Ask Alicia – St. Catharines Standard

Standard Press Building - Dan McKnight
Photo Attribution: Dan McKnight 2016/5


Hi Alicia,

There are many beautiful historic buildings in downtown St. Catharines.  A good example is the former St. Catharines Standard newspaper printing building on William Street.  As

Standard Press Building top centre detail -Dan McKnight
Photo Attribution: Dan McKnight 2016/5

you can see from the photos I’ve attached, this building has some unique features.  These include a carved “S” on the top of this building, and the initials of the Standard’s owners carved on the top sides of the building.  Unfortunately, this building is currently vacant.  Hopefully, it can be preserved by the developers of this site.  It would be unfortunate if this unique building was lost.

Do you have any historical information about this building (e.g. when it was built, how long in operation, building style, etc.)?

Thank you for your assistance.


Dan McKnight

Dear Dan,

The St. Catharines Standard is a company that has a very long and interesting history, as do the buildings themselves.

Photo Attribution: St. Catharines Museum 2198-N

The very first issue of the St. Catharines Standard was printed on April 21, 1891.  Soon to be newspaper magnate, William Bartlett Burgoyne purchased the newspaper for $1 in 1892.  At this time the newspaper operated out of various locations in downtown St. Catharines including a print shop on St. Paul Street near Ontario Street, as well as on the second floor of a saw factory that once stood where The Leonard currently sits.  By 1898 The Standard found its permanent home in a three storey commercial building on 17 Queen Street.

As the years passed and the paper became more and more successful, additional space was needed.  Adjacent properties were purchased and building expansions raised westward facing the Mansion House Tavern on William Street.  The building you are referring to Dan was a 5, 000 square foot addition built between 1928-1929.  It was designed by renowned local architectural firm Nicholson and Macbeth. The new space was used as a press room as well as the printing department.

The exterior of the press room was red brick.  The most recognizable aspect is the sign that still announces its presence to passersby: “The St. Catharines Standard Limited”. The familiar Gothic font used for this sign is the same of that which was used as the masthead years ago.  Limestone monograms can be seen on either side of the sign.  One reads “WB” and honours William Burgoyne and the other “HB”, referring to former newspaper publisher Henry Burgoyne.

Another addition was added between 1952-1953 to the North of the 1929 building.  Once the structure was complete, a highly publicized event occurred when the Standard purchased a new, state of the art Goss printing press which was picked up by a St.

Bill Burgoyne and son Henry starting the new press. Photo Attribution: StCM, Standard Collection

Catharines hauling firm from the Grand Trunk Railroad station in the west end of the city.  Articles were featured in the Standard showing Billy Burgoyne and his son Henry starting the press for the first time.  It was installed in the new building and was the talk of the town…well…the newspaper town anyway, for some time.  A conveyer belt transferred the papers from the new press in the new building over to the older press building where the newspapers were bundled and sent out for delivery.  The machine was used until 1996 when the press and mailing operations of the newspaper moved to Hamilton.  The press gathered dust until 2012 when they were removed from the building by a crane, solidifying the end of an era.

4-27-2012 cropped
St. Catharines Standard 2012/4/27

Changes continued to occur until 2013 when the Standard closed up shop on Queen Street and moved to One St. Paul Street.  Italo Ferrari purchased the 1.7 acre property and all of the Standard buildings on Queen / William Streets. At the time of purchase there was no concrete plan for the sight or the buildings and to this day it sits vacant and serves as a nostalgic memory of a newspapers past.

For more answers to your questions on the history of this great city, email Alicia:


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