Guest Series: Vintage Places (Day 2)

Well, it’s day 2 of our vintage places series. I have asked the absolutely darling Jill of Tea With the Vintage Baroness to choose a vintage place for us to discover today. If you haven’t been over to her blog, you simply must rush right now! Tell her I sent you!

Here is her post:

“This past weekend, the city was having a “Doors Open” event, which allowed all visitors free admission to all historical sites in the area, so my husband and I spent all day Saturday checking out as many of these sites as possible. The one which I am going to show some pictures of today is rather close to my heart because I’m such a lover of the 1930s. Given this attachment to the 30s, at the top of my “places I must visit list” since moving to this part of Canada last fall, has been the City of Hamilton’s GO Train station. The reason: according to sources, I had read, it is a rare Canadian Art Moderne (or Streamline Moderne) gem. I still have to determine whether or not it is in fact true that it may be the only of its kind in Canada!

The exterior of this building is quite fantastic in my opinion. Here is some interesting info about it from the website Forgotten Buffalo:

An Art-Moderne gem in Hamilton, Ontario. Built in 1932-33, the Toronto, Hamilton and Buffalo Railway Station on Hunter Street represents one of the finest examples of “international” style architecture in North America. The original design for the new Hunter Street station consisted of a 10-story office tower with wings for the passenger facilities, and two platforms for passenger trains. However, as the Great Depression took its toll on the TH&B, the plans were reduced in size. The office tower was reduced to 7 stories (although it was built with the ability for the remaining three stories to be added at a later date), and the number of platforms was reduced to one. As well, a number of other features such as underground passageways were eliminated. The reduced size of the station resulted in an outcry from the city council, and it was only after the facade of the building was changed to more expensive stone, that the council approved the smaller structure in November 1932. Construction of the new station began in December 1932, and took 8 months to finish, with the official opening on June 26, 1933.

I’m told the interior of the building has undergone a massive overhaul since its 1933 opening. However, one can tell that the designers have tried to stay true to the spirit of Art Moderne in their choice of fixtures. According to Ontario Architecture, “[the site was refurbished by “Trevor Garwood-Jones and Associates, and it is absolutely glittering from top to bottom. All of the details are exactly reconstructed with period hardware where possible and with modern fixtures that portray the Art Moderne style when originals were not available. Even the bathrooms are stylistically perfect. All the interior surfaces are elegantly curved. The finishes are chrome, wood, and marble.” My favourite “period hardware” feature was the one which appears to have been preserved from the original station: wooden benches in the waiting area. What energy emanated from places like this. You can just imagine all the streams of souls who have passed through, conducting their lives that have now become a little scribble in the grand annals of history.

All in all, this was a fabulous trip back in to Canada in the 30s. I really enjoyed experiencing this link between an important piece of Canadian historical architecture and the international Art Moderne movement. The capper to the day: just by pure coincidence, on our way out of the station, we spied someone’s old Ford parked across the street, so we rushed over for a quick snap of me standing by it. Such fun!

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Join the Discussion!

  1. This is a fantastic post! Love the clothes, the building, and that wonderful car!! I adore Jill’s blog. She is the ’30s reincarnated!

  2. The 30’s are my favorite era too….this was a great blog!

    In my state (Nebraska) we have the Durham Western Heritage Museum which is actually an old train depot in Omaha, restored to all its art deco splendor, similar to the one shown here. It’s quite the trip back in time walking through the doors, they even have bronze statues of people scattered among the lobby, dressed in clothes of the period and in positions just as if they were real people in the depot (i.e. a GI in the 40’s waiting to board his train, etc), quite cool!

  3. Excellent post and what a beautiful building! I too, am a lover of the ’30’s but have never seen this gem. The next time I am driving to Niagara, I must make a detour and check this out for myself!
    Hope both of you lovely ladies have a fabulous day!

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