and another one’s down

Federal Building, demolition, Hamilton, 150 Main St.

Photo by Jeff Tessier from Civic Pride Made Real, H Mag.

 

150 Main St. is where the 57 year old Federal Building stands… well is kind of standing.  It is partially being dismembered.  The whole ordeal has been a contentious and difficult process.  There have been petitions to save Elizabeth Holbrook’s 1954 stone works that adorn the front facade of the building, as well as, petitions to designate the building as a historical landmark.  Owner and developer Darko Vranich purchased the building in 2004 with the intention to develop the property into condos.  However, 7 years later no action or movement to initiate this development was taken.  After much drama between the city, Vranich and the Government of Canada, it was decided that only a partial demolition would be able to occur, as when Vranich purchased the building one condition was to keep intact the original facade and features of the building and that the building could not be razed to the ground.  Phewf!

 

“Please be reminded that the Government of Canada sold the property with a covenant that runs with the land in perpetuity which, in addition to protecting certain designated features and facades, requires that you and subsequent purchasers not ‘raze to the ground or otherwise demolish the entire building.’”

Federal Building, Hamilton, 150 Main St., demolition

It is still very sad and frustrating to see half the building being ripped down, not to mention that the owner was able to leave the building untouched for such a long time only letting it fall into further decay.  I feel like this is a trend in Hamilton; buy an old building that has the potential to rejuvenate and transform the city when properly cared for, make hollow promises that you will develop it but then do nothing, let the building sit vacant for many years, ultimately resulting in its demolition.  This has been a similar case for many historical downtown Hamilton buildings like The Century Theatre, which was demolished in 2010, and The Royal Connaught, which has been sitting vacant since 2004.  It is truly such a horrible shame or even a disgrace as Sean Burak writes in Raise the Hammer.

150 Main St., Hamilton, Federal Building, demolition

150 Main St. front door

Elizabeth Holbrook stone work, art, Federal Building, 150 Main St., Hamilton

150 Main St., front doors, Hamilton,

Elizabeth Holbrook, art, stone work, Hamilton, Federal Building, 150 Main St.

For further reading pleasure about the state of many of Hamilton’s buildings, read the recently published article in The Globe and Mail titled Vacant Buildings Overwhelm Hamilton’s Streets.

summer sandwich

When some wonderful and lovely friends came over for lunch on the weekend, I thought a feast of grilled veggie sandwiches, with meats and cheeses on ciabatta bread would be a nice, refreshing, summery treat that would suit everyone’s lunch time pallet.

grilled zucchini, roasted peppers, spinach, raspberry cheddar cheese

spicy salami, grilled zucchini, roasted peppers, raspberry cheddar, & baby spinach

For some garden fresh sides I threw together some lightly steamed green beans tossed with fresh chopped mint from the garden, reduced balsamic, olive oil and crumbled feta cheese.

grilled veggies & smoked gruyere

homegrown tomaotes, mini bocconcini, basil, balsamic & olive oil

The other side dish consisted of  tomatoes from the garden with basil, and mini bocconcini cheese, olive oil and balsamic.  Simple food but super delicious!

 grilled veggie & meat sandwich on ciabatta bread

edible garden

I love that Hamilton’s City Hall has an edible garden.  Purple cabbage, kale, parsley, and Swiss chard fill the garden beds out front of the shiny new refurbished City Hall.

Hamilton, city hall, exterior, edible garden

Hamilton, city hall, garden, cabbage heads, cabbage patch

After passing the cabbage patch out front of Hamilton’s City Hall, I biked past a small splatter of chalk messages to the late Jack Layton on the sidewalk.  It was a very sweet tribute to Jack from local Hamiltonians.  Still, nothing can compare to the overwhelming and touching response to the recent passing of NDP leader Jack Layton in front of City Hall in Toronto.

Remembering Jack Layton at Nathan Phillips Square

Crowds gather in front of Toronto City Hall, Nathan Philips Square, to read chalk drawn messages dedicated to Jack Layton.

