Hamilton City Magazine - No.1 - Late Summer 2022

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This year the Art Gallery of Hamilton is launching a 10-day multi-arts Festival featuring concerts, films, pop-ups, parties, workshops and more! Taking place at the Art Gallery of Hamilton and throughout the Hamilton area, the AGH Fest will showcase the AGH’s core programs, animate the current exhibitions, and support artists from across the region. Visit us online at artgalleryofhamilton. com/aghfest for more details and to sign up for event announcements! PRESENTED BY OCTOBER 14 -23, 2022 10 DAYS OF ARTS & CULTURE Art@at_theagh@theaghGalleryof Hamilton 123 King Street West, Hamilton 905.527.6610 artgalleryofhamilton.com/aghfest


A thank you also goes out to the advertisers who have supported our vision and all the partners we are assembling. We are confident this is the right time for HCM and it’s fabulous to see that so many of you share our passion.


and our


During the cover shoot at Marta Hewson’s Cotton Factory studio, it was half photo shoot and half Harrison Kennedy holding court with stories of the legends he has worked with, and brushed shoulders with, during his incredible career – Aretha, The Supremes, Alicia Keys, Marvin Gaye, George Harrison, Mick Jagger, JohnButLennon...hetalked equally – and lovingly –about growing up in Hamilton, the characters in his family and the wisdom and kindness he learned from his mother. Jamie Tennant has written a gorgeous story celebrating Harrison’s incredible journey and you aren’t going to want to miss it.

Our launch edition is a celebration of the arts, a critical sector to Hamilton’s identity and its future. It is fitting then, that we feature a musician on the cover – and not just any musician. Harrison Kennedy truly is a local legend and his musical pedigree is as impressive as it is diverse.

©2022 Hamilton City Publishing Inc.

CREATIVE DIRECTOR WILL VIPOND TAIT will@hamiltoncitymagazine.ca

HCM is a member of Magazines Canada. HCM basic price: $39 (HST included - six issues published bimonthly). Single copies: $7.95 (plus HST). HCM (ISSN 2816-7449) is indexed in the Canadian Periodical Index. Printed in Canada by St. Joseph Communications. HCM is distributed by Canada Post. Contact Us: 270 Sherman Av N, Studio 301 Hamilton, ON L8L info@hamiltoncitymagazine.ca6N4 hamiltoncitymagazine.ca

Our team is grateful to everyone who sup ported us as we’ve prepared for this launch.


W e are thrilled that our magazine is finally in your hands. It’s been a long time coming and this is just theWebeginning.willcelebrate all things Hamilton because we love this city – both where it’s been and where it is headed. There is so much to celebrate, explore, discover and discuss and we aim to do exactly that in every issue. After all, that’s what HAMILTON CITY Magazine is all about.

We are proud to showcase Indigenous artists and leaders in this issue. These are im portant voices advancing Indigenous ways of knowing and being. Listening to these voices is our way forward.

And finally, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is Sept. 30. The day honours the lost children and survivors of residential schools, their families and communities. These schools and their shameful 167-year history carry a painful legacy of trauma, familial heartache and stolen culture and traditions.

DIGITAL DIRECTOR MARK WU mark@hamiltoncitymagazine.ca



To all those who contributed to our crowd funding campaign – our backers, those who provided perks, and those who shot selfies, thank you. Be sure to check out our Founders Wall (pages 76-77) and see your name in print – it’s our little way of saying thank you to everyone who helped us along the way.

EDITOR MARC SKULNICK marc@hamiltoncitymagazine.ca


Welcome to premiere edition of HCM! dire C tor wi LL pub L isher jeff, Mar C C iate pub L isher M eredith digita L dire C tor Mark. photo: evans

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PUBLISHER JEFFREY MARTIN jeff@hamiltoncitymagazine.ca

As always, we welcome your feedback and can’t wait to hear what you think of our first issue. Feel free to tweet, post or message us and help spread the word about HAMILTON CITY Magazine. n Thank you! Jeff Martin, Marc Skulnick, Mark Wu, Meredith MacLeod & Will Vipond Tait


JESSICA ROSE is a writer, editor, and book reviewer whose work has appeared in publications across Canada. She is the book reviews editor at THIS Magazine , a senior editor at the Hamilton Review of Books , a founding editor at The Inlet , and is the marketing manager at gritLIT: Hamilton’s Readers and Writers Festival.

DAVID M c PHERSON is the author of the acclaimed Legendary Horseshoe Tavern: A Complete History , as well as the recently released Massey Hall David has written for Grammy.com, the Globe and Mail , SOCAN’s Words and Music, No Depression, American Songwriter, and Acoustic Guitar . He lives in Waterloo.

MARTA HEWSON is a fashion and portrait photographer located in the historic Cotton Factory in Hamilton. She brings her 20 years of fashion photography insight to every portrait shoot, and she’s on a mission to make you fall in love with the experience of being photographed.

RYAN M c GREAL is a programmer, writer and amateur urbanist. He was the founding editor of Raise the Hammer, raisethehammer.org, a website dedicated to civic affairs and urban revitalization in Hamilton, and a founding member of Hamilton Light Rail, hamiltonlightrail.ca, a citizen group promoting higher-order transit. Ryan lives in Hamilton.

JON EVANS is a Hamilton-based commercial branding photographer who has been turning the ordinary into the extraordinary for the last 22 years. Along the way Jon has met some great clients and together they’ve created many memorable cam paigns for some of the region’s top individuals and businesses. Jon loves what he does and brings that enthusiasm with him on each and every shoot.

BOB SHIELDS is a musician, professor at Mohawk College, and author in creativity and wellbeing. Taking a grassroots approach, he aims to communicate the often-overlooked intrinsic value of creativity to individual and cultural health and wellbeing. In doing so, he links culture-based creative practices with social justice and the need for egalitarian community-building.

MUSEUMMCMASTEROF ART ( Rotating exhibitions Guided art tours Free admission ) museum.mcmaster.ca@macmuseumRita Letendre, Lodestar, 1970 Our Contributors

HELEN POWERS often visited Hamilton while growing up and she moved here in 2006 with her husband and two children. After working in public relations, landscape architecture, and municipal planning, Helen is happily retired but still loves to write. Hamilton’s waterfront and valleys are her favourite places but the city’s many shopping districts are always fun to visit.

ELAINE MITROPOULOS was born into a food-loving family right here in Hamilton. She started her writing career as a reporter in Australia and Western Canada. Today, she works a day job in communications and moonlights in the food and drink industry. In her free time, Elaine enjoys strolling her neighbourhood of Dundas, delighting in the mom-and-pop shops that dot the main strip.

JODY ABERDEEN is an author, podcaster, facili tator, and general enthusiast. He is a semi-regular contributor to Urbanicity and other publications on the web. When not writing, you can find Jody tending to regenerative garden projects, practising karate, and serving craft beer in and around the Dundas Valley. Jody holds an Hon. BA in History & English from McMaster. Instagram: @jodyaberdeen.


VANESSA GREEN is the owner of Greenlight Content, a copywriting and content marketing con sultancy based in Hamilton. With over 15 years of experience in editorial and content marketing, she’s written for notable brands and publications including Yahoo, The Daily Mail , Rogers, Bell, Globe and Mail , British Airways and more. She lives in Kirkendall with her husband, son and mini-goldendoodle.

NATHAN WHITLOCK has been published in The Walrus, The New York Review of Books, Toronto Life, Globe and Mail, Best Canadian Essays and more. He is a professor at Humber College, where he coordi nates the creative book publishing program. His third novel, Lump , will be published by Dundurn Press in 2023. He lives with his family in Hamilton’s Strathcona neighbourhood. Twitter: @nathanwhitlock

CARLYE MORROW-JACKSON is pretty well-read, with a degree in English literature, but since she is also cursed with an awful memory, you’ll have to take her word for it. Luckily, she has always preferred writing about present issues, and coupled with her longstanding crush on Steeltown, she’s thrilled to bits to be a part of the new HAMILTON CITY Magazine.

BRENT PERNIAC is a professional photographer based in Hamilton. Brent has become one of Can ada’s most popular celebrity-event photographers and regularly covers national events such as the Juno Awards, the Genie Awards, Canada’s Walk of Fame, MuchMusic Video Awards and the Toronto International Film Festival. Brent’s work has been published in major publications such as InStyle, Entertainment Weekly, People, OK!, UsWeekly, Rolling Stone, InTouch, HELLO!, N.Y. Post and Life&Style

ADRIENNE ROMAN is a Canadian writer, editor, and producer. She covers a number of subjects for both local and global businesses and media outlets including sustainability, lifestyle, design, food and drink, travel, education, and arts and entertainment. Visit her website at adrienne-roman.com or on Instagram, @adrienneromanwriter

HEATHER PETER has been writing about food for close to 10 years, both on her blog, Hamilton Small Fries, and for various publications. Her passion lies in promoting and telling the stories of local food makers. In addition to writing, Heather is a certified TAC tea sommelier, and owns a small business specializing in tea: Tea Amo! She can also be found dabbling in design and marketing for the food industry.

PAUL SHAKER is a Hamilton-based urban planner and principal with Civicplan, a firm specializing in participatory planning, public engagement, and community strategies. He is a member of the Ontario Professional Planners Institute and the Canadian Institute of Planners. Paul is also a research associate with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. For more information, visit Civicplan.ca or follow @civicplan on Twitter.

KERRY DOOLE is a veteran freelance arts journalist who has written about music and film for Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Exclaim !, and dozens of consumer and trade publications in Canada, the U.S., the U.K., and Australasia. He is the author of Private Universe , a biography of the band Crowded House published by Omnibus Press. Kerry moved to Hamilton from Toronto four years ago and loves this city and its vibrant musical community.

JAMIE TENNANT is a broadcaster, journalist and author in Hamilton. He is the program director of 93.3 CFMU, where he hosts the books and literature program and podcast GET LIT. His second novel, River, Diverted , is set for release next fall. He has written about Hamilton and music for several local publications including the former Hamilton Magazine and the Hamilton Spectator

Artistic director M A ry Fr A ncis Moore, le F t, A nd executive Kelly s Augh A n. photo: pg30



There is plenty of history to celebrate – and look forward to – as Theatre Aquarius marks 50 years in 2023. 34/ THE ELDER STATESMEN Harrison Kennedy is a blues icon and, at 80, shows no signs of slowing down. 46/ RECLAIMING ROOTS Indigenous artists Alex Jacobs-Blum and Kyle Joedicke are exploring their ancestry and heritage on their own terms. 60/ LEADING THE WAY Indigenous women – Santee Smith, Savage Bear and Jaimie Lickers – are lending their knowledge, creativity and experience to prestigious posts in Hamilton. 69/ SIP, SIP HOORAY! Microbreweries and cideries are making big names for themselves in Hamilton, and beyond. 72/ EYES ON THE PIES

jon evans for hcm

There is no better time than fall to savour all that our region offers in the way of sweet and savoury pastry.

4 HCM SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2022 inside ON THE COVER: HARRISON KENNEDY, photographed by Marta Hewson for HAMILTON CITY Magazine

THEATRE AQUARIUS TURNS 50: THE HEADLINERS 14/ IT’S SUPERCRAWL Y’ALL! After two long pandemic years, Hamilton’s largest music festival has returned. We present a by-thenumbers look. 30/ DAWNING OF A NEW AGE



MAIN ATTRACTIONS 6/ CITY LIFE 17/ MADE IN HAMILTON 29/ ARTS + CULTURE 65/ FOOD + DRINK REGULAR STOPS 12/ FOR THE LOVE OF HAMILTON 16/ LIFE IN THE CITY 52/ HAMILTON READS 56/ IN THE MIX 78/ CITY VIEW from GaG e Park and Su P ercrawl to the Bruce t rail and ottawa Street n orth: local arti S t Paul elia’ S view of the city. pg78CITY VIEW: photo: jon evans for hcm


Both the National Day for Truth and Recon ciliation and Orange Shirt Day take place on Sept. 30 and recognize that at least 150,000 Indigenous children from across the country were forcibly separated from their families and their communities.

