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The History Of The Old Perth Shoe Factory

In the early 1900's the Town of Perth, recognizing the need to attract industry in order to complement the traditional service/agricultural activities of the prosperous town, encouraged the Winn Shoe Company, U.S.A. to establish a new shoe factory at One Sherbrooke Street, Perth, with a $20,000 loan to build a factory in the town.

A beautiful two story brick building of 17,000 square feet was erected between 1905 and 1910 where 500 pairs of shoes were produced each day and the total weekly payroll for all employees was over $500.00 per week. In 1912 the company was reorganized by F.W. Hall and C.J.Sewell and transformed into the Perth Shoe Company. Employment grew to 200 operators and 700 shoes per day were shipped from the factory.

The First World (Great) War (1914-1918) resulted in a dramatic increase in activity and production. Records indicate that 10,000 pairs of army boots were sold to the Canadian military in 1915 at a cost of $4.10 per pair. In October 1919 a complete third storey and forty foot eastend extension were added to the building bringing the entire production space to 30,000 square feet.

An additional two storey 9000 square foot warehouse was added at the rear of the factory in August 1933  which was subsequently increased by another 4000 square feet in 1959 making the entire building approximately 45,000 square feet.

The Perth Shoe Company was acquired by the Brown Shoe Company in 1960 and after building a new manufacturing facility at another location, The Brown Shoe Company continued to utilized the old building until 1982 as a storage centre to accommodate the growing demands of the company. The property was acquired by Central Wire Industries in April 1987 to be used as storage and employee parking. All windows were boarded up and only the rear section of the building was heated.

In March of 2002 the property was purchased by Heritage Development which is currently undertaking the complete renovation/restoration of the building and the associated two acre site. An Official Plan Amendment and Site Rezoning were completed in January 2004 which now permits a wide variety of commercial, industrial, and institutional uses.

The current tenants include: Perth Athletic Club, Youth Action Kommitee,  Arts in Motion/Perth School of Dance, James Fillipoff Studios, The Perth Academy of Musical Theatre, Factory Grind Coffee Lounge, Geoff Hodgins Architect, CGIS Spatial Solutions, Tunnock Consulting, and the Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit... with more to join us in the near future!

At the moment an additional 12,600 square feet is available to prospective tenants.