Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of a of a private tour of the Hamilton Museum of Steam Technology with curator Mac Swackhammer. It is most definitely one of the best small to mid size museums I have been to lately. The Architecture of the building alone is magnificent, built in the 1850s it’s a testament to the skill of early masons and engineers. The waterworks has been designated as a National Historic Site and a Canadian Civil Engineering Landmark. But you really have to visit it to appreciated the structure. All of the parts of the steam driven beam engines are original. To stand in the piston room dwarfed by the great machinery and look two stories up to the massive iron beam rocking back and forth or watch the crank and flywheel rotate is astounding.
It may seem silly to be astounded by this large piece of metal, but even if you aren’t a great lover of mechanics,consider that this machine and its operators saved hundreds of people from the ravages of cholera, and helped Hamilton become the center of industry that it is today.
The museum is easily accessed from the QEW, at 900 Woodward Ave., and is open from Tuesday to Sunday throughout the year.