AUG 27 - DEC 31

The Future of Work is a co-presentation of the Workers Art & Heritage Centre and the Art Gallery of Burlington.

Today, the City of Hamilton is home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island (North America) and we recognize that we must do more to learn about the rich history of this land so that we can better understand our roles as residents, neighbours, partners and caretakers.

Come swap, seed-share, screen-print, mend and re-purpose clothing, create and learn in this interactive exhibition that explores emerging and established diverse economies, new radical forms of production, community governance and financial justice.

The City of Hamilton is situated upon the traditional territories of the Erie, Neutral, Huron-Wendat, Haudenosaunee and Mississaugas. This land is covered by the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, which was an agreement between the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabek to share and care for the resources around the Great Lakes. We further acknowledge that this land is covered by the Between the Lakes Purchase, 1792, between the Crown and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.

Music, Education & Reconciliation

By Bo B Shield S


n a beautiful example of music uniting people across cultures, languages, generations and geography, earlier this year, Mohawk College students collaborated with Indigenous artists in the Musical Sharing cultural engagement and exchange initiative. What emerged was an innovative blueprint for learning, relational justice, and strength-based, decolonized reconciliation. Coordinated by Bob Shields, advised by Dr. Johanne McCarthy, and with the support of the Indigenous Education department, Musical Sharing enabled participants to share cultural ideas and to come together through music. In contrast to the routine focus on the economic value of creativity, the initiative began by elevating music’s social capacity, rooted in the ethics of care, trust, respon sibility, and respect. Next, participants met as equals, free to embrace opportunities to lead, follow, teach, and learn through experience, to collaborate without the horizon of expectation. These sessions between students, Anishinaabe singer-songwriter Rick McLean, and the Six Nations Women Singers occurred both at the college and Six Nations. Finally, the initiative featured a public event, during which Indigenous cultural diversity and new friendships were celebrated through sharing music and discussing experiences. Mohawk broadcasting, graphic design, and journalism students also participated in the project. Significantly, Musical Sharing increases student agency and critical citizenship, providing direct access to multiplicities of knowledge, which can inform independent decision-making and actions. It affirms that culture and creativity resist reduction; a sustainable world view is one comprised of many voices. In future iterations, the initiative aims to expand to involve more creative vehicles, Indigenous artists, college programs, schools and communities. Stay tuned! n



MORE PHOTOS ONLINE Musical s haring is an innovative cultural engage M ent and exchange initiative for learning, relational justice, and strength-based, decolonized reconciliation.. photo: karina moffatt

The status quo is a death sentence for a mounting toll of children, elderly people and everyone in between whose bodies are crushed by a screaming metallic rush of kinetic energy that we refuse to control.

Look at your councillor’s record: do they support road safety or play anti-urban identity politics? Ask candidates what they will do to make streets safe. Your vote matters. It is literally a matter of life and death. n

On July 10, a driver on Ottawa Street North between Beach and Dalhousie struck a woman and two children and fled the scene. The woman and a 10-year boy were taken to hospital in critical condition. Witnesses say the car “went airborne” over the train tracks before slamming into the family.

Enforcement doesn’t work. There will never be enough police to patrol all the deadly streets we insist on maintaining.

On July 14, a driver on Wilson Street in Ancaster struck a man in his 30s riding a bicycle. The victim was taken to hospital. Two hours later, a woman, her 12-year-old son and two young daughters were waiting in a bus shelter at Highway 8 and Grays Road when a nearby collision sent a driver flying off the road and into the shelter. The boy was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries. Later that evening, a driver at Barton Street East and Robins Avenue struck an 18-year-old man riding a bike. This has been an exceptionally devastating year for people using public space in Hamilton, but the difference is in degree, not kind. Hamilton streets have been dangerous-by-design for decades.Safestreets advocates have called for changes since 1957, when downtown business owners begged the city’s transportation committee to reverse the recent conversions to multi-lane, one-way traffic sewers. A Downtown Ideas Charette organized by the Hamilton-Burlington Society of Architects in 1996 told the city to transform its lethal downtown expressways into two-way, pedes trian-friendly streets with wide sidewalks, bike lanes and traffic calming. That call came repeatedly over the next 26 years, to no avail. Council was relentless in its commitment to these deranged traffic sewers.

Likewise, Oslo, Norway (population 700,000) achieved zero pedestrian deaths, zero cyclist deaths and one motorist death. Meanwhile, Hamilton averages 11 to 20 fatal collisions a year. Brian Woods, killed on his bike on July 5, was the 14th traffic fatality so far this year, a death toll that includes 11 pedestrian deaths and two motorist deaths. Every traffic death is a tragedy, but the hit-and-run that killed renowned conductor Boris Brott, out for a walk in his neighbour hood in early April, shocked the city out of its complacency.Underextreme duress, councillors voted on May 11 to approve a plan to improve safety on Main Street with two-way conversion and other traffic calming measures. This followed the tragic death of DARTS operator Sherri D’Amour less than a week earlier, killed when a driver speed ing along Main toward Locke jumped the curb, careened off a building and crashed into her.

This has been an excep T ionally devas T a T ing year for people walking and cycling in h amil T on, bu T T he difference is in degree, no T kind. h amil T on s T ree T s have been

In 2013, council adopted a pedestrian mobility plan that was supposed to make pedestrians the top priority in roadway design. In practice, it had almost zero impact. In 2016, council adopted Vision Zero, a public safety philosophy that maintains all loss of life is unacceptable and telling people to be careful doesn’t work. The road system itself must be redesigned for safety. Vision Zero actually works if you take it seriously. In 2019, Helsinki, Finland (population 650,000) achieved zero pedestrian deaths, zero cyclist deaths and three motorist deaths.


These tactics are distractions from what really works: redesigning our streets so it is effectively impossible to drive dangerously.


Victim-blaming doesn’t work. A 12-year–old child waiting in a bus shelter cannot be held responsible for the actions of an adult operating a piece of deadly machinery.


This July, council adopted a comprehensive Complete Streets manual that gets into the tech nical details about how to design streets that are safer for the most vulnerable road users.

Istarted writing this in early July. Over the next few weeks, I had to rewrite the opening no less than six times.

On July 4, a driver struck a four-year-old boy on Sherman Avenue North between Case and Clinton. The victim was taken to hospital in criticalEarlycondition.thenext morning, a driver struck Brian Woods, a 52-year-old man biking to work on Upper Wentworth Street near the Linc overpass. The victim was taken to hospital without vital signs and pronounced dead.

Telling people to be careful doesn’t work. The victims of traffic violence are overwhelmingly not the people making reckless decisions.

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SAFER? b y r yan m c g real


It may be tempting to dismiss this as more empty rhetoric, like the other plans council ap proved and then ignored. But there’s a municipal election coming this October, and change is in the wind. Several long-term incumbents are retiring, while others have never been more vulnerable to a well-organized campaign from a principled challenger.

Most of my social justice roots and influences come from my mom and understanding what it was like for her as a newcomer to Canada and a single woman navigating the world with two kids.

My aunt – a Trinidadian-born, U.K.-educated nurse at Henderson Hospital – had moved to Hamilton. My mother and sister followed suit, coming to Canada in the early 1970s. Mom worked at Consumer’s Dominion Glass as a factory worker. I was born in Hamilton, this city that I returned back to after going away to university. It’s a community that’s provided me with the foundation of who I am today. I don’t think I give Hamilton enough credit for the experiences that led me to the work I’m in now.

MORE Q+A ONLINE: sc AN th E QR c O d E Lyndon Geor G e, executive director of the h ami Lton a nti- r acism r esource c entre ( harrc ), is a 15 -year veteran advocate for hea Lth equity, a community bui L der, and an anti-racism L eader with a de G ree in crimino Lo G y and crimina L justice from c ar L eton u niversity.


I grew up on the east Mountain. Towards middle school, we moved into a new community housing complex. I remember the mayor of Hamilton came to the opening to cut cake and share with the community. That was a pivotal moment to see how housing and community activism were essential to providing that opportunity for me. Political leaders always had a role to play in providing housing to our community. It was an affordable home for a single mom to raise her two kids, a vibrant neighbourhood where people from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds and working-class families lived together. I saw the changes that took place when we lived there, when the City gave management responsibilities over to private property management firms, and the resulting difference in the quality of maintenance and support. I also saw how cuts to public housing and changes to the provincial government affected

What is your origin story?

A Voice for Change

I’m usually a very private person about myself. The story’s not about one individual, but how we collectively move towards positive change. I think each of us, our own stories, do influence the way in which we’d like to see that change happen. My family is originally from Trinidad & Tobago.

As the executive director of the Hamilton Anti-Racism Resource Centre (HARRC), LYNDON GEORGE holds a prominent role in helping residents who are experiencing discrimination and racism. In an interview with JODY ABERDEEN, George talked about growing up in Hamilton in the ’80s and ’90s, the challenges facing HARRC and the city today, and his hopes for the future.

photo: jon evans for hcm

What are your thoughts on the emergence, and normalization, of racist elements – the Proud Boys, for example – not only in Hamilton, but across Canada?

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2022 HCM 9 our quality of life when the downloading of services began in the 1990s. I don’t think people understand how much real affordable housing serves as places for opportunities for underprivileged families.

One key thing we’re trying to build is a reporting tool with the Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion where people report, in real time, what they’re encountering. Are there opportunities to work with the Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion (HCCI) as you move forward? Do your goals or mandates overlap at all? Our response to incidents of racism dovetail well with HCCI’s role in providing broad education on mat ters of civil inclusion. We engage with them regularly on matters of civic engagement.

What are your priorities or goals for HARRC, and what do you want to see get accomplished first (or change sooner than later in Hamilton)?

I have hope that we can still change things. That’s why I decided to step into this role. There’s an op portunity there to allow my experiences there to help empower people, especially young people, to change the community for the better.

The top priority right now is ensuring that people are aware that we’re here, that we’re providing resources in a way that provides value, so that then they turn to us. We’re not just gathering data, but using that information to help change the direction of what they’re encountering.

I was frustrated whenever those encounters would happen, and not having a language to talk about it.

We saw with the unmarked graves that there is still more work to be done about how we confront the lived history of anti-Indigenous racism in Canada and how much more work we still have to do. There is still more work to do on Truth and Reconciliation, and it often falls on those who have been most impacted to lead and hold these spaces accountable, and then being told to just wait as we continue to work towards real change.

It’s interesting that newer or smaller organizations such as HARRC and HCCI get asked about overlapping mandates, as most other larger and well-known groups are almost never asked that question. There are always many areas, such as the housing crisis, where service providers overlap. We have to step back and ask, “Why are we making that comparison?” For HARRC, we have identified areas in the community where we can help that also intersect with other concerns and we provide that assistance.

Are Canadians finally coming to terms with our country’s historical treatment of Indigenous people?

When W e see the rise of W toWfromcan’tresponse,needconversation.can’typWhateponationalism,hiteWhiteWer,andothermovements,hetherit’stheroudBoysortheelloWvests,WeminimizethatWeacollectiveanditjustBethoseorganizationshodothisWorkrespond.”

What is the mandate and mission of the Hamilton Anti-Racism Resource Centre? We provide support and referral services for indi viduals who are encountering racism here in Hamilton. Our mandate here is to be able to support individuals, educate the community about antisemitism, anti-Black, and anti-Indigenous racism. We are focused on being a voice for communities who feel that they have no one else to turn to. We also collect data regarding hate-related crime in our community, and we are here to continue to advocate and provide education.

As a Black man living in Hamilton, what are your own experiences with racism? How did they affect you?

When you’re not making an impact in the community, how do you like to spend your free time in Hamilton?

I’m not naïve to think that one person alone can change things, and I also know that not everyone who puts on a police uniform isn’t trying to do the work. I think policy is one way to do it. How much has changed? We look at the stats and still see the disproportionate use of force in communities.

