Doors Open Ontario

Workers Arts and Heritage Centre (Custom House) Doors Open Hamilton

Workers Arts and Heritage Centre (Custom House)

The Workers Arts and Heritage Centre, located in the Hamilton Custom House, is one of the oldest remaining federal public buildings in Canada. The Customs House is an exceptional example of mid-Victorian Italianate and Renaissance revival architectural style, reflecting the significance of Hamilton as a major railway and Great Lakes port. It ceased functioning as a Customs House by 1915 and, until the end of the century, was reused as a school, residential apartments, a YWCA branch, a shelter, a textile factory, a macaroni factory and a martial arts academy. In 1995, it was purchased by the Workers Arts and Heritage Centre as an interpretive venue for workers’ culture and history. It was designated a national historic site in 1990. Today, the centre is more than a museum. Its goal is to create an activist cultural and educational experience that showcases the contributions of working people - not only in Canada but worldwide – through its programs, exhibits and events. As part of Digital Doors Open, take an interactive “walking tour” and learn about Hamilton’s 19th-century industrial revolution by visiting some of the city’s first factories and workshops.

Tell us your story about this site

  • Digital Doors Open
  • Collections and resources
  • Kid-friendly
  • National Historic Site (Canada)

Contact info

51 Stuart Street
Hamilton, Ontario
Telephone: 905-522-3003


Year built: 1858-60; 1995-96 (restoration)
Architect: F.J. Rastrick and F.P. Rubridge
Architectural style: Renaissance revival
Building type: Historical landmark, Museum

Dates/hours open

Friday January 1 – Friday December 31, 2021
Part of Digital Doors Open Hamilton

Workers Arts and Heritage Centre (Custom House) 51 Stuart Street