Fire stations of the world: Hamilton Fire Station 1 aka The Big House, in Hamilton, Ontario in Canada
Canada’s Hamilton Fire Station 1 in Hamilton, Ontario is a full time station. Built in 1913, the fire station is situated at 35 - 43 John Street North in Hamilton. From the incorporation of the Town of Hamilton in 1833, the headquarters for Hamilton's fire services, Central Fire Station 1, stood on King William between Hughson and John streets. In 1913 a new headquarters building was erected around the corner on John South, complete with a modern fire alarm system. The building was just recently updated and refurbished. Fire Station 1 serves the downtown and core of Hamilton. It has the smallest district in the city being only 11 blocks wide and 26 blocks long. Its primary response district is only 4,14 square kilometres of the 1 200 square kilometres that make up the City Of Hamilton. Despite its small district it managed to respond to approximately 4 000 calls a year. Station 1’s district may be the most diverse of all of the districts in the city. From the bay to the bottom of the escarpment, it has variety.
Station 1 has on its water front, tug boats, ocean going and great lakes vessels, a naval base with the “Canada’s Most Famous Fighting Ship” restaurants’”, five yacht clubs, warehouses and the Hamilton Port Authority headquarters. The district has two arena’s including the largest, Copps Coliseum” seating up to 21 000 people, an armoury, the Hamilton Farmers Market, the main branch of the library, the chamber of commerce, an arts district including the Art Gallery of Hamilton”, the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, a convention centre, 24 churches, six schools, both boards of education headquarters and a campus of McMaster University. It has City Hall, the Provincial Government Building and the Federal Building. It has Hamilton Police Services headquarters, the central lockup, the area detention centre but only six Tim Horton’s. It has four community centres, three accesses to the mountain and two hospitals including the two busiest emergency rooms in the city.
The district holds the Provincial Court house and the Family Court house, the Hamilton Law Association and many law offices. It is home from everything from the Hamilton Philharmonic to jazz and blues clubs to alternative music to the Hamilton Bulldogs Hockey Team. The district is home to the cities railway station, bus terminal and the CNR rail yards. Most city bus routes start and end in the core. We have CN and CPR rail lines, VIA Rail, Amtrak, GO Transit trains and buses running through its district. We have some of the most desirable and expensive homes in the city along with condos, apartments, day care to senior centres to such places as the Salvation Army hostel, the Wesley Centre to the Good Sheppard Centre.
Station 1’s district has office and apartment building with buildings ranging in height from a single storey bungalow to the tallest building in Hamilton at 47 floors. The district has 14 parks and parking lots with underground lots stretching for blocks and down as far as 12 storeys. The district has the cities’ two largest hotels and both the YMCA and the YWCA. The district has historical buildings such as Whiteher, the Ontario Workers Arts and Heritage Centre and the oldest public school in the province, the first telephone exchange in the Commonwealth and most likely the greatest number of restaurants, bars and clubs of any district in the city. The district has movie theatres and live theatre at Hamilton Place and the Dofasco Centre for the Performing Arts.
The Hamilton Fire Department operates out of 30 locations across the city with 26 emergency response stations made up of either full-time or volunteer fire fighters.
Rising from the ashes of a major fire in the downtown core of Hamilton on 16 November 1832, the Hamilton Fire Department has evolved from a citizen’s bucket brigade into a fire service of over 790 personnel, including career and volunteer fire fighters protecting our urban and rural communities.
By 1919, the Hamilton Fire Department became the first Department in Canada to adopt a two platoon system. Also that year, the Hamilton Fire Department took possession of their first motorized piece of apparatus. Over the next seven years, additional motorized apparatus were purchased and in 1926, the horse drawn era came to an end on the Department.
Sources: Hamilton Fire Department, Hamilton Fire Station 1 Facebook page