I experienced what it’s like to be stopped while riding my bike for no reason by police. I wondered at the time, “Why is this happening?” You’re encountering, as a young Black man in the community, how you’re treated differently due to the colour of your skin, in the community where you live. That made me want to understand how you can go about your day, but depending on your postal code, the colour of your skin, the perceptions and biases you encounter, people will see you in a different way.

What excites you most about Hamilton?

I’m excited to see how we can continue to evolve as a city around challenging issues with so many new fac es moving into Hamilton. As we go into the municipal election, many new voices will be here confronting is sues like affordability, health, and community-building.

I like to bill myself as Hamilton’s best tour guide because I love to share the beauty of our community, whether it’s running the stairs, the Rail Trail, or going to the waterfront. There’s so much about the city that I like to go out and enjoy. It all centres me and helps me enjoy my home as much as I can. n

There is a difference but lots of room for collaboration with HCCI and other groups with similar mandates. We do support each other and stepping back from a comparison role is really important when looking at who provides these roles.

There were many such incidents in our community that spurred similar questions. Why are police in my schools? Why am I being asked about where I got my bike? Why is the liaison of the police is only talking to the Black students at the school? Why are we always having to advocate for ourselves? Was no one else supporting us? These were key moments that led me to wanting to study criminology and criminal justice in university, and led me to go to Carleton.

We saw an uptick in these trends after a particular individual in the White House validated those views in the mainstream. When we see the rise of white nationalism, white power, and other hate movements, whether it’s the Proud Boys or the Yellow Vests, we can’t minimize that conversation. We need a collective response, and it can’t just be those from organiza tions who do this work to respond. There is a role for government and for political leadership to understand the nuances and complications behind the hate that is there. They must play a real role. In this cultural moment, there are many who look to the institution of government and say, “This is the problem, what’s the point?” You need only look to what happened in Ottawa this past winter to see the effect of that.

What are the biggest challenges for you in your role as ED of HARRC? Getting the organization set up for success in the long term. More resources allow you to do more things, but you have to have sustainable resources to do it. Developing core capabilities and external partnerships to ensure we fulfill HARRC’s mission. Ensuring we’re communicating effectively to commu nities to let them know where and what resources are available. Being present in important community dis cussions. Articulating the vision in a way that moves the conversation along without polarizing it. That’s a social justice lens that I hope I bring to the table and build that into the way we connect with community.

I’m excited to see what happens in the fall. Hopefully, we will have new leaders over the next four years.





Fall Getin,Out!

As the days grow shorter and we embrace the fall colours, there’s no shortage of wow-worthy local events happening in and around our fine city. Here are but six that will help you have an awesome autumn.

Hamilton Cemetery is the oldest public burial ground in the city and serves as the final resting place for many historically sig nificant Hamiltonians. Stories In the Stones walking tours allow participants to pay homage to the movers, shakers, and tragic figures that together helped make the city what it is. Breathing new life into the city’s history, the free 90-minute guided tours cover a variety of topics, including the War of 1812 and the Des jardins railway disaster, allowing visitors to learn about the city on a deeper level. 777 York Blvd., Saturdays 11 a.m. hamilton.ca

The wow-worthy trail system that surrounds Hamilton is a lovely place to commune with nature, but Freewheel Cycle invites local women to kick their communing up a notch. Open to all skill levels, its free weekly Dirt Girls guided mountain bike rides encourage participants to build skills, stamina and friendships while exploring the nearby trails at a new, more exhilarating pace. Check out the website for more info on the Dirt Girls as well as on other weekly group guided rides. Tuesdays through October. Freewheelcycle.com

If you are thinking about following a path towards plant-based eating, Fraser Fitzgerald – owner/chef of The Planted Fork – is eager to be your guide. Whether you’re looking to expand your repertoire or simply find one great plant-based meal that you can always fall back on, Fitzgerald’s personalized in-home cooking classes will deliver – literally. After a consultation, he will come to your kitchen, groceries in hand, to show you that leafy greens, root vegetables and those little legumes are interesting (and tasty) enough to take centre stage. From $180. noboneskitchen.ca


Looking for something other than almond butter to supplement your daily apple? On Oct. 8, head to Battlefield Park’s Apple Fest to enjoy your snack with a side of history and fun. The full-day outdoor event at the National Historic Site celebrates everything harvest with a little bit of learning, offering games, demos, pumpkin decorat ing, and likely a few apples. Come early to enjoy the pancake breakfast, and if pastry is your jam, don’t forget to enter the Battlefield Bake-Off. Check out the website for more info. Hamilton.ca/battlefieldhouse


While belts have dutifully fulfilled their role as a pants-keeper-upper since the dawn of time, the return of high-waisted jeans has sparked a renewed interest in giving those floppy belt-loops something to do. Forgo fast fashion and head to Tundra Leather in the International Village for its popular belt-making workshop, where students are provided everything needed to make a classic piece that will last a lifetime. Check out the website for info on this and other workshops offered, and to shop Tundra’s range of leather goods (if DIY isn’t your thing). Saturdays, $60-$80. Tundraleather.ca


You’re not imagining it, things really do go bump in the night, and taking a Hamilton Ghost Walk is a perfect way to learn about what is making all that racket. Covering a variety of topics at multiple ghostly locations, the master storytellers who lead the tours ensure that participants will learn all there is about the city’s spookier side. Side effects of ghost walking may include a greater knowledge of history and sleeping with the lights on. Check out the website for a full list of dates and tours. Until Oct. 30. ghostwalks.com








The number of American soul/R&B stars to have appeared at the festival –the late Charles Bradley (part of the Daptone Soul Revue), the late Sharon Jones, and Bettye LaVette. Their appearances helped show case the refreshing musical eclecticism of Supercrawl’s booking policy. The fest has also booked two U.S. alt-rock and Americana legends: J Mascis (Dinosaur Jr.) and Jeff Tweedy (Wilco).




The number of winners of the prestigious Polaris Music Prize who have performed at Supercrawl. They are Buffy Sainte-Marie, Caribou, Tanya Tagaq, Fucked Up, Cadence Weapon, Owen Pallett/Final Fantasy, and Haviah Mighty. Another winner, Lido Pimienta, performed at Supercrawl 2022.



The number of days for Supercrawl 2018, the 10th anniversary of the festival. It has now returned to a three-day event. 7




75 In 2013, Supercrawl founder Tim Potocic was named Hamilton Citizen of the Year by the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, the 75th recipient of that honour. “This award speaks to Tim’s contribution over a number of years to Hamilton. It speaks particularly to his contributions to the arts community and downtown renewal,” said then-chamber CEO David Adames.

Estimated attendance at Supercrawl in both 2018 and 2019, the two largest editions of the Thefest.estimated economic impact of the Supercrawl festival weekends from 2012 to 2019. The figures are assayed using the Ontario Ministry of Tourism & Culture’s Tourism Regional Economic Impact Model (TREIM) calculator, and inflation-adjusted to 2022 CAD. These calculations relate exclusively to the free festival weekend. (Note: The first three seasons of the festival were not subjected to on-site survey or impact analysis.)


The total number of musical artists featured at Supercrawl events 2009-2019 (festivals as well as ticketed shows). More than half of the artists featured at the festival to date are drawn from the Hamilton CMA. These figures do not include fashion designers, theatre troupes, dance companies, authors and spoken word artists, or circus/perfor mance artists, all of whom represent vibrant facets of this multi-arts festival weekend.

The attendance at the very first Supercrawl, held in September 2009. The fest began as a one-day event, with a $30,000 budget. It expanded to two days in 2012, then to three days in 2014.

$275,000 The amount of the expected grant to Supercrawl from the Ontario provincial government in 2019. That grant was cut to zero in May of that year, but, after lobbying, a $250,000 grant from the province’s Celebrate Ontario fund was received in August.

The amount of a funding request Supercrawl made to Hamilton city council in 2013 that was rejected. A vote at council’s general issues committee was tied 5-5, with the tie killing the motion.

1.46 million Estimated total atten dance at Supercrawl, 2009-2019.



code ha M iltoncity M agazine.ca

More Supercrawl


The total number of unique food trucks featured at Supercrawl. Many return for multiple years.




Also the number of unique craft vendors featured with booths at Supercrawl since 2009. Many have returned for multiple years. These operators have become an integral part of the festival.

The budget for the last full Supercrawl festival in 2019.


The size of the main stage crowd at Supercrawl 2014 for a performance by hometown rock heroes Arkells. That was, at the time, the biggest fest audi ence. Arkells also sponsored a local stage and curated its lineup.

The number of visual artists featured at Supercrawl events 2009-2019 (this includes the festivals as well as ticketed shows produced by Supercrawl).


$26.2M The inflation-adjusted figure for the estimated economic impact of Supercrawl 2019, the biggest to date. S torie S and photo S : S the qr


16 HCM SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2022 more photos: scan the qr hamiltoncitymagazine.cacode From festivals and films to galas, galleries and gigs, Hamiltonians love to have a good time and these photos are definitely worth a thousand words. HAMILTON CITY Magazine was there – were you? photos By B rent perniac LIFE IN THE CITY 1. DJ Murk, aka David Murkovich and DJ Mark, aka Mark Furukawa, at Risky Business, The Casbah July 2. 2. Max Francis and HFF Director Nathan Fleet, Neon Lights world premiere at The Westdale Theatre, July 3. 3. David Wilcox at The Studio, Hamilton Place, April 8. 4. Celtic Illusion at the FirstOntario Concert Hall, April 24. 5. RuPaul’s Drag Race Werq The World, at the FirstOntario Concert Hall, Aug. 17. 6. Hamilton artist Natasja Bischoff at the Assembly Gallery, March 6. 7. MonsterTruck and 8. Serena Ryder, Ryland James and Thompson Wilson at Festival of Friends in Gage Park, Aug. 5-7. 9. Tom Wilson, Serena Ryder and HCM Editor Marc Skulnick at Festival of Friends. 10. Lou Frapporti, Peter Mercanti, Paul Paletta and PJ Mercanti at C Hotel on Aug. 17, for the Peter Mercanti book signing. 11. Rachel Mercanti, Jan Nichols, Danielle Zucchet, Doug Mattina and Joseph Mercanti at the Bob Kemp Hospice 30th Anniversary Garden Party, held Aug. 14 at the Dwyer Estate. 12. Emmalene Pruden, Maggie Taylor and Zeena Mhone at Hamilton Fashion Week, March 5. 1 2 4 6 9 108 11 127 53


“I wanted it to be a traditional-style watch,” Moran recalls. “A classic Victorian-style railroad watch that draws on the inspi ration of James Street.” Inside the case, the pendulum, springs and gears are powered by the wearer’s movements. Moran describes this movement as a “workhorse,” and this resilience is essentially writing the first chapter of the Locke & King story. A watch being wound by motion is a fitting representation of Locke & King’s motto: Onwards and Upwards. This message is fitting for a brand that was launched to considerable interest as the world literally stood still.

After COVID dealt his career in the tourism industry a harsh blow, Moran had some time on his hands, and began creating a business plan for the long-imagined company. It wasn’t long before Moran realized he could make it happen and Locke & King – named after Moran’s childhood Strathcona stomping ground – was born. He began creating designs for Locke & King’s inaugural watch and worked with local graphic designer Shaun O’Meila to fine-tune the distinctive brand logo. He spent the next year researching and sourcing each of the components that would result in a watch that had the style he envisioned. During the summer of 2021, Locke & King’s first watch release, the James – named after one of Hamilton’s most iconic streets – was unveiled.

By Carlye Morrow-Ja C kson

Ryan MoRan’s fledgling watch coMpany, locke & king, is naMed afteR the stRathcona neighbouRhood in which he gRew up. MORE PHOTOS ONLINE: S ca N THE q R c O d E photo: jon evans for hcm

Time for Change

“Creating a watch brand had always been in the back of my mind,” Ryan Moran says during a chat at CoMotion, the downtown co-working space of which he is a co-founder. Creating a watch brand that is also rooted to the story of his hometown was important to Moran, with “Hamilton being an industrial and manufacturing city.”




