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Bailey Broom Company

Bailey Broom Company
Update, November 2017

The following was presented by city staff at the Nov 15 meeting of the City’s Heritage Committee

Executive Summary

“The subject property at 305-323 Rideau Street, known as the Bailey Broom Factory, contains an L-shaped, former industrial building, built in 1894 with additions added circa 1909. The owners have requested a pre-consultation meeting with Heritage Kingston prior to advancing an application for a full Heritage Permit. Under Clause 16 of the Procedural By-Law for Heritage, By-Law Number 2013-141, the Director of Planning, Building & Licensing may preconsult with the Committee where deemed necessary due to the complexity of the alteration proposed. The owner would like to restore and reuse the brick office and wing portions of the building fronting Cataraqui Street. The concrete wing, adjacent to Rideau Street, is proposed to be largely removed. A portion of the concrete walls of the Rideau Street wing are to be retained and incorporated into two new steel structures/shelters. Extensive landscaping is also proposed throughout the property. A future phase of the proposal includes the construction of a nine (9) unit residential townhouse block adjacent to the heritage building to the north, fronting onto Rideau Street.

Detailed design plans related to this phase of the project have not yet been finalized. Feedback from the Committee will be provided to the applicant so as to guide the subsequent submission of a full Heritage Permit application. Recommendation: This report is for consultation purposes.”

See the full 25 page report

September 2016

Bailey broom sale
Jon Jeremonis, representative and architect from RAW Designs, outside the Old Bailey Broom Factory. The building will be retrofitted to include the firm’s branch office, cafe and a community hub
(Photo from the Kingston Whig Standard)

City Approves the Sale of Old Bailey Broom Factory. (Kingston Whig Standard, Sept 21, 2016) Renovations are expected to be completed by 2021.

City Finds Buyer for Old Broom Factory (Kingston Whig Standard, Sept 19, 2016)

Read Kingston Whig Standard Story, photo from the Whig.

March 2016
RAW Designs from Toronto is in negotiations with the city to buy the building. If the purchase goes through, they look forward to having the community involved in the restoration project. View their preliminary sketches.

February 2016
RAW Architecture of Toronto has evidently put an offer on the Bailey Broom Factory. There were no other offers despite numerous inquiries. Evidently RAW offered $1, an offer Mayor Mark Gerretsen said last June he would take, though the City has since listed the property for more. The costs of soil remediation are substantial, and ditto renovation, so RAW, which hopes to make its Eastern Ontario headquarters here, hopes that its investment in the property is worth more to the city than the direct income from the sale. Look up their website for photos and see what you think — this is NOT condos, but rather in a way a modest renovation.

For more info and interesting pics, check out the Friends of Bailey Broom Factory Facebook page.

This from their blog.
“Exactly one year ago today, on June 30 2014, Kingston City Council voted to save the Bailey Broom Factory building, after a brief and intense community campaign. The city had acquired the land for other purposes, and initially planned to tear down the quaint little brick building at the corner of
Cataraqui and Rideau Streets. Few people knew its history at the time. But Michael and John Sinclair who own a business across the street got wind of the demolition, and from their alertness and concern grew a huge outcry, with hundreds of letters generated in a very brief span of time. The building was saved: it’s for sale now, and we can all keep our fingers crossed it is bought and brought back to life in a good way. But also, this near-loss showed that the city has been quite cavalier in identifying buildings that may be of heritage interest. It undertook last summer to integrate and update its inventory, as a beginning to a fuller process of listing and designating buildings of significance, even or especially if they are twentieth-century, industrial, or not widely noticed. And the Bailey Broom Factory rediscovery showed the value of engaging with people’s personal and family archives: only because Ida Hudson, a niece of Sam Bailey, provided them, do we have photos of this Kingston entrepreneur and community leader. (It is appropriate that he was known as an avid curler as well.)

May 2015
CITY IN CONSULTATION WITH RAW DESIGN INC from Toronto re possible building on the old Bailey Broom Company site.  The buildings on their webpage look exciting.

