In the early days Hamilton was known as Barton township, named after a township in Lincoln County, England. Barton Street is all that remains of the township. In 1816, Barton township Population was 668.
On 24 May 1909 a Coney Island-type amusement Park was opened in Hamilton. It was known as Maple Leaf Park and was bounded by Barton Street (north), Ottawa Street (east), Cannon Street (south), Rosslyn Avenue (west). It failed to attract enough visitors to keep the gates open and only lasted a year. Investors of the Park sold the land to local real estate speculators for $25,000 interested in the property because the land itself was a valuable commodity in the booming East Hamilton market. It had a "Figure 8" roller coaster. This was the most popular coaster model of the era, with many Canadian parks having one. Most were built by Fred Ingersoll.
Barton Street East actually "changed" locations in the late 1960s. Barton Street East heading east from Strathearne Avenue, ended at Walter Avenue, where you continued south on Walter Avenue (to present day Melvin Avenue) and it continued east to Fifty Road in Stoney Creek. The section east of Walter Avenue was called Superior Street (for the Superior Propane Company) and it ended close to Talbot Street. Some buildings on Melvin Avenue close to Woodward Avenue still have signage indicating their address as Barton Street East (i.e. Bar-Wood Apts. 2041 Barton Street East).
Hamilton's first artificial skating surface was The Forum. Locals referred to it as the Barton Street Arena. It was situated between Sanford Avenue and Wentworth Streets. It opened 8 January 1913. Eventually, a few years down the line it was purchased by Kenneth D. Soble and then he announced a new rink would be built and the new Forum opened up for business 1 October 1953. The rink lasted until 1976. That's when the Junior A hockey club Hamilton Fincups left Hamilton. Demolition started in September 1976.
Present-day Centre Mall used to be the site of the Jockey Club racetrack but in the years after the Second World War the push for Hamilton's eastward expansion had completely engulfed the Jockey Club property. On 26 September 1952 the racetrack was sold. The site would then become the site of the Greater Hamilton Shopping Centre.