Culture

History Drive – Purity Diaries

Author: The Drive
2 months ago
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Sir Harry Gignac was a member of the Sandwich Fire Department, then worked for the Neal Baking Company before establishing his own bakery, producing Butternut Bread in 1915. His business became one of the most successful bakeries in southwestern Ontario. Gignac sold his share of the bakery to launch Purity Dairies in 1929, and this beautiful structure was built for the new company by local architects Nichols, Sheppard & Mason. Sir Gignac is best known for his community service: he was president five times of the Windsor Branch of the Canadian Red Cross; founder of Goodwill Industries; and founder of the United Appeal, now called the United Way. 

Purity Diaries building in 2020
Purity Diaries building in 2020

In 2020, the building is now home to the Downtown Windsor Business Accelerator and Shadowbox Theatre. Though altered, the distinctive turret (clad in copper several years ago) remains intact, and the building’s interior boasts 16-foot high ceilings and exposed steel beams.