Update regarding RFI/RFP process for 305-323 Rideau Street 

This item was on the Agenda for the City Council meeting on Tuesday March 3, 2015. ::      On August 12, 2014 Council directed staff to undertake a Request for Information (RFI) process to publicly solicit proposals from third parties to acquire, restore and repurpose the 305-323 Rideau Street property. The purpose of the RFI is to short list responses for a Request for Proposals (RFP). Upon conclusion of these processes staff are to report back to Council with a recommendation. The RFI process is complete and only one proposal was received. Staff is proceeding with the RFP process with the sole proponent, RAW Design Inc. Toronto.


About 40 companies have downloaded the documents for the sale of the Bailey Broom Factory! They are listed HERE.

January 2015
There is a very short (2 item) Heritage Committee meeting this Monday, Jan 12 at 1 pm in Council Chambers at City Hall where the Bailey Broom Company will be officially designated.

City of Kingston, Report to Council, Report Number 15-015, from Cynthia Beach

Subject: Kingston’s Brownfield Strategy 2005-2014 and Opportunities for Municipal Acquisition and Remediation of Brownfield Properties.

Presented at Council Meeting, December 16, 2014

“305-323 Rideau Street
The City recently acquired the property at 305-323 Rideau Street as part of a land acquisition to facilitate the future construction of the Wellington Street Extension.

The property includes the former Bailey Broom Factory building.

The property does not contain soil and groundwater contamination that would require remediation in order to allow more sensitive residential or institutional land uses and the property is within the City’s Brownfield CIP area of eligibility.

The property has never been in tax sale or failed tax sale status and there have been informal expressions of interest to restore and redevelop the property. A heritage easement is being completed on the site for consideration by Council.

The status of the property is such that, in the opinion of staff, there is sufficient probability that a private developer can be attracted to undertake remediation and re-use of the property and therefore municipal intervention is not warranted at this time.”

Please spread the word to anyone you know who might be interested in this property. Paul MacLatchy would be the person to contact at the City with any questions.

Motion to City Council, June 30, 2014 carried as amended:

“That the City purchase the portion of 5 Cataraqui Street that is required for the Wellington Street Extension, and all of the property known as 305-323 Rideau Street, and that an amount not to exceed $735,000 be approved for the purchase price, the City’s closing costs, land surveying and due diligence as required with $405,000 of the funding sourced from the Development Charges Fund and $330.000 of the funding sourced from the Municipal Capital Reserve Fund; and

That the Mayor and Clerk be authorized to sign the Agreement of Purchase and Sale and all other documents required to complete the purchase in a form satisfactory to the Director of Legal Services; and

That staff be directed to negotiate an amendment to the purchase and sale agreement for the purpose of retaining the building municipally know as 305 Rideau Street; and

That staff be directed to conduct or have conducted a heritage assessment of the building at 305 Rideau Street after the agreement of purchase and sale has been completed; and

That the 305 Rideau Street property be severed with the intent for sale by the end of 2016.


Here is an overview of the council decision in context if you missed it. We understood from the meeting that there is a stated intent to sell by the end of 2016, but that as the council motion requires a historical assessment as well, and council will ultimately have to vote to designate, the threat of demolition is not as large as Schliesmann thinks. The minutes of the meeting haven’t yet been released with the exact wording of the motion.





This beautiful building in the Inner Harbour area is about to be demolished!

Please help us slow this process down.

Council will be meeting Monday June 30 at 6 p.m. to vote on the future of this building.

Action Required

  • Write to City Council and Staff IMMEDIATELY (if possible, write your own letter – full contacts other side)
  • Join the Facebook group Save Kingston’s Waterfront to stay tuned; use facebook and twitter to send short messages to City Council, friends, neighbours — or phone them!
  • Come to the Council Meeting on June 30 at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers of City Hall.
  • Come to Living Rooms, 12 Cataraqui Street, at 7 p.m. Thursday June 26 for a strategizing/organizing meeting.


This building was commissioned by William Bailey around 1905 and designed by one of Kingston’s most admired architectural firms, Newlands and Son. For about twenty years Bailey Brooms and its forty-odd employees occupied the site. It is now owned by Rosen Energy and has been unoccupied for some time. The city has bought it, and a condition of sale was that it be demolished by August 15 or earlier when the deal closes. The property is not designated, and nobody at City Hall seems to have realized its significance. It is a striking and rare example of Kingston’s industrial history, in a revitalizing neighbourhood. It would not be in the way of the Wellington Street Extension should that go through. Kingston is a place “Where History and Innovation Thrive!” we are told — let’s not let this one go!!!