 

keep it in the family

A while ago Steve picked up this yellow chair at a garage sale in his home town for $5.  His grandma upon seeing the chair stated that the chair was in fact once hers, and that she had sold it many years back at a garage sale.  We thought “No, there’s no way!” and so we carried on our lives enjoying the sitting pleasures of this fine vinyl yellow chair.  Until one day a few years later, Steve noticed a little piece of paper peeking out from in between the seat. He dug it out, only to discover that it was a Christmas present label to one of his cousin’s from “grandma” in his grandmother’s handwriting!  Lesson learned listen to what your grandma says ‘cos grandmas don’t lie.

vintage yellow vinyl chair, interior design

closing time

Harvest Burger has been a King Street Hamilton staple for as long as I can remember.  It’s been around for 32 years to be exact, long before I started frequenting it as a teenager. For a place that feels like it’s been in existence forever, it is hard to imagine that one day soon Harvest Burger will be closing its doors.  I paid my last visit recently, and spoke briefly with owner Ippokratis Fthenos, who expressed with sadness that through good times and bad times the time had come for him and his wife Georgia to retire and close up shop.

Harvest Burger, Hamilton, closing

Harvest Burger, Ippokratis Fthenos, closing, Hamilton

Harvest Burger, Hamilton, menu, burger, closing

When I asked Ippokratis if the King St. east Harvest Burger location would remain open, he pointed to the card propped up on the counter “In Loving Memory”, and said his brother owned the other Harvest Burger location and that sadly he had just passed away 2 weeks ago, so no it wasn’t staying open.  The only other Harvest Burger in Hamilton will also be closing.

Harvest Burger, closing, Hamilton

Harvest Burger, Hamilton, closing, flip-seat booths

Harvest Burger, patio, swivel chairs, Hamilton, closing

Harvest Burger, Hamilton, drive up, drive through, closing

September 3rd will be Harvest Burger’s last day open.  Soon to be replaced by an A&W.  Pay your respects, reminisce about bygone days, eat a burger and munch on some fries, it’s time for Harvest Burger farewells and goodbyes.

*194 King St. West, Hamilton, 905.525.3233

modify your closet

I’ve always loved the corner of Walnut and King.  It’s home to some beautiful old buildings that are in great condition, well maintained, and in the recent past have previously been vacant. However…

MODify Your Closet, Hamilton, King St. vintage & consignment clothing shop

Last fall I was over the moon to see the consignment shop MODify Your Closet open up right on that block. I remember the very day it opened it because I basically ran right in.  The physical store space itself is gorgeous.  Owner Melanie McArthur and store manager Ally Amato renovated the space themselves stripping it back down to it’s  bare bones -original wood floors, and tin 14 foot high ceilings.  Pretty much restoring the 100 year old+ building to it’s primordial state.

MYC now carries men’s wear too along with a great selection of carefully selected men’s & women’s shoes, clothes, vintage ties, with a huge collection of women’s accessories from hats, scarves and belts down to clutches and purses.

50's vintage dress, MODify Your Closet, Hamilton, King St. clothing store

vintage red suitcase, Modify Your Closet, Hamilton, vintage & consignment clothing store

mens vintage shoes, MODify Your Closet, Hamilton, consignment & vintage clothing store

men's summer hat, vintage, Modify Your Closet, Hamilton, clothing store

I regularly peak in and peruse the choice selection of vintage and gently used designer finds.  With every season change the ladies at MYC put on some fantastic sales of up to 50-70% off nearly everything in the store.  I’ve found some amazing steals, and will boast my purchase of 2 denim rompers (because 1 is never enough!), a super cute red and white polka-dot shirt and an adorably sexy black dress ALL for a total of $48!

Another recent addition to the collection of great finds at this store is the vintage pyrex cookware.  Love it!

pyrex vintage dishes, MOdify Your Closet, Hamilton

For more information about this great consignment store read The Hamilton Spectator article about MODify Your Closet  here.

 

*203 King St. east, Hamilton, Ontario, 905.522.2229, M-F 10-6, S 12-5

beefy tomatoes

Beef eater? Beef cake?  Beefsteak? It doesn’t matter what the name is of these tomatoes because one thing is for sure, they are definitely beefy.

beefsteak tomatoes, homegrown tomatoes, backyard vegetable garden, raised beds

We used an old pair of jeans cut into rags to tie up our massively growing tomato plant.

homegrown, beefsteak tomatoes, backyard garden

I swear some of these beefsteak tomatoes from our garden are the size of 5 pin bowling balls. They are huge, delicious, fresh and juicy.

beefsteak tomatoes, sunday morning breakfast

Fresh cut garden tomatoes go perfect with a Sunday morning breakfast.

 

 

bike ride

The other day we went for a bike ride, and I was happy to see the completed bike bridge that now connects the rail trail all the way to the waterfront trail (up & over the QEW), allowing for easier access to the beach and water all by bicycle!

bike bridge over QEW, Hamilton, bike trail to waterfront

I love the Hamilton bike trails. From our house it’s a 2 minute ride to the escarpment rail trail that goes east up and along the escarpment to Albion Falls.  A short jaunt away from our place (at the top of Dundurn) is the start of the other rail trail going west all the way to Brantford.  If you wanted to make a day of cycling you could do a huge circuit from Burlington’s lakeshore waterfront all the way to the Dundas Valley Conservation area all by trails.

