Building Stories Podcast: Lister Block

Friday, January 3, 2014

Lister BlockWATERLOO, January 3, 2014 – On Monday, January 6, 2014 the eleventh episode of the Building Stories Podcast series will be released. The episode will feature the Lister Block in Hamilton, Ontario.

The original Lister Block was built in 1886 and named after its owner, Joseph Lister. This building burnt down in 1923, but was quickly rebuilt later that same year. After thriving as a business and retail space for years, tenants eventually began to vacate. The building was closed in 1991, yet still received a provincial designation in 1996. In the following years, there were three attempts to revive the building, but it was not until 2005 when a demolition permit was submitted that it caught the locals’ attention. This podcast tells the success story of the renovation and rejuvenation of the Lister Block.

The story of the Lister Block is told by several interviews. Brian Henley, a local historian, tells the history of the Lister Block and his involvement with the restoration of the building. Robert Hamilton, ACO Hamilton president at the time the battle for the building was being fought, speaks about the architecture of the Lister Block and Brian McHattie, a Hamilton city councilor and heritage committee member, explains how the committee realized the importance of the building and went to the province for support.

The podcast will be available to listen to on the Building Stories website at under the ‘Publicity’ tab. It will also be attached to the Building Stories entry for the Lister Block, a featured location on the website’s home page. The first ten episodes of the podcast series focused on the London Life Insurance Building in London, Victoria Hall in Cobourg, Keefer Mansion in Thorold, the Stratford Historical Plaque Program, Victoria Jubilee Hall in Walkerton, Camp 30 in Bowmanville, the Guelph Civic Museum, the Maclean House in Toronto, the Mary Webb Centre in Chatham-Kent, and Union Cemetery in Port Hope. They are also available to listen to on Building Stories.

The Lister Block is just one of the interesting properties included in a book that the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario has released to celebrate their 80th year. Titled “80 for 80: Celebrating Eighty Years of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario”, the book tells the stories of 80 buildings that the ACO has saved or helped saved. It is now available for order on the ACO’s website at

Building Stories is a website and mobile application that enables Canadians to take a direct role in identifying important community heritage assets. Building Stories is an incredible new on-line resource making thousands of original documents, photos and historical records available online from a wide variety of communities. The website engages the public in a way that has never been done before to help explain the importance of heritage in communities across Canada.

Dr. Robert Shipley, Director of the Heritage Resources Centre, states: “Through being able to use the inventory tool in a web-based and interactive way, it will allow communities and individual citizens to take a direct and active role in identifying the significant and valued structures that make up such a vital part of the country’s heritage assets. There has never been anything like this and the result will be to magnify and expand both interest in, and understanding of our built environment.”

Currently, the website includes entries from every province and territory in Canada. However, Building Stories will continue to grow into new communities, as new collections and archives are added to the fully searchable database, and as individuals comment on existing listings and contribute their own sites with stories, memories, digital artifacts, and photographs.

Building Stories has been developed by the Heritage Resources Centre (HRC) and the Computer Systems Group, both at the University of Waterloo, and the Centre for Community Mapping (COMAP).

The development and creation of The Building Stories Podcast series have been made possible by the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario and the Government of Ontario. The podcasts have been written, produced and hosted by Amy Barnes, a Heritage Consultant from Cambridge, Ontario.


For more information please contact:

Melissa Davies
Building Stories Project Manager
Heritage Resources Centre, University of Waterloo

519.888.4567 ext. 36921

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