Close-up image of Ghost Sign at 70 Princess advertising Canadian Goodwill Industries

National Drug and Chemical Company / Canadian Goodwill

Address:70 Princess Street
Original Use:Warehouse
Architects:J.H.G. Russell

More Information

Winnipeg-based druggist and entrepreneur David Bole formed the Bole Drug company in 1898, which quickly became one of the leading drug wholesalers on the Prairies. Within five years, they outgrew their leased space and built 70 Princess Street to support their growing business.

70 Princess Street is 5 storeys high and constructed of buff brick with Tyndall stone trim. Its Romanesque Revival style was popularized in Chicago and was adopted by many architects practising in Winnipeg. Typical features include its rusticated stone base, the stone clad main floor, its symmetrical design and the large arched windows at the 4th floor.

In 1905, in an effort to expand their footprint across Canada, Bole successfully negotiated a 16-company merger of leading wholesale chemical firms to form the National Drug and Chemical Company of Canada. The conglomerate headquartered in Montreal, with Boyle elected president in Winnipeg. Their NA-DRU-CO product lines became nationally recognized for their quality and cost. As the company grew, they rebranded as National Drugs in 1933 and have gone through a number of name changes since, eventually becoming McKesson Canada in 2002.

Canadian Goodwill Industries was founded in Winnipeg in 1931 as a way to mitigate the effects of the Great Depression by offering second-hand items at lower-than-retail prices. The goal was to provide struggling Manitobans with jobs while reinvesting back into the community. In 1948, they took over 70 Princess Street, which currently acts as their flagship location. They currently have six locations operating in Manitoba.

Still in Operation:

While the National Drug and Chemical Company may go by another name, this palimpsest is one of the few in the area where all layers of advertising are for companies that are still in operation.

Design Characteristics

Style:Romanesque Revival
  • Ghost Signs on south wall advertise the Canadian Goodwill industries and the National Drug Company
  • Buff brick with Tyndall stone trim
  • Rusticated stone base
  • Large arched windows
  • Corbelled brick panels