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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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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