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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Empty Stelco Blast Furnaces to House Condos.

New Condos in Blast Furnaces

Deals are white-hot, no slag. ( Photo | Josu P)

“It’s a steel of a deal,” according to the billboards on Burlington St announcing the reclamation of Stelco‘s empty blast furnaces for use as condominiums.

Despite the City of Hamilton’s recent deal to take over Pier 7 and 8 from the Hamilton Port Authority, port development is slower than investment demands.

“There are literally hundreds of investors begging us to open up brownfield development for the use of high-end condos,” says Kip Persimmon, the owner of Pier 67, a stretch of land nestled between Stelco and Dofasco.  “Toronto thinks they have the market on condos, well Hamilton has plans for condos on Locke St, James St, Ottawa St, and Trendy Barton St.  Why not add Burlington St and Industrial Ave to that list?”

Representatives of Stelco could not be reached for comment, but the permits for condos in the empty blast furnaces have been approved by the highest levels of government.   Barty “Broadside” Bazinski, the young investor behind the development claims that no city has ever been this bold.

Industrial Sector M is About to Get Hot Again

Bazinski says, “The furnaces are pieces of art, and symbolic of Hamilton’s move forward.  Their vacancy shouldn’t be a reason to grieve, but an opportunity for growth.  Industrial Sector N and M are going to house over 900 units in two large towers.  They’re on the harbourfront, with a gorgeous view of Burlington, and Hamilton’s iconic industrial buildings.”

Initial market research and panel group feedback has confirmed Bazinski’s enthusiasm, despite the proximity to Hamilton’s largest factories, seven out of ten respondents saying they’d considered moving into the blast furnaces.   Though it’s unknown if those customers will actually put money down on this risky idea.

The main sticking point among developers is the complexity of converting blast furnaces into condos.   The infrastructure may be set up, but the complex plumbing, electrical work, and gas routes are all set up for an industrial scale.  Major changes and approvals are necessary before a single shovel can hit the ground.

The question remains whether this idea will catch fire with Hamiltonians, or if Bazinski will get burned.



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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This week has been exhausting.  I’ve been up around the clock covering the HSR’s biggest blunder: weight-based fares and a 1990s online presence.  And the temptation to go to the Mayor’s kissing booth today was too much.  A late nude skate always tires out me and the staff.  Also – commenters on our website helpfully pointed out racism towards heavy people, and more civic problems in the ‘province’ of Hamilton.

My favourite comments:

  1. I respect the HSR for admitting their mistake


    Weight-based fare not too popular in Hamilton

  2. This little chesnut from Peter Mercanti about the anti-casino crowd: “Who are these people? What is their background? What have they done? They get almost all the same weight as the people who really count. It shocks me.”
  3. And who can forget the negative reaction from followers of HTN when they heard about weight-based bus fares?
  • Hammergovermentfailsusagain Feb 4, 3:23 pm

    I do not ride the HSR as I drive myself…Hamilton is already a poor/hurting Provence but on top of all that lets make the disabled/weak/poor/over weight people pay for it… BOO shame on HAMILTON is this just a money grabbing scam to make up for the money lost to the BS web site they lost money on?

  • Nicole margerison Feb 4, 1:40 pm

    This is ridiculous and unethical I have been an hsr rider for years and the second I step on a bus and it

    Fat Caliper

    You have to pinch the passenger – Dr. Peever – photo by skamille

    shows my weight n tells me what I owe to ride is the day I sue the asses outta them assh***s that is completely wrong and discriminatory I am extremely offended by this :(

  • This is like putting black people on the back of the bus, just being racist to heavy people

  • This is disgusting…this is discrimination? Wtf are you thinking. I am a single mother who take her 2mon old on the bus almost everyday…are you going to make me pay for my strollera weight too? If so thats bs! Not all people are obese by choice…this is why people will and have left hamilton…because the council are a bunch of a-holes. Your drivers weigh maybe 250+ and sit on their asses and dont do nothing but we have to pay? No way. If their on the bus they should have to pay a fee. This is bullshit.

  • Tony King@Aboriginal_Guy @HammerInTheNews *Red Alert!* Don’t french kiss the mayor after he smoked one of his stogies.


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The Mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, Playing with Himself

The Mayor of Canada’s Biggest City Playing With Himself – photo by Shaun Merritt

Farley Hammerton, December 16th, 2013.

