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The Barton Village Neighbourhood is an up-and-coming place with a lot of passionate businesses that love Hamilton and are committed to being pioneers in the continual transformation of this community.

We decided to interview 3 thriving coffee shops within walking distance/short drive away from Westinghouse HQ to show you the vibrancy and energy of this community. We are proud to stand alongside these placemakers and creative individuals who imagined what was possible on Barton St., and decided to make their mark here.

If you’re exploring a new place to call home or locate your business, we want to introduce you to 3 must visit Coffee Shops in the area.

340 Barton St E, Hamilton, ON

Follow them on Instagram @emeraldcoffeco

An interview with owner, Phil Green

Why did you choose this neighbourhood to open a cafe?

I live in the neighbourhood and when I moved here, I would walk my dog down Barton St. and thought ‘Why isn’t there a coffee shop here?’ I would have to go down to James St. to get a coffee and I thought, ‘This needs to change, there are so many people in this area,’ so I opened Emerald Coffee Co. on March 31st 2018.

What do you love about this neighbourhood?

I really like the vibe on Barton. It’s honest and real. Most people here understand the neighbourhood for what it is and want to change it in a positive way, they want to include what’s already here and not just bulldoze what already exists.

What’s the community like among businesses in Barton Village?

The people are super friendly. We are collaborating and supporting each other.

What changes have you seen in community over the last year that you’ve been here?

There has been a lot of change in the last 6 months - at least 5 businesses have opened. People who haven’t been here in a long time are starting to see the positive changes through articles in the Spectator and other press, that there is something to check out on Barton St.. I know a lot of people who have grown up here and moved away and now are coming back. There is a nice mix between people who have been here for a long time, and also new families and younger people moving into the neighbourhood.

What’s the mission of Emerald Coffee Co.?

My mission is to build a community based coffee shop where everyone can feel included and to create a nice hangout spot for people. This is a place where everyone is welcome.

What are some of your most popular drinks and treat?

You have to try our hazelnut milk lattes! They are super popular and unique to us.  We also have Cold Brew from Pilot Coffee Roasters and Vibe Kombucha on Tap, which is now based in Hamilton. We carry Eric’s Handcrafted Butter Tarts from The Kitchen Collective - they are always a big hit and on Saturday’s we have donuts from Donut Monster!

541 Barton St E, Hamilton, ON

Follow them on Instagram @541barton

An interview with Executive Director, Sue Carr

What is the concept and mission behind 541?

541 Eatery and Exchange is a non-profit organization that fundraises and utilizes wonderful volunteers to run the cafe.  We opened our doors 4 ½ years ago and it’s our mission to welcome everyone to come and sit at our table and because of that, our food and coffee needs to be affordable for everyone. This is achieved in two ways. We keep our payroll costs down by having 200 volunteers who help cook, serve and clean up and the pay it forward system using buttons. Each button is one dollar and people can purchase a button to be donated to someone in need. Buttons are used as cash and redeemed for anything on the menu. Everyone can have up to five buttons (five dollars) a day. As the community gives, we give out to those in need.

What do you love about being in Barton Village?

There’s a lot of excitement on the street with new businesses opening up, like The General - at Barton and James. There are several new coffee shops and restaurants coming. I like the people in this neighbourhood. They are resilient and good humored. Of course there are issues, but the reality is there are issues in a lot of neighbourhoods. In general there is a positive attitude around here.

What changes have you seen in the community?

There are a lot of new businesses opening up, especially along Barton St. I’m part of the BIA Board and we have a lot of storefronts opening up. I think this place is going to look very different in the next few years.

It’s exciting to join a community like this at the beginning of a renaissance and people are looking for more reasonable places to live and start businesses. It’s a happening place, come and be a part of it.

What would you suggest someone try when they come here?

You need to try our espresso based drinks and our brownies are phenomenal!  The coffee we sell is Detour coffee from Dundas. We make everything from scratch, except for our bread. We have ‘no gluten added’ cookies, muffins, brownies, and granola bars and if anyone asks we can make any of our sandwiches on gluten free bread on silicon paper that is kept separate. We offer delicious sourdough bread from The General - they donate it to us and we are a nut free zone as well.

We can also cater things like small office meetings. If it’s on the menu and we get some notice, we can create a nice selection of freshly made goods.

312 Barton Street East

Follow them on facebook at - Stir It Up Inc. in the "gritty city" Cafe

An interview with owner, Kelli Tokarz.

