Newfoundland Chocolate Co. receives Golden Broom Award

Staff ~ The Telegram
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Brent Smith is chief chocolate officer and co-owner of the Newfoundland Chocolate Co. The company is this year's recipient of the St. John’s Clean and Beautiful Golden Broom award. — Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram

The Newfoundland Chocolate Co. is this year’s recipient of St. John’s Clean and Beautiful’s Golden Broom Award in recognition of the company’s eye-catching renovation and beautification of the property at 166 Duckworth St.

This new award was established to recognize those who take pride in the presentation and maintenance of their property. 

“This is a lovely acknowledgement,” said Brent Smith, chief chocolate officer and co-owner of the company. “We’re pleased and proud to do our small part in making St. John’s a cleaner,  more beautiful place to live and work.”

Smith said when the company purchased the building last year, it learned it had a rich historical significance.

It was built in the early 1800s and had housed a number of businesses and functions, including a gun shop, a pharmacy, a furniture store and most notably, served as the first synagogue in Newfoundland and Labrador during the latter part of the 19th century.

“We wanted to honour the heritage of the property and preserve as many of the heritage features as modern building guidelines would allow.

“We paid particular attention to the outside aesthetic of the building, essentially treating it as a blank canvas on which we could create something bright, fun, interesting and, of course, fitting for a chocolate factory,” said Smith.

“We created a building dripping with chocolate, adorned with its own six-foot chocolate mermaid and we commissioned a huge art mural for the building’s west side — a lively, colourful and very popular installment called ‘New Founde Chocolate Lande.’ We’re proud of our building and proud to be a part of St. John’s beautiful downtown neighbourhood, and we thank St. John’s Clean and Beautiful for this kind recognition.”

Organizations: Newfoundland Chocolate Co.

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador

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Recent comments

  • Betty Smith
    January 11, 2012 - 11:05

    Congratulations from your proud parents !

  • Wince
    January 10, 2012 - 08:00

    Congrats Brent!!

    • TEASH
      January 10, 2012 - 09:12

      Congratulations, Brent et al. I have often admired your building as I drive by. It really invites me in and certainly adds to St.John's Clean and Beautiful

  • fact checker
    January 10, 2012 - 07:47

    I notice the article says that this building was built in the "early 1800s". There are very few buildings in St. John's dating from that period, no more than a handful, and this building is almost certainly not one of them. The Great Fire of 1892 destroyed that entire part of the city, and before that, the Great Fire of 1846. I have attached a link below to a picture of Duckworth Street looking west, and it is clear that there were no buildings left standing on that part of Duckworth. I can imagine that the current building was built on the site of previous buildings, but the current one can date from no earlier than the 1890s, not the early 1800s.

    • Brent
      January 11, 2012 - 08:29

      hi Fact Checker, you are quite possibly right. the source we have on the early history of the building including the Synagogue was Robin McGrath's book Salt Fish and Shmattes, the Jewish history in Newfoundland. In the book, Ms. McGrath indicates that the building was one of very few to survive the great fire of 1892. In her book she describes the entrance to the synagogue as an archway that still exists in the back of our shop. That said, I've seen the same photographs you've shared and I agree, there sure doesn't look like there's much left standing. I've planned to contact Ms. McGrath to ask about her information source to see if we can get some clarification and your comment has inspired me to do that sooner rather than later. In our shop we have an information panel on the history of the building which is a living document and we invite visitors to add anything they can to our understanding of its heritage. Should you be in the neighbourhood some time, please drop by and have a look; I'd appreciate your input. Thanks for your comment.