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.
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
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).
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.