Self-guided walking tours launched for Stewart & Witton 150th
December 6, 2021
Hamilton, ON — Exciting news from the Friends of St. Giles: as part of our #StewartWitton150 celebrations, we are launching our first Stewart & Witton walking tour today, just in time for Grey Cup Week.
Available as a free download, the tour is called “Major Works: Stadium Neighbourhood,” and it features four beautiful and irreplaceable Stewart & Witton properties in the Stadium area of east-central Hamilton:
- Near Barton and Sherman, the award-winning Playhouse Cinema and the Hendry’s building (home to Hendry’s Barbershop and the Barton Village BIA; currently listed for sale through Sotheby’s International Realty Canada)
- Just east of Tim Hortons Field, the city-owned King George School
- On Main Street East, St. Giles Church, Stewart & Witton’s Gothic Revival masterpiece
All the works on the tour were designed in the 1910s by the prestigious Hamilton architecture firm of Stewart & Witton, which operated from 1904 until Lt.-Col. Stewart’s death at Vimy Ridge in 1917. Future Stewart & Witton tours (currently in the works) include two house tours and a downtown tour focused around the John Weir Foote Armoury National Historic Site on James Street North.
Many thanks to the members of the Friends of St. Giles who volunteered their time developing and later testing the tour route one fall evening, and to Naomi Bower for designing the tour map and Stewart & Witton 150 logo.
You need to visit St. Giles to appreciate its presence. Fine details abound, intricate hinges, fine moulding, stained glass, impressive doors, hidden delights on all sides.Kathy Renwald
“Seeing these buildings all together, and in person, was such an eye-opener for us,” said Dr. Sarah Sheehan, a founding member of the Friends of St. Giles. “We hope others will enjoy this tour as much as we did!”
Of the Stewart & Witton buildings covered by the Stadium-area tour, only one, King George School, enjoys heritage protections. The former elementary school is a designated heritage building thanks to the late Bob Morrow, who initiated the designation process in 2014 when he was Ward 3 Councillor. Morrow was Hamilton’s longest-serving mayor, and also a St. Giles congregation member.
Despite over 2,500 signatures on a petition to save St. Giles — and being twice recommended for designation — the vacant, pre-WW1 St. Giles Church building still lacks heritage protections. Owners New Vision United Church withdrew their new demolition permit application in April, 2021, but the fate of St. Giles remains uncertain.
Since early this year, the Friends of St. Giles have been advocating in favour of green adaptive reuse, both as a municipal tool for climate action and for preserving the precious architecture, history, and community space that St. Giles represents.
More on Stewart & Witton: https://stewartandwitton.ca/about-stewart-witton/
Download the map + more info on #StewartWitton150 celebrations: https://stewartandwitton.ca/tours
Friends of St. Giles website: FriendsofStGiles.ca
With thanks to the Playhouse Cinema; Kathy Renwald; Local History & Archives, Hamilton Public Library; Martinus Geleynse, Sotheby’s International Realty Canada; The Hamilton Spectator; Naomi Bower; and the Friends of St. Giles.