Hamilton, Ontario

541 Eatery & Exchange

Over the years, 541 Barton St. evolved from a bank, to closed off, uninviting rental housing in one of Hamilton’s most disadvantaged neighbourhoods. Today, 541 Eatery & Exchange is a welcoming, accessible and beautiful space. The socially conscious café has become a beacon of hope to the residents of Barton Village.

Heritage conversion with community at its centre

It is both cafe, social enterprise and registered Canadian Charity. The Eatery offers fresh, affordable, homemade food in a warm, modern cafe setting. The Exchange takes the form of a special button program and makes it truly unique. Every button purchased is paid forward. Proceeds purchase meals at the restaurant for others who cannot afford it otherwise. The community benefits from a homework club, youth employment program and skills training opportunities offered within.

Built in 1907, 541 Barton was originally the Bank of British North America and later Bank of Montreal. Drew Hauser, Director and architect, is behind the building’s recent transformation. Compass Point Bible Church rented the main level and they drive this inventive cafe’s success.


Project Link



Architecture, Conservation + Heritage, Interior Design, Mechanical Engineering



Team Leaders

Drew Hauser

Partners & sub consultants

Seguin Engineering - Electrical


1,400 SQ. FT.


2015 Hamilton Urban Design Award for Outstanding Achievement and Excellence in Civic Generosity, City of Hamilton
2014 Heritage Property Conservation Award City of Hamilton Municipal Heritage Committee