to the street line and covers the entire available lot. Its siting, height, materials, facade and painted wall signs make it an important component of the district by continuing and reinforcing the character of the warehouses in the district. The building forms part of the transition area between the warehouse district and new infill construction. It pushes the boundaries of the warehouse district further to the west while maintaining the existing scale and context of the district. What the Shaw Block lacks in terms of compatible warehouse neighbours, it makes up for in the exuberance of its decoration and architectural detailing. Its south wall of painted advertising has been exposed to public view almost since its construction, helping to make the building a landmark in the warehouse area. The ground floor maintains a pedestrian scale, and could be utilized for retail exposure.
Condition: Good
Alterations: Apparent Alterations and/or Additions: Roof Apparent Alterations and/or Additions: Door Site: Original Facing of the lowest band course and mullions with ceramic mosaic tile (Addition of a new side window). Tile applied over stone at ground level front. Two new double-hung windows have been added to the north facade and one new window to the south facade. The main entrance framing, original plate glass and wood door have been replaced with a modern aluminum and glass unit. It appears that globe lights at either side of the main entrance were intended, but never installed. Elaborate cast stone, wall bracket details and mounting posts are provided for such an installation. The only flagpole, located above the building identification plaque, has been removed from the roof structure. A single storey, shipping/receiving addition and concrete loading dock were added to the east end of the building. The west facing basement light wells have been in-filled, and the large double-hung windows, with steel security bars, have been replaced with much smaller wood window units. It is assumed that filling the original light wells eliminated an on-going water collection and maintenance problem in the basement.


Construction: Construction Date:
Construction Started
Usage: Usage Date:
Mercantile/Commercial: Office or Administration Bldg
Mercantile/Commercial: Office or Administration Bldg
Mercantile/Commercial: Specialty Store or Shop
Owner: Owner Date:
H.V. Shaw
McDougall & Secord, Ltd.
Transcontinental Storage & Distributing Co. Ltd
Hill and Willson Ltd.
Francana Real Estate Ltd.
Current owner
Architect: Magoon & MacDonald
Builder: Hall
Craftsman: N/A
History: Shaw arrived in Edmonton in 1901 and set up a cigar factory, built factory warehouse in 1914, Cigar Factory in this building from 1914 to 1920.
1914 - Only the second reinforced concrete warehouse to be built in the warehouse district 1921 - Used for various warehouse uses.
Shaw was the owner of the Edmonton Cigar Factory - Purported to be the largest west of Toronto.
Shaw was born in Long Prairie Minnesota in 1876 and arrived in Edmonton in 1901 with his wife. In May 1901 he opened The Edmonton Cigar Factory in quarters over the W.T. Henry's clothing store in the Humberstone building. In 1906 the Factory was moved to the Masonic building. In 1914 Shaw built present building to house business present owner is Wilson Stationery.
It is presently unknown how long he was in the Cigar business.
Shaw's Company manufactured the brand names: La Palma and Major Reno.
1920 is the last year noted in the Henderson's Directory that the Edmonton Cigar Factory was in operation. Thereafter it appears that Shaw operated another Factory, La Palma Cigars Ltd. at another location.
Harry Shaw, a veteran of the Spanish-American War, came to Edmonton from Minneapolis in 1901. Among other entrepreneurial activities Shaw opened the Edmonton Cigar Factory and was making one million cigars a year by 1908. His cigar brands La Palma and Major Reno became famous in the west. By 1914, he employed more people than any other employer in Edmonton. His cigar factory, built in 1914, was a simple utilitarian structure of poured concrete faced with brick. It contained the most modern working space in Edmonton. The structre is enhanced primarily by the three bay facade, the windows in which are linked vertically by piers and emphasized by corbelled courses of two-tone brick. After the First World War, a recession caused Shaw's bankruptcy and the factory's closure.
In the days before cigarettes, cigars were big business. Harry Shaw's Edmonton Cigar Factory was manufacturing one million cigars per year in 1908, after being open only seven years. Six years later, Shaw was one of the largest employers in Edmonton and could afford his own building. By 1917, ninety people were working in his factory. The H.V. Shaw Building was not only trend-setting, as it was the second fireproof, reinforced-concrete warehouse in the district, but it was eyecatching as well. Brick and stone were laid in alternating bands to form the voussoirs of the top floor arched windows and in a check pattern in the parapet to draw the eye to the stone nameplate with date. The blank side walls served and still serve as a billboard for hand-painted advertisements. Despite the popularity of the house brand 'Major Reno' and 'La Palma' cigars, the company suffered setbacks after WWI and moved to another location in 1921, when Shaw sold the building.
