Update: Hamilton Hess Village property gets cultural heritage designation

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Published July 27, 2023 at 11:43 am

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It was once owned by John Moodie, an important local historical figure who contributed critically to the economic prosperity and growth of Hamilton in the late 19th century.

The home on 115-117 George St. went through changes over the years, including being used for commercial purposes in the 1970s. 

Hamilton has recently passed a bylaw to designate it as a property with cultural heritage value under the Ontario Heritage Act. The property is described as an integral component of Hess Village, the historic entertainment district in downtown Hamilton.

The City issued the notice on July 26 stating that council designated this property on July 14. The heritage designation essentially provides the property more protections, such as requiring a permit to make any changes to it. 

The property was mainly used as a residence since its construction, but in the 1970s, it was renovated for commercial use, said Ken Coit, director of heritage and urban design for the City of Hamilton.

Coit told inthehammer.com that no site plan submission for the new development has been received yet.

A cultural heritage impact assessment highlighted the recommendation to partially retain the John Moodie House, “bringing back its Gothic Revival appearance while maintaining its current rehabilitated condition as a commercial property that fits with the Hess Village character,” he said in an email to inthehammer.com.

The City said anyone who objects to a bylaw can appeal to the Ontario Land Tribunal within 30 days after the notice’s  publication.

The property is a semi-detached, two-and-a-half storey brick building on the southeast corner of George Street and Queen Street South in Hamilton’s Central Neighbourhood. 

The property was built circa 1871 as a  semi-detached residence. A side gable roof and pointed arch window openings are examples of its Gothic Revival architectural features.

As well, it has historical value because it was owned by entrepreneur and industrialist John Moodie (1832-1902), according to the City. Moodie was known for his role in bringing hydro power to the city as well as fostering its growth and commercial prosperity in the late 19th century.

According to the City of Hamilton’s public notice stating its intention to designate it back in May, 115-117 George St. “helps define the character of the historic Hess Village streetscape. The property is physically, functionally, historically and visually linked to its surroundings.”

A “designated property” is considered “a significant heritage resource protected by a municipal by-law,” according to the City of Hamilton. It may qualify for city grants and loans to help with maintenance, restoration and adaptive reuse.

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