• The 1800s
The International Village has been a thriving community for well over a hundred years. Though the commercial fabric has changed dramatically over the years, it has always been a meeting place for people and businesses from all corners of the world.
The commercial nature of the Village began in the mid-1800s by providing services to those people who traveled by rail.
Ferguson Station, the heart of the International Village, was the Hamilton terminal for the Grand Trunk Railway Company and the principle passenger station for all of Downtown Hamilton. In the early years, Ferguson Street formed the eastern boundary of Hamilton.
At that time our area consisted of merchant tailors, ladies milliners, dry goods shops, confectioners, a watchmaker, flour and feed outlets, livery stables, a laundry, a blacksmith and two hotels.
• The 1940s & 50s
By the mid 1940s our commercial area had increased in the number of businesses and also in the type of business available to our customers.
These included a pharmacy, a meat and grocery store, several restaurants, mens and ladies clothing shops, shoe repair, bake shops, furniture and home appliances, a card shop, hardware, oriental carpets and a flower shop.
In 1953 there was a train derailment at the corner of Ferguson and Rebecca Streets. This photo shows the mural that was painted at the corner of Ferguson and King depicting this event.
• The 1970s
By the mid 1970s the rail line had long gone and the commercial viability of our neighbourhood had become more eclectic, including a book store, a sewing centre, a linen shop, more furniture and appliance stores, more ladies and mens clothing shops, more restaurants and bake shops, a pet store, a hobby shop, textile shops, ladies and mens shoes, two cinemas, several hair salons and car parking lots.
Today, the International Village still retains many of the beautiful Victorian facades of the mid-1800s combined with elegant and modern highrises. A few of our most popular restaurants have been in the Village for more than 30 years. And today we have an even greater selection... offering food from around the world.
You'll also find furniture stores, hair salons for both men and women, combined with an eclectic assortment of lawyers, accountants, estheticians, tattoo shops, leather workers, clothing stores and much more. Our cinemas have been transformed into retail and residential buildings, but we have retained our rail heritage with Ferguson Station, which is now a heritage site.
And the Village is proud to be home to Theatre Aquarius providing world class entertainment for almost 40 years. Theatre Aquarius owns and manages the Dofasco Centre for the Arts which houses the fully equipped 750-seat, proscenium style, Irving Zucker Auditorium and the 125-seat Norman and Louise Haac Studio Theatre which doubles as the Rehearsal Hall.
Each year, the company mounts a full complement of theatrical productions from musicals to drama to original Canadian theatre. For more information on their current season, go to Theatre Aquarius.
And the Village continues to be a collection of more than 100 shops and services, most of which are individually owned and operated, in the Heart of Downtown Hamilton... so come Shop the World in International Village.
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