Reflection is a way to remind future generations of how past experiences made us what we are today.
By Larry Pattison
Published May 09, 2012
Lister Block: Built 1924, Restored 2011 (RTH file photo)
We are told throughout our lives not to dwell in the past, yet we study history and are fascinated by it. We can look at Lambeau Field in Green Bay or the newly restored Lister Building here in town, and you get an idea of how communities are recognizing not only the importance of the heritage value in their cities structures, but the monetary value in itself in attracting tourism.
We visit cities across the globe much in part with anticipation of taking our own physical and mental images of these things we've read about in our history books. Every city wants these artifacts to encourage world travel to their little space amongst this vast world surface.
We have saved part of the old Revenue Canada Building and even part of the old Harvest Burger seems in early construction, that it will be carried forward as a new building is built in its place.
The western wing of the old Revenue Canada building at Main and Caroline will be integrated into a new development
With Ivor Wynne Stadium, perhaps we already lost long ago what was structurally important and preservable about its past when we renovated the north stands and removed the old Civic Stadium entrance façade that lined Beechwood Avenue, but its history nonetheless is as storied as they come.
Both new structures will most certainly inject a hope and energy into the stale air that has sat stagnant over steel town for far too long. Likely they will both remember their predecessors past with photos or some other memorabilia amongst their interior spaces.
However, we may have to rely on places like HIStory + HERitage or the Hamilton Public Library to dig up these pieces to our past when the dust has settled at 75 Balsam Avenue North and 100 Main Street West.
My favorite aspect of the Board building is the round meeting space facing Main Street. I have always been fond of the entire structure, but now I value it even more through Matt Jelly's save campaign. It saddens me every day that I walk or drive by it, at the thought of it being gone and visually forgotten forever. I won't even go there with Ivor Wynne.
Gone to seed: Dandelions adorn the lawn of the doomed Board of Education building (RTH file photo)
If the entire Board structure must fall and what is built in its place is to be made of entirely glass, is there a way to create a holographic illusion that alludes to the old Board building still existing there? Like the old trading cards where you tilted them in a certain manner and they would appear to move.
Could we make it so that no matter which side of the board building you stand on, the glass portrays - through creativity more than structural physicality - what it was actually like to stand in that spot and admire what was there before.
This futuristic snapshot into the past is likely more possible on a boxy office tower, but the stadium might prove to be a different challenge in trying to portray a similar holographic look back into our past.
What if we erect vast semi-transparent sections of glass at key points around the stadium that offer a similar type of holographic illusion, yet the sections of glass would not only change as people walked by them, the historical snapshots of the old Ivor Wynne would transpose over top of the new structure to show the transformation form old to new.
Perhaps there is also a big yellow button that people could press to even offer a look back to the old Civic Stadium. I would actually love to see the Beechwood Civic Stadium façade incorporated in some fashion, into the design of the new stadium: in a physical sense. Not through an illusion.
By using the imaginations of citizens, fans, students and teachers, the community could guide us in our understanding of the historical importance of these and other structures, and they could help us decide as a city what we feel should be carried forward in some fashion. This could be relayed back to the architects who could assist us in determining what we could carry on in memory, while keeping within our budget.
The memories of these two important structures must live on in physical space, not just among a million other lost online snapshots and blurbs telling the tales of Hamilton's history.
The Lister Building is the perfect example of completely renewing history, and we can look right across the stadium and see how we can moderately remember our past with the reliefs from the original Prince of Whales school that have been placed at the front entrance of the school.
Not to downgrade the historical significance of Prince of Whales, but perhaps the old Board building and the stadium, are deserving of substantially more significant physical reminders of what once stood before and with the stadium, looking back many generations might be what makes the historical carryover from Ivor Wynne more poignant.
If history wasn't so important, it wouldn't be a required course throughout our education. Reflection is a way to remind future generations of how past experiences made us what we are today. The Board of Education building and Ivor Wynne Stadium are without a doubt, historically significant reminders of what has helped shaped Hamiltonians for the past 80+ years.
Let's not dwell, but let's not forget either.
By year's end, these two structures will likely both cease to exist. How can we ensure that their memories rise strong and proud from the ashes from where they both once stood?