Lake Ontario, tall wild grasses, bike trail, Hamilton

Love, love, love the waterfront trail between Burlington & Hamilton.  It’s wide, paved, and can accommodate, bikers, walkers, strollers, rollerbladers and the like all without overcrowding.  On this day there were tons of picnics and bbqs going on, as well as, folks lounging by the beach, eating ice-cream and sipping patio beers.

Lawrence Rd. bike lane, Hamilton

On the way home from the waterfront we opted to take Lawrence road’s bike lane (the road that runs behind Gage Park to Stoney Creek) and follow the neighbourhood back roads that hug the escarpment back home to downtown.

 

august art crawl

This month’s art crawl is going to be another really good one!  The ladies from the Beehive Craft Collective are putting on their 2 day craft show in the old Friendship Gift Shop (118 James St. north).  They will have some fabulous vendors.  If you want to get a little taste of what will be at the craft fair you can checkout the Beehive Craft Collective blog and their spotlight features of the vendors & their products.

Here’s a tiny sample of some of the talented crafters that will be there.

cards by Katie Muth, Summer Craft Fair, James St. North

From http://www.ohmysocute.com/

I have unknowingly bought many, many cards by printmaker Katie Muth.  I’ve bid happy wishes with Katie’s artwork for weddings, thank yous, births and birthdays, cards all of which I’ve purchased from Mixed Media. It’ll be great to stock up on some more artful greetings for all the upcoming nuptials I will be witnessing in the next few months.

rust jars fat quarter, Bespoke Uprising, summer craft fair, James St. north

Hand drawn images, & screen printed textiles by bespoken uprising

For more images go to bespoken uprising’s blog or for some shopping check out her etsy page.

 

bacon egg potery, by breand and butter pottery, summer craft fair, Hamiton, James St. North

from http://breadandbutterpottery.com/pottery/

Super cute pottery from Bread & Butter Pottery.

 

the lasso, textiles, scarf, scout & catalogue, summer craft fair, Hamilton, James St. norht

from http://www.scoutandcatalogue.com/

Soft and pretty textiles and garments from Scout & Catalogue.

 

In addition to all this wonderful summer craftiness, Steve will have his artwork in 2 galleries for the art crawl; Align at b contemporary and Zoo at Loose Canon.  At b contemporary, pieces by Steve Newberry like the one below, as well as, artwork by Stephanie Seagram and Nicole Collins, will be exhibited.

Steve Newberry artist, b contemporary art gallery, James St. North Art Crawl, Hamilton art gallery

landscapes -belleville artist Steve Newberry

For more pictures of the gorgeous artwork at  Zoo’s opening from July’s art crawl , check out Jacqui Oakley’s blog post.

 

*b contemporary, 226 James St. North, Hamilton

*Loose Canon, 150 James St. North, Hamilton

 

antiques & breakfast

Antiques and greasy breakfast go so well together.  While we were in Kingston to see the Wolfe Island Music Festival, we visited  friends, went to the antique market at Market Square, and dined at the Right Spot for a delicious greasy breakfast.

Kingston antique market, view finder

Kingston antique market, antique tins

Kingston antique market, antique tricycle

Kingston antique market, antique stadium seats, antique theatre seats

Kingston antique market, bicycle

Right Spot Restaurant, diner, greasy spoon, greasy breakfast, Kingston, Ontario

Right Spot Restaurant, diner, greasy spoon, greasy breakfast, Kingston, Ontario

I ordered French toast and home fries (sorry no picture). Their home fries are thinly sliced medallions, griddle fried in bacon grease to a crisp golden brown perfection. My French toast was crispy and savoury (from bacon grease) on the outside, but soft and sweet, melt in my mouth on the inside.

Right Spot Restaurant, diner, greasy spoon, greasy breakfast, Kingston, Ontario

Right Spot Restaurant, diner, greasy spoon, greasy breakfast, Kingston, Ontario

The owners are a sweet couple that run the place (just the two of them).  I will be sad if I ever come to Kingston and I see that they’ve retired and the place is closed down.  I hope that there’s someone to carry on their delicious tradition of making the yummiest, cheapest, greasy breakfast in town.

*Right Spot, 171 Wellington St, Kingston, Ontario. 613.546.0767

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