Hamilton was not always just a “steeltown.” For the first half of the 20th century, it was the country’s third-largest textile centre, after Montreal and Toronto. The city was especially well known for its large knitting mills. One of these was the Chipman-Holton Knitting Company (founded in 1902), a major producer of hosiery. In 1916, the owners of Chipman-Holton founded the Glendale Spinning Mills, to supply the parent company with carded cotton and hosiery yarns. Soon, Glendale was selling yarn to a number of other firms. This market allowed Glendale to continue its operations after the Chipman-Holton plant closed.
Textile mills were among the few places where women could find work in the city. In the first part of the 20th century, female unionists from plants such as this one drew the labour movement’s attention to issues such as maternity leave, free medical care during pregnancy and better health care and schooling for children.
By the late 1980s, the Glendale Spinning Mills had become the country’s second-largest spinning mill. Workers in this plant continue to produce yarn for the knitting trade today.