What is Mills Hardware?
Mills Hardware is an event and entertainment space located in downtown Hamilton. The space is on the ground floor of a building featured in Canadian Architect magazine, and awarded both the 2014 HBSA Award of Excellence for Heritage/Adaptive Reuse, and awarded Excellence in Design and Urban Regeneration at the City of Hamilton’s 2015 Urban Design and Architecture Awards. Mills’ staff has been nominated for Canadian Live Music Industry Awards for Best Teamwork in a Small Club (Less Than 300 Capacity) in 2017 and 2019. The venue is available for rental by arts organizations, community groups, companies, political organizations, and anyone else who is looking for an exceptional space to hold an event to accommodate roughly 150 people.
Mills Hardware is a Keychange signatory venue; learn more here. Keychange is a pioneering international initiative which transforms the future of music while encouraging festivals and music organizations to achieve a 50:50 gender balance by 2022. In 2019, Mills Hardware achieved a programming gender ratio of 45% female and non-binary artists to 55% male artists.
Why “Mills Hardware”?
It’s a nod to downtown history. The building was given life some 110 years ago by local architect/merchant Charles Mills, and in the early 1900s, the address was home to a thriving business called — you guessed it – Mills Hardware. You’ll find the historic signage suspended above the venue’s bar.
By the middle of the century, that hardware store closed, and the building began its transition to live entertainment. In the ’50s and ’60s, that meant headliners like Ronnie Hawkins & The Hawks, The Ink Spots, The Platters, and Tiny Tim (booked by legendary impresario Harold Kudlets, whose agency was across the street in the Royal Connaught). By the ’80s and early ’90s, 95 King East was hosting acts such as OMD, NoMeansNo, Tragically Hip, Joan Jett, and the Ramones. That eclectic tradition continues today with programming that embraces a variety of music genres, along with theatre, comedy, spoken word, visual art, film and much more.
What about the venue’s specs?
Mills Hardware is fully licensed and is configurable in multiple ways. Capacity is 147 for concerts; seating for 90+ people; cocktail tables; conference tables; small group settings, and more. The room is spacious — soaring 16-foot ceilings, a wall of large south-facing windows — with generous sight lines and expanses of exposed brick. There is a 15’x16′ stage and the venue comes equipped with high-end sound and lighting system in addition to an HD projector and film-quality retractable screen. The venue’s complete technical specs can be found here.
Where is Mills? How can I contact the venue?
Mills Hardware is located at 95 King Street East, Hamilton, Ontario.
How do I get to Mills? Where can I park?
You’ve got a bunch of options, which you’ll find outlined here.
Photos by Mike Highfield