Comment 368

By doug (registered) | Posted March 20, 2006 at 12:29:42

I was born and raised in Hamilton, went to McMaster, couldn't find a job in the Hammer when I graduated, so I moved to Toronto. (The despised Hogtown.)

At first I hated Toronto as every good Hamilton boy was bred to do, however, as time went on, I began to convert.

I began to see the things that Toronto had done right and Hamilton had done wrong. (I grew up thinking that Toronto oppressed Hamilton, wrong, Hamilton oppressed Hamilton.) For example, when I was living in Hamilton, I used to think that one way streets were the greatest thing since sliced bread because they allowed you to speed uninterupted from one end of town to the other in 15 minutes.

But since then, I have learned that Cities are not supposed to be about efficient traffic movements for suburbanites. Quite the opposite in fact. Cities are supposed to be about people living in residential neighbourhoods.

Toronto never forgot that, Hamilton suffered from the impacts of 1955 urban planning, where it was thought logical (by American Standards) that people would work in the city, then be "wisked to the suburbs" by a series of efficient expressways to be home in time for dinner with muffy and the kids.

Hamiton bought into this line of crap hook line and sinker. The result has been a decimation of the downtown core and inner city.

As the inner city began to decay, Hamilton then bought into the idea of the "Quick Fix", big one ofs that would rejeuvenate the downtown and related areas.

There was Jackson Square

There was the Copps Coleseum

There was the Standard life building and the eyesore CIBC buildings.

There was the Sheraton.

None of them ever did what they were supposed to do - re-energize the inner city.

Because the planners got it backwards as usual.

The key to having a successful downtown and inner city is that you need to have a solid residential base. I realize that this is the old chicken or egg debate, however, I do believe that if you have a solid residential community, you will have a solid commercial community as well.

That is exactly how Toronto's inner city neighbourhoods have prospered. You can turn off Yonge Street right downtown and you are into HOUSES. Houses where people live.

Turn off King Street in Hamilton and you are into abandonment.


  1. Get rid of the one way streets immediately.

  2. Tear down Jackson Sqare and re-establish streets similar to Ottawa, or even Quebec City.

  3. Give tax breaks to those living downtown in single family dwellings if they do substantial renovations to restore their homes.

  4. Consider tearing down everthing between King Street north to Cannon from James to John and building a Central Park for Hamilton. The real estate around the park will sought after if you do it right.

  5. Put the buses outside the perimeter.

I dunno if Hamilton will ever go for it. When I mention my ideas to my Hamilton friends they just roll their eyes and call me a dumb Torontonian. Then they jump in their minivans and drive over to Limeridge or the big box stores on the west mountain. (Where I used to go exploring along the trails there as a kid.)

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