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History of Gore Park

Image of Gore Park Fountain
The newly opened Gore Park showing the original fountain, 1860's. HPL Collection

Gore Park , or the Gore on King Street as it was called during the early years of its existence, has been a bone of contention ever since its creation. Concession 2 lot 14, Barton Township was part of the original Crown Grant to John Askin on July 10, 1801. He sold to Nathaniel Hughson senior who sold to James Durand around 1806.

On January 25, 1816, Durand and his wife sold off their land to George Hamilton and left town.


Hamilton became a ceaseless promoter of his new town. He actively encouraged settlement and busied himself laying out streets and planning a town centred on the Courthouse Square. He also owned a strangely shaped piece of land, which, when combined with a similar piece to be given by Nathaniel Hughson, would form a Town Square right in the centre of Hamilton. Hughson reneged on his part of the deal and this triangular gore of land just stayed undeveloped and soon turned into quite an eyesore in the middle of town.

The centre of what was usually a disgusting mud hole was used by the adjacent merchants as a dump. The Gore on King Street, as it was called, was now a major problem.

In 1833 council voted to take possession of it as the site for a market and in an early form of expropriation, planted a stake there to signify their intention. A copy of their resolution was sent to George Hamilton. On receipt of the resolution, George Hamilton launched a lawsuit against the city to prevent this usage of the land. He won and the city halted their expropriation, scrapped their development plans and paid the court costs of £21.5.5.

George Hamilton died intestate in 1836 and his eldest son Robert Jarvis Hamilton returned from Texas to take over.