Archives: Hamilton

ribfest

A few summers back Steve and I biked to Burlington for their annual Ribfest (Canada’s largest!).  I remember how the bike ride was a bit tricky once we hit the industrial heartland of the steel mills and entered into the highway of what is Burlington St. east (now with the bike bridge over the QEW this should be no sweat).  Not to mention the lift bridge got stuck and there was about an hour delay to cross the water to get to Burlington.

Mmmmm ribs.  Ribfest was awesome and well worth the bike ride and wait.  It was packed, smoky, and delicious.

A good sampling of ribs, pulled pork, and beer by the lake, in the sun, is a fantastic way to end off the summer.  Oh, sigh..

 

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.

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.

 

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

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

 

wave pool nostalgia

When I was little we’d go to Confederation Park to the “wave pool” to swim and hit the water slides all day long.  I hadn’t enjoyed any swimming at all this summer (which I usually LOVE to do), so we biked down to Wild Water Works for a day of relaxation, sun and waves.

wave pool, confederation park, wild water works

A bit of a nostalgic afternoon.  I remember from when I was a kid at the end of a day of swimming I would close my eyes as I went to bed still feeling the movement of the waves sending me off to sleep.

*Wild Water Works, 585 Van Wagner’s Rd, Hamilton, 905.547.6141

 

summer wind

We’re on to our last phase with the main floor renovation, which entails finishing the original 100+year old pine-plank flooring.  To stay clear of the toxic polyurethane varnish smell that we’d just slathered the floors with, we decided to spend the day outside enjoying the hot summer day.

Bayfront Park, Hamilton, sailing,

Down at Bayfront Park there’s a little corner that juts out just so.  On this day this little peninsula had the most gorgeous breezy bit of wonderful wind (hot everywhere else but amazing here).

ps i love you

Last Wednesday night we headed to This Ain’t Hollywood to see PS I Love You.  A duo hailing from Kingston, Ontario, they’re signed to Paper Bag Records and have been getting major acclaim from all your indie type music sources such as; Pitchfork, as well as some noted recognition for their Polaris Music Prize nomination.  Their debut album Meet Me at the Muster Station was listed in  Exclaim! for Top Pop & Rock Albums of 2010.

I came across this video a little while back, and loved the gritty lo-fi sound, and catchy guitar hooks.  So when I got wind that they were coming to town I was happy to be able to see yet another fantastic live musical act making a stop in Hamilton.

bass organ foot pedals, PS I Love You, Paul Saulnier, This Ain't Hollywood

I can barely manage to keep a beat and breath at the same time.  Meanwhile Paul Saulnier can rip it up on the guitar like something furious, wail and play the foot-pedal bass organ like a pro all the while keeping pace with the quick and steady licks of drummer Benjamin Nelson.

Paul Saulnier, Benjamin Nelson, PS I Love You, This Ain't Hollywood, Hamilton music shows

For more PS I Love You Videos you can check out Southern Souls acoustic sets of Starfield, Little Spoon, Butterflies and Boners, and Facelove here.  AND if you want to see PS I Love you they’ll be doing another show October 3rd at This Ain’t Hollywood.

An honourable mention goes out to Hamilton’s The Mystics for their mad tambourine playing, and for taking us back to the days of rough edgy rock with their opening set.

 

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