This stretch of Bay St. was once home to a number of waterfront industries; there were piers, sailmakers, shipyards and warehouses. Most notable were the large yards dedicated to building boats. The boat builders of 19th century Hamilton were highly skilled craftsmen capable of building a variety of vessels from simple canoes to large steamers.
At the bottom of Picton St. hill, stood one of the most well-known, productive and longest-running boat-building company in Hamilton – H.L. Bastien Boat Works. Henry Bastien began his career in 1850 as an apprentice carpenter in Oswego, New York. Four years later, Bastien was building steamer ships on Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Although Bastien was successful, he dreamed of being self-employed, so he moved to Hamilton in 1856 and began working as a building contractor. Ten years later he shifted back to boat building, establishing extensive boathouses along the shoreline. He worked here until 1922 when he died at the age of 91. Bastien Boat Works were demolished in 1937.
Source: Hamilton Industrial Trail