In 1865, Thomas Frazer Kingsmill an Irish immigrant saw opportunity and opened a dry goods store on the main street of London, Ontario, Canada. From this same location over the next 148 years, the Kingsmill family has operated a store offering fine products and services. The original 1,800 square foot dry goods store continually evolved into a 73,000 square foot department store known for its personalized service and quality products. The five four floors of the store offer a broad range of quality goods including home furnishings, fine china and collectibles, women’s, men’s and children’s fashions, cosmetics, linens, gifts, kitchen ware, luggage and much more.
During the 148 years of operation there were two devastating fires. Both were seen by the Kingsmill family as opportunities to rebuild and expand the store. The present building was opened in September 1932, only 9 months after the previous building was destroyed by fire. The art deco style building features a limestone façade, original tin-plated ceilings and hardwood floors. Other unique features of the building include a pneumatic tube system used to send paperwork and change throughout the store and an old style elevator complete with a human operator. These features have survived over the years in a conscious effort by the family to maintain the character and elegance of the building.
Today Kingsmill’s continues to be owned and operated by descendents of the founder. It is one of the last family-owned and operated department stores in Canada. To this day, fourth, fifth and sixth generation family members remain active in the business.