Toronto – the city-state at the heart Canada’s financial centre – is fast-paced, hard-working, and an ecosystem unto itself.  Every once in a while, however, they turn their head towards their forgotten cousin, Hamilton.  It wasn’t a tire fire that brought their eyes across the bay this time, but the news that their legally entangled mayor might be throwing his towel in Hamilton’s next mayoral race.

Sources close to Ford say that his legal battles are painting him in a corner.  “He can’t go on like this.  If the appeal to stay the court’s decision to depose him as mayor falls through, he might not win again.  Let’s face it, he and his brother, Doug, are not going to be satisfied sitting as a normal councillor.  That’s why he’s talking about Hamilton.”

Hamilton is ripe for reform, says our source.  “There’s an LRT plan to cancel, revenue from vehicle registration to abolish, and a heritage committee that’s gaining traction among citizens.  Developers don’t worry about painful red tape in Hamilton, and he thinks it should stay that way.  He’s been following your politics quite closely. He was really impressed by the motion yesterday to turn down 800 buildings from getting heritage status.  Twenty days are plenty to make a decision for a crappy old building.  Some of Ford’s biggest decisions are made in less than ten seconds.”

As Ford tries to envision a future with or without Toronto, what do you, Hamilton, think of Rob Ford as a mayoral candidate for Hamilton?

Please leave your comments below.

Also – Vote on who would win in a fist fight between Brian McHattie and Terry Whitehead



What Remains of Ivor Wynne

Ivor Wynne in ‘ship shape’ suggests City Staffers photo by Paul J Everett

In a last-minute decision, the City of Hamilton has decided not to go ahead with the reconstruction of Ivor Wynne Stadium.  “We have discovered that it just isn’t fiscally achievable at this point to complete the project.  A few factors that were not considered at the time of the original decision have come to light and it just isn’t possible.”

Council is confident that the Ticats can continue to play at Ivor Wynne even in its current state.  They hope to bring a motion forward to allow them to play as early as this year.  “We might be short a few seats, and the field is slightly altered, but we are confident that this team could adapt to the new terrain and succeed as well.”  Calls to Ticats management have not been returned as of press time, but a comment was obtained from T.C., the mascot of the team.  “The team is already pretty much settled in at Frank’s Motel just outside of Guelph. They aren’t gonna like having to move again.”

Some fans just can’t buy it. “I just don’t see how it’s going to be safe with all those beams and shards of metal,” says uber-fan Brett Solids.

Fans can expect to need to wear safety boots, hard hats and reflective vests when attending games at Ivor Wynn.  If you have purchased a piece of history, council has requested you return it, or at least bring it with you when you attend a game.

Liked this?  Read about 5-Scooter Pile-up in Jackson Square


Meet our new writer, Mike Parcy.


Our New Writer – Mike Parcy – photo by Squacc0

Mike Parcy Bio

Mike Parcy loves Hamilton.  He is the owner and sole operator of Mike Parcy Bicycles.  He enjoys the pan flute and carries a picture of Chad Collins in his wallet.  Mike was born and raised in Hamilton, ON.  Mike has lived and worked in the city for his entire life and hasn’t left the city boundaries due to a crippling fear of travel.  Even since amalgamation, Mike refuses to visit Dundas, Flamborough and Stoney Creek.


Portrait of Martin Short

A Haunting Portrait of Martin Short – photo by a L p

The buzz around the Secret of Connaught is finally over.  When citizens heard the Connaught would be encased in steel there arose an outcry.  In a fascinating press release today, heavy backers announced the financing of a Hamilton theme park:  Shortyland.  This entirely Martin Short themed park will feature rides and attractions based on the lovable characters Short has played over the years, including Jiminy Glick and Ed Grimley.    It’s modeled after Dolly Parton’s Dollywood. Hamilton’s Martin Short, graduate of Westdale High School, was instrumental in the Canadian Comedic invasion of the US of the Eighties, through SCTV and Saturday Night Live.

The theme park will feature a 30-foot rotating sign with Short’s smiling face on it.  It will be like Hamilton’s CN Tower – a landmark that orients you and makes you feel proud to be part of the city.  The park will include water slides, a Three Amigos Restaurant, a Eugene Levy sideshow, and fully staffed Second City improve theatre.

Though we couldn’t get ahold of Short, due to his full calendar, we did talk to his high school buddy, Kurt Palmerston.   “I bet old Marty is tickled pink.  Tickled.  I mean, This is a guy who played a 10-year old in the feature film Clifford.  Who does that?!  A fun-loving guy, that’s who.  And guys who love fun, love theme parks.  Fact!”

Development is said to start early 2014.

Cast your vote on the fate of the Connaught – click here