Category Archives: Economy

A SoBi tour with Bill Curran

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Bill Curran pointing to the landscape beyond as he discusses the surrounding neighbourhood

Architect Bill Curran and I have been planning a bike ride for some time.

We often tour around Hamilton, checking out buildings and houses, discussing architecture, the neighbourhoods, and Hamilton’s deep history. Because of how large Hamilton is geographically, we either pick a neighbourhood to walk or we end up taking a car to cover the most ground possible. This weekend we were finally able to go for a bike ride. The area we picked is one of Bill’s favourites: the industrial north.

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#419 Lawanda is a personal favourite at the Locke Street hub

I grabbed a SoBi (there’s a rack conveniently close to my apartment) and was on my way to meet Bill out front of his office on James Street North. He had a route in mind, but we basically just winged it, taking alleys, bike lanes, and roads through the city to reach our destinations.

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Hidden behind it’s green shell is an old car dealership complete with a car ramp to the second floor

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The overlooked Our Lady Of Glastonburty Orthodox Church with little ornament on an expansive street of traffic

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Bill giving me a history lesson about the building that was once Mills Lighthouse

Our first notable stop was the Cannon bike lanes. There we stopped at points to discuss laneway housing, an old car dealership for sale, and a subtle little church easily missed by car.

Laneway housing is something Hamilton needs more of. They add density, character to neighbourhoods, and help increase the city’s building stock in an unobtrusive way (just to name a few of the benefits). Bill’s firm, TCA, did a study on Laneway housing in conjunction with the city and you can read it here.

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Moving day at a row of apartment buildings just West of Barton and Wenthworth

Next we made our way to Barton. We saw a street on the turn around. Although Barton faces many obstacles, we are seeing pockets of growth and investment sprinkled throughout. Many barriers are still in the way, but there are encouraging signs almost anywhere you look.

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Lawanda in front of a post and beam pavilion at Birge Park

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Rocketships of wooden wonder

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The new pool at Birge Park

We cut through some more alleys and streets before reaching Birge Park. This small park just received a makeover, which includes a new wading pool and change room building designed by Kathryn Vogel Architects. The building has a contemporary feel to it with its overhanging rooflines and stucco accents, while the pool is nothing short of functional as well as aesthetically pleasing.

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Karma Candy Factory

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The Galley Pump Tavern. A local favourite.

Continuing north, we passed Karma Candy factory, the Emerald Street Footbridge, some local watering holes, and numerous other businesses sprinkled throughout the area. The history in the North End is deep. There’s so much to discover that you can’t find it all in one bike ride. It would take many. I was curious about everything and I couldn’t keep track of it all.

Then came Burlington Street. It’s a different world. Trucks zooming by. Potholes like craters on the moon. We had to weave through areas like a downhill slalom just to get to our destinations.

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A handsomely detailed early modern office building that once housed Stelco offices.

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POV from Lawanda’s perspective

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Bill discussing the port lands

We stopped by a handsome old Stelco office and made our way down closer to some of the ports. I wanted to ask Bill what his opinion is regarding the future of our Waterfront since it’s a hot topic in this city. He had differing opinions on what Pier 7 and 8 should look like and that more port lands should be accessible like they once were. After 9/11 security concerns changed that, he said, and the ports became impossible to access. I forgot what the world before 9/11 looked like.

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The former, recently charred Hamilton Hells Angels clubhouse (and before that the Gage Tavern) at Gage and Beach.

Before we knew it we were at Gage and we decided to cut south. We passed the recently closed Hells Angels HQ and made our way past more industrial buildings scattered amongst housing on Beach road. One thing I noticed was the many simple, functional, modern buildings sowed about the area. We need to do more to reuse these diamonds in the rough, as many now sit completely or partially vacant.

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Hamilton Moderne

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A beautiful Hydro Electric Station turned office building on Sherman with classical features, detailed reliefs, and ornament

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A swiss cheese makeover at Victoria Ave

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The Repite Centre, refaced by Greg Sather in 2005.

Next was Sherman. We rode past Cotton Factory and discussed its impact, the history, architecture, and the work ecosystem inside it. We also passed some charming early modern buildings on Sherman. I was too busy keeping my eyes on the road to take too many photos, but I certainly want to go back and look at more of what we saw that day.

The tour kept going. It was a long day. 21 kilometers were travelled. Lots of liquids were consumed. I won’t keep you much longer, because pretty soon this article is going to be as tiring as our bike ride. We explored a lot of the city and much of it is hard to retrace.

You know what was one of the best things about the ride? Taking a SoBi bike. If you haven’t yet tried one, you should. They are convenient, easy to use, and offer a better way to travel about the city. Those little blue machines are one of the best investments this city ever made. Don’t believe me? Sign up and let me know what you think. I promise you won’t be let down. And you’ll probably become hooked (like me). I barely even drive my car anymore.

