An iPhone, QR code and a download icon.


1. Scan QR code.
2. Open Experience with an iPhone or iPad.
Need to borrow a device? Contact HPL.
3. Place on a flat surface, and enjoy.



The 1930 Birks clock takes pride of place today in Hamilton Farmer’s Market, playing 200 tunes throughout the day. Watch the jousters in their infinite challenge and notice the clock’s intricate details. Download the Augmented Reality file to examine this famed artifact and its storied history right in your living room or backyard.

THE BIRKS BUILDING In 1882, the Canada Life Assurance Company moved from James Street South (the Pigott Building) into a new building at the southeast corner of King and James streets. It was known as the twisty tower because of the top tower's unique design. Oscar Wilde, who lectured in Hamilton May 30 and 31, 1882, stated it was one of the most beautiful buildings he had seen in Canada.

PURCHASING AND TURNING ON THE CLOCK The Canada Life Assurance building was sold in 1929 to Henry Birks and Sons. A fire in November 1929 forced Birks to rebuild the damaged sections, including the twisty tower. A copper roof, a canopy and show windows were added, and the interior was completely remodeled. Birks also ordered a copy of the charging horsemen clock at Wells Cathedral in Somerset England. The 18-foot-tall clock was set going at 10am on October 11, 1930.

A NEW LIFE FOR THE BIRKS CLOCK More than 50 years later, in August 1972, Birks vacated the building and moved into Jackson Square. Despite protests, the Birks building was torn down and replaced with a 15-storey $3.5 million office building where First Ontario Credit Union operated. Fortunately, the charging Horsemen clock was reinstalled on a pillar outside Jackson Square but ceased working shortly afterward. Later, it was removed and completely restored and installed in the renovated Farmer’s Market.