The Friends of St. Giles: are honouring the 150th anniversary of the architectural firm that built the iconic Main Street East Church by launching a Stewart & Witton walking tour, just in time for Grey Cup Week.
Available as a free download, the tour is called “Major Works: Stadium Neighbourhood,” and it features several 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)
• 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 Hamilton architecture firm of Stewart & Witton, which operated from 1904 to Lt.-Col. Stewart’s death at Vimy Ridge in 1917. Future 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.
“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 due to the efforts of 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: StewartandWitton.ca
Friends of St. Giles website: FriendsofStGiles.ca