Why did you choose Barton St. to open your coffee shop?

My father was a north ender and worked in this neighbourhood at Westinghouse for 30 years in the Turbine department. I wanted to pay homage to him and I really felt like this area needed something. It’s one of the only neighbourhoods left in Hamilton that really needs a revival.

What are some special features of Barton Village?

There are so many great cultural influences with the Portuguese and Italians and I don’t think people realize there are some great bakeries and restaurants in this neighborhood. People need to come down here and see what the area has to offer. There is a nice mix older and newer businesses to explore. Now is the time to move into this area, while prices are still reasonable. I think in the next 3 years things are going to explode.

What do you love most about being part of the neighbourhood?

I like it down here  - I love the characters. Everyone has a story and they are all an intricate part of this community. Hamiltonians are pretty straight forward and resilient. I enjoy the vibe of this neighbourhood. It’s exciting and never boring. I embrace everyone with open arms and I’m really attached to everyone here.

What would you say the mission is of Stir it Up?

Stir it Up is a coffee shop focused on supporting other local indie shops. I want to collaborate with other independent shops, so we can support and carry each other. Everything that I sell in my cafe is local. My chocolate is from the Beanermunky in Dundas; I use JC Patissier for my dough for cookies and croissants; my tea is from the Coco Tea Company and I’m currently  looking for some more independent bakeries.

What’s a unique feature of Stir it Up?

I display local art on the walls of the cafe and I’m always looking to display local art in my shop. A fun fact about me, is that my cousin, Walter Grealis, is the guy who founded the Juno Awards - I named a drink after the Juno’s.


For updates on the Westinghouse HQ project, please sign up for our email list at the bottom of our home page, here and for leasing inquiries, please email us at

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There are a lot of one-of-a-kind design features of the Westinghouse HQ building. One of those details are the plaster moldings  located on the first and second floor. We had the opportunity to interview Steven Dall, the owner of Designs by Dall, to get a behind the scene look at what goes into creating this stunning building detail.

Steven Dall at Westinghouse HQ

Designs by Dall is a small plaster and painting company that specializes in the preservation, conservation, and restoration of historic homes and buildings. Steven Dall started his career as a residential painter to finance his music career. One of the men he worked with in Toronto guided him towards learning plaster work, out of necessity because the plaster needed to be restored before being painted. Today, most of Dall’s clients are residential, restoring great rooms and foyers.  

To learn more about Designs by Dall, you can check out their webesite:

Please provide an overview of the restoration work you've done within Westinghouse.

We began working on restoring the Westinghouse plaster in March 2017.  We started on the main centre stairwell from the basement up to the 7th floor, remediating the walls of any exposed lead and mildew. We completed all the support columns on the 7th floor, up to  the ceiling peak and restored the beautiful 2nd floor moldings. Currently, we’re working on restoring the plaster on the 1st floor.  As we worked through the building our goal has been to stabilize all the original plaster and then incorporate new plaster true to the finish of the original work.

What were some of the challenging aspects of the Westinghouse restoration?

Our greatest challenge was the condition of the building. It had been derelict for decades, with harmful water damage, which had rendered many walls and ceilings unstable and in some cases unsalvageable.

Another challenge was learning how to work on such a large project. We’re used to working in beautiful parlor and great rooms, so working on such a large project requires a lot of  commitment and determination from my team – it’s been a great experience.

Please share any historical information regarding the plaster mouldings and why they were so common in that era and any further historical significance.

The plaster work in Westinghouse is a classical design, originally found in Europe in the Victorian era and is a common design in plaster work in general. Although these features can be found in wealthy owners’ residences, they were not common in the workplace. These were hand cast mouldings and they would have come at a considerable added cost, one that was certainly an intentional choice of the owners at time of construction in 1917. The original President’s office, on the second floor has the same beautiful mouldings as the ground floor foyer/lobby. The original owners wanted people who came into the building to be wowed. It’s amazing to think that at the time of the first world war the architects, designers and business owners were insistent upon investing in such opulence.  Of course, I believe that investing in such beautiful art and architecture is necessary, as we all need something to strive for, and now we can bring that original vision back to the building.

There are three main plater designs used at Westinghouse, The Egg and Anchor, The Acanthus Leaf, and Custom Appliqué in the centre of the Egg and Anchor mouldings.

