• This double commercial block with its handsome brick facade was erected in 1891, replacing a building that had been destroyed by fire in 1890.
• Although owned by the estate of George Carter, a well-known grain merchant, a portion of this building was rented immediately to Alfred Horatio (A. H.) Lofft, a dry goods merchant who had a dry goods shop a few doors to the west and who was looking to expand his premises. Other businesses shared the premises but from this time on, 153 Queen was associated with A. H. Lofft.
• In 1901, heavy rains and subsequent flooding damaged the store. Several businesses in this double building relocated. Lofft took the opportunity to expand and to renovate the show windows at street level. (See photograph above, ca 1905.)
• In 1915, Lofft finally purchased the building from the Carter estate.
• When A. H. Lofft died in 1933, his son Frederick Young Lofft continued with the business until he sold the ladies’ wear section in 1954 to J. B. Tudor (the west portion) and the men’s wear business in 1958 to Ray Bennett (the east portion.)
• Ray Bennett sold the building in 2007 to Stewart Books.
• At present, the west portion of the building is occupied by St. Marys Optometry (since 2010) while the east portion has been home of The Emporium and Studio 153 (since August 2015).
Thank you to Amy Cubberley and the St. Marys Museum for providing the historical photo and information concerning this building.