Stinson School Lofts

200 Stinson Street, Hamilton, ON
Stinson School Lofts at 200 Stinson Street was Harry Stinson's first major project in his new home of Hamilton, Ontario. The school was closed at the end of 2008 and was subsequently bought by Stinson. Completed in 2013, The Stinson School Lofts has a total of 66 units, ranging in size from 1,819 to 1,927 square feet. Not only is the Stinson Street School a landmark for the Stinson community, but also for the City of Hamilton. This project was awarded the Outstanding Achievement and Excellence in Adaptive Reuse in the 2015 City of Hamilton Urban Design and Architecture Awards.

Project History

In May of 1894, the property bounded by Ontario Street, Stinson Street, and Grant Avenue was purchased for $5,200. The cost of building the 10 room facility was $21,726.25. The school took its name from the street which, in turn, was named after Ebenezer Stinson who came to Hamilton in the early 1830s. The cornerstone was laid in September of 1894. Designed by Alfred W. Peene, the building measured 93 by 88 feet, being built of brick and brown Credit Valley stone. An attractive arch created a striking entranceway to the school. Each room could accommodate 50 students and be bright and airy due to large windows. The school accepted its first pupils on May 20, 1895, when four classes from the Hunter School and one class each from the Victoria Avenue and Queen Victoria School were transferred. Opening day was conducted by G.W. Ross, Minister of Education for Ontario. Stinson, and sister school Strathcona, was the last of the imposing Victorian-style schools erected in Hamilton. The original building had ten rooms, with the Principal’s Office located above the beautiful arched entrance. Each of the five rooms on the first and second floors was situated around a central foyer. The basement contained lavatories, furnaces, and large playrooms. The barn-like attic was available for storage or possibly could be utilized for cooking. In September 1914 the new building was added on the south side of the land costing $71,820 at the time. In 1959 the gymnasium/assembly hall was added. A school library was created in 1978. By the 1920s students from the nearby Boys’ Home at 145 Stinson Street were integrated with the regular Stinson School population. An early form of social support, the Boys’ Home ceased operation in 1948 when the Children’s Aid Society developed the policy of placing children in foster homes. Also of interest in these early years was the nearby Wentworth Mountain Incline. A small segment of Stinson’s pupils lived on the mountain. The incline was a quick and easy method of getting home at day’s end as most of the students used the stairs to descend the escarpment; thus saving half their day’s fare for something sweet to eat. In the latter 1960s, Stinson was one of the first schools in Hamilton to implement English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. In February 1986 the first elementary alternate education program (ACES) began upstairs in the north building. The neighbourhood has evolved and changed but Stinson Street School has been a constant; a centre of education which has served its neighbourhood with excellence since 1894.