Forgotten Places: Dominion Heating and Ventilating Co.
When we posted the photo of the early two buildings on Sheffield Street, many would believe that it was from the early days of the Hespeler Wood Specialty Co. – a business that would go on to be synonymous with the famous Hespeler hockey stick. It’s been often written and talked about that the company dated back to 1907. One would make assumption that a photo in the 1908/09 timeframe would be from the early days of the organization. But…that’s just not the case.
A closer look at a fire insurance map from 1910 (with edits until 1917) shows that the buildings in the photo were of a previously unknown business, “Dominion Heating and Ventilating Co. Ltd.”
With the way the edits were made to the insurance map and with some Photoshop enhancing, we are able to see the original map through the layers. It shows that in 1910, the business had been closed and the buildings were silent / not operating.
Just down the road to the west on Sheffield, sat another company, the “Parkin Elevator Co.”
Below is an advertisement taken out in a national woodworking publication. It would likely be one of Parkin’s last. They would file for bankruptcy and close operations in 1910.
Later in 1910, Zachariah Hall and Oscar Zyrd would acquire the Parkin Elevator buildings for their new factory – the Hall-Zyrd Foundry.
Some time after 1910, they would acquire the two vacant Dominion Heating buildings turning them into a pattern building and a machine shop for wood and glass.
“That Hespeler hockey stick factory can trace its roots back to 1907.”
That well-known statement above is somewhat misleading…because those roots weren’t happening on Sheffield Street. 1907 was likely a connection to Preston with Salyerds Manufacturing Co…a company that also made hockey sticks.
Hall and Zyrd did expand their operations over the years from the original footprint of Parkin Elevator. A reasonable assumption would be that Hespeler Wood Specialty purchased or leased those two buildings from the Hall-Zyrd Foundry in 1922 when they officially began operations.
In 1930, the Hespeler Wood Specialty Company was acquired by Waterloo Wood Products (the Seagram Group). Over the next 3 years, they would go on to acquire Hilborn Co. (Ayr, 1931), St. Mary’s Wood Specialty Co. (1933), Salyerds Manufacturing Co. (1934). The name would be changed in 1935 to Hespeler St. Marys Wood Specialties Co. All assets were transferred to Sheffield Street.
Likely it was some time after 1930, as equipment and staff starting to move into Hespeler, that the familiar red brick building was erected out front on Sheffield.
To answer our original question then — What were those two buildings on Sheffield? We have now have our answer… Hespeler’s almost-forgotten Dominion Heating and Ventilating Company.
Google Earth shows us, though, that they are still with us. Quite possibly the oldest buildings on the street – in good hands and protected this whole time by our famous hockey stick factory.
— Marty Lachance