Doors Open Hamilton: 5 Must-See Future Heritage Buildings

Doors_Open Hamilton

New emphasis on modern historical buildings

Today’s modern building is tomorrow’s heritage site.  Doors Open is a fabulous chance to see Hamilton as it was by touring heritage buildings still standing proud.   Historically significant places like the Griffin House, the hermitage, and Dundurn Castle are usually the highlights of each year’s show.  This year, however, Doors Open will focus on recent history.

Hammer In The News has five, hand-picked suggestions to make the most of your tour.


Where the mighty Zellers once stood (photo|Joanna St. Jacques)

Zeller’s and Centre Mall (Target, various big box stores), 1211 Barton St E, Hamilton

As Zeller’s fades into history, Target Canada has given Hamiltonians a chance to see Zellers once again.  Zeddy, the unforgettable teddy bear mascot, is taking a day trip from Camp Trilium Tours to showcase the “$2 Zeddy chair  ride”, menus from the critically acclaimed in-store restaurant, and a timeline of Zeller’s keychains.  This is a must-see for shoppers, as the entire nature of department stores change.

Harvest Burger (A & W) – 194 King Street W, Hamilton

Harvest Burger

Harvest Burger, once an A & W, returns to its root beer. (photo | Seema Narula)

This stop is really a two-for-one as Harvest Burger is now an A & W for the second time.  This tour will feature “roller skate” girls, a nod to A & W’s past, and beer taps that served Harvest Burger’s once-active, after-Hess crowds.  Even the guy in the plaid jacket who was always working on a pitcher of Blue will be there.  You can’t miss this tip of the hat to the geometrically sharp architecture of the 70s.

Millionaire Drive-In – Upper James St, Southwest corner

Standing on the concrete, surrounded by big box stores, you have to squint your eyes to imagine watching Jaws through the back window of your pea soup-green Gremlin, on Hamilton’s Millionaire Drive-in screen.   A projection screen in front of TD Canada and Framing Art will be showing vintage films all day in one of Upper James’ busiest strip malls.   BYOP (Bring your own popcorn).


The BMO is banking on your visits this weekend (photo | Joanna St. Jacques)

Joanna St. Jacques

Shopper’s Drug Mart (BMO) – James St S

Paul Wilson’s touching story of Shopper’s transformation into a BMO highlighted a troubling trend.  Modern buildings are given no consideration for their future status as a heritage building.  While maintaining some of the original facade, tour guides will point out how BMO butchered their chance to preserve a modern masterpiece from the “drugstore renaissance” of the 80s.

Silver City Cineplex (Marshall’s) – Upper James

The Marshall’s has done its best to capture the gaudy glamour of the modern movie theatre, though falls slightly short of the mark.  That doesn’t mean this will be a boring tour, though.  Marshall’s employees have kept their label makers busy, and will have the names of their favourite movies underneath their name tag.  Show up on Saturday afternoon, and you may spot a special surprise – Lou Conelli, the former concession stand manager will be sitting in for a Q & A.

Enjoy your day, and make sure you stop at these future heritage sites.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Nude Life Fitness: “Get Buff in the Buff”

English: Yoga Head Stand Naked

“Free”-style (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When a naked yoga studio opened in Edmonton, the prairies weren’t ready for the peaks and valleys they saw.  But here in the gritty city of Hamilton we’re lining up for Nude Life Fitness, the West Mountain’s fully equiped fitness complex.

“Can you bare it?” asks the pink neon sign adorning the dark tinted windows of a nondescript strip-mall.   As I enter the flesh centre (the name for the main workout room), what I see is a typical workout facility.  The man on the elliptical listening to his iPod, getting into his swing.  A heavy-set woman dead-lifting, and a man skipping rope.  Of course, unlike the YMCA (which makes you wear underwear), everyone is naked.

No Shame, No Gain

Barbara Goldstein, the brains behind Nude Life, explains, “If you have a rock solid body, how many people are going to see it?  Your spouse, your partner, a few people at the beach?  If you go to Nude Life, hundreds will see you – it’s a reward for your hard work.  On the flip side, if your a little pudgy around the edges, the shame of working out naked is just the motivator you need.  It’s about honesty.”

Giving  new meaning to private training, Barbara’s staff does one-on-one training, too.  “You have to think of the trainers like nurses, there’s nothing they haven’t seen.  It’s all out in the flesh centre, so there’s no room for hanky panky.”  If you’re intimidated by private sessions, you can join one of the classes, Burn me on, Excite Bike, Booty Camp, Dr. Peacock’s medicine balls and 20/20 Zumba.

Putting the Strip in Strip Mall

The feedback from the community has been mixed.  The patrons I talked to say they love the freedom, but it’s a bit tiresome for the eyes.  Neighboring businesses worry the type of clientele it will bring to the sleepy West Mountain.  “If you are willing to parade around your body, what else are you willing to do?  I worry for the safety of our families,” says Shafir Abdul, owner of Always Time Convenience Market.