With car ownership growing they did well and, in 1934, Walker Anderson opened the company’s first associate store at King Street and West Avenue in downtown Hamilton. The Billes brothers insisted it not be called a Canadian Tire store until it proved successful: It’s still there.


WRITING A NEW CHAPTER In Stoney Creek, the beautiful Erland Lee Museum is a Carpenter Gothic Revival style farmhouse that was home to the Lee family for well over a century. In their dining room, in 1897, the first-ever chapter of the Women’s Institute was created. The original mission to bring together local, isolated, rural women grew to international affiliations advocating for social, environment, and economic change around the world.


In 1922, the founders of the Canadian Tire Corpo ration, brothers John and Alfred Billes, bought a business in Toronto called Hamilton Tire and Garage.

HANG TIME Here’s a gruesome historic first: Hamilton’s first documented murder case was that of Bartholomew London back in 1801 and his guilty wife was the first woman ever hung in Upper Canada, now known as Ontario. Mary Osbourne London had an affair with a farm employee and the pair made sev eral botched attempts on poor Bartholomew’s life before his unfortunate demise.

Canada’s Nine Hours Movement league began in Hamilton in 1872 and expanded across southern Ontario and Quebec by workers who wanted a nine-hour workday. The city hosted a protest parade that didn’t quite convince employers, but the workers’ concerns did eventually land on political agendas. The league founded the Canadian Labour Union, a precursor of the Trades and Labour Congress of Canada, which formed a decade later.

HAPPENED FIRST IN HAMILTON WE LOOK AT 10 ONLY-IN-HAMILTON EVENTS THAT HELPED PUT THE CITY ON THE MAP FOR ALL THE RIGHT REASONS. Everything happens for a first time and Hamilton was the setting for some very interesting occasions never seen before in Ontario, Canada, or the British Empire. As HELEN POWERS discovers, these events were unique, created by Hamiltonians whose motivations included an obsession with chess, expression of freedom, and in one case – an evil deed.


FILM’S FIRST DIVA Flo Lawrence, known as the first celebrity movie star, was born here in 1886. In the era of silent movies, actors’ names were not shared with the public. However, Lawrence’s prolific work – over 250 movies – gained her recognition and significant pay. But her fame was boosted in 1910 when her death was faked and, soon after, the industry’s first publicity tour revealed her to be alive and well.

TRAFFIC LIGHTS, BIG CITY Almost 100 years ago, in 1925, Canada’s first set of traffic lights was installed at King and Main streets, the criss-crossed intersection known as the Delta in the east end of Hamilton. As an extra warning to drivers, the amber light cycle included ringing bells. But the noise was especially irritating to nearby residents, so that feature was soon eliminated. Hamilton’s second-ever traffic lights were installed at Cannon and James streets.

BRANCHING OUT In 1851, Hamilton’s Mount Olive Lodge No. 1 became the first Canadian branch of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons. This organization was created in the U.S. by Prince Hall specifically for African Americans. Historians note that involvement in the lodge was an important part of Hamilton’s Black community, which numbered about 600 people in 1861.

THE AMERICANS ARE COMING No, we’re not talking about those historic invasions. More recently than 1812, an American sports and en tertainment company announced that it was launching its first ever Canadian project at Hamilton’s FirstOntar io Centre in the core. The major construction makeover will begin in 2023 overseen by the Oak View Group’s newly launched Toronto division and it aims to provide a mix of amenities for a live-work-play experience similar to the Distillery District in Toronto. Plans for the area include turning the aging arena into a state-ofthe-art sports and concert venue. n


Once the Bell Telephone Company formed in 1877, Hamiltonian Hugh Cossart Baker Jr. soon established Canada’s first commercial telephone service. Some say his motivation was providing friends with telephones so they could all discuss their passion for chess. The city’s first telephone exchange – also the British Em pire’s first – opened a year later and Hamilton hosted the Empire’s first commercial long-distance line in 1879.


It’s well known that the first franchised restaurant of NHL player Miles Gilbert Horton, a.k.a. Tim Horton, was established on Ottawa Street North in 1964. As the company grew, Horton’s role expanded from licensing his name to having hands-on involvement. It is said he even helped to build some business locations, including the restaurant in Hamilton’s Westdale neighbourhood.


Fostering a supportive community with networking opportunities, CoMotion has been home to numerous innovative companies throughout its five years in business. With an always thriving assortment of talented businesses under one roof, here are just a few that are making their mark on our Ambitious City.

From shared desks to private o FF ices, c o m otion’s bright and airy co-working hub can accommodate member companies at any stage. photo: submitted



If causing a commotion helps to get a business noticed, then the folks behind CoMotion are attracting attention for all the right reasons. Housed in the oh-so-historic former Hamilton Spectator offices in the heart of the core and occupying more than 10,000 square feet, CoMotion offers a variety of flexible spaces. From shared desks to private offices, the co-working hub can accommodate member companies at any stage, whether an emerging start-up, an established small or medium enterprise, or flex-space for larger corporations. Throw in office staples from coffee to fibre internet, to name but two, and members have the chance to focus solely on building their businesses.


ARBELOS INTERACTIVE Arbelos Interactive designs and develops interactive software for entertainment products, mobile and console games. It offers co-develop ment, white label development, and research, and specializes in motion control and computer vision for games.

ABRAR provides affordable, trauma-informed, art-based, and culturally sensitive mental support for diverse newcomers and immigrant populations. It is dedicated to empowering indi viduals in our community through a variety of services, including one-on-one counselling and support and workshops. Experienced profes sionals prioritize creating a safe and comfort able environment where they respect diversity, vulnerability, resilience, new ideas, and passion.

Preteckt is an artificial intelligence and internetof-things company that provides AI-driven vehicle maintenance solutions. It prides itself on delivering the highest precision repair plans to keep military vehicles, and truck and bus fleets safe, supported, and driving into the future.



VARIOTUS Variotus is a provider of custom internet-ofthings hardware and software services to both start-ups and established companies. It has extensive experience in custom sensor design, cellular communications, and solar- and battery-powered solutions.


Massive Web Design focuses on producing unique and customized websites through web development, social media, and branding.

Conscientious of sustainable fuel technology, Preteckt is a partner in developing and support ing a solution for service providers to transition from legacy to green technologies.


CoMotion o CC upies the old h a M ilton s pe C tator offi C es on King s treet in the heart of the downtown C ore. photo: submitted

Helping businesses sync up their messaging to amplify their offerings, the company can work within a broad scope of projects.

The Get Real Movement combats discrimination, fosters acceptance, and supports marginalized youth across Canada and beyond. Its mission is to combat racism and 2SLGBTQ+ discrimi nation and bullying in schools, workplaces and summer camps through education, leadership development and youth support. n For more information, visit COMOTIONGROUP.CA

LOCKE & KING Locke & King is a Canadian watch company forged in Hamilton that is crafting stylish, ver satile timepieces that are heirloom-worthy and will stand the test of time. The Ossington watch is the newest addition to the collection.

SHG STUDIOS SHG Studios creates casual games focused on social interaction – think social café or pub with games. Notable titles include Star Pirates, Spy Battle 2165 and Zombie Moon. Following the success of these titles, the studio recently released Star Pirates 2: Pirates of Procyon


The Hamilton Arts Council is committed to connecting artists, creating opportunities, and inspiring change in our community. It advocates for the arts to be fundamental in a healthy community and provides inclusive opportunities to build connections and sustainability in the arts. Its digital hub, The Arty Crowd, is just one of many available programs. This unique platform allows artists to create a digital profile to increase access and discovery.

Built in 1905, the historic Victorian two-storey brick building is teeming with feminine lilywhite accents, expressive antique mannequins, pristine farmhouse sinks adorned with inviting soaps, majestic decorative mirrors, rows upon rows of cloche-adorned candles, and the perfect parfait of simple and rustic touches found in the beauty of French Provincial style.

Pure Home Couture has developed 36 enticing scents, as well as their own personal brand of candles, the aptly titled Home Couture Apothecary. The Pure Home Couture line includes a wide variety of luxury plant-based, ethically sourced home and bath products, hand-poured 100 per cent pure non-GMO soy wax candles, tealights, perfumes, buttercreams, lip balms, and a little bit of everything else you could possibly need to indulge your own senses or find the perfect gift.

Their youngest son Quinn has recently joined the family business as Pure Home Couture’s accountant and social media manager. Pallas is now 31 years old and surrounded with love.

“We’ve made so many friends over the years, and our staff and clientele have been a wonder ful part of our story,” says Abby. “Everyone has their own journey and we respect that. We’re supportive no matter if someone is here for five minutes or five years, and we’ve been lucky enough to make some very special connections along the way.”

All products are made with a blend of high-quality phthalate-free fragrances and natural essential oils. “Scents can embellish your space and uplift your spirit,” Abby says.

erhaps The Beatles said it best: all you need is love. For Abby Kanak-McDuffee and her husband Steven McDuffee, there’s no simpler recipe. Although the Hamilton couple now owns Pure Home Couture on the city’s trendy Locke Street, their adventure together took first flight when they met in 1975 at the Corktown Irish Pub, the oldest licensed establishment in Hamilton. Once a grocery and liquor store in 1888, it was later converted into a pub in 1931 and has been a local landmark ever since.

This year marks Pure Home Couture’s 20th anniversary, and with so many nostalgic moments to remember, Abby and Steven are deeply rooted in the love and dedication they share for their two children and a genuine ap preciation for the city that has embraced them.

Little did they know that in a few short years the name Abby Kanak would become synon ymous with high fashion when they moved to the West Coast and opened the doors to Salon Abby Kanak on West Cordova Street in Vancouver.Abby’sdesigns were picked up by Holt Renfrew and Saks Fifth Avenue and featured alongside Jean-Paul Gaultier and Marc Jacobs. Her sophisticated tulle-accented avant-garde dresses soon grabbed the attention of celebrities such as Sarah McLachlan and Goldie Hawn, who were eagerly waiting in line to scoop them up.



“Fine fragrance is an art.”

By Adrienne r om A n


“We could dream again,” says Abby. She slowly began building her Parisian-inspired collection, which first originated as a small candle-making venture in her kitchen.

It’s no surprise that at 11 years old she was making weekend trips to Eaton’s to get her hands on the latest Vogue Patterns. Some things are just set in the stars.

A decade later Pallas’s condition stabilized and they found themselves able to dedicate more time and energy to expand Abby’s passion for sourcing, collecting, and displaying a treasure trove of beautiful items, ultimate ly culminating in the opening of Pure Home Couture in 2002.

Pure Home Couture boasts t H e elegan C e of a romanti C , a P ot H e C ary-style s PaC e. photos: submitted

But just as her career was hitting new heights, their daughter Pallas suffered a brain hemorrhage only days after she was born. Her care was complex and the decision was made to close the Salon in order to give her every ounce of their attention, and everything she could possibly need to heal. Abby’s artistry would evolve many times from that day forward, even transitioning the shop into a French restaurant, Café Pallas, which proved to be just as popular. Eventually Abby and Steven moved back to their hometown of Hamilton, a place where they knew friends and family would be waiting with open arms.

Today, climb the stairs to their second-floor shop overlooking the bustling Locke Street South and you find yourself swimming in the elegance of a romantic, apothecary-style space.

Their “Local” candle was created for exactly that reason, in appreciation of the inspira tion that their community provides and the emotional connections that grow when people come“It’stogether.arealfamily of people, and it’s a love story in Hamilton.” Abby says. Love is, after all, all you need. n


Abby knew she was destined to be a creator from the time she was a schoolgirl and her teacher asked the class what they wanted to be when they grew up. Doctors, firefighters, astronauts, the usual roster of careers echoed around the room, and then one little girl in the back shouted, “Couturier!” “I’m not even sure how I knew that word,” she recalls with a laugh.

