The newly formed Hamilton Gas Light Company builds a gasworks bounded by Park Street, Bay Street, Cannon Street, and Mulberry Street. They convert coal into gas to power the streetlights as well as homes nearby.
According to a 1923 article in the Hamilton Spectator, the first annual report for the Hamilton Gas Light Company is published in 1857. That year, they had 640 private consumers and lit 220 public street lamps. Their annual net profit…$20,794.
The Hamilton Gas Light Company moves to a larger location in the east end of Hamilton. Over the years, portions of land are sold to other businesses. The Gasworks building at 141 Park St. N. remains and is used mainly as offices and a small event space.
John and Ellie Voortman start Oakrun Farm Bakery on their farm in Ancaster, Ontario. Even in business, they are community minded, often hiring Vietnamese refugees who needed employment.
Over the decades, Oakrun Farm Bakery grows into large factory with over 400 employees that provides baked products for Tim Horton’s, McDonald’s, and other large restaurant companies. John and Ellie Voortman sell the business in 2007.
After the sale of the bakery, John and Ellie Voortman are not ready to retire quite yet. They continue to bake 300-400 loaves of fresh bread for local food banks. In 2013, they are named Ancaster’s Citizens of The Year.
The John and Ellie Voortman Charitable Foundation purchase the Gasworks to provide a cultural hub for a variety of charities in Hamilton.
A significant renovation and expansion project begins at the Gasworks. The goal is to double the size of the building and make it accessible while keeping its historical character.
Almost two centuries ago The Gasworks began lighting Hamilton. The John and Ellie Voortman Charitable Foundation hope to continue lighting the city for many years to come through the arts, education and community.