The Shaw Block was constructed in 1914 to accomodate H.V. Shaw's Cigar Factory. The building was designed by Magoon and MacDonald and erected by Hall at a cost of $55,000. Shaw came to Edmonton in 1901 and opened a wholesale cigar business featuring the LaPalma and Major Reno brands of cigars. In the positive economic climate of pre-World War I Edmonton, markets for his cigars continued to rise, necessitating his expansion to larger quarters. By 1917, his factory employed 90 people. Unfortunately, Shaw overextended himself by constructing his block and residence at the same time. The market also shifted with the rise in popularity of cigarettes during wartime due to their convenience. One floor of the building was loaned to Lt.
Col. Griesbach for squad drills during the mobilization of forces during the first weeks of World War I. The building was sold to McDougall and Secord in 1921, Transcontinental Storage in 1950, and Hill Wilson Ltd. in 1960. The building is presently owned by Francana Real Estate who purchased it in 1963. The north and south exterior walls exhibit excellent examples of early wall advertising by some of the building's previous tenants.
In 1901 Harry V. Shaw arrived in Edmonton from Minneapolis, Minnesota.
As a teenager in St. Paul, Minesota, he had been trained in cigar making and in Edmonton along with two assistants, Shaw founded a cigar manufacturing industry in Humberstone Block. The business flourished and in 1906 Shaw moved to the Masonic building premises located on 102 Street. By 1908, 35 people were employed in his factory with an annual output of over a million cigars. The cigars were hand rolled using raw materials imported from Havana and Sumatra, and the company came to be known for its Palma, Major Reno and La Consequentia cigars.
The business continued to expand and in 1914 Shaw constucted a building to house his enlarged operation. By 1917 Shaw's staff increased to 90 people, making him the employer of one of the largest crews of skilled labour in the city.
Shaw had purchased the property on 105 Street and 102 Avenue in 1905 in anticipation of business growth. In 1914 he retained a local builder, Hall, to construct the building for a tender cost of $55,000.
The building was designed by the architectural firm of Magoon and MacDonald.
Herbert Alton Magoon (1863-1941) and George Heath MacDonald (1883-1961) were the principals of the firm Magoon and MacDonald.
Magoon was born and educated in Quebec, but received his architecture training in Chicago. He practised there and in Iowa and Nova Scotia.
MacDonald was born in Prince Edward Island. He began his career in architecture working first in the office of Percy Erskine Nobbs and Edward and W.S. Maxwell and then with his uncles as a contractor. The two men met while working at the Dominion Iron and Steel Company in Sydney, N.S., where Magoon was employed as an architect and MacDonald as a draftsman. They moved to Edmonton in 1904 and set up practice with MacDonald as Magoon's assistant. MacDonald returned to Eastern Canada to finish his education, and in 1911 graduated from McGill University with a Bachelor's degree in Architecture. They became partners and practised architecture together from 1912 until Magoon's death in 1941.
MacDonald continued his practice after Maggon's death, and was one of the first people to show an interest in reconstructing Fort Edmonton about which he wrote a book.
In 1915 tenants in Shaw Building included: Bradburn Printing Co.
(basement); Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. of Canada Ltd. (main floor); Western Commercial Co. Ltd. (second floor); Christie Co. Storage, Mason and Hickey, W.H. Escott Co. Ltd. and George Measam, manufacturers agents (third floor). The factory was initially located on the main floor of the building and later moved to the top floor as it was completed. During the first weeks of World War I Shaw loaned one floor of the building to Lt. Col. Griesbach of the 49th Battalion of Canadian Expeditionary Force for squad drills during the mobilization of forces.
In 1919, after suffering severe economic setbacks, Shaw was forced to close the factory. He subsequently lost the building to his creditors and his mansion on Victoria Avenue to the City for unpaid taxes. He had apparently overextended himself with the construction of his business block and mansion at the same time. The failure of the factory was also due to the rise in popularity of cigarettes during World War I, the prohibition movement and the closing of saloons. He tried to start another cigar factory on Stony Plain Road at 124 Street, but this too failed. Shaw died in Edmonton in 1959.
The property was transferred to Shaw's creditors, McDougall and Secord, Ltd. in 1919. The company started as a financial institution and mortgage lending concern and became a land holding company. With the outbreak of war in 1914 the local economy came to a halt, which meant that for McDougall and Secord, Ltd. defaulted mortgages and foreclosures were the norm. By 1930 the company had become the owner of over 80 individual parcels of real estate and was the second largest tax payer in the City after the Hudson's Bay Company.
Following World War II and resulting post war boom, the Company embarked on a planned liquidation of its land holdings in order to recoup the capital losses of earlier years and improve its earning power. To this end the Company sold the Shaw building in 1950 to Transcontinental Storage and Distributing.