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2022 HCM 23 BEAUTY’S WHERE YOU FIND IT PICK UP PURE HOME COUTURE’S “MADE IN HAMILTON” N°905 CANDLES n $2.50 from every candle sold goes to The Hamilton Food Share n Contributions are now over $15,000 n Selection: - Bruce Trail - Cootes Paradise - Beach Strip - Devil’s Punch Bowl - Big Smoke FROM THE HEART Support the crucial relief efforts and long-term support that the Red Cross’ Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Appeal is providing the people of Ukraine with the purchase of the “Stand with Ukraine” candle n $11 of each $22 candle is donated n Contributions are now over $9,000 FAVOURITE COLLECTIBLE MINI JAR CANDLES n Blood Orange & Yuzu N°12 n Green Fig N°16 n Cassis and Rose N°23 n Bergamot Tea N°28 n Lemon Verbena N°42 n Prosecco N°56 n White Pine & Balsam N°87


The group has proven that people can redirect the planning process and the future lifestyle of a community and a city and has shown that our City must not necessarily come to the same horrendous situation which exists in other large cities in North America because of a lack of community participation, a lack of sound planning and a lack of passionate under standing of the needs of the community.”


of homes and poorly designed high-rises taking their place. In the absence of a proper neighbourhood plan with community input, the rules favoured developers and things like urban design and heritage preservation were virtually non-existent.Itwasinthis scenario that the Durand Neigh bourhood Association (DNA) was born and residents started to assert themselves in the planning process at City Hall. The first victory was a push for a halt to demolitions until a neighbourhood plan was developed. This was part of a larger project that looked to create plans for housing, traffic, schools, recreation, open space and commerce for each of the city’s more than 100 newly designated neighbourhoods. However, even with demolitions continuing all around them, the City told Durand residents to wait their turn for a plan. Flipping the script, residents took matters into their own hands, hitting the streets to start a community conversation about the future of their neighbourhood. This was followed by petitions and a survey that forced the city to the planning table where a more collaborative approach to creating a neighbourhood plan took place. Issues such as an appropriate mix of high, medium, and low-density development, affordable housing, open space, safe streets and commercial spaces were discussed with the community. The resulting Durand neigh bourhood plan went through various revisions before being approved in 1974. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a vast improvement from where things started.


The work of the DNA was nominated for a Citizen of the Year award where it was recog nized that “the DNA has virtually overturned the accepted methods and procedures in terms of the role which citizens play in community affairs.

The historic neighbourhood of Durand sits south of the downtown core nestled below the Niagara Escarpment. It has a mix of different housing types ranging from apartment towers and mid-rise condos, to townhouses and stately single-family homes. The built heritage of the neighbourhood is a significant characteristic, which includes two Heritage Conservation Districts and some structures of provincial and national significance. However, the neighbour hood that is the Durand of today did not come easily. Through previous periods of growth, it took the determined effort of residents to shape the modern streets of Durand. In the early 1970s, Durand was a neighbour hood in massive flux with numerous demolitions


The story of the engaged residents of Durand is relevant again today as growth and develop ment are on the upswing once again and the need for neighbourhood plans with community participation are needed.

When you think of “the suburbs,” often contemporary images of cul-de-sacs on the outskirts of town come to mind but their history extend much further. In fact, Hamilton is home to one of Canada’s first planned suburban communities. Westdale had its beginnings in

photo: mike kukucska It’s not hyperbole to suggest that the soul of Hamilton can be found on the streets of its vibrant neighbourhoods. Some of these communities are over a century old, while others are new additions to the city’s urban fabric. Recently, with the strong support of residents, the city committed to maintaining a firm urban boundary, which means new population growth will need to be accommodated within existing neighbourhoods. While this is sure to usher in a period of significant growth that will shape and reshape neighbourhoods, it’s important to understand that we have been here before. The city has faced previous periods of growth and change and the urban planning response has been decidedly mixed. In some cases, urban sprawl has eaten up valuable farmland. However, there are a number of examples in Hamilton of progressive planning in the past that we should learn from and celebrate. In some cases, citizen advocacy led the way while others were examples of innovative community design.

While people from elsewhere often look a bit confused when Hamiltonians refer to “the Mountain,” all locals know exactly where it is. The area above the Niagara Escarpment is deeply embedded in the local civic identity, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t misunderstood. In fact, there is often the sense it is a homogenous suburban area. In reality, it is very diverse, with an interesting history and layered planning legacy. The Mountain is made up of a mixture of older established walkable neighbourhoods, postwar housing communities and newer suburban neighbourhoods. There are great shopping districts, along with traditional shop ping centres. It has a major post-secondary institution, Mohawk College, and one of the city’s most notable historical landmarks, Auchmar.

The older part of Hamilton Mountain, the area generally north of Mohawk Road, also illustrates some innovative community planning that newer suburban development would be smart to emulate. City planners had the foresight to lay out a grid street system, similar to the pattern in the lower city, that would create self-contained neighbourhoods. Within each large grid is a neighbourhood park and (originally) an elementary school, which was walkable by local neighbourhood kids. The larger arterial roads, carrying more traffic and commercial space, were confined to the edges of the neighbourhood. This design has a number of benefits. First, traffic on interior streets can be kept slower, with faster speeds on the arterial reads. Second, neighbourhood amenities including shops, schools and parks are within walkable distance for neighbourhood residents. Third, major transit routes can service the arterial roads in an efficient way, ensuring that all residents in the neighbourhood are within walking distance of some form of transit. Fourth, the grid pattern provides multiple routes to get around, rather than the more modern subdivision design which has a limited number of neighbourhood entries, creating traffic jams. This is in stark contrast to the typically sub urban form prevalent today, of more curvilinear streets with cul-de-sacs, which is far more automobile-oriented, and not conducive to walking or transit. Further, we can appreciate that this design was ahead of its time and essentially futureready. As we now need to plan for more growth within the existing urban boundary, the grid pattern provides an excellent blueprint for intensification. All along the major commercial streets, there is an opportunity for larger growth and development. Streetscapes on major arteries can easily support an increase in height, accommodating more mixed-used com mercial/residential development. In turn, this would increase residential density and jobs and support the expansion of rapid transit. In contrast, this leaves the interior of neighbour hoods relatively intact and able to accommodate more forms of gentle density, such as secondary suites, duplexes and townhouses. Hamilton’s neighbourhoods have always been on the forefront of change. Whether they were facing intensification or being created from scratch, the resulting streets, houses, parks and schools are the building blocks that make up the modern city. As we now enter another period of significant growth, neighbourhoods across the city will experience change, one way or another. In turn, how we react and shape that change will define the city of Ontomorrow.thatfront, we can take inspiration from the past as we build the next Hamilton. n


Paul Shaker is a Hamilton-based urban planner and principal with Civicplan. As we now enter A nother period of signific A nt ofdefinethreioneexperienceAneighbourhoodsgrowth,crossthecitywillchAnge,wAyorAnother.nturn,howweActAndshApeAtchAngewillthecitytomorrow.

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2022 HCM 25 1911 and was conceived by architect Robert Pope as a self-contained neighbourhood for approximately 1,700 households with a concentric circle configuration for the street layout. It was inspired by the Garden City movement that was prevalent in German city models of the day. Despite the expansion and changes over the years, the original design behind Westdale remains today. A quick look at Google Maps shows the distinct street ring pattern. The neighbourhood was planned to be centred around a commercial district on King Street, now the Westdale Village. Many shops and services are available for everyday needs, accessible on foot. There are higher-density buildings fronting on King Street, including mid-rise apartments. Moving into the residential streets, the density of housing, while lower than the inner city, demon strates a good use of space. The neighbourhood is very walkable, with sidewalks connecting the neighbourhood from end to end. Schools, rang ing from elementary to secondary, are located in the neighbourhood, most within walking dis tance of the original neighbourhood design. The ring design of the streets keeps traffic speeds slow, making the environment safer for pedes trians. The architecture of the houses provides some variation in style, while keeping general design features within a similar range (setbacks, heights, etc.). Also, parkland is provided nearby with Churchill Park and the trail system, ravines and wetlands of Cootes Paradise.

If you compare this neighbourhood design to that of many postwar suburbs, Westdale stands out as an urban innovator that we are only recently starting to recognize as a model to emulate. Typical suburban design is much lower density with many streets ending in culde-sacs, some without sidewalks. This creates a car-focused environment that doesn’t promote walking. Usually, the nearest commercial district is the shopping centre or big-box mall that is not within reasonable walking distance to homes. Schools are not within walking distance either and public spaces and the public realm are de-prioritized. All in all, the Westdale model is more sustainable, healthy and vibrant. While social progress has broken down barriers that originally saw Westdale as an exclusive white Protestant neighbourhood, what has stood the test of time is the design of the neighbourhood itself. A century after it was conceived, the genius behind the design of Westdale is still evident today. Further, Westdale is a reminder of how Hamilton has been an urban innovator in the past.

Jason Cassis, CEO and co-founder of Equal Parts Hospitality, the management company behind Hamilton eateries The Diplomat, Aberdeen Tav ern, The French, and the Knollwood Golf Club. Cassis’s latest venture is as part of the collec tive behind The Laundry Rooms, an intriguing new vision for short-term and extended-stay accommodations that recently opened its doors in Hamilton. Roughly five years ago, Cassis met with Erin McCluskey and Paul McGrath, co-founders of Laundry Design Works, a Hamilton de sign and advertising studio that special izes in giving businesses fresh branding makeovers. (They are the group behind the recent revitalization of Hamilton’s airport.)

and a rooftop patio, complete with working French food truck. (They used a crane to get it up there while working on the building in the summer.) On the ground floor of one of the flanking buildings, due to be completed late next year, there will be a gym called Hustle & Flow that is open to guests. In the building on the other side, also due next year, the partners have planned a Soho House-style members’ club, tentatively called The Alchemist, with programming six nights a week, also open to guests.Theidea behind The Laundry Rooms is deceptively simple: take everything good about the hotel experience – comfort, de pendability, cleanliness, access to staff and services – and leave out everything bad – inconvenient location, boring rooms and buildings, lack of space and privacy. Then do the same with the Airbnb experience, and mash the two together. The result is a boutique hotel chain – Opferkuch says he prefers “accommodation brand” –located in an emerging, centrally located neighbourhood, with bright, spacious rooms filled with work by local artists and equipped with kitchens and laundry. Laundry Rooms locations are designed to be lived in, not merely stayed at. And they truly are designed. Part of what makes The Laundry Rooms unique is how integral design is to the concept. The partnership with McGrath and McCluskey can be seen in the Augusta Street’s quirky details, like the lobby’s overhead lights (designed by McGrath), which look like giant clothes pins, the colour-coded walls according to floors, or the custom-made wallpaper in some of the bedrooms, which depicts fanciful elements from the history of this city, and the surrounding neighbourhood.

26 HCM SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2022 ll good partnerships start with gin andSotonic.”declares


Most of the artwork in the building is either custom-built, or commissioned from local artists. Even the couches in the living rooms were designed by The Laundry Works and built in southern Ontario. “We really wanted to make sure that the hotel had a real sense of place and a sense of neighbourhood,” McGrath adds. “So the artwork was sort of the jumping off point.”

“One of the main things we wanted to do,” McCluskey says, “was not make it that beige hotel room that you get everywhere. We want to elicit some sort of response out of the client.”