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Converted: New Student Residences on Main St W

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One of Joseph B. Singer’s lesser-known buildings is being converted into student apartments.

The modern office building located at 1100 Main Street West, completed in 1965, is getting a new lease on life. After years of businesses coming and going, the three-storey office building will be repurposed to accommodate residential space for students of McMaster University.

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Following a record of site condition, Webb Planning Consultants had applied for and received a Zoning By-law Amendment for residential use as of December 2014. The once commercial building will be converted into a 41-unit multiple student residence (including a residential property next door) by Collaborative Structures Limited.

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The building is composed of a steel and concrete frame structure, with a white and black brick façade, steel mullions, and a piano key-like cornice.

Joseph B. Singer’s most notable building in Hamilton was the recently demolished Board Of Education Building (built in 1966). Other notable buildings include Adas Israel Synagogue, Shalom Village Nursing Home, and many schools throughout Hamilton, including Sir Allan MacNab Secondary School.

The new student residence is called MainMac Residence and units are already available for rent. The property is owned by Collingwood Cambridge Holdings.

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Architectural Spotlight: The New Royal Connaught Lobby

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With a mixture of both neo-classical and contemporary design, the double-height lobby at The Royal Connaught has been brought back to its former glory and then some.Image
Surrounded by six, two-storey corinthian columns, the sheer size and pure white paint not only makes the columns pop, but also help define the space of the lobby. ImageImage
The ceiling is coffered with an intricate crown molding and three elegant glass raindrop chandeliers, while the floor features a combination of restored original marble and terrazzo tiles.Image ImageImage
A grand staircase leads up to an impressive mezzanine, where the details in the foliage of the column’s capitals, and the lobby’s frieze design can be examined up close. The mezzanine also offers a great view of the space and the four large arched windows that look out onto King Street.Image
The restored lobby will undoubtedly be great to not only host events, but also greet residents and visitors alike into Hamilton’s illustrious past and it’s ambitious future.

For more on the Royal Connaught: https://rebuildhamilton.com/2013/04/02/the-royal-connaught-is-getting-a-second-life/

 

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I Heart Hamilton and Cut From Steel present The #HamOnt Blog Fair at The Casbah

Don’t have any plans before our hometown Hamilton Tiger-Cats face the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the 101st Grey Cup? Come out to the #HamOnt Blog Fair, have a couple drinks, and mingle with some of Hamilton’s best bloggers.

Presented by I Heart Hamilton and Cut From Steel, the blog fair will take place at The Casbah from 2-6pm and admission is free!

Bloggers include:

• I Heart Hamilton Tour (http://ihearthamilton.ca/)
• Cut From Steel (http://cutfromsteel.com/)
• This Must Be The Place (http://www.thismustbetheplace.ca/)
• Extreme Nonchalance (http://www.extremenonchalance.com/)
• Not My Typewriter (http://www.notmytypewriter.com/)
• The Hungry Gnome (http://www.thehungrygnome.net/)
• Hamilton Small Fries (http://hamiltonsmallfries.wordpress.com/)
• Steel and the City(http://www.youtube.com/steelandthecity)
• Rebuild Hamilton (https://rebuildhamilton.com/)
• Hustle and Glamour (http://hustleandglamour.com/)
• 100 Mile Microphone (http://hundredmilemicrophone.blogspot.ca/)
• Love It A Lot (http://www.loveitalot.com/)
• Oh Summer Candy (http://ohsummercandy.blogspot.ca/)
• When Words Fail, Photography Speaks (http://chandarys.blogspot.ca/)
• Greater Hamilton Musician (http://www.hamiltonmusician.com/)
• The Starfish (http://thestarfish.ca/)
• Katherine Lamb (http://katherinelamb.com/)
• Fat Girl Food Squad (http://fatgirlfoodsquad.com/)
• Kitestring(Chris Farias) (http://kitestring.ca/)
• Dirty Mac Poster & Design (http://www.dirtymacposter.blogspot.ca/)
& MORE

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The alt-electro-dance duo of Dear Rouge will be performing at 5pm; so don’t forget to bring your dancing shoes. And if you’re hungry, Jonny Blonde Food Truck will be on location to satisfy your cravings.

For more information: https://www.facebook.com/events/613952171983986

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The Brant Street Pier finally opens

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After a long wait, The Brant Street Pier finally opened in June during this year’s Sound of Music Festival on Fathers Day Weekend.

The Pier is the final phase of the Waterfront at Downtown Burlington project. Other phases of the project include the parking garage at 414 Locust Street, Discovery Landing, the Rotary Centennial Pond, and The Dofasco Waterjet Plaza.