People to Contact

Mayor Mark Gerretsen 613 546 4291 x1400
Jeff Scott 613 547 6906
Kevin George 613 389 2003
Lisa Osanic 613 389 7336
Dorothy Hector 613 634 1732
Liz Schell 613 544 3928
Bryan Paterson 613 549 1649
Rick Downes 613 766 6920
Sandy Berg 613 546 4291 x1505
Jim Neill 613 544 2465
Bill Glover 613 549 1900
Rob Hutchison 613 544 3515
Brian Reitzel 613 888 4327

also include:

Lanie Hurdle, Commissioner       

Cynthia Beach, Commissioner   

Gerard Hunt, CEO                    


Detailed history of the building

William Bailey moved his broom factory from Queen Street to this location in 1903 and commissioned Newlands and Son, one of Kingston’s premier architects, to design the office on the front of the building. Architecturally, the office features two bays on each facade, and has segmentally arched windows and doorway transom typical of the Newlands’ work. Patterned brickwork above the doorway and a pedimented gable and roof cornice with decorative dentils give emphasis to the main entrance although this facade rises above the actual height of the main factory building. The one-storey factory buildings along Rideau and Cataraqui Streets, which probably predate the broom factory, are brick and concrete with generous horizontal windows.

A 1909 report states that the Baileys moved their factory from Queen to Rideau Street as “one of the first companies to adopt the modern one-storey factory building. Their establishment presents a perfect hive of industry. The buildings are constructed of brick and concrete and cover an area of three hundred and fifty feet by two hundred, with a railroad siding directly behind the shipping room. Equipped with all the latest broom-making machinery, their staff of forty are turning out a daily average of one hundred and forty dozen brooms.” To the mathematically challenged, that is 1680 brooms a day, or 10,080 in a six-day week. The article goes on to note that Mr. Bailey served on the Board of Health and was (appropriately for a broom-maker!) “active in curling circles.”

Since then 305 Rideau has housed the British American Oil Company, and Quintal and England roofers, perhaps among others. Today, the building at the corner of Cataraqui and Rideau Streets serves as a distinctive entryway to a street featuring the increasingly dynamic National Grocers’ Building (a hub for studios and small business) and the elegant Woolen Mill (housing offices, the Boiler Room Climbing Gym, the Whig Standard, a spa, and so on). The Bailey Broom building stands one block from the river, and right beside the route of the old Hanley Spur. This railway line was a kind of artery straight to the heart of Kingston with many vital businesses and manufactories all along it: it ended at the rail station — another Newlands building — right in front of City Hall.

On June 17, neighbours caught wind of the impending demolition of this building. While the City Council minutes of April 15, 2014 record the approval of the purchase of this property from Rosen Fuels, they do not note the condition that was put on the sale to demolish this building. It seems that councillors, informed simply that the building was not historically designated, were not invited to understand its heritage value. The deal closes by August 15 or earlier if the seller fulfills all the conditions of the sale, including demolition. A demolition permit is pending, and Rosen Fuels has contracted with a demolition company which is preparing to begin its work.

It seems the only way to save this building is to persuade Council to reconsider its decision to impose a demolition condition on the purchase of the land. They are meeting on June 30 at 6 p.m. to vote on a motion to this effect. We are not sure but we think that a two-thirds majority might be required to overturn the terms of a previous council decision. So a large number of councillors will need to be reassured that

a) saving this building does not mean blocking the Wellington Street Extension: these are two separate issues;

b) this building could be tax-generating opportunity for Kingston. With partnership with a developer or tradespeople or educational programs, it could be redeveloped without great expense and with great benefit, or else this portion of the property could be re-sold by the city (a big concern for a lot of councillors is not wanting to be stuck with this building that does indeed need major renos – we need ideas for why/how it wouldn’t be a white elephant for them);

c) the building’s demolition would not solve traffic safety issues at the Cataraqui Street/Rideau Street corridor (the city lawyer said this was one reason for purchase);

d) this is a heritage building of great value to the future development of the North End, and to demolish it would be embarrassing for a city whose motto is “Where History and Innovation Thrive.”

by Laura Murray,, revised June 25, with information and phrasing from numerous others.