With the post the other day about the George Wilkinson House, talk naturally turned to Wilkinson’s Shoes that used to be found downtown on Ouellette Ave.
This shot give a closeup view of the painted sign on the side that says “Wilkinson’s Shoes Wear Like A Pig’s Nose”. Note all the people downtown. This is what a downtown that’s not dead looks like.
There are some amazing art deco details that have been hidden over the years by painting the stone the same colour as the bricks.
I’ve never been inside, but I am assuming that the second floor, is doubly tall and those windows bathe the very tall second floor in natural light. City directories list only 5 floors in the building.
Here’s a photo of Wilkinson’s Shoes from about 1930. The photo is out of one of Michael Gladstone White’s books, and as usual… He gave no credit to the source. I’m going to guess the archives is the source of this one.
This article ran in the paper in December 1929. The city directories list an “Exchange Building” at 333 Ouellette, back to 1922. Looking at the roofline of the building in the photo above, I think 1922 sounds about right. The renovations were done by local architect G.A. McElroy in 1930. I believe he is responsible for the art deco facade.
I’m not sure when they closed, but Wilkinson’s was there into the late 1950’s at least. That 99 year lease would run until 2028, another 19 years… I wonder how that resolved itself, or if the terms are still valid, and it’s on a sublease… 😉