Locke Street (Hamilton, Ontario)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Locke Street South

Locke Street is a Lower City collector road in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. It starts off at Aberdeen Avenue as a two-way street going through the Locke Street shopping district up to Main Street where it then becomes a one-way street until it crosses King Street and becomes two-way again going north past Victoria Park and ends just past Barton Street West on Tecumseh Street, a road that winds West and leads to the back-end of Dundurn Park.


Locke Street South Hamilton.JPG
Canadian Pacific Railway, view from overpass bridge, Locke Street South
Locke Street South, walking tour
Locke Street South, walking tour
Locke Street South, walking tour
Locke Street South, walking tour
Locke Street South, walking tour
St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church
Melrose United Church

Locke Street, origins of street name go back as early as 1840 when it was spelled L-o-c-k and by 1870 the spelling was standardized to "Locke". North of King Street West was known as Railway Street because it ran to the Great Western Railway yards. Locke Street North is mostly residential and in the 1800s most of the homes there belonged to the railway workers and their families.[1]

Locke Street is a "street of churches" and a "hub for antique shops". Chronological order of the early churches is as follows:

  • 1886: Locke Street Presbyterian Church
  • 1891: Saint John the Evangelist Anglican Church
  • 1893: Saint Joseph's Roman Catholic Church
  • 1897: Immanuel Congregational Church
  • 1897: Herkimer Street Baptist Church[2]

Prior to 1853, just South of Herkimer Street on Locke Street South was the site of the Beasley Racetrack. It was a popular spot featuring both trotting and steeplechase racing.[2] Named after Richard Beasley, (1761–1842), who was a soldier, political figure, farmer and businessman. He owned and ran the racetrack.[3]

The Hamilton A.A.A. Grounds, (Hamilton Amateur Athletic Association Grounds), is a park that was home to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats from 1872-1949. Entrance to the park at Queen Street South is right before Charlton Avenue West. Today it is also the site of the Hamilton Tennis Club.[4] Before it was used for football, the park was the site of a Cricket Club and in 1860 a Raquet Club was established near the present site of the Hamilton Tennis Club. In 1870, Locke South was described as a "sparsely populated mud track". Despite rapid expansion of the city Locke Street South was still an isolated area. On the other hand, Locke Street North continued with its residential growth and the development of Victoria Park and the opening of the Crystal Palace. By 1885, Locke Street South began to see more growth after a brick sewer was constructed as well as the addition of gas lines were laid. In 1889, Wesley Vollick, a cabinet maker, built a small brick cottage which eventually, (in 1924), became the Locke Street Library.[2]

The Crystal Palace opened up at Victoria Park 20 September 1860 by Edward, Prince of Wales (who later became King Edward VII). It was home to the area's largest fall fair (agriculture exhibition) for many years. The local Hamilton Herald newspaper was quoted as saying on 22 September 1890, The Carnival of Venice, The Paris Exposition or the World's Fair in Chicago will be nowhere tomorrow when the great Central Fair is opened at the Crystal Palace Grounds in this city." The structure was demolished in 1891.[3][5]

Transportation history includes the following, in 1890, The Hamilton Street Railway, (HSR), built its western terminus on the northeast corner of Locke & Herkimer Streets. A two-storey tram building and horse barn which could accommodate up to 42 horses and 12 tram cars. As well, the Hamilton-Dundas Electric Railway line, (nicknamed the "Dundas Dummy"), travelled through Aberdeen Avenue and crossed over Locke Street South.[2]

In 2000, Locke Street South celebrated its 150th anniversary.

In March 2018 a riot was held on Locke Street in response to gentrification in Hamilton.


Locke Street has festivals held throughout the year. The first noteworthy one is called Spring Blooms on Locke. It's an annual festival that marks the end of winter and is also a fund raiser for sick children. Then there's the one simply called The Locke Street Festival where each September the street is closed off for a fun-filled day for the family with live entertainment, street vendors and food.[6] There's also the Christmas Open House where they welcome the holidays with late opening, food, drink and carollers each November.[7]

Major intersections[edit]

North to south:



  1. ^ Houghton, Margaret (2002). Hamilton Street Names: An Illustrated Guide. James Lorimer & Co. Ltd. ISBN 1-55028-773-7.
  2. ^ a b c d Manson, Ann & Bill (1999). Up and Down Locke Street South. North Shore Publishing. ISBN 1-896899-08-0.
  3. ^ a b Bailey, Thomas Melville (1981). Dictionary of Hamilton Biography (Vol I, 1791-1875). W.L. Griffin Ltd.
  4. ^ "A.A.A. Grounds: Canadian Football Timelines; Canadian Football web site". Archived from the original on 28 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-24.
  5. ^ Henley, Brian (1993). Hamilton our Lives and Times. The Hamilton Spectator. ISBN 0-9697255-0-7.
  6. ^ "Locke Street Festival: Official site". Retrieved 2008-07-24.
  7. ^ "Locke Street Shopping District". Retrieved 2007-04-05.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°15′52″N 79°52′55″W / 43.2645°N 79.8820°W / 43.2645; -79.8820