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THEN AND NOW: Sealey Park holds a wealth of Waterdown history

The small public space at the foot of Main Street was the original home of Waterdown Public and Continuation School

Hidden away on Main Street South is a small public space called Sealey Park. Once the location of the first Public and Continuation School in Waterdown, it now houses a playground, tennis courts and a small stone building commonly known as the Scout Hall.

Waterdown Public & Continuation School, c. 1903. Note the ladder "fire escape". Flamborough Archives photo

In 1849, a stone Public School was constructed on two acres of land facing School Street. After three more additions in 1857, 1871 and 1879, there were three High School Teachers and four Public School teachers, the high school being on the top floor. The building became exceedingly crowded and eventually fell into disrepair. Mary Hopkins school was built in 1921, the new high school on Dundas Street was built in 1927, and the old school became vacant.

The Drill Shed (Main Street South, looking north), c. 1895. Flamborough Archives photo

Beside the school, a wooden Drill Shed had been erected in 1867. By 1911 it was no longer used by the military and was given to the school to use as a play room. However, it had a dirt floor and most of the windows were broken. Frank Slater paid $100 for the privilege of removing the structure and in 1929 the land was acquired by the village with the intention of adding it to the old school property being donated as a park by W.O. Sealey.

The building at Sealey Park, c. 1947. Flamborough Archives photo
Gun at Sealey Park, c. 2013. Flamborough Archives photo

The Waterdown Review of July 9, 1931 described the dedication of the park:
"On July 1 st Waterdown celebrated... the dedication and official opening of Sealey Park,
Waterdown’s first park, and a gift to the village by one of its old boys, Mr. W.O. Sealey, in memory of his father, the first Reeve of Waterdown. The Park comprises all of the old school grounds of three acres on Main Street and is admirably suited for the purpose. The old stone school house has been removed with the exception of the fourth room which has been
converted into a club house. A fountain and many flower urns, have been artistically placed on
the grounds, and a gateway of two stone pillars taken from the old building with an arch and the
name 'Sealey Park’ connecting has been erected at the entrance."

Sketch of proposed addition to the Scout Hall in Sealey Park, 1958. . Flamborough Archives photo

The gun to the north of the building was part of a collection of war trophies and had been requested by Reeve Richard Smith. It arrived in August of 1920 but since Memorial Hall had yet to be built, it was drawn down to the Waterdown Public School yard on Main Street south and placed beside the school flag pole.

Over the years, the small stone structure has had renovations and additions. In 1958 the Boy Scouts raised funds to add an addition which included washrooms and a small kitchen. Eventually the Optimist Club of Waterdown leased the building and took over maintenance.

The building has been used by a number of different groups through the years and continues to be a City of Hamilton rental property. ‘If those walls could talk…’

Lyn Lunsted is the Archivist at Flamborough Archives, which operates in the Waterdown Library at 163 Dundas St. East. For lots more local history, visit

The Scout Hall in Sealey Park as it appears today (May 2024). Flamborough Archives photo


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