Category Archives: Sports

The Tims They Are a-Changin’

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On Saturday, the newly built two-storey Tim Hortons Store Number One, located at Ottawa Street and Dunsmure Road, opened its doors to the public.

After a slow down in growth and decreased market share due to the emergence of independent coffee shops, smaller coffee house chains, Starbucks, and other global chains like McDonald’s McCafé, Tim Hortons have rebranded themselves as a “café and bake shop.”

Part of this rebranding strategy is building stores that have an urbane feel to them. Stores that accommodate the in-and-out customer they’re used to, while providing a welcoming atmosphere for all demographics that wish to stay. This new design strategy is largely due to the ground they’re losing in larger markets, like Toronto, as small towns are already saturated with Tims at just about every corner.

The new Store #1 fits into that rebranding strategy that’s been contracted to WD Partners Architecture + Engineering, a global firm responsible for the design of many large retail companies like Whole Foods, TA, Big Lots, and Walmart. They are responsible for building and remodeling over 1,200 Tim Hortons locations and providing them with a ubiquitous look, complete with fireplaces, comfortable seating, and a more relaxing atmosphere.

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The exterior of the building resembles many of the newly constructed prefabricated Tim Hortons throughout Canada but with some notable touches, like the two-storey glass curtain walls, and iron I-beams projecting horizontally between storeys, paying homage to Hamilton’s industrial past.

The location of the entrance at the corner of Ottawa and Dunsmure is a much better location than before, when you had to make your way through a busy parking lot and risk getting hit just to reach the door. However, the new parking lot located at the rear is very small and bottlenecks at the entrance. Cars have to complete intricate dances in order to get in and out of the postage stamp sized lot.

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The landscaping isn’t very welcoming. Apart from the building being nearer to the street, and a beautiful statue of Tim Horton, there is nothing to keep patrons around. There is no seating, unless you want to sit on planter boxes, or the base of Tim Horton’s statue. Hopefully with summer comes a patio, like the initial renderings show.

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Inside, the counters are within close proximity to the entrance. If there is a lineup of more than six or seven patrons, you will be standing inside the vestibule of the building, or even outside the front doors. Although there is sixty seats in the new store, there is very limited seating on the main floor. Just a slender tabletop facing a window, with a handful of backless padded stools.

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                                                                                                                                                                          Photo: Sarah Dawson

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There are two flights of stairs, as well as elevators that take you to the second floor, where the “Memory Lane” museum and additional seating is located.

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As you make your way to the seated areas, a hallway of Tim Hortons memorabilia and souvenirs welcomes you. This trip down Memory Lane begins at the top of the stairs with a retro Tim Hortons counter, like the original store in 1964, and ends in the future, as you pass the by-gone eras of an iconic Canadian franchise.

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The upstairs seating area is open and includes communal tables, armchairs, and a panoramic view of Ottawa street. The light is there, but the warmth isn’t.

Although the outcome of the new Store #1 is better than expected, it would have been nice to see this project go to a design competition, where local architects could submit their concept designs. After all, they understand the context of an evolving Ottawa Street better than a firm that designs Walmarts.

At least there’s still no drive-thru.

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Inaugural Hamilton Santa 5k run a success, despite cold

Over 500 runners dressed as Santa Claus took part in the inaugural Hamilton Santa 5k run on Sunday morning at Hamilton’s waterfront.

It was a windy, brisk morning, with scattered flurries. Despite the cold weather, runners came out in droves for the festive event.

All participants who entered the run were given a full Santa suit, including a beard.

Santas of all sizes take over Hamilton’s waterfront during the Hamilton Santa 5k run

The race started at the Hamilton Yacht Club, went through Pier 4 Park, looped around Bayfront Park, and finished out front of Williams Coffee Pub.

VR PRO, the company that held the event, already has a Santa 5k run in Burlington, Ontario and Burlington, Vermont, before adding a third Santa race in Hamilton.

Kelly Arnott, Race Director for VR PRO, said that despite the cold weather, the run was a success.

“The event was totally amazing today […] it was everything we expected. Young Santas, old Santas, fast Santas, slow Santas, tall Santas, short Santas – everything,” said Arnott.

