History InSite: 87 St. Paul Street, 2002.20.5

Staff at Bueler Brothers LTD., c. 1935. STCM 2002.20.5

Staff of Buehler Brothers, a St. Paul Street butcher and meat shop, are pictured here in front of the shop in 1935. Opened in 1932, Buehler Brothers operated at this location until 1948. Plagued by overcrowding, the butcher shop relocated to a larger space at 14 Queen Street. At the time of its closing in 1970, more and more consumers were beginning to shop at new large-scale supermarkets in suburban St Catharines.

Loblaws Groceritia opened at 16 Queen Street in 1941, marking a major shift to the grocery experience. STCM S1941.16.5.3

Shopping Downtown

Stores downtown were social spaces. The act of shopping in itself was a social event. This was especially true among women. Shopping was chance to catch-up with other locals in the area, learn about the different events happening locally, and maybe share a bit of gossip.

Each store, dotted along St. Paul Street, would have had their own speciality that brought in customers. Long counters with scales and cash registers, were staffed by friendly, familiar faces. Each store had their own distinctive smells of meat, fruit, tea, cheese, tobacco, leather, or linen – each with their own vibrant colours. But, the friendly faces of the staff also had a hand in encouraging customers to return.

The closure of the butcher’s shop marked a larger trend in how consumers were buying their groceries. At the time of its closure, city directories had also stopped listing butchers and meat shops in their business sections. More and more consumers were shopping at “supermarkets” in the suburban areas of the city.

There’s More to the Story

Check out the entire History InSite installation and find the other panels.

About History InSite

A permanent, site specific installation, History InSite juxtaposes historical photographs with modern streetscapes by presenting the photo in, or close to, the place which it was taken.

St. Catharines has a rich photographic history and when compared to the changing streetscapes around the City, that history becomes much more meaningful, poignant, and relevant to our modern eyes.

History InSite is presented by the St. Catharines Museum & Welland Canals Centre.

Graffiti Report

If you spot any graffiti on our purple History InSite signs, please send us a message and photo via email museum@stcatharines.ca.