John Calder & Company

(1880)

This Renaissance Revival building was constructed in 1858 to house the wholesale grocery and dry goods business of prominent Hamilton merchant John Young. The “Commercial Block”, designed by noted Hamilton architect F. J. Rastrick, was converted to manufacturing use by the early 1880s.

The building’s first industrial occupant was ready-made clothing manufacturer John Calder & Company. Like other local clothing manufacturers, Calder farmed out much of the work to local women who sewed garments at home. The firm employed close to 800 people by the 1890s.

After Calder died in 1900, three of his former employees continued operations under the name Coppely, Noyes and Randall. Like many clothing producers, this company modernized production and moved away from outwork labour. By 1905, most of the 500 men and women on the company’s payroll worked inside this building. The Coppely Apparel Group is still based here more than a century later.

James Stewart & Company Foundry once stood to the north of this building. Stewart worked as a patternmaker at the McQuesten, Fisher & Company foundry in town, before starting his own business in 1845. Twenty-five years later the MacNab Street foundry had grown to be the second largest stove shop in town, employing over 60 men and boys.