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Just over a hundred years ago, as 7 stories of brick and mortar came together to create the new Westinghouse Headquarters, the cost, availability, and impact of the energy used to power industry and keep the lights on at night was rarely considered in the design of new structures. Although robust and well built, the Westinghouse Building and its systems for heating during the cold winter months, did little to conserve the consumption of readably available and cheap fossil fuels.

Fast forward to present day – as fuel costs continue to rise and climate change poses one of the biggest threats to modern society – breathing new life into the Westinghouse HQ required innovative design solutions and modern technology to meet the ambitious performance target of net-zero carbon. From its inception, the revitalization of Westinghouse HQ was driven by the principles of sustainability and incorporating environmental, economic, and social impacts in its design.

Solar Year

The design team began with the existing structure of the building – one that had been abandoned for almost 30 years, but also promised huge potential with important heritage features. A high performance envelope with an R25 walls and an R50 roof was achieved without any significant alteration to the existing exterior façade of the building. What was not able to be salvaged however were the window systems. In their place, high performance double glazed, operable, argon filled windows with low-E coatings provide elevated occupant comfort and maximized energy conservation.  

Driving the mechanical design for Westinghouse HQ, mcCallumSather’s in house mechanical engineers focused on comfort for the occupants while simultaneously designing a system that would use a fraction of the energy of a conventional system. Collaborating with RDH Building Science, the mechanical team concluded that a water-source heat pump system would be ideal for this application. Similar to a radiator system found in many homes, this system relies on hot water from boilers and cold water from a fluid cooler to travel around the building and provide space conditioning via terminal units which extract the heating or cooling from the water and distribute into spaces. This system is highly efficient and drastically reduces natural gas consumption and subsequent Green-house gas emissions in the heating season.

We capitalized on the long and narrow form of the building to utilize natural daylighting distribution throughout the building. For all other lighting requirements, high efficiency LED lighting was employed for both overhead and task lighting.

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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Edward (Ted) Smith worked in the Westinghouse Annex building (HO Annex) from 1973 to 1983 in the Payroll Accounting department, but started as a mail boy at Westinghouse HQ in 1972. Ted shares his stories of working in the mailroom at the age of 21.

“I began at Westinghouse July 31, 1972 as a mail boy. The mailroom was in the basement of the Westinghouse HO building. It had a conveyor belt chute from the back parking lot into the mailroom. Every weekday and Saturday morning the Post Office would deliver about 7 large mail bags and packages.

The mailroom supervisor, Jack Milburn, would hit the conveyor button to bring down the packages.  If there was large one he would stack it on the floor, but if it was small enough to hold in one hand, he would see where the package needed to be delivered and would fling it through the air into the appropriate bin. If you were a newbie, you might find yourself whacked in the head with one of those flying packages - I learned to duck very early on in my mailroom career. There were two mail boys who delivered mail out to the factory and two girls who did the head office building - dividing the floors in two.

At the other end of the mail room in the basement was the Addressograph department - an old technology for printing addresses on envelopes. I worked there for a couple of months before moving out of the mailroom. Many people will remember Alice Coleman who ran that area - always respectfully called Mrs. Coleman.”

Left to right standing:  Clark Stewart; Lorraine Bigrigg; Anonymous; Betty Oberski; Lloyd Howarth; Doug Simpson. Kneeling:  Norma Wright and me Ted Smith. Photo by Boschler
Ted finished his career as a Senior Clerk in Payroll Accounting. This picture is from 1983 - packing up the payroll office to move to the downtown location. Left to right standing: Clark Stewart; Lorraine Bigrigg; Anonymous; Betty Oberski; Lloyd Howarth; Doug Simpson. Kneeling: Norma Wright and Ted Smith. Photo by Boschler.

After his career at Westinghouse, Ted went on to get PhD in History and now teaches at the University of Guelph and Guelph/Humber.

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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Updated: Nov 16, 2018

The history of the Westinghouse HQ building touched the lives of many people in Hamilton. We had the opportunity to interview four women who all worked at the 286 Sanford Ave building together between the 1970-1980’s.

Pictured from left to right: Frances Cimino, Melanie Warr, and Vicki Mazzetti. Roberta Harman, not pictured here, was also interviewed.

These ladies grew their friendship by sharing lunch together on the 7th floor, which was unofficially the “Ladies lunch room”. 40 years later, these women are still friends and gather together to share their lives and memories of the former Canadian Westinghouse head office.

The Canadian Westinghouse Company was a very large operation, with many different divisions. The graphic below shows the departments of Westinghouse that existed from the 1970’s till the close of the building in 1987.

The east side of the basement was used as the mailroom and the west side was used for many different things over the years, including I.T.

The bridge that connected the head office and manufacturing buildings

The bridge, located on the third floor, was a contained walkway that connected the Head Office, HO as they called it, and the “HO Annex” where Payroll was and access to the manufacturing buildings. There were secret passages behind the manufacturing plant to the graphics department and stationary. The HR department was in a separate building called The Works Office, which was on Milton St.

The building never had central air conditioning. Every summer they had portable units installed and then removed when the weather cooled down. With windows lining every wall of the building, the temperature could quickly rise, so air conditioning was essential.

Melanie Warr. Notice the air conditioner unit in the window behind.

The architectural grandeur of the building and the attention to detail in the interior finishes make this building memorable for many. This Canadian Westinghouse head office represented all of Canada and as such attracted a lot of foreign customers, so it had to be stunning.

The executive offices on the second floor were beautifully designed, with stunning wood details and plasterwork.

Circa 1917

Executive offices had their own washroom's attached with embroidered hand towels.

We were surprised to learn that one of the most stunning areas of the building, the auditorium, was closed off during for at least the last 18 years of the building. The women commented that they never used the space and some had never even seen inside it.

Westinghouse HQ Culture

The culture and work environment at Westinghouse HQ was innovative and ahead of its time in terms of their work procedures and operations, which, in hindsight, became more apparent when they were bought by Siemens and moved to downtown Hamilton. Westinghouse HQ also offered great opportunities for women to advance in their careers. The Women shared the trajectory of their own career paths, which took them from support roles into management. Things started to change for women at Westinghouse when Edward "Ted" B. Priestner became President in 1985 . He started the Women in Business initiative, created to train and encourage women to advance in their careers

Melanie Warr

Roberta Harman

Roberta Harman, pictured on the left, started working as an elevator operator in 1972 and became a Project Manager by the end of her time at Westinghouse in 2012.

Roberta Harman’s mom also worked in the factory during the First World War assembling airplane parts, she is turning 90 this year.

Westinghouse HQ Neighbourhood and Community

The employees of Westinghouse were deeply integrated into the Barton Village community. The women shared memories of local hot spots such as Trocadero’s restaurant (which is still there today), the Waverly Pub, and a Chinese restaurant nearby where employees often ate their lunch.

Westinghouse also gave back to the community. The Westinghouse Charitable Contributions Committee collected funds to support community initiatives and partnered with the United Way. There was a company baseball team for many years and Westinghouse would host Family Day once a year for all the employees and their families to enjoy.

It is this impressive legacy that we are so eager and excited to continue as we make plans to create our own Westinghouse HQ culture, community initiatives and business opportunities for those who call Westinghouse HQ home.

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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