Nude Life Fitness invites people to come and form their own opinions at their Open House, Saturday, May 4th, 2pm-4pm.  Dress code? Casual
Harvard Square Shopping Centre.  Mohawk Rd W and  Magnolia Dr.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Crowbar Restaurant Pries Away Barton’s Sketchy Image

By Gore Vidal Park

Barton Street Neighbourhood architecture

Barton Village about to get a makeover | Photo Joanna St. Jacques

The venerable Crowbar restaurant, at Barton East and Elgin is in for a

Barton Village Business Improvement Association President Jerry Canelli
is thrilled with the news.  “Barton’s back, baby!  When they put in the
new Beer Store, they made it a drive through because people were afraid
to leave their cars with a criminal themed restaurant on the corner.”

“It was really bringing down the property values here.  You got
everything you need right here: big parking lots, a funeral home, a few
rub and tugs, the detention centre, and yet nothing was taking off
around here.  Why?  Because you have a restaurant that just screams
‘hug-a-thug’.  That doesn’t belong on Trendy Barton Street.”

Crowbar owner Chris Bacon is non-plussed.  “I don’t get what the big
fuss is.  I named it Crowbar after Kelly Jay’s great Hamilton band.

For all these years, I never knew people associated it with the jail!
Once Mr. Cannoli  pointed that out, I knew I had to change it right

Not everyone is pleased.  Local hip-hop magnate Larry D-Money decries
the gentrification.  “We used to have the whole Stainless Steel crew
shooting their straight-to-youtube vids down here on Barton, but the
street’s no longer gangster, or even ganja.”  Jigz Crillz had to shoot
his last video at the City Motor Hotel.  ”

That’s forty minutes of his
time on the number 2 bus, rather than in the studio.”

But Bacon has no regrets with the name change, even though the
transition has been bumpy. “At first, to be true to Crowbar, I called
it “Oh What a Feeling” and put up a big neon sign, but then I got a lot
of people confusing it with Hamilton Strip.  So I’m having to change
the name again.”

When asked about what the new name will be, he hesitates.  “I’ve chosen
a name that fits with Barton’s new upscale image, but I’m still going
to name it after another great Hamilton band… I’m going to reopen as


Enhanced by Zemanta

List Review of 21 Pictures That Will Restore Your Faith In Humanity

Men Save Cute Goat

A triumph of the human spirit.

A devout list-lover could spend hours looking at Buzzfeed’s amazing lists like the 7 Types of Crying Selfies You’ve Seen on Facebook, or 16 Street Gangs You’d Totally Join, and 21 Signs You Were Raised by Asian Immigrants.

This week’s list comes from the good people at BuzzFeed.  21 Pictures that Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity was compiled by Jack Shepherd, the current community manager of BuzzFeed. And like so many great listers, he lives with his cats in NYC.

Each of Shepherd’s “moments” are written in the neutral, Helvetica font, which allows the content to speak, not the font.

His clear and anecdotal voice lets the reader get the gist of the story behind the photos, but allowing for personal reflection.   And he really starts delivering at item #19 – This exchange between a protester and a soldier during a protest in Brazil.

Allowing the pictures to do the talking, Shepherd shares a story of a protest in Brazil. One of the army generals asks the people to stop protesting because it is his birthday.  The protestors buy the general a birthday cake, and major hugging ensues. And to quote Shepherd, “Faith in Humanity: Restored.”

The most surprising item is #3, where three young men rescue a sheep from certain death (pictured right). The sheep had fallen into the treacherous sea, and through a riveting series of photographs, we see one man jumping at his own risk to save this sheep.  It is a testament to their bravery.

It’s ironic that 21 Pictures that Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity contained so many photos about animals. Is it because we don’t have enough pictures online of people doing nice things for people? Or is that cute animals are our go-to when we feel a little hopeless (those cute little cats getting air from the fireman did make me pretty happy).

21 Pictures that Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity resonates with the crowd that feels like the world lacks hope.  Shepherd realizes the right photos can remind us that love abounds, and distracts us from war, famine, and marathon terrorism.   And, for the most part, he delivers.

I give this list 3 check-marks out of 5.


By Elisha Stam

Lists in Review with Elisha Stam

Elisha Stam

Lists are literature, just like Byron, Keats or Atwood.

Hammer In The News presents a weekly list review to help you ponder and reflect on life.  Internet lists abound, yet there’s a lack of serious reviews, or a literary treatment of the medium.

Elisha Stam, writer and book reviewer, wants us to look differently at lists. To capture their raw and simple beauty, to nurture their growth, and to place their authors on the literary pedestal, until now, reserved only for the Hemingways and the Shakespeares.

Welcome to Lists in Review.

This week’s list comes to us from Jeff Bredenberg, Readers Digest‘s masterful list curator.


