Stewart Esten History


 Stewart Esten Law Firm is one of the oldest law firms in Simcoe County, tracing its roots back to 1871. On January 1, 1951 Carl Stewart and Maurice Esten combined their years of experience to found the Barrie law firm of Stewart Esten, with Gordon E. McTurk as an associate.



old 1871 Stewart Esten building


Hamilton Douglas Stewart (son of Charles Douglas Stewart, former attorney general for the island of St. Vincent) started practicing law with Featherstone Osler at Bradford. In 1871, Hamilton opened a law firm on Owen Street in Barrie. His son Douglas and grandson Carl followed in the firm.


1921 history


James Hutchison Esten was Chief Librarian at Osgoode Hall and Secretary for the Law Society of Upper Canada. His son George was practicing law with Douglas Armour in Toronto, then joined the Barrie firm of Lount, Strathy & Lount, later Strathy & Esten. In 1921, George’s son, Maurice, joined the firm as Esten and Esten.


FACT: The partners could not have imagined the changes they would see throughout the decades. When Canada was created, there was no Charter of Rights or Income Tax Act, and divorce was almost non-existent. Women were not “people” under the law, secretaries were men, and few lawyers could afford to hire one. Technology consisted of quill pens and blotting paper.


relocation history


In 1978, the original offices on the east side of Owen Street, just north of Dunlop, were relocated to a new office at 100 Collier Street, designed to resemble a heritage building.


modern law firm


Today, Stewart Esten is a modern, progressive and much larger law firm. It has evolved to offer full service real estate, property development, corporate and commercial, family, criminal, wills and estate law, employment and labour, and civil litigation.


FACT: Some of the former partners (Carl Stewart, Gordon McTurk, Paul Hermiston, Peter Douglas and Susan Healey) became judges, while William J. Leslie currently sits as a judge in Small Claims Court.


Stewart Esten is committed to their motto: “Serving our clients and community since 1871.” Use our secure contact form to make arrangements to speak to one of our laywers today!