Between 1848 and 1849 John Wagstaff constructed the two storey brick building at 11-15 Main Street. The semi-detached Georgian vernacular building was an important element in the Main Street streetscape.
Characteristics of the Ontario version of the late Georgian style is the flat, rigidly contained façade with its straightforward regularity and the double square proportions of the windows.
This façade, in the simplicity of its treatment, effectively offsets the sculptural quality of the adjacent block which is built in the ornate Second Empire Style.
From 1855 to 1858, John Wagstaff operated his hardware business in his new building, which also housed the tinsmith shop of his brother Walter.
The Ontario Bank located its offices in a portion of the building in 1868.
In 1869, Wagstaff sold the south half of the building to B.B. Osler and T.H. Begue who were law partners at the time. Begue was the son of A.F. Begue, Mayor of Dundas in 1858; Osler was an influential lawyer and town councillor, who became a crown attorney of Wentworth County in 1874.
In 1880, Mrs. Elizabeth Wagstaff sold the north half of the building to John McKenzie, a merchant, who in turn sold it to a non-resident, J. Rousseaux, in 1886.
In 1887, the Imperial Bank of Commerce purchased the north half thereby acquiring the whole building. They remained in the location until 1905.
In 1906, J.J. Grafton, textile manufacturer and merchant, bought the building and renovated and equipped it to serve as Dundas’ Y.M.C.A. under the management of a group of trustees. However, in 1913, dissatisfied with the Y.M.C.A. management of the premises, he resumed control of the building and converted it to apartment dwellings which he rented to tenants. It still continues to serve this purpose today.
Grafton Company representatives sold the building in 1947 to George Austin who in turn sold it to Roger and Jean Wilson in 1968.
Until its conversion to solely residential usage in 1913, 11-15 Main Street served as a commercial and community centre for many years.
11-15 Main Street, Dundas – An Architectural and Historical Appraisal
By Donna Yates