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Located at the Eastern End of Spencer Smith Park, the Brant Street Pier extends 137 metres over Lake Ontario. The S-shaped pier is connected to the park’s existing promenade by a coloured concrete walkway.

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Five metres above the water, the pier’s platform is built on 14 caissons drilled into a bedrock foundation.

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Located along the sides of the deck are LED lamps extending over the walkway and benches without backs, offering different views of the lake.

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Further out (85 meters), the deck widens for a circular node. In the centre of the node is a raised platform that is nine metres in diameter and can be accessed via circular staircase.

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Atop the platform is a 12-metre beacon with an oblong nautical-style structure complemented by rings clad with a perforated metal sheet.

The beacon is made of a tubular structural steel framing. The stiffness of structural steel framing will ensure the structure can withstand the high winds of Lake Ontario.

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The platform not only supports the beacon, but also offers a different vantage point from the pier.

According to the City of Burlington, the construction of the pier was also attentive to the environment. The height of the pier allows the free flow of the water under the platform. Along the eastern edge of the promenade, the beach has been preserved and the project includes providing fish habitat compensation and enhancements for Sheldon Creek.

The total cost of the pier construction is an estimated $14.4 million.

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I Heart Hamilton hosts “The Playlist 2.0” benefit at This Ain’t Hollywood

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I Heart Hamilton is celebrating its second anniversary with The Playlist 2.0 (Fundraiser for Food4Kids) at This Ain’t Hollywood on Saturday, June 8th.

The Playlist 2.0 will feature performances by New Hands, The Dirty Nil, and San Sebastian. There will also be guest DJ sets by Rockstars For Hire, the DJ team behind the weekly “No Standards Night” parties.

I Heart Hamilton began in May 2011 with the concept, “Be a tourist in your own city.” The goal of the blog is to not only discover Hamilton, but also encourage others to get out and explore the city. From boutiques to bars and everything in-between, blogger Kristin Archer is dedicated to promoting local businesses by visiting and sharing her findings on the blog.

Last year, The Playlist 1.0 was held at This Ain’t Hollywood, and raised $1719 for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Hamilton.

All media are welcome and photo and video opportunities are available. Tickets are $12 and are available at the venue or at Dr. Disc. Doors open at 9 p.m. and the event is 19+.

All proceeds from the night will be donated to Food4Kids.

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The Hamilton Conservation Authority’s Veldhuis Project is moving forward

In partnership with the City of Hamilton, The Hamilton Conservation Authority is redeveloping a brownfield site along the Desjardins Canal into public green space.

The site is located at the old Veldhuis Greenhouse property that runs along the Desjardins Canal on King Street East in Dundas, just north of Cootes Drive. The area was once home to a greenhouse made famous for it’s variety and quantity of cacti.

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The Veldhuis Project will cost an estimated $3 million, with the funds going towards the redevelopment of the one-hectare property, as well as remediation of the canal.

The project is part of the Hamilton Conservation Authority’s plan to create the Dundas Eco-park, which will be a part of the Cootes to Escarpment Park System. The 1300-hectare urban park will provide the only continuous habitat connection from Lake Ontario to the Escarpment.

Designed by landscape architects G. O’Connor Consultants, the redeveloped brownfield site will consist of a meadow, both an asphalt and limestone pathway, boardwalk lookouts, a pavilion, restored woodlands, and public art.

The only remaining piece of the old greenhouse still intact is the two-storey red brick chimney.

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Due to Chimney Swifts, a protected at-risk species actively nesting in the chimney, it has been resolved that the chimney will remain as a site element. An eight-by-eight meter shaded structure that will resemble a greenhouse – a tribute to Veldhuis – will be situated along the asphalt walkway and within view of the chimney.

Development concept courtesy of The Hamilton Conservation Authority

Concept courtesy of The Hamilton Conservation Authority

The green space will also feature a pedestrian boardwalk against the edge of the canal, complete with a fabric sail-style shade structure, interpretive signage, and ‘industrial’ bench seating. The boardwalk’s design is an attempt to bring the canal’s rich history back to the site for those who walk the pathways and canoe the canal.

Concept courtesy of The Hamilton Conservation Authority

Concept courtesy of The Hamilton Conservation Authority

Along with the remediation of the Desjardins Canal, floating islands for nesting waterfowl will be implemented, as well as restored riparian edges and an enhanced riparian outlet.

On King Street, the two-meter wide municipal sidewalk will be extended and a new crosswalk with painted markings will be added to connect the Veldhuis green space with Martino Park to the north.

One of the remaining challenges facing this redevelopment is the proposal to close King Street at Olympic Drive. The plan is to remove the existing road to create a turtle nesting area, extend the pathway, and add an additional boardwalk.

Work on the Veldhuis Project is set to begin later this summer.

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