By Natha N Whitlock

That desire to build spaces that are unique, interesting, and locally focused is shared by all of the partners. “I use the term Hotel Anywhere,”

Cassis had an idea, sparked by a tour he’d had of the Laundry Design Works’ former studio on King Street East in the International Village. “Paul and Erin had created something called ‘the laundry room,’” Cassis recalls. “It was an individual Airbnb space above their studio that you could rent out. I looked at it and thought ‘this is really neat.’ It stuck withOverme.”drinks, Cassis, McCluskey, and McGrath hashed out the possibility of pluralizing the Laundry Room space into an actual business. The only thing missing was the space part: they had no rooms and no building. That problem was solved thanks to Matthew Opferkuch, an entrepreneur and investor with decades of experience in the hospitality sector. While meeting with Cassis in Waterloo on a separate project, Opferkuch mentioned that he was working on an apartment tower from which he was planning to hold back a few dozen units, possibly to lease to the University of Waterloo. Cassis says his reaction was instant: “I’ll take them.” And so was born the first Laundry Rooms location, in uptown Waterloo. Two more opened in nearby Cambridge and Kitchener shortly thereafter. The newest location, in Hamilton, occupies nearly an entire block of Augusta Street, close to St. Joseph’s Hospital in the lower city. (Two more locations are in the works for Barrie and London.) The six-storey Augusta Street location has 40 units, nearly half of which are spacious two-bedroom suites –families and pets are welcome. The lobby features a “chef-inspired” restobar called Plank

PAUL MCGRATH: “The Judge (25 Augusta St.). One of my favourite pubs ever.”

ERIN MCCLUSKEY: “The Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts (126 James St. S.) is right around the corner. They have fantastic creative programming for kids and families.”

MATTHEW OPFERKUCH: “I love Gage Park (1000 Main St E.). I feel like I’m in New York City, but I’m in Hamilton.”

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2022 HCM 27 Opferkuch says, describing the model of accommodations they have worked hard to avoid. “You can wake up at a hotel in Hong Kong, or Shanghai, or Dubai, and you feel like you’re anywhere. We want our guests to wake up and think: ‘Oh, I’m in Hamilton. This is so cool.’” The partners behind The Laundry Rooms have big plans and are constantly scouting out new neighbourhoods in new cities. At the same time, they have no interest in simply dropping buildings all over the map. You will only see Laundry Rooms locations in cities that are not already glutted with accommodation options. And only in neighbourhoods that fit a certain profile: walkable, somewhat historical, contain some green space, and have employment drivers such universities, colleges, and hospitals nearby. In other words, you’ll never find a Laundry Rooms location inside an airport or out on a remote highway. “Our criteria for building and neighbourhood selection is extremely stringent,” Cassis says. “There are other brands that expand for expansion’s sake; we have realized that’s not a sustainable Sustainabilitymodel.”isfundamental to the Laundry Rooms model, and not just in terms of growth. The company offsets the carbon footprint for each stay, without passing the cost on to cus tomers, and the rooms feature none of the little plastic bottles of shampoo, etc., that merely end up as landfill. Small details, but as anyone who has endured a bad hotel or Airbnb stay knows, it’s the small things that make a big difference. A big difference is exactly what the partner ship behind the The Laundry Rooms is aiming to make. “This wasn’t just a business transac tion,” McCluskey says of their overriding vision. “We’re building something different, something that people are excited about.” n more photos: scan the qr code hamiltoncitymagazine.ca


The Laundry r ooms’ unique design e L emen Ts can be seen in T he quirky de Tai L s, L ike T he Lobby’s overhead L igh Ts, which Look L ike gian T c LoT hes pins, or T he cus Tom-bui LT arT work from Loca L arT is Ts.

Being fiercely local is at the core of The Laundry Rooms, so we asked the four partners behind the company for their favourite thing within walking distance (or a short bike ride) of the new Hamilton location at Augusta and James.

JASON CASSIS: “I love Kenzo Ramen (21 King St. E.).”

photos: submitted/the laundry design works



t’s well appreciated the role that arts and culture play in the renewal of Hamilton and how important the sector is to the local economy. But that hasn’t always been the case. In 1959, an exhibition of paintings and sculptures purchased by the City to be housed at the new City Hall were heavily criticized by the public who didn’t quite get the modernist movement. Then-mayor Lloyd Jackson said: “The people of this city have made it abundantly clear that they want no part of this modern art… We can’t let the arty crowd run things.”

photos: submitted

Let’s Get Arty


The City then backed out of its promise to purchase and display the selected artworks at the new building. When it came time to create an online community that connects art lovers, artists and creatives of all genres, and arts and culture organizations from across the Greater Hamilton Area and Six Nations of the Grand River, the Hamilton Arts Council decided to reclaim “the arty crowd” insult, turn it into a unifying force. The Arty Crowd – along with Le Groupe Arti (to serve the local Francophone and Francophile community) was born. In its first six months of operation, The Arty Crowd website has attracted more than 70,000 views, and has 700 account holders. Art lovers are able to find events, and connect with artists, while creatives of all genres and arts organizations are able to create profiles, build audiences and share their work. Arts opportunities and arts employment openings are also available on the site. The site includes features such as tags and pins to allow users to curate their experience. The best part is that creating an account on The Arty Crowd is free for art lovers, artists and smaller arts organizations alike, so what are you waiting for? Head on over to THEARTYCROWD.CA and get arty. n


30 HCM SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2022 NEW AGE THE DAWNING OF A Artistic director M A ry Fr A ncis Moore, le F t, A nd executive director Kelly s tr Augh A n A re shepherding A new ch A pter F or hAM ilton’s t he Atre AquA rius, which celebr Ates its 50th A nnivers A ry in 2023 photo: jonforevanshcm WITH THEATRE AQUARIUS SET TO CELEBRATE 50 YEARS OF BRINGING WORLD-CLASS PROFESSIONAL THEATRE TO HAMILTON, WE LOOK BACK AT HOW, AND WHERE, IT ALL BEGAN. By Adrienne r om A n

Above: The AT re AquA rius opened on King Willi A m sT ree T in 1991 iT fe AT ures T he 700 -se AT , proscenium s T yle, i rving Zuc K er Audi Torium, T he 125 -se AT n orm A n A nd louise hAAc sT udio

The ar T s synonymousare wi T h crea T ivi T y and resiliency. w e will con T inue T o harness T his in T ense and sus T ained evolu T ion T o bring [ T hea T re-goers] T he professional T hea T re we know and love, while providing develop men T oppor T uni T ies for emerging ar T is T s and con T ribu T ing T o T he ci T y of h amil T on.” e xecu T ive d irec T or k elly sT raughan


The AT re A nd T he TW o-s Torey gl A ss A nd s T eel enc A sed r on A nd d onn A pATT erson lobby. b elo W : Buddy: The Buddy h olly S Tory in 2011 , W hich s TA rred hA milTon’s o W n Jeff g iles, sh ATT ered T he box-office record se T by The r ocky h orror Pic T ure Show , To become T he highes T -grossing, bes T ATT ended The AT re AquA rius produc T ion. photos: submitted /

continued on next page

When artistic director Mary Francis Moore arrived at Theatre Aquarius in July of 2021, the house lights were despondently dimmed. With ongoing pandemic restrictions, one staff member in the building, and doors closed to the public, it was no longer the vibrant space it was meant to be. It was, in fact, the opposite of everything the acclaimed theatre ordinarily embodied: connection, expression, and inspiration. Uncertainty and solitude weren’t building any bridges. “Theatre is all about bringing people togeth er, and the directive was to keep them separat ed,” says Moore. It’s often those pivotal moments challenging us to think outside of the box that become the true catalyst for change. Moore seized the opportunity to look beyond the silence, setting up tables and chairs outside the theatre herself so that she could converse with Hamilton’s artistic community. A year later those colourful bistro sets have multiplied, now transformed into a full patio space in front of the storied downtown venue, welcoming audiences back to connect over coffee on the cusp of the theatre’s golden celebrations. As anyone well-versed in the world of theatre knows, drama is everywhere, literally. Theatres weather both successes and failures, juggling a myriad of challenging technical, financial, and artistic hurdles. “From the very beginning we played the World Series every day, but we had an indelible vision to succeed and we didn’t give up. The art ists did the best work they could because they trusted us and felt supported,” says Stephen Newman, who spent 35 seasons as director and stage manager with Theatre Aquarius. “Our first headquarters was in a former bakery at 3 Leeds St. in the industrial North End of Hamilton,” Newman recalls. Over the next 18 years, Theatre Aquarius’ productions were staged in The Studio Theatre at Hamilton Place, but as audiences grew, they needed a bigger home of their own. A number of studies were done to examine the feasibility of converting libraries

CONSCIOUS COLLECTORS: Head of wardrobe Sonia Lewis repurposes and recycles clothing and costumes with other theatres, shelters, schools, and local organizations.

With the revitalization of the downtown entertainment core in full swing, the theatre is presently sitting in an ideal spot to showcase its vital position as one of Hamilton’s most iconic institutions. After 20 years as executive direc tor, Lorna Zaremba has recently retired, leaving behind a legacy of dedication and direction that has been instrumental in guiding the theatre towards its post-pandemic future. Appointed this July, executive director Kelly Straughan shares Zaremba’s vision to support the theatre as a point of connection for the community. “These are transformational times, and as we enter our 50th anniversary, Theatre Aquarius is poised for tremendous growth and renewal,” says Straughan. “The arts are synonymous with creativity and resiliency. We will continue to harness this intense and sustained evolution to bring (theatre-goers) the professional theatre we know and love,

32 HCM SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2022 and public schools into permanent spaces for the theatre, including the historic Hamilton Custom House, built in 1858, but in the end an empty parking lot reigned supreme and Lett Smith Architects began the build in 1988.

BACKSTAGE PASS: Visual acknowledgments of diversity are displayed on the exterior and interior of the building, including land acknowledgements mounted in the lobby, and LGBTQ+ posters in the green rooms designed by stage managers Beth Bruck and Jasmyne Leisemer.

FRINGE HUB: Once a venue sponsor, Theatre Aquarius is now the central hub for the Hamilton Fringe Festival, with a fully-equipped outdoor event stage, licensed patio, workshops, discus sion panels, art displays, and pop-up performanc es from local, national, and international artists.

SUPPORT THE ARTS: Theatre Aquarius is a notfor-profit corporation and a registered charitable organization and relies on your support.

The DuMaurier Centre – now Theatre Aquarius – at 190 King William St. opened its doors to the public in 1991. It wasn’t an easy road, there were trials and tribulations in those early days, but Hamilton’s only professional theatre now welcomes over 100,000 visitors a year and provides a wealth of economic and artistic enrichment to the city. As a member of the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT), it is recognized as a category A (over 700 seats), among one of only 19 such theatres across the country, and is working with five separate unions and scores of talent.

HAMILTON IN THE HOUSE: Theatre Aquarius is showcasing the work of many local artists and forging new collaborations with a number of award-winning creatives, including Red Betty The atre, playwright Donna-Michelle St. Bernard, who is director of new play development, Karen Ancheta, artistic director of Porch Light Theatre, and Hamil ton-born director and playwright Aaron Jan.

A PEEK BEHIND THE CURTAIN 1973: 1988:1983:1976: Above: In 2013 , when the AwA rd-w I nn I ng or I g I n A l C A n A d IA n pl Ay Kim’s Convenien C e wA s on stAge At t he Atre AquA r I us, rumour h A d I t th At I t wA s A bout to be C ome A telev I s I on s I tC om. b elow: Joseph and the a mazing t e C hni C olor d ream C oat h A s A sold-out run I n 2017 to C rush the prev I ous re C ord-holder to be C ome the h I ghest-gross I ng t he Atre AquA r I us produ C t I on I n 45 ye A rs.

Theatre Aquarius launches the Performing Arts Programme, engaging thousands of young people and giving them the opportunity to discover the magic found in theatre. Rossov leaves Hamilton and moves to Los Angeles to attend the American Film Institute’s Directors Program.Construction on a state-of-theart theatre starts in an empty parking lot on King William Street and takes more than 18 months to complete.

Artistic directors Peter Mandia and his wife Nanci Rossov from the University of Ottawa Drama Guild co-found Theatre Aquarius in 1970 and bring it to Hamilton. Rossov directs the inaugural production of Hadrian VII starring Ted Follows in the McIntyre Theatre at Mohawk College. Subse quent productions take place at the 325-seat Studio Theatre at Hamilton Place where they’ll be mounted for the next 18 years. Stephen Newman comes on board as co-director and stage manager.