The layout can be as important as the list itself – Elisha Stam

A simple perusal on the site reveals hundreds of beautiful lists in a stylish “slideshow” technique (see image right), which is extremely hot right now because it integrates easy browsing with simple images.

But the reason I settled on 13 Ways to Beat an Afternoon Slump   was because of its powerful tagline:  “It’s tough to beat, but we’ve got 13 tricks and tips to help you feel more energized and be more productive for the rest of the day.”  After all, who doesn’t hate the afternoon slump?

I thought all thirteen of the suggestions were powerfully worded and commanding, which is important in a list.  A list needs to convince the reader to try new things, and Bredenberg didn’t disappoint.  One suggestion was to try tea in the afternoon rather than coffee. I’m not going to lie, I think a coffee would make me feel less “slumpy” but I’m willing to give tea a try because of the sheer authority Bredenberg conveyed on the issue.

My favorite of the thirteen, by far, was “Get Minty” (number six) – It suggests rubbing peppermint oil into the palms of your hands and even on your face, when a slump arrives.  It’s such a powerful image, you can almost smell the peppermint. Imagine how great you’d feel in your cubicle!

As always, Bredenberg brings a solid list that adds to his mounting body of literature.  If you are looking for some solutions for your afternoon slump, you MUST read this list. You won’t be disappointed.

Overall I give 13 Ways to Beat the Afternoon Slump an enthusiastic Four Checks out of Five.

Elisha Stam is a Hamilton writer.  Catch more of her reviews on her blog, Past Page Ten.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Watch Out Hooters! The Peckers Are Coming!

Like Hooters for women

~Like Hooters for women~

Spring is in the air, and with that, the smell of new restaurants. While many places are opening up in the downtown core, “Peckers” will be gracing Upper James. Local writer/actor Scarlett Webb has been dreaming up this restaurant for 25 years.

“There were “Hooters” Restaurants on every street corner in Nashville, Tenn., where I grew up. My friend Stephanie and I used to talk about “evening the playing field” by opening up our own chain of restaurants, geared toward women.”

“Peckers” will feature its namesake, the Giant Kaempfer woodpecker as it’s mascot. It will only hire male waiters, who will serve shirtless (if Health Dept. permits). Failing a shirtless verdict, the waiters’ tight v-necks will feature the tag line “Yes, I’m happy to see you.”

phallic hot dog

The 12-inch Giant Pecker (Photo credit: stevecoutts)

Shows like “Say yes to the Dress” and “Cake boss” will play on repeat on the restaurant’s massive TV’s. Food will consist of healthy salads and oversize margarita’s, or you can indulge in the ‘guilty pleasure’ menu, for a foot-long ‘giant pecker’ and a side of curve adjusting french fries.

Hooters is not going to take Peckers lying down. “I admit it, Peckers will be stiff, competition-wise,” says Hamilton Hooters owner, Blake LaQuor. “But we’re used to that at Hooters. We’ll bounce.”

“With all the controversy over “Hillbilly Heaven”, I thought this was the perfect time to open my restaurant. Sorta fly under the radar while Cam (owner of HH) is being raked over the coals.”

“Peckers” opens May 1st with 15 minute free shoulder massages and complimentary appetizer tastings.

by Arizona Holmes

Enhanced by Zemanta

Dude, Where’s my Foreskin? Oprah’s Madness, Stedman’s Shame

English: Stedman Graham

English: Stedman Graham (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On the eve of Oprah’s Hamilton visit, her longtime life partner – Stedman Graham – broke down in a press conference, confessing the extent to which Oprah controlled his life.

“She made me get circumcised against my will.  No adult man should ever go through that, especially without the care of a midhusband.  She cut me off in my prime, and now I’m telling the world.”

As The Star recently reported, protesters from the advocacy group C-FAP (Canadian Foreskin Awareness Project),  are protesting Oprah’s promotion of a hand cream made from male foreskins.   But no one knew the extent she’d go to get her hands on that cream.

Oprah, Keep Your Hands Off My Penis

Stedman continued, ” This is just the tip of her corruption.  She loves her goddamned foreskin hand cream, and she’ll go any length to get it.  She’s influenced the mutilation of millions of babies.  Too many men and children have been cut short.”

Pictures of Stedman’s botched surgery are circulating the internet (NSFW), and it’s not pretty.  Penis experts question why a billionaire went to a walk-in clinic, when she could’ve had the best midhusbands in the country attend to her man.

Where's my foreskin? sign

Stedman’s burning question – (photo |

A source close to Oprah says that some clinics don’t remove enough of the penis to take advantage of all the fibroblasts available in the foreskin.   “If that is the reason,” says Bob Longfellow, Canada’s leading plastic surgeon, “than she’s more monster than human.”

Allegations that she’s going to Hooters alternative, Peckers, remains to be confirmed.  Meanwhile, Oprah still plans on her appearance at Copps Coliseum, Saturday, April 13th.

Enhanced by Zemanta