512 1st Avenue

512 1st Avenue in downtown Ladysmith was built in 1922 as a commercial building.

It is currently configured at two retail/commercial spaces on the main floor and two apartments on the second floor.

512 1st Avenue in downtown Ladysmith.
512 1st Avenue in downtown Ladysmith.

Here is a map showing the location of 512 1st Avenue:

Here is a Google Street View image of 512 1st Avenue:

512 1st Avenue has been known as the Mainstreet Building and the Hillier Block.

It was listed on the Ladysmith Community Heritage Register in 2010. It is also listed on the Canadian Register of Historic Places, which describes it as the Mainstreet Building.

Militia Marching on First (1st) Avenue., circa 1913. Buildings in the photo include the Travellers Hotel, 512 1st Avenue, (Ladysmith Archives collection)
Militia Marching on First (1st) Avenue., circa 1913. Buildings in the photo include the Travellers Hotel, 512 1st Avenue, (Ladysmith Archives collection)

Description of the Historic Place

The Mainstreet Building is a two-storey, brick, Edwardian Classical Revival style commercial building located on the west side of Ladysmith’s main commercial street. The historic place is confined to the building footprint.

Heritage Value

Built in 1922, the Mainstreet Building is an excellent example of an Edwardian era Classical Revival style commercial building. The building’s symmetrical façade, pilasters, and highly decorative capitals are all typical elements of this style. The building also features exceptional multi-coloured, decorative brickwork.

The Mainstreet Building is part of a grouping of largely intact historic buildings in Ladysmith’s commercial core. Situated mid-block, the building is part of an almost continuous city block of similarly proportioned historic buildings that collectively create a cohesive streetscape.

The Mainstreet Building has been in continuous use as a commercial building since its construction. Although the building is among the youngest on this city block, it speaks to the ongoing commercial development of the area and contributes to the heritage character of the area.

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Mainstreet Building include:

  • – all of the elements of the Classical Revival Style building as expressed in the simple form and massing, flat roof, symmetrical, three bay, multi-coloured brick façade, pilasters topped by large, decorative capitals, distinctive checkerboard brickwork below the simple cornice, contrasting colour brick quoining
    around the second-storey windows, leaded glass in the upper sashes of the wood-framed secondstorey windows and the arrangement of the windows and doors at the street level
  • – continuous commercial use
  • – the building’s location within a group of similarly proportioned commercial buildings on the town’s main commercial street
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