Victor Gatundu, who won the 5-kilometre run with a time of 16:50, said the race was fun, but he had some technical difficulties during his run.

“It was a good race. It was very cold and windy out there, my gloves were too thin, and my [Santa] pants exploded during my run!” said Gatundu.

Arnott said all the participants had a great time and next year she expects double the amount of registrants.

“[Hopefully] next year we’ll get one thousand [participants],” she said.

The Santa 5k run raised funds for Hamilton’s Waterfront Trust and the Good Shepherd Hamilton.

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The Final Labour Day Classic

Canada’s National Anthem being performed before the last Labour Day Classic at Ivor Wynne Stadium.

Even though the Toronto Argonauts defeated the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in a shocking fourth quarter comeback, the final Labour Day Classic at Ivor Wynne Stadium was a game to remember not only for it’s dramatic ending, but also from the overall Labour Day experience that’s never failed to disappoint.

The Labour Day Classic at Ivor Wynne Stadium is known around the league as one of the most intense, important, and hotly contested games of the regular season. Toronto Argonaut players hate it, Hamilton Tiger-Cat players love it, and just about everyone in Hamilton wants to be there for it.

Scott Park, which is located across the street from the south side of the stadium, was over-capacity with tailgaters consuming their fair share of alcohol and sausages hours before kick off. The atmosphere surrounding the stadium before the game was almost celebratory, with a cheerful crowd passing the turnstiles, ready to absorb every second of a famous last game.

Ivor Wynne Stadium is a relic; a stadium of times past; a reminder of better days in The Hammer, when jobs were in abundance and industry was booming. Previously named Civic Stadium, it’s inception was in 1928, ages before modern monolithic, boring stadiums. With wood seating, pillars blocking fans views in some sections of the south side, and no variety of concessions, it’s easy to see why management is so eager to see a new stadium erected in it’s place. Most Tiger-Cat fans, however, would disagree.

The stadium is sandwiched between Melrose and Balsam Avenue in East Hamilton, where many would call the “heart” of the city. Parking is scarce, so often you find yourself parking on the driveways and lawns of residents (thankfully, my grandfather lives a block away and always saves a spot on his front lawn for me) within the areas surrounding the stadium. If you’re taking the HSR, you get a free shuttle ride upon brandishing your ticket as the city increases the transit schedule for the additional ridership the game brings.

In an unexpected twist, the halftime show was the Syracuse University Orangemen marching band. They were seated in section 21 during the game (directly behind where I was seated – awesome!) and were a great boost to the home fans, performing Hamilton chants and classic marching band songs in-between plays. Needless to say, they overshadowed the traveling Toronto Argonauts band, “The Argonotes”.

A perfect day was only mildly disrupted by a tough loss. But one thing is for certain, it’s going to be a very sad day when this stadium is torn down. Many memories were made here, over several generations. It will be interesting to see how the new stadium will turn out, however. Will they change the stands from North-South to East-West? Is there going to be more than just beer and hot dogs? And will the citizens of this passionate city accept their new mecca?

Bring on 2015 and the new Labour Day traditions that will follow. Us Tiger Cat fans are hungry for more.

Oskee Wee Wee.

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Hamiltonian wins 118th Around The Bay 30k road race

As many as 11,000 participants took part in this year’s 118th Around The Bay 30K road race on Sunday March 25, 2012.

This year’s event featured a hometown Olympic hopeful, running the Around The Bay for the first time and a record amount of runners from all over Canada who participated in one of the most popular spring races.

Hamilton’s own Reid Coolsaet, who just recently qualified for the 2012 London Olympic games at the Toronto Scotiabank Marathon, ran the event for his first time and came out victorious. Coolsaet finished with a time of 1:33:20, just 58 seconds off the course record. Krista Duchene, a mother of two and one of Canada’s elite female runners from Brantford, Ontario was the first placed female, with a time of 1:47:03.

This years event was held on a beautiful spring day and the spectators were well in the thousands, both on the course and inside Copps Coliseum – where the finish line is located.

The next Around The Bay will be held on March 24, 2013. Make sure to sign-up and participate in North America’s oldest road race before it’s too late!

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