OUTREACH OASIS: Outreach programs at Theatre Aquarius include programs for LGBTQ+, newcomer and Indigenous community mem bers, sponsored theatre school registrations, sponsored ticket programs, and Play Club for Underserved Youth. Its theatre school, providing a wide range of creative classes for all ages, is conveniently located just across the street from Theatre Aquarius.

COMMUNITY NIGHTS: Watch for “pay what you wish” nights offered at price points of $10, $15 and $20.

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2022 HCM 33 THEATRE AQUARIUS 2022/23 SEASON SALT BABY Written by Falen Johnson Sept. 14-Oct. 1, 2022

Written by Mark Crawford March 8-25, 2023

Above: The Rocky h o RR o R Pic T u R e Show , stA rring C A meron mAC Duffee in 2010, wA s the highest-grossing t he Atre AquA rius show to DAte. Left: Artisti C D ire C tor mA ry f r A n C is m oore D ire C te D the 2019 C A n AD i A n version of h ai RSPR ay The B R oadway Mu S i cal to mu C h ACCLA im. photos: submitted Bill Freeman’s Glory Days hits the stage, telling the story of the 1946 Stelco steel strike. Generations of Hamilton steel workers get the chance to see their own stories realized on stage. Actual play readings were held at the Union Hall 1005 on Barton Street. Founding artistic team Peter Mandia and Stephen Newman cut the ribbon in celebration of the opening of Theatre Aquarius’ new home at 190 King William St., which includes the lavish 700-seat Irving Zucker Audito rium and the 125-seat Norman and Louise Haac Studio Theatre, designed by Peter Smith of Lett Smith Architects. Theatre Aquarius receives a Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Business Excellence in the Arts. Theatre Aquarius receives the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce Out standing Business Achievement Award. Theatre Aquarius receives Tourism Hamilton’s Arts & Entertain ment Ambassador Award.

Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story starring Stoney Creek’s own Jeff Giles breaks The Rocky Horror Picture Show’s highest-grossing box office record from the previous season.


Mary Poppins eclipses all others with a sold-out run to become the highest-grossing Theatre Aquarius production in 42 years.

1989: 2011: 2023:2022:2020:2017:2014:1991: 2008:2005:1997:

Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat has a wildly popular sold-out run and draws rave reviews from critics and crowd alike.



while providing development opportunities for emerging artists and contributing to the city of Hamilton.”Aftermore than two years of restrictions due to the pandemic, board chair Annette Hamm is looking forward to the upcoming season and getting back to seeing an appreciative crowd on a nightly basis. “Every play brings something different to the table and sharing the experi ence of that moment in time is a special part of going to the theatre.” With an “All Canadian Season” of powerful themes, upcoming shows are highlighting a spirit of hope and renewal, while teams are simultaneously launching relevant partner ships with local, national, and international arts associations to promote conversations and conscious change. They’re working closely with the Hamilton Community Foundation and the Incite Foundation for The Arts to reach wider audiences, support under-represented com munities, and facilitate a number of sponsored placements. Current initiatives also include expanding patron accessibility with the launch of new digital playbills, video and audio presen tations, support for new and emerging artists, new play development, and exciting virtual and augmented reality projects that will ignite next-level storytelling. n

Written by Mary Francis Moore and company Dec. 7-24, 2022 THE EXTINCTION THERAPIST WORLD PREMIERE Written by Clem Martini Jan. 25-Feb. 11, 2023

The theatre closes due to pandemic restrictions on March 13, and doesn’t open again until Oct. 30, 2021 for An Evening with Amy Sky and Friends, a celebration of frontline workers, then is forced to close again Jan. 5, 2022.Thetheatre re-opens on Jan. 31,Theatre2022.

Aquarius will mark its 50th anniversary.

MAGGIE WORLD PREMIERE Music by Johnny Reid, Matt Murray and Bob DirectionFosteranddramaturgy by Mary Francis Moore Musical direction by Bob Foster April 19-May 6, 2023

Written by Marcia Johnson Oct.19-Nov. 5, 2022


It’s a hot one – we’re talking fry-an-egg-onthe-sidewalk hot – but Harrison Kennedy looks comfortable. Beneath the umbrella of his patio table and shaded by a wide, leafy tree, he sports short sleeves and sips a glass of spar kling water. He appears just as relaxed as the cat, Saraha, who lounges on a chair across the yard. Kennedy appears just as unassuming as anyone else in his west Hamilton neighbourhood. There’s nothing about the scene that suggests Kennedy is a successful musician. Or that he’s shared stages with legends, (BB King, Parlia ment Funkadelic, James Brown) and worked with the who’s who of Motown. Or – and this one is a monster – that he was the first Black Canadian to sell a million records.

He simply does what he does, as best he can.

“I’m kinda like the elder statesman here in Hamilton,” Kennedy acknowledges. “There’s a lot of stories, from where I grew up and where I ended up – and where I’m going. Still feeling like I’m still growing.” These stories snake out of his conversation, spreading out like roots that connect him to the earth. The stories and the sensible attitude, the experience and the ability to express that experience in song; these are things that help Kennedy write music with such authenticity.

He’s about to embark on a two-week tour of France; he doesn’t have time to congratulate himself on simply being here. He has plenty of things to congratulate himself on, if he wanted to, though he doesn’t come across as the self-congratulatory type.


He might tell you that fact, because he likes to tell stories, but he sure won’t act like a guy who sold a million records. Harrison Kennedy is, in many ways, still just Harry Kennedy, a local mu sician. Maybe it’s the old cliché about Hamiltoni ans being down-to-earth ringing true yet again, but Harrison Kennedy knows who he is and what he wants. It’s what kept him grounded, present, truthful, and it’s one of the reasons he still makes remarkable music at the age of 80.

A blues player rooted in tradition but reaching beyond it, his music is filled with warmth and humour one moment, deep longing the next. His voice, earthy and powerful and agile, could not be better suited to the music he chooses to play.

Music and Harrison Kennedy have had a long, lively relationship. Born in the 1940s, Kennedy was able to experience some of the glory days of jazz music in Hamilton, when artists as legendary as Billie Holliday and Duke Ellington would play in the city. These artists famously spent some of their off-hours in the homes of local families like the Washingtons and the Kennedys. /continued on page 36


Much was made of that milestone birthday, which occurred in March of this year, but you can tell from his modest shrug that Kennedy is unimpressed with himself in that regard.




On bec O ming a blues singer: i was c O ming h O me after a gig with my thr O at all s O re fr O m singing. m y partner said, ‘ h ave y O u heard O f t aj m ahal?’ i said ‘Of c O urse’. s he said, ‘ yO u’ve g O t a better v O ice than him, y O u sh O uld be making music like that.’ i listened t O s O me O f it and said, ‘Oh hell, i can d O that.’ s he says, ‘ i kn O w y O u can, i ’ve heard y O u d O ing it!’”

Dozier handed Kennedy $75 to buy a guitar – which, as a singer, Kennedy didn’t know how to play – and told him, “You’ve got two weeks. Get a Kennedyband.” hitchhiked out to Ann Arbor, where he found the musicians who helped him make 1972’s Hypnotic Music. The album contained elements of the funk, soul and blues Kennedy loved. Several of the songs showed his socially conscious approach to the world, too: the an ti-war and pro-environmental “You Hurt Your Mother Again” and the pro-LGTBQ+ anthem, “Closet“‘ClosestQueen.”Queen you’re all right,’” sings Kennedy to illustrate. “‘You know what I mean, Closet Queen come into the light where you can be seen’… you know, I’d walk by pubs and gay folks were blasting that tune. Everybody’s got a right to be alive! What the hell. JesusChairmenChrist.” of the Board 1970


There were hard times for the Kennedy family – losses, evictions, and, unsurprisingly, instances of racism. Kennedy remembers the time he was chosen to read in front of the class, and how upset his mother was when she saw what he’d been assigned to read.

“We were close,” Kennedy says of Edward Holland. “He’s the guy that said he wanted me to do a solo album. (Chairmen of the Board) already had a million-seller. He said he wanted me to do the kind of stuff that I like – the story tunes – which was different from Motown.”

“When the musicians would play in Hamilton and Toronto, Sunday was their day off,” Kennedy recalls. “Sunday was the day you weren’t allowed to drink back in those days, and also, there weren’t a lot of places they could go because of racism. So my mum, raising three boys, found a way to make some money. Our house would be loaded up. On Friday they’d bring all the beer and whisky in, and on Sunday the players would show up. They’d come out to our house to eat and play darts. They’d play something called Guggenheim. They used the rubber tops off mason jars, and they had these hooks. They would throw the tops at the hooks and call that Guggenheim, I don’t know why.”

“She came into the class and said ‘My son is not going to read Little Black Sambo!’” Kennedy’s face beams, clearly proud of his mother to thisReading,day. it turned out, would remain a he says. “The Canterbury Tales, to me, was like the blues. It was about this guy that travels across the country, he talks about all the things he’s seen and the characters he’s met.” School, of course, didn’t pay for itself. Kennedy decided to turn to his old friend, music, to make some extra money. He soon connected with some Toronto performers by the name of the Stone Soul Children. From there, fate placed the puzzle pieces together on Kennedy’s behalf when he ended up with an impromptu audition

for Motown legends Eddie Holland, Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier. Holland-Dozier-Holland decided to invite Kennedy to be a member of the group they were putting together called Chairmen of the Board (see sidebar), who would be signed to their new label, Invictus Records.

Over the next several years, Kennedy found himself rocketing to fame, learning about the music business from both his bandmates and the legendary likes of Holland-Dozier-Holland. He grins when he recounts how Eddie Holland divulged a secret — that lines such as “he keeps me hanging on” or “ I heard it through the grapevine” were the result of listening to his sisters’ and sisters’ friends’ conversations.


While the women cooked, the men would play darts and jam on the piano. Young Harrison was called up by his mother and asked to sing “that song I like so much.” “I never knew what song she was talking about,” Kennedy says with a laugh. As he reminisces about those times, more stories emerge; anecdotes about his Uncle Clifford, Uncle Bruce, his stepfather Joseph Morris, his mother, his brothers. The stories are imbued with love and humour, even the ones that have less rosy memories attached to them.

“A lot of these guys from Detroit didn’t like me,” he recalls, “because I was a ‘proper-talking n’ — I won’t use the word. This is from Black people, saying that to me. Some of the people involved in the music business didn’t understand my Canadian ways. I heard the guy who was supposed to be our manager saying I wasn’t Black enough for him.” Another time, Kennedy recalls driving through Mississippi with his bandmates when he spotted a lone man working in a field. General Johnson, inspired by the scene, scribbled down what would become the lyrics to the song “Patches.” “People stole it from him,” Kennedy says. “They said we couldn’t do that, it was too country.” That didn’t stop the song itself, however, which was given to Clarence Carter, who won a Grammy for it.

