OLDEST HOUSE IN HALTON REGION
The Cork House (formerly known as the Amos Biggar House) is the oldest home within the Region of Halton, having been built in 1816 in the former Township of Trafalgar. The one-and-a-half storey Classic Revival structure, originally constructed as a private residence, is a good example of a Loyalist farmstead and features white clapboard siding, multi-paned sash windows and a medium pitched gable roof.
Located in Oakville, Ontario, Canada, the Cork House, specializing in cork & natural home design products and services is the official showroom for the Jelinek Cork Group.
It has been designated as a heritage property under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act (By-law 2002-054).
The Amos Biggar House was originally located "around the corner" at 502 Dundas St West, where the main section was built by Amos Biggar (a United Empire Loyalist) in 1816, a year after he bought the property from Daniel Shawson, the original land grantee. At this time, the Town of Oakville itself did not exist and it is believed that this is the oldest house within the Region of Halton (then known as Trafalgar Township).
In 1843, the property was sold to Philip L. Box, who enlarged the house, adding two single-storey wings on either side. The property went through a succession of owners, including George King, an English immigrant who raised his family of nine children in this house. King farmed the land, wheat being the main crop, and his children continued the farming operations until the mid-1930s.
The house is the only surviving structure of a time when the area boasted one of the most prominent settlements in Trafalgar Township, that of the Village of Sixteen Hollow. Located a few hundred yards west of the creek, in the valley of Sixteen Mile Creek, the village was settled by George Chalmers, who built a mill and a dam on the creek in 1827. By the 1850s, Sixteen Village (its popular name) had a growing population, several shops and a three-storey hotel, all serviced by a stagecoach run along Dundas St. West. The opening of the Great Western Railway in the mid-1850s immediately impacted Sixteen Village and within 20 years, little was left of this once thriving community.
In the mid-1990s, a new residential and commercial subdivision grew around the Biggar House and in 2000, the building was moved to its present location on Neyagawa Blvd., just a few hundred metres from its original location. Its owner, the Jelinek Cork Group, was founded in 1855, opening its Oakville office in 1951. Working with cork, a natural resource, for over 160 years, Jelinek is intimately aware of the need for stewardship of the environment. The Biggar House represented an opportunity for Jelinek to practice conservation of the built environment and is an excellent example of adaptive re-use of a residential structure. In 2003, after completing extensive restorations, the Cork House was opened, operating as a museum, a factory outlet and a showroom for cork products. Visitors can see the history of the house, the history of cork production and the varied products that can be created from cork.
As a good example of the Classical Revival style, Amos Biggar House is characteristic of a Loyalist farmstead. One-and-a-half storeys in height, the central portion was built in 1816 in a rectangular long facade layout, with a classically-inspired central doorway, internal chimneys at either end of the structure, multi-paned double-hung sash windows with pediments and exterior walls of clapboard siding. The two side wings, both one storey in height, were added sometime after 1843, incorporating the same design, construction material and fenestration.
Jelinek Cork Group (JCG) is over 160 years old. Today it is one of the oldest continually active cork companies in the world. It remains a privately owned, fifth generation family run company headquartered in Canada with subsidiary warehousing, office, and/or production facilities in various countries around the world. JCG ships cork products to over thirty different countries each year.
TRADITION AND INNOVATION SINCE 1855
Jelinek Cork Group was founded in 1855 in the province of Bohemia within the former Austro-Hungarian Empire but known today as the Czech Republic. That area of the world was known then, as it is today, as the capital of world beer consumption. Cork stoppers were supplied by Jelinek to the leading breweries of the world when beer bottles were still sealed with natural corks. Distilleries and wineries quickly learned the advantages of using natural cork in sealing their own bottles and Jelinek Cork was soon also supplying these two industries, as well as the cosmetic, spice, and food markets with their stopper requirements. Crown corks with cork inserts widely used during the'40's and '50's
During the occupation of Czechoslovakia by the communists in 1948, Jelinek Cork was nationalized and the Jelinek family escaped to Canada to find freedom and a new start. The new North American company was started and prospered throughout Canada and the USA and began expanding into other countries. In 1989, with the collapse of the Iron Curtain and the ousting of the communist regime, Jelinek Cork Group re-established a division of JCG in Eastern Europe. Jelinek Cork Group today has facilities in the United States, Canada, the Czech Republic and Slovak Republic, the United Kingdom and of course, Portugal - in the heart of the cork producing region.
NEW AND EXCITING PRODUCTS
Jelinek Cork Mosaic floors and backsplash on the cutting edge of cork technology.
Over the years Jelinek Cork has introduced new and exciting products to vastly different market areas. The automotive industry and engine parts (gaskets, carburetor and level gauge floats), specialty components (for musical instruments, batteries, sporting goods and shoe trades), industrial goods and building products (decorative floor and wall coverings, acoustical, anti-static and insulating materials) as well as numerous products for the stationery and home improvement markets are but a few of the more important industries being supplied by the Jelinek Cork Group throughout the world today.
JCG is solely dedicated to the promotion, production and distribution of all cork products. The group specializes and works only with cork – from the forest level to the final product – making JCG perhaps the most innovative cork company in the world.
Much of this innovation can be viewed at the company’s showroom/cork museum located in the Cork House, itself a designated historical heritage house preserved by the company.
RECOGNITION AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Despite being one of the largest and most active global suppliers and distributors of cork items, JCG is always aware of its Social Responsibilities as well as its Responsibility to the Environment and the continued preservation and well being of the cork oak tree, the raw material source for all cork products. It recognizes the uniqueness of cork. The company mission remains dedicated to the preservation of cork, an environmentally and ecologically friendly renewable resource.
Over the years, JCG has participated in a number of conservation initiatives related to the cork industry. These initiatives always have the same objective … no pollution, no wastage of raw materials, and recycling whenever possible. For example, JCG is a primary participant in an innovative environmental program called Bag-a-Cork which involves the collection and recycling of used cork bottle stoppers. The Bag-a-Cork initiative is the first of such in North America.
In response to the large number of inquiries received from the public, Jelinek Cork launched a new recycled cork program in December, 2008. Community groups, schools and other not for profit organizations are encouraged to participate in this natural cork recycling initiative. This program helps community groups raise funds while bringing awareness towards natural cork - an environmentally friendly, renewable and recyclable resource.
Jelinek Cork Group promotes the use of environmentally friendly, sustainable and renewable products in the construction industry. The company fully supports the initiatives of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Rating System. Learn more about Jelinek Cork and the LEED rating system.
Research and development, environmental preservation, quality control, customer service and value may all be a cliché but are the true testimonial of the company’s 160 years in business. The JCG motto holds steadfast: “If you like nature, you will love cork” and the company’s belief in the environment remains equally strong. Its line of cork products are all manufactured only “from trees that go on living”.