The building municipally known as 170-176 St. Paul Street forms a conspicuous part of the streetscape. It contributes through its built form to the continuity or dominant character of the street, neighbourhood or area. The land upon which this building stands was granted in 1799 to the son of the prominent Queenston merchant, Robert Hamilton. It is believed that St. Catharines was named in honour of his wife, Catharine Askin Hamilton. Other prominent early land owners associated with this site included George Adams (1821), Jonathan H. Clendennan (1822), and Elias S. Adams (businessman, former mayor) who acquired the land in 1834. The property remained vacant land, owned by the heirs of E.S.Adams, until 1874 when the lot was purchased by architect William Allan. Allan appears to have designed and constructed the first building on this site in 1874-75. It was known as the “Allan Block.” That building housed a variety of businesses throughout the years, including: Allan Bros. (furniture), McDermott’s stove shop (1905-06), and the well-known Hippodrome Theatre (1907-1921) which exhibited some of the first motion pictures ever seen in St. Catharines. The building was partially damaged in a blaze in 1908, but soon reopened for business. The property was bought by clothier Ralph J. Hoffman in 1922, and he extensively renovated the building at that time. He was responsible for the addition of the distinctive second story windows presently seen on the structure, as well as the decorative cut-stone inscribed with the name “Hoffman” on upper part of the facade. Hoffman’s store, which specialized in women’s and children’s clothing, remained a landmark business fixture at this location between 1922 and 1957. Adjacent space in the same building was leased by Hoffman to a number of small candy stores between 1922 and 1935. In more recent times, the building was occupied by a book and magazine shop, by Susan Miles women’s wear and the Susan Miles Bridal Shop (1976-1991), by Fletcher’s Piano and Organ Studio (1993-96), by the Oasis (Middle East Cuisine) restaurant (2002-2012) and currently by Dani’s Bistro (2013-present).