Hamilton's first waterworks, a magnificent structure built by Thomas Coltin Keefer between 1856 and 1859, now houses the Museum of Steam & Technology.
Let me start by saying this is a sweet visit! $3.50 gets you in for a tour of the former boiler room and pumphouse. You start in the basement and make your way up to an upper level. Only the top level is off limits due to liability with the low railings (dammit). I had seen some pictures online and knew I had to go. Talk about a steampunk wet dream. The Victorians may have had a shoddy record as far as work safety, but damn they did public works architecture proper.
This structure houses two preserved 45 foot high, 70-ton steam engines, one of which is demonstrated each visit. The inside is just beautiful, with curved wooden railings, tall colorful pillars and polished metal everywhere.
The works was responsible for bringing clean water to Hamilton for the first time. It is the only surviving facility of it's time in North America and is noted as Canada's most significant group of pre-Confederation pumphouse buildings.
Just as fascinating is the history provided by the tour guide in an adjacent building. The technology used at the time was cutting edge and this must have been a work of mammoth proportions and planning, yet the concepts used were so simple and ingenious.
I highly recommend this to anyone interested in history, who appreciates old architecture, or just wants some vintage technological eye candy. Your camera will thank you.