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.

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What to Do This Weekend: Co-op Hosts ‘Plant-a-Perogie Workshop’

Photo op at the last workshop with Mustard Seed Co-op

Photo op at the last workshop: “Pickled-Pink: Make Your Beets Last Forever”

When the Mustard Seed Co-op unveiled their plan for an affordable, socially conscious grocery store in the heart of downtown, it created quite a buzz.  This weekend, co-founder Graham Cubbit plans on giving back to the community with a helpful Perogie-growing workshop this Saturday at the Hamilton Farmers’ Market.

“Part of what makes our co-op great,” says Cubitt,  “is that you’re a part owner.  Food is an intimate part of us, and you can make decisions to impact that. That’s why we hold events like the “Plant-a-Perogie” initiative.  It’s also important for us to reclaim the Farmers’ Market’s image following the violent brawl earlier this winter.”

Staff insist that garden-fresh perogies are far superior to processed perogies.  “When I eat a perogie, I want to know the conditions it

was raised in,” says Emma Cubitt, Graham’s wife and co-op partner.  “Was it in a tiny container?  Was it doused in pesticides?”  That’s the advantage of growing them yourself.”

The workshop will run from 8am – noon at the Hamilton Farmers’ Market, on Saturday, March 23rd.  To become part of the Mustard Seed Co-op, visit Below is a helpful guide to growing your own perogies.

The Mustard Seed’s Quick Step-by-Step Guide:

  1. Choosing Perogies – make sure they’re organic perogies.  You can find them in specialty
    Digging Homegrown Potatoes - August 2011

    Digging Homegrown Perogies – August 2011 (Photo credit: Peter Mooney)

    grocery stores.  It’s best to use a local farmer’s perogies, because they’ll be more adapted to your climate and soil conditions.

  2. Preparing the Perogies – Cut them into two inch chunks.  It doesn’t have to be pretty.  Make sure you cut them a day in advance so they build a protective skin.  This will shield them from mold.
  3. Preparing the soil –  Fortunately, perogies grow in most soils, although they thrive in the 5.0-5.8 pH range.  Make sure the soil is loosely packed, allowing for those tendrils to suck up all the nutrients from the soil.
  4. Planting the Perogies – Planting perogies is an art.  Dig down 4 to 5 feet, dropping the cuttings with the rounded end towards to East.   Keep them 18.5 inches apart.  Using a sifter, gently fill in the hole with soil.  This should take about 4-5 hours if done properly.
  5. Growing the Perogies – water once every few days.
  6. Harvesting – They are ready to harvest with the flowers turn blood-red.  Take care of the thorns, and start salivating!

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INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY MUD WRESTLING EVENT: “I’ll be front row, throwing mud and spreading awareness”

“I can’t keep my hands off them”


MUD WRESTLING FANS BEWARE! (Photo credit: roberthuffstutter)

Ask any college-aged male what first comes to mind when you say “Hess Village“, and the answer is always “women.”  That’s why, Kendall Glansitch, owner of the hot new club, Fondle, is hosting the biggest, outdoor mud wrestling competition in International Women’s Day (IWD) history.

“I love women.  That’s why I own an exclusive nightclub.   It’s their bodies – there’s nothing like it.  My waiting staff always says can’t keep my hands off them, and it’s true.   That’s why I knew I had to do IWD this year – Fondle-style.”

“This is the wrong guy for IWD”

Goderich is drawing some negative attention, too, with claims he’s missing the point.  Gladys Pointer, the president of McMaster’s student womyn’s club says, “This asshole doesn’t get it’s a day about empowerment, not subjugation.  He’s disrespectful to his waitresses, and he never has to play by the rules.  This is the wrong guy for IWD.”

 “I’ll be front row, throwing mud and spreading awareness”

Racy flyers claiming, “The Hottest, Bustiest, Wettest Women’s Day Ever!!!” did attract  Councillor Scott of Ward 16.  “I’ll be front row, throwing mud and spreading awareness.”

Despite the vicious debates, it’s expected that several hundred will attend today’s events.  If you feel your employer is acting inappropriately, please see the resources below:

Hamilton’s Resources for women:

Hamilton 24hr Crisis Lines:

  • Native Women’s Centre 1-888-308-6559
  • Fem-aide 1-877-336-2433 (Women dealing with violence)
  • COAST (mental health) 905-972-8338
  • Good Shepherd 905-523-6277
  • Inasmuch House 905-529-8600
  • Hamilton Interval House 905-387-8881
  • SACHA 905-525-4162
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Half-Baked Racism Draws Media Attention to Seniors’ Home


“Innocents Hamilton” protest the “hatecakes.”  ‘We make our cupcakes with sugar, eggs and flour, not hate.’ (photo credit: brink animation)

“It was all tongue-in-cheek”

Oldin Indeway Manor, an assisted living community home in Ward 16, is known around Hamilton for its sterling reputation as a haven for our city’s aged citizens.   Yesterday, they shocked the public by unveiling an aggressive marketing campaign involving a symbol that characterized racism in their generation: the swastika.

“Why can’t old people do irony?”

“We never meant to be offensive,” said Alfred Peaknuckle, an eighty-five year-old war veteran.  “I fought the Nazis, for crying out loud.  It was all tongue-in-cheek.  We did it to draw a crowd.  We heard on the news that restaurants are doing it, so why not us? We need the funds from the bake sale for new curtains, cutlery, and an antenna for the goddamn T.V.”

