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59-63 King Street West, Dundas

59, King Street West, Hamilton, Ontario, L9H, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1979/08/31

View of main (south) façade showing overall massing and proportions – July 2001; OHT, 2001
View of main (south) façade – July 2001
View of main (south) façade looking east on the north side of King Street West – July 2001; OHT, 2001
View of main façade looking east – July 2001
Historic view of King Street showing 59-63 King Street in the distance – c. 1924; hamiltonpostcards.com, 2005
Historic view of King Street looking west

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/11/23

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The building at 59-63 King Street West is situated on the principal commercial street in the former Town of Dundas. The two-storey brick commercial block is an integral component of the streetscape in downtown Dundas and complements the many other buildings of a similar design in the area.

The King Street façade of the building is protected by two Ontario Heritage Trust conservation easements.

Heritage Value

Constructed in 1875, the building at 59-63 King Street West is associated with the sustained growth and development of Dundas following its transformation from a centre of shipping to an industry-based town. Dundas became a major shipping port following the construction of the Desjardins Canal in 1837. The early successes of the canal lead residents to believe that the town would become the most productive and prosperous port of the region. By mid-century, however, the canal's water levels were deemed too shallow for large vessels to traverse and the nearby City of Hamilton supplanted Dundas as the port of choice for the area. Despite the closure of the canal in 1867, Dundas continued to grow through the latter half of the nineteenth century and developed into an autonomous industrial town. The building at 59-63 King Street West formed part of the commercial centre that provided retail services to the local community during this time.

59-63 King Street West is an example of a modest nineteenth century two-part commercial block. This style, which is prevalent amongst the small and moderately sized commercial buildings in Ontario, is distinguished by a horizontal division separating the public uses of the ground floor from the private and semi-private uses of the upper levels. In this case, the ground floor is composed of decoratively painted wooden panels and large glass storefronts that are topped by awnings and a dentil trimmed cornice. This lower section of the building contrasts significantly with the red brick cladding of the second storey. In the late 1970s the storefronts at 59-63 King Street West were rebuilt by Carl Neilson, the owner at the time, based upon physical evidence found on site.

Located in a central position along the main commercial street in Dundas, the building is an integral component of the historic King Street streetscape. Its modest architectural design is augmented by a dramatic colour scheme, making the building at 59-63 King Street West one of the most recognizable in the town. The building is also located on the same block as a number of other designated heritage properties including the Collins Hotel (1841), the Booth's Furniture Building (1874), and the Laing Apartments (1882).

Source: Conservation Easement Files, Ontario Heritage Trust

Character-Defining Elements

Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of 59-63 King Street West include the:
- vertical division of the main (south) façade into a three-bay wood and glass storefront at the ground level and a seven-bay red brick structure at the second storey level
- dentil trimmed wood cornice with scroll-shaped brackets that segregates the ground floor from the second storey
- recessed central entry-way of the eastern bay of the ground floor storefront (for 59 King Street West) which is flanked by two large display windows, each subdivided into nine panels by decorative mullions
- side-by-side entrances of the western bays of the ground floor storefront (61 and 63 King Street West), each consisting of a wooden door framed by paneled pilasters and an arched transom
- Roman-arched windows of the second storey with hood moulds and keystones
- low pitched gable roof which is supported by paired brackets under the eaves and is demarcated on the east and west sides by brick firewalls with double chimneys
- central location on King Street, Dundas' main commercial street
- building as a whole: as an integral component of the historic King Street streetscape
- combined features creating one of the most recognizable buildings in Dundas
- close proximity to other recognized heritage properties




Recognition Authority

Ontario Heritage Trust

Recognition Statute

Ontario Heritage Act

Recognition Type

Ontario Heritage Foundation Easement

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1979/01/01 to 1979/01/01
1975/01/01 to 1978/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce

Function - Category and Type



Commerce / Commercial Services
Shop or Wholesale Establishment

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Conservation Easement Files Ontario Heritage Trust 10 Adelaide Street East Toronto, Ontario

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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Dundas Central School

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