Ben Bull sprinkles pixie dust over the city and describes what unfolds.
By Ben Bull
Published November 10, 2005
With files from Jason Leach, Ryan McGreal, and Trevor Shaw
These weeks, WOTS has a distinctly fairytale feel to it.
Why's that, Ben? You might ask, (if you were in the habit of talking to your computer). Well, it's because we at RTH are finding it hard to believe everything that's going on in this town. It's as if someone has sprinkled magic pixie dust all over the place and made the sleeping giant stir, turned this Hamilton frog into a Prince - and, well, you get the picture.
So let's pack up our picnic baskets, put on our red capes, and wander on down to Grandma's house for this month's venture into the dark forest we like to call - the Word on The Street!
Let's start with 'Once Upon a Time'. The cannon knitting mills store, which has such a rich history in this town, is closing. We don't know if that means the entire building will be empty; we'll have to see.
Suburban Chief Trevor Shaw knows the building well and reports, "The building is incredible. It would make awesome lofts. The ceilings are about 20 feet. The windows are almost floor to ceiling, it has barely any supporting walls, only some structural beams and the floors are entirely hard wood." Can anybody take a hint?
OK, let's get right into the thick of the action and head right up the beanstalk. This month in Hamilton features a veritable fi fie f***load of events listings, so let's get started:
Tuesday, November 1 at 7:00 pm featured the first of two Sharing North Hamilton Experiences presentations, at Hamilton Beach Rescue Unit, 316 Beach Boulevard (across from the Dynes). Speakers were Jim Howlett (from the Hamilton Beach Committee), Jerry Polmanter (from the Keith Renewal Project), and Zen Matwiyiw (EH board member who also lives in North Hamilton). They talked about their past and present battles to deal with community environmental issues.
The second of these was on Tuesday, November 8 at 6:30 pm, at St David's Church, Wentworth St N. Jerry Polmanter presented a talk on the Keith Renewal project and Jim Howlett spoke about his experiences with the Bitumar asphalt plant. Wayne Simpson discussed his neighbourhood's experiences with the new BIOX biodiesel facility being constructed on Oliver Street.
On Wednesday, November 9, at 7:30 pm, Friends of Red Hill Valley presented the first annual Imagining Hamilton's Future lecture at the First Unitarian Church, 170 Dundurn Street South, featuring Donald Schmitt of Diamond + Schmitt Architects Inc, the firm developing the plan for the McMaster Innovation Park on the former Camco property in West Hamilton. Donald took questions from a panel of architects and urban activists (including RTH editor Ryan McGreal!). The evening also launched the Spirit of Red Hill Valley Writing Awards and the release of the Red Hill archives CD. This free public event was organized by Friends of Red Hill Valley and co-sponsored by the Hamilton and Burlington Society of Architects. More information is available at http://www.hwcn.org/link/forhv/.
Thursday, November 10, brings us a Hamiltonians for Progressive Development Celebratory Event, at Ancaster Rotary Centre, 385 Jerseyville Road, Ancaster. Enjoy presentations from keynote speakers as well as co-chairs Michael Desnoyers and Jack Santa-Barbara. Discussion Topics include: Aerotropolis, Peak Oil, New Urbanism and more. Featuring a Hamilton Eat Local Food Menu. Event is from 5-7pm. See the HPD website for more details: http://www.progressivedevelopment.ca/.
Mana is the Polysnesian word for the power that resides in things. On Thursday, November 10 at 8:00 PM, Transit Gallery at 230 Locke St. S. will be screening MANA: Beyond Belief, a film by Peter Friedman and Roger Manley on the universal power that objects hold over people. Speaking of the power things have over people, the film is $5 in advance or $7 at the door. Contact Priti Kohli or David Brace at (905) 522-1299 or via their website: http://www.transitgallery.ca
On Friday, November 11 at 7:00 PM, the Imperial Cotton Centre for the Arts and the Ontario Trillium Foundation are launching the Art Bus, which leaves the corner of King and Sterling in Westdale and crawls around Hamilton's "cultural hotspots", including: the Imperial Cotton Centre for the Arts, Sky Dragon Centre, Transit Gallery, Loose Cannon Gallery, You Me Gallery, The Print Studio, Hamilton Artists' Inc., Blue Angel Gallery, Mixed Media, Siblimatus Gallery, and the Downtown Cultural Centre. It's $5 a person; call (905) 548-0111 to reserve tickets or show up at King and Sterling.
According to Creative Director Jeremy Freiburger, "It's just a quick and simple way to get the public and the artists together without the worries of 'Where are we going?', 'We don't know anyone?', and 'What's with all these one-way streets?'. The bus picks you up, drops you off, and in between I'll personally be giving a little insight into who and what you're about to see." This sounds like a wonderful way to dive into Hamilton's exploding arts scene.
Loose Cannon Gallery, at the corner of James St. N and Cannon St., is holding a reception for its new installation, Landscapes by artist Andrea Carvalho. For more information, contact Dane Pederson at (905) 515-4346 or via the website: http://www.loosecannongallery.com
The Strathcona Community Council will host Ward 1 Councillor Brian McHattie and the City of Hamilton as they release the revised plans for Victoria Park at a public meeting on Tuesday, November 15 at 7:00 PM at Erskine Presbyterian Church, 19 Pearl St. N.
SHOP on James North! On Saturday, November 19 and Sunday, November 20, Mixed Media and Loose Cannon Gallery proudly present a weekend show and sales event on James St. N to celebrate the street's wonderful revitalization. SHOP on James North will feature arts and crafts from local Hamilton artists, designers, and craftspeople. It's free, but the organizers do ask you to bring a non-perishable food item to donate to local food banks. For more information, contact the tireless Dave Devries-Kuruc at (905) 529-2323 or email@example.com.
