Cormack Block Heritage Site Plaque
The Cormack Block is a two-story commercial structure that is presumed to have been built in stages around 1890. It was named for John G. Cormack, North Bay’s first pharmacist (druggist). The block is recognized as the oldest Main Street commercial structure that still stands. Over the years it has housed numerous businesses, town council and even the first library. In its current form today, the Cormack Block spans from 150 to 168 Main Street West.
Original brickwork can be seen in the second stories of 154, 164, and 168 Main Street West. The façade at 164 Main West remains largely unaltered, including an original wood door. A look at the interior of the block reveals many original features, including mahogany and cherry wood shelving, hardwood floors and beveled glass mirrors.
The Cormack Block was once all linked together, with the same upper floor brick finish, as well as similar window and cornice detailing. After over 100 years, the façade has changed through numerous transformations. The store fronts on Main Street were likely expanded to allow for more retail space when road alterations on Main Street took place, which would have changed the levels of the street and sidewalk. These alterations are evident in the change in flooring just as you enter the stores.
The Cormack Block represents unity, rather than conformity. This building filled a need for commercial space in a newly-emerging town. It has undergone many changes over the years, while maintaining a strong presence on Main Street. The Cormack Block is thought to have been one of the first, if not the original, merchant blocks in North Bay. Today it remains as a firmly established commercial structure on Main Street that acts as a solid anchor for the downtown core.