Egg and Anchor Moudling

Egg and Anchor Moudling

Egg and Anchor Moulding Cast

The Acanthus Leaf Moulding

Acanthus Leaf Moulding

Custom Appliqué in the centre of the Egg and Anchor Mouldings

Custom Appliqué

Custom Appliqué Cast

7  Facts you didn’t know about Plaster:

  • Plaster is created from ground alabaster stone, which is then treated, heated and becomes the fine gypsum plaster.

  • France is the largest producer of plaster.

  • Paris, Ontario, where Dall lives, was named as such because alabaster mines were discovered there. It was the main industry in Paris, Ontario until the 1950’s  when the supply was depleted.

  • Plaster of Paris is also used for making casts to set broken bones.

  • Plaster is still used for chalk.

  • Plaster doesn’t mold, like drywall and other building materials

  • Plaster is fire retardant and was very popular 100 years ago, not only for the beautiful finish, but also as fire protection.

What has your experience been working on the Westinghouse HQ redevelopment?

Like most of my projects this one is certainly a labor of love, but on a grand scale. I feel blessed to be part of such a beautiful building and just hope my work can “Wow” like the original work did. I am constantly learning the right way to do things is the only way to do things, when I study the original methods in order to replicate a moulding it’s like an affirmation of the traditional methods.

When the project is finished, my team can stand back with the owners, the architects, designers, the small army of trades people and look at the work we’ve accomplished - that shared feeling of pride is the real reward.

For updates on the project, please sign up for our email list at the bottom of our home page, here and for leasing inquiries, please email us at

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We had the chance to grab a coffee with former Westinghouse employee George Winchester to hear his fond memories of working in the building and the friendships he made.

Transportation, the Best Boss and the Westinghouse Retirees

George Winchester

George Winchester worked in the Transportation/Shipping department at Westinghouse from November 1964 to April 1983, at which point he went to work in the Turbine department on Mill Street. George spent 35 years, nearly his whole working career, at Westinghouse and shared that there was something altogether different about working there.. He said it was a wonderful place to learn and grow. All departments, employees and executives, worked together as a team and shared in the success of the company.

The Transportation Department

The Transportation Department was located on the ground floor of Westinghouse HQ. George was responsible for looking after railway line clearances, rates, loss and damage claims, and freight bill audits. During that period there were 13 people working in his department and 12 employees in the Customs Department.  

The Transportation Department had ceiling to floor drapes, and sofas. When carriers would come in to chat with George they would lounge on the sofas and discuss business. Westinghouse was an international company that had customers visit from China, Libya, South America, USA, and from all across Canada. Hospitality was an essential part of doing business with Westinghouse.

The Westinghouse Experience

George shared some wonderful memories of working in the head office building. He commented on how the gardens were always manicured and the building always had a comforting, homey feeling to it.  Every 2 years all hairline cracks that may have developed got filled and the walls repainted. The elevators used to be manually operated by two women who wore Westinghouse uniforms consisting of high heels, black nylons, a blue skirt, a white blouse, a blue jacket and white gloves. The experience and visual appeal of the company was important for upholding the Westinghouse reputation.

Westinghouse President Douglas C. Marrs

Doulgas C. Marrs, 1974

George spoke very highly of one of the President's during his time, Douglas C. Marrs. He started working at Westinghouse as an Accounting Clerk and became the President from 1974-78. On George's first day of work he saw Doug and greeted him, “Good Morning, Mr. Marrs.” Doug responded saying,  “Morning, but the name’s Doug, thank you.” He wanted to be known by everyone and connect with the employees on a first name basis.

George shared a heartwarming story that displayed the kind of man that Doug was. A woman had called Doug Marrs directly, complaining that her Westinghouse refrigerator broke and all her food had rotted. So Doug asked George to ship, free of charge, a new fridge to Saskatoon and included a check for $500 to replace the food. George shared many more stories that showed the servant leadership of this man, which reverberated throughout the Westinghouse company. Sadly, Doug Marrs passed away February 25, 2017 at the age of 103.

Westinghouse Retirees

George is now part of the committee that arranges the twice annual Westinghouse Retirees Luncheon in May and October. At the last gathering they had 86 people attend. They gather to share Westinghouse stories and nurture their long held friendships. One gentlemen from Winnipeg flies in for the luchones every year. George explained that working at Westinghouse really felt like a family and the dozens of retirees that gather each year is a testament to the special bond they share.

We continue to gather stories from people who worked at the Former Westinghouse Company to share the history and community connections that contribute to the richness of Westinghouse HQ today.

If you have a story to share, please email

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