The Art Gallery of Hamilton is offering a free Family Day on Sunday, November 20, from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM in celebration of National Child Day. This includes a tasty tour of The Feast: Food in Art exhibition, and children under 18 also enjoy free admission to Heaven and Earth Unveiled. In case you still haven't been there, the Art Gallery of Hamilton is at 123 King St. W, across from Jackson Square.
On Wednesday, November 23 at 7:30 PM, Environment Hamilton, Transit Users Group, Hamiltonians for Progressive Development, and your very own Raise the Hammer are presenting a lecture and film showing at the Hamilton Spectator Auditorium, 44 Frid Street in Hamilton, featuring a lecture by Keith Stewart from the Toronto Envrironmental Alliance and a preview of Escape from Suburbia, the sequel to the documentary film The End of Suburbia (see RTH review).Download a poster and spread the word!
Another speaker series is happening on Tuesday, November 29, at 7.30 pm. Talking about Using the Environmental Bill of Rights will be John Ferguson, education advisor to the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario. This will "provide a workshop on the tools of accountability, transparency and public participation in Ontario's Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR)." John will give an interactive presentation outlining how citizens can make a difference by using these important legal tools to protect and enhance their local communities. Held at the Norman Pinky Lewis Recreation Centre, 192 Wentworth St. N.
Just as winter's chill collides with surging natural gas prices, the Strathcona Community Council and Green Venture will be hosting a workshop called Grow Green and Save Green on ways to reduce home energy consumption. It will be held on Tuesday, January 17, 2006 at 7:00 PM at Erskine Presbyterian Church, 19 Pearl St. N.
OK, so what's Gingerbread Man Jason Leach been cooking up in his Magical Kingdom of downtown Hamilton this past fortnight? Let's take a look into the WOTS crystal ball and find out:
"There's a numbered company that's been looking to rezone the lands at the southeast corner of Barton and Ferguson," reports RTH's favourite Gingerbread Boy. "Their sign says the site will be 'a range of residential and commercial uses.'" Our confidential source is keeping hush on this, and will only tell us it's "definitely not about scrap (metal)" We've heard it's going to be "retail commercial."
Apparently the property is owned by the Hotz family and they are looking to do a commercial development involving a number of components. The family seems to have appeared before a committee during the downtown secondary plan zoning discussions, but they haven't announced any specifics as yet. Word is they were hoping for an all-commercial designation but the City's Planning Dept insisted on a piece of the property to be for residential purposes, hence the sign.
More from Jason: "G.S. Dunn, the Mustard Festival sponsors, have filed for bankruptcy. Although this will mean more lost jobs - 50 or so - we have to say that we are not fans of their building downtown - it ruins Vine St. This would make a really good site for potential residential/retail use which might become a part of the emerging Chinatown."
OK, so what's Hamilton's Prince Charming Dave H Kuruk up to these days? He's been busy! For starters his mag is featured in the new issue of Utne - very cool. Also, he got a call from CBS news and they want some copies of H mag for an upcoming story.
WOTS Update! Last issue we told you about a rumour circling around Lorne Lieberman's latest venture. Word is that this is no fairytale! Yup, it's all true! Last past the post as usual, the Hamilton Spectator reported last month that Lieberman is in fact going to open up the old CH theatre on King West. There's no word on when yet, but again, we'll keep ya posted.
OK, Let's head into another house of candy and see what's stirring in the witch's pot, as we ladle out yet another potion of - Upcoming Events!
Weird performance artist, Waxmannequin, is set to perform at the Art Gallery of Hamilton this month. Their news release states, "The Art Gallery of Hamilton's current Atelier Series exhibition includes a new installation completed by established Hamilton artist Jane Adeney and her son Chris Adeney. To celebrate this collaboration, Chris Adeney as Waxmannequin will present a unique performance amidst the installation on Thursday, November 17 at 7:00 pm. Admission to the performance is free."
On Nov 17, the Downtown Cultural Centre features the inimitable Jack Street in The Jack Street Show. Jack has quite a line up of performers, including:
No, I've never heard of any of 'em either, excepot maybe that Foley bloke, but I have seen Jack Street and he is one entertaining bloke, that's for sure. Show starts at 8:00 pm, tickets are $15.00 in advance or $20.00 at the door. $3.00 from each advance ticket goes to Hamilton Food share.
The Ontario Smart Growth Network (OSGN) is very proud to announce the launch of its Taking Smart Growth to the Streets Program. They cordially invite you to the session taking place in Burlington on Nov. 15. Their press release states, "The Streets meetings have been created to give you a voice in the future development of your community. By listening and learning from each other, we will work to:
These sessions are free and open to everyone - but we especially want to hear from local citizens who are most impacted by planning decisions. Space is limited, so please reserve your place ASAP by contacting Greg McDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org or 416.533.1635 ext. 4." Venue is Burlington Central Library, Holland Room (Main Floor) 2331 New Street. Time, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Coffee and muffins will be provided!
OK, we're onto the last page. So what shall we do for a happy ever after? Well, we don't have one. This Hamilton Fairytale ain't over yet, folks. It's barely got started. Send us your event listings, Press releases, and baseless rumours, and we'll paste them all over our site.
And, if the world's worst secret hasn't reached you yet, we might even post them in our upcoming issues of RTH in print! Yes, we've finally gotten off our backsides, well, away from our computers anyway, and put together a print preview issue of RTH.
There are only 100 of them out there and we don't have any left, but don't fret! If you can't get your hands on one, hang on for the next issue, coming along later this year.
Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, folks! That's it for another issue of WOTS. But tune in next week, as we bite into yet another poisoned apple of Hamilton happenings - the Word on The Street!