During the period from 1919 to 1950 the building housed many long-term tenants. The large advertising wall featured many of the food brokers and wholesalers located in the between 1930 and 1950. Christie Storage and W.H. Escott and Co. leased space for nearly fifty years.
In 1960 the building was sold to Hill and Wilson Ltd., at which time the title was consolidated to include Lots 146 and 147 and part of lot 148. The building was sold again in 1963 to Francana Real Estate Ltd., and in 1988 it was purchased by its present owner. Current uses of the Shaw Block include retail commercial spaces on the ground floor, a metal sculptor's basement studio, a second floor print shop and a painter's studio on the top floor.
Loading docks were constructed on the south rear corner for truck traffic. Railway access was available from the rear of the building.
The south building facade has been used for painted sign advertising by the various building tenants. The robust lettering styles, highly detailed and coloured graphic representations of products have changed many times. Present tenant signs are limited to small, painted panels mounted near the west end of the building. The north building elevation is plain in design and decorative treatment.
The ground floor allowed for an active warehouse distribution layout which incorporated a rail spur shipping area at the east-end of the building. The interior spaces for the Edmonton Cigar Factory and were arranged so that the floors could be let in halves. The top floor was to be occupied by Shaw for cigar manufacturing purposes.
The entire top floor was to be laid with white tile and the walls treated with water-proof cement. The fourth floor areas incorporate extensive use of metal-framed, venting skylights and octagonal mosaic floor tiles near the large, west facing arched windows.
The basement storage area is relatively open and also houses the original steam boiler, which is no longer in use.
The innovative use of reinforced, cast-in-place concrete structural system for the building is an early commercial application in Edmonton.
Becouse of the original warehouse uses, the clear ceiling heights are generous at all floors. The pitched skylights at the top floor allow an abudance of natural light into the building and provide for interesting space configurations.
1905 - July 24. H.V. Shaw purchases property on 105 Street and 102 Avenue.
1914 - May 30. Building permit #705 is issued to H.V. Shaw.
Architect: Magoon and MacDonald. Contractor: Hall. Cost $55,000.
1914 - Fall. 49th Battalion of Canadian Expeditionary Force under Lt.
Col. Griesbach uses one floor for squad drill during the mobilization of forces.
1919 - July 21. Property is acquired by McDougall and Secord Ltd. on default of mortgage owed by Shaw.
1950 - February 14. Transcontinental Storage and Distributing Co.
Ltd. purchases property.
1960 - June 8. Hill and Willson Ltd. purchases property.
1963 - July 11. Francana Real Estate Ltd. purchases property.
1988 - Current owner purchases property.
The Shaw Building is owned by Credit Foncier Ltd. With vacant lots on both sides of this 50-foot wide structure, it may be consolidated with adjoining lots if redeveloped. Ceilings in the building are only nine feet high, which makes renovation difficult, but hardly impossible.
The current allowable density in the area is 3.0:1 FAR but is expected to increase to over 6.0:1 FAR within the year. The existing FAR of the building is approximately 4.0:1.
Building permit #705, May 30, 1914, H.V. Shaw. Architect: Magoon and McDonald; builder: Hall; cost $55,000.
Person: Edmonton Cigar Factory - H.V. Shaw - came to Edmonton in 1901 open cigar factory; - erected present building to house expanding cigar manufacturing business by 1917 employed 90 people; made La Palma and Major Reno cigar; closed 1920.
- 1924 Shaw associated with McLaughlin Motors Ltd.
- 1932 Mgr. of Continental Life Assurance.
- 1938 H.V. Shaw Agencies.
- Overextended himself by construction of block and mansion at same time.
Rise in popularity of cigarettes during World War I spelled doom for cigars.
No articles were found dealing with the construction of the building -Edmonton Bulletin, Edmonton Daily Capital.
H.V. Shaw file interview - loaned one floor of building to Lt. Col.
Griesbach 49th Batalion of Canadian Expeditionary Force for squad drills during mobilization of forces during first weeks of World War I.
EB 1911 - Shaw was a cigarmaker by trade; employed about 50 men at Masonic Blg. or 2nd Street.
HD 1914 Shaw 1920 Edmonton Cigar Factory 4th floor; various food wholesale - broker firm; broker firms; Goodyear Tire.
1930 Goodyear Tire; Simon Sons wholesale cigars; various food wholesale.
1940 Salada Tea; various food wholesale.
1950 Robin Hood Flour Mils; Salada Tea; various food wholesale.


Status: Status Date:
Designation Status: Designation Date:
Municipal A List

Register: A48
Record Information: Record Information Date:
S. Khanna 1993/04/07


Alberta Register of Historic Places:
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