“Innocents Hamilton” Won’t Sugarcoat This

Not everyone sees it that way.  A coalition of local dissidents called “Innocents Hamilton”, have made several posters in reaction to the controversy.   The posters (example above) show baked goods with messages including, “My cupcakes spread tooth decay, not hate,” and “Make peace-cakes, not hate-cakes.”

The bake sale coordinators said, “It’s not illegal, so we’re not taking it down.  In fact, our goods are selling like hate-cakes.  Why do young punks get to use irony?”  The management team have offered their sincere apologies, and hope this never happens again.

I think every Hamiltonian would like to forget this week’s controversial events.

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The new McMaster Children's Hospital Logo

The new McMaster Children’s Hospital Logo

We’ve done it again, Hamilton.  We’ve made it through another week.  I have a fabulous new photographer, and a mysterious graphic designer who has donated a logo (coming soon!).   All-in-all a good week.   I had a delicious luncheon with the mayor, sampling the goose wings of Hamilton.  They’re good, but in a gamey way.

Coming this week?   Big ideas from small minds.   Hamilton’s wish list of gigantic public works projects.

My favourite comments:

  1. razor pocket mod “You should take part in a contest for one of the best websites on the net. I most certainly willhighly recommend this website!”
  2. Hamilton’s Newest Big Idea: “Glen Nott Massive HAMILTON sign on the side of the mountain, big enough that you can read it from the CN Tower. That’ll show ’em who’s boss.”
  3. Peter Graefe – Did you spy Dollarama’s spring 2013 collections while you were there?
  4. Stam – Farley you look awesome in heels.


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Singles Find Love at Family Day Protest

 Protests Out of Touch, But This Couple Isn’t

Couple Making Up

There was no protesting physical contact when we visited the couple – photo by the amazing Joanna St. Jacques

The city is full of Family Day activities, including a Pet-the-Horse Event at Flamborough Downs, and a Reproductive Health workshop for kids at Dundurn Castle.  The Hamilton Family Day Protests seem a little out of touch with the mood of the day: Family fun.  Of course, the media gives it very little coverage (only 9 were in attendance this year), and nothing remarkable ever happens, save the accident  involving a burning playhouse last year.

This year, two ‘love skeptics’ got caught up in that passion and found what they least expected:  Love.

“We saw each other across the crowd and we knew right away,” says an excited Greg Polland, a

The Family Day Protest

The Family Day Protest Fizzled, But the Romance Sizzled – Ben Evens Collection

38-year-old painter and art teacher.  “We’re going to get married right away. It was like a message from God.  We both want kids, a house, the whole nine yards.”

Terry Philando, a professional spirit guide, says this is a complete departure from their lives.  “Turns out we both hated the nuclear family, tradition definitions, and Fox News.  But, as a spiritual guide, I accept the realities as they present themselves.”

They’ve decided to put down their picket signs, cash in their PETA memberships, and go back to school.  “Being a painter and a teacher is fine, but the move to go into insurance will be far more stable for our kids.  I have to make up for lost time with my RRSPs, too.”

Philando is more than happy to stay at home with the kids.  “All the spirit guide stuff was bullshit, anyways.”

From protests to true love, this Family Day will go down in Hamilton’s history as a day of love, and the only thing being boycotted at this year’s events will be a frowning face.

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WHAT TO DO FOR FAMILY DAY IN HAMILTON? 5 Fun Activities for Children

5 Fun, Family Activities for Children on Family Day

While some may question the saying “Fun For the Whole Family,” we Hamiltonians know how to have fun.  These are some of the more edgy events that The Spec didn’t cover.

Carnival Family Fun Day - 1

Polar Dip not the only option (Photo credit: tom cochrane)

45th Annual Polar Dip at Princess Point

Monday, 2:30pm-4:15pm, Cost: $2 donation to the Rotary Club
Join the Rotary club for their fun, frigid dip, including skating, dive competition and snow cones.
Hot chocolate will be served throughout the day EMS will be on call

Family Dumpster Diving Workshop

“Join McMaster’s Centre for Peace Studies while they teach you and your family how to save the planet and your wallet”
When?  Monday, 12:00pm-3:30pm
Where?   Behind the Pancake House in Westdale, Donations to Food not Bombs accepted

Mayor Bob’s Puppet Show: Casino Debate Reenactment

Monday, 11:00am-6:00pm, Cost: Free
Where:  City Hall Council Chamber
Watch as the Mayor brings to life the Mercanti Brothers, Economist Hannah Holmes, and the delightful journalist Coleman Joey.    Bob Bratina will delight your children with his educational show, featuring his syrupy smooth radio voice.   Critics say, “Only Mayor Bob could pull this off.  He makes the casino debate a fantastic tale for children.”

Pet the Horses Day at Flamborough Downs

Monday, 9:00am-11:00am, Cost: Adults $15, Children $8, Children under 3: Free.
Show your children the excitement of the racetrack in a safe, legal environment. You won’t have to jockey for position in long lines ups with impatient kids!  Simply drop off your kids with our qualified babysitters, while you browse the slots, meet a bookie, or dine at one of our fancy lounges.  Bring along Grandma and Grandpa, too!

Teach Your Kids How Are Families Made in a Fun, Safe Environment – Public Health

Monday, 11:00am-2:pm, Cost: Free
Where:  Dundurn Castle
If your kids are as curious as I was, they want to know how a baby is made.  Public Health has organized a full, 3-hour, interactive show, featuring dioramas, 3D technology and a ‘womb room’, to get your children up to speed on reproductive  health.
Join your teen in the “Safe-to-ask” tent, while they ask the questions that are burning in their hormone-raging hearts.

Did you find any fun activities in Hamilton for Family Day?

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