HISTORY and HERITAGE
The site of the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts, on the shore of Lake Ontario, is currently known as the J.K. Tett Creativity Complex.
The J.K. Tett Creativity Centre will be maintained as an arts cluster owned by the City of Kingston, while the Stella Buck and former stable buildings will be redeveloped and incorporated into the new Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts, rejuvenating the buildings and preserving their historical and architectural significance.
The site comprises:
- the Stella Buck Building,
- the former stable building, and
- the J.K. Tett Creativity Centre, which is owned by the City of Kingston.
History of the site:
|1832||Robert Drummond and James Morton establish Morton’s brewery, using limestone quarried from the Kingston area.|
|1832||The HMS St. Lawrence, a 112-gun warship of the Royal Navy that served on Lake Ontario during the War of 1812, is docked at Morton’s Brewery and used as a storage facility. When it arrives at the brewery, the ship is already dilapidated and eventually sinks more than 30 feet under water. The location is now a popular dive spot.|
|1834||Robert Drummond dies during a cholera epidemic; James Morton assumes control of the business.|
|1835||A disastrous fire occurs at the brewery.|
|1840||By 1840, Morton is able to buy out the Drummond family’s interest in the business and rebuilds the brewery.|
|1844||A distillery is added to the site.|
|1850||By 1850, Morton doubles the size of the distillery and builds a new malt house.|
|1854||By 1854, a tenement for employees is added and a row of cottages is built.|
|1855||More than 60 families are supported by employment at the brewery.|
|1864||After years of over-extending himself, Morton dies bankrupt.|
|1895||L.H. Clark and Co. Malsters operate at the site; Jon McMilland and Sons operate the distillery until the turn of the century.|
|1900||Maple Leaf Milling Company uses the buildings for grain storage.|
|1918||Canadian Ministry of Works conducts a major survey of the buildings in preparation for converting the buildings to the Sydenham Military Hospital.|
|1918-1923||The Sydenham Military Hospital operates at the site during WWI.|
|1919||Famed pilot Billy Bishop of Bishop-Barker Company Ltd. takes an aerial photograph of the site (see below, right).|
|1927-1968||The site becomes the Military Regional Headquarters.|
|1975||The site becomes the J.K Tett Creativity Complex.|
|2007||The City of Kingston sells the former stable building and Stella Buck building to Queen’s University.|
As a drama student at Queen's, what is readily apparent is the lack of quality performance space in Kingston. The University's arts community has always been strong. From the various concert ensembles, to student-driven dramatic productions, to first-rate films and art work, Queen's students have truly embraced the can do spirit in showcasing their work in facilities that have been largely outgrown. The new Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts will allow Queen's students to thrive artistically in a modern, professional and larger space. Students in general will benefit from the centre as both a place of learning and as a location for campus groups and events.
Michael Ceci. Arts'09, former President of the Alma Mater Society