“It came like a cluster of wrong,” says Kennedy. That wrong – that sense of unease – led him to quit the business and return to his family in Hamilton. Even when offered significant incentives, Kennedy refused to move to California. Johnson invited him to go down south, but Kennedy refused that, too, unwilling “I loved those guys but I just couldn’t see myself living down south,” he says. “I’d get into trouble sure as God made little green apples. I’m from Hamilton, I would have told someone off and that, you know, they use guns down there. In Hamilton, we fight with our fists.” Like his uncle, Jackie Washington, Kennedy had no desire to leave Canada and go to the United States. “You gotta change yourself,” says Kennedy. “I like being myself. I like having an opinion, discussing that opinion without some one not liking me because of my language.” When Kennedy returned to Hamilton, he temporarily left music behind. He landed at Allied Chemical, which was fitting for an or ganic chemistry major. He worked his way up from sweeping the floor to head of the union, and eventually, supervisor. Music, however, has a way of creeping back

into lives. After a while, Kennedy sought out Bobby Washington, working as a mechanic on the other side of town, and they put a band together on the side. From that moment in the 1980s through to the 2000s, Kennedy continued to gig and make music. Yet other than one live performance on cassette, he didn’t release any new albums until he found the blues again. When he started to work in the blues – still uniquely Kennedy, but more rooted in the down-home sound – the inspiration stuck. In 2003, he released the album Sweet Taste There was no turning back after that. While Kennedy still has a deep love of the other kinds of music he’s made – or hasn’t made, like classical music – he has found a groove in the Son House/Taj Mahal style blues. It’s a direction that audiences and fans responded to with enthusiasm. His career has been on an upward trajectory ever since, culminating – culminating for now, that is –in a Best Blues Album JUNO Award for his 2014 release This Is From Here “This new one,” he says, tapping the CD on the table in front of him, “this one we’re putting in for a Grammy.” The list of collaborators and contributors on his records prove that his peers trust him, too. His latest, Thanks for Tomorrow, features a remarkable roster of talented musicians. The cover of the album names two of them –four-time Grammy nominee Ruthie Foster and (master) guitarist (and Blackie & The Rodeo Kings member) Colin Linden. The rest of the line-up are no slouches, either: Chris Caddel, Jesse O’Brien, Gary Craig, John Dymond and many others who are well-known, well-re garded players. /continued on next page

were hailed as the future of soul music by many. Harrison was, to many people in America, a bona fide star. “My picture was up in Times Square, big afro and everything, for months,” Kennedy remembers. “Afterward, Three Dog Night was up there.” Yet all was not all right in Kennedy’s world. He became increasingly disenchanted with the music industry’s immoral business practices, and prejudice from unexpected places.

2009 ONE BARKIN’DOG 2013 SOULSCAPE 2011 THESHAMEDEVIL 2018 CROSSBORDERBLUES** 2014 THIS IS FROM HERE 2022 THANKS TOMORROWFOR more photos: scan the qr code hamiltoncitymagazine.ca photo: marta hewson for hcm

“I loved those guys,” reminisces Kennedy. “You had General Johnson, who was basically the quintessen tial pop singer. Eddie Custis was the ballad singer. Just that pure. Danny Woods did the throw-down, dance-to-the-music R&B stuff. And me, I kinda did the folk and blues stuff. We just cooked.”

“All of them put their signature on it,” says Kennedy. “I said to ’em: ‘Look fellas, I’m not looking over your shoulder. If you’re not satisfied with what you do, if there’s something you wanna tweak, this studio’s gonna stay open.’ And they did, they kept going back, it was great.” Ultimately, the way Kennedy plays the blues combines more than a century of tradition with almost a century of living. There’s no posing here, no pretend-bluesman posture.

“Blues should be the truth,” he says. “Somebody that sits back and writes a tune about how hard their life is, and they got land they own, cottages somewhere, don’t come from a poor family … they don’t know nothin’ about hard times. I also don’t like wanna-bes that use their colour in order to get over. C’mon man, you aren’t fooling“Afteranybody.”havingsaid that,” Kennedy continues, “I have a hard time knocking success. I may not like the soda pop you make but if it’s putting food on your table, good for you. There’s no reason for me to denigrate what you’re doing. I have to keep doing what I’m doing. And perhaps I’ll be OK, too.”

photo: bob hatcher

The Chairmen of the Board formed in Detroit in 1968. They were put together by former Motown giants Holland-Dozier-Holland for their new label, Invictus. Edward Holland told Kennedy, “You four guys are all solo artists, you could handle the show by yourself. That’s why we’re calling you the Chairmen of the Board.” Over the years, the Chairmen sold millions of records, including their most recognizable hit, “Gimme Just A Little More Time.”


Kennedy’s membership in this supergroup is a textbook example of “right place, right time.” The singer found himself in Detroit with a group of Toronto musicians. There was a singer, auditioning for Invictus, who was suddenly too nervous to take the stage. “They were like ‘Harrison, can you do one more? We can’t get her out of the dressing room!’” Kennedy recalls. In stalling for time, Kennedy unknowingly audi tioned in front of Holland-Dozier-Holland. “After I fin ished Edward (Holland) asked me, ‘How many tunes have you written?’ I said about 50 and they looked at one another. I didn’t know I was talking to three of the most proficient songwriters on the planet.”

Kennedy is modest about his talent as compared to the other Chairmen. “I said, ‘what am I doing here?’” he jokes. “But they saw something in me. I learned so much from these guys – it was like a PhD in learning the music business.”

I loved those guys. y ou had g eneral Johnson, who was bas I cally the qu I nt essent I al pop s I nger. e dd I e c ust I s was the ballad s I nger. d anny w oods d I d the throwdown, dance-to-themus I c r & b stuff. a nd me, I k I nda d I d the folk and blues stuff. w e J ust cooked.”

Kennedy wasn’t immediately sold on joining the group. He was reluctant to move to the U.S., and in fact, he never did – he lived in Windsor instead. Of course, in the end, he did join, and in doing so, became part of an international sensation.


The Chairmen performed around the world, played the Apollo, and appeared on shows such as the Tonight Show, Soul Train and Top of the Pops. Though Kennedy left the group in 1974, the band continued on with other members – with Kennedy’s blessing, of course. The only surviving member of the group, Kennedy once sang lead on an episode of Soul Train Today, he still performs that song, “Chairman of the Board,” in his live sets. n

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“It’s just so weird. It’s like showing your ass in public in a way. The camera is like a confessional. When you’re talking, you forget it’s being recorded.”Wilsonlearned through a happenstance meeting with a stranger at the age of 53 –and after the death of both his parents – that he was Ratheradopted.thanbeing the son of Irish-Canadian blind war veteran George Wilson and FrenchCanadian homemaker Bunny who made a home with him on Hamilton’s east Mountain, he was the son of Janie Lazare, a woman he believed to be his first cousin. He was also 75 per cent WilsonMohawk.alwayssuspected his family didn’t add up, but was hushed any time he asked.



Putting his first memoir out into the world was a terrifying moment for Tom Wilson. So, of course, he’s writing another one.

Hamilton’s troubadour has been writing songs and performing since he was a teen lugging a guitar to coffee shops and pizza joints in downtown Hamilton. But that’s a far cry from baring his soul in Beautiful Scars: Steeltown Secrets, Mohawk Skywalkers and the Road Home, the 2017 best seller that told Wilson’s story of growing up in an insular home of hidden truths, his battle to overcome addiction and his journey to discover ing his identity. A documentary of the same name debuted at the Hot Docs festival in Toronto in May. Wilson says it took him four days to watch it after film maker Shane Belcourt sent it to him in advance of the premiere.

The intimate film, just like the book it comes from, is at turns shocking, funny, poignant and gritty. Featuring a soundtrack composed by Wilson and his son Thompson, the documentary is the perfect complement to Wilson’s memoir. The latter is told only in his voice, while the former hears from those deeply affected by Wilson’s story – namely his birth mother, his daughter and his half-sisters. /continued on next page more


Wilson’s art was also featured in an 18-piece exhibition entitled Echoes Of The Flame: Art Inspired By The Lyrics Of The Tragically Hip Wilson’s eight-foot piece is that of a shrouded, blood-spattered nun whose robes are inscribed with the names of more than 1,000 children found buried at Canada’s residential schools.

“There is excitement in the unknown. Artists are explorers and risk-takers. Artists have told us what the moon was like or what was on the ocean floor long before any explorer or scientist gotFromthere.”his solo work in Lee Harvey Osmond to his painting, Wilson continues to grieve for the absence of his Mohawk identity in the first half-century of his life. His installation called Fading Memories of Home, featured at the Stratford Festival this summer, hauntingly symbolizes the loss of family, culture and identity that Indigenous children suffered at the hands of governments and churches. As viewers move past nine rebuilt residential school desks, projected images of families disappear.

The lyrics from The Hip’s scathing “Now The Struggle Has A Name”, a protest song about Canada’s treatment of Indigenous people and the generational pain it has created, are also included in the painting: “It doesn’t fade, it hasn’t changed/ I still feel the same/ Now the struggle has a name.”

And I’m a survivor and my kids are survivors,” says Wilson. “She’s really the star of the film, along with my daughter Madeleine. Janie was nervous about doing it and she was nervous about seeing it on the screen. But she shines in it.” Wilson is now in the thick of writing his second book called Blood Memory, which contemplates ancestral and genetic connections to one’s culture and identity. It’s scheduled to come out next fall. “There are things that resonate with us and we don’t know why. They are already part of us, already inside of us. That’s what this book explores.”Thereis a lot to live up to after Beautiful Scars, a national bestseller that received glowing critical reviews and was named a finalist for the 2018 Kobo Emerging Writer Prize, a finalist for the Hamilton Literary Awards, and was named a CBC Best Book of 2017. When Wilson met renowned book editor Martha Kanya-Forstner to discuss his first book, he thought someone else would do the writing after he spilled his tale. “She was both amused and insulted. She told me I had to go through the physical process of writing it myself. She was right. I had to go through that painful, hard work.” He half-jokes that writing the book saved him hundreds of thousands of dollars on therapy. “The first time I sat down to write, I wrote with such a black heart and anger about being lied to my entire life. But when I started to write about Bunny and George, I felt as if I was three years old again. They were the centre of my world. I once couldn’t imagine the universe without them. That black edge started to break up.” After crossing that bridge, his goal now is to “bring honour and shine the light on Mohawk culture and the effects of colonialization on Indigenous communities. I’m telling my story for that reason.” The writing of Blood Memory comes in fits and starts. There are stretches where he is fully immersed in the book, but then either creative pulls or looming deadlines lure him back into painting, song writing or recording. His favourite creation is the one rolling around in his head.


photo: marta hewson for hcm

Viewers can’t help but be captured by Lazare’s strength and vulnerability and the understated way in which she talks about being allowed to be only on the periphery of her son’s life. Though Lazare was often present as Wilson grew up, Bunny did not allow her time alone withLazare,him. who is 82 and lives in Dundas, initially didn’t want to be in the documentary but Belcourt, an award-winning writer and director of Métis descent, convinced her to take part. Lazare, a tiny, wise, white-haired woman, was told as a child in residential day school in Quebec that she was the “last of the Indians,” says“SheWilson.isasurvivor.

It’s telling that for all the drugs and bar fights of his rock ‘n’ roll life, Wilson’s first and only arrest came when he visited the disputed McKenzie Meadows housing development site in Caledonia to deliver food to protesters and perform for families in October 2020. He was charged with mischief and disobeying a court order. He wishes he could have stood alongside his siblings in land battles long before now.

I want to be part of creat I ng a world that no longer needs the word reconc I l I at I on and that doesn’t need to apolog I ze to our grandch I ldren for what we were. b ut only love changes the world.”

“I do feel exhausted. By 8 p.m., I’m ready to put my feet up. But I know adrenaline will kick in on the stage.” The pandemic offered him a chance at a new perspective, says Wilson. “All the business bullshit went away and I got to do what I want, which is create. I wrote songs for Black and Rodeo Kings. I came to the studio and painted.” There were no airports. No waking up in hotel“Thatrooms.lifemight sound glamorous but after all these years, I could not do that again and be OK with it,” he says. “I’ve been on the stage my whole life now. I didn’t think this was the break I needed, but it was. There is no retirement in this business but I found out that I wasn’t at a loss without performing when I had to give it up.”

Tom Wilson’s archive donaT ion To T he m c m as T er Universi T y l ibrary inclU des noT ebooks filled W i T h T ho U gh Ts, song ideas, and lyrics, vinyl recordings, phoTographs, noT es and annoTaT ed galley proofs of his memoir and some pain T ings.

In addition to a new album, O Glory, from Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, Wilson’s year has also included an album collaboration with fellow Indigenous singer and former Hamilton resident Iskwē, with songs co-written and produced by Serena Ryder. Blackie and the Rodeo Kings formed in 1996 for what was supposed to be a one-off tribute album to the music of Canadian great Willie P. Bennett. It has grown into a genre-blending supertrio that includes Colin Linden and Stephen Fearing, blending southern-style rock, blues, country, Americana and folk.

Wilson has been married to his second wife Margo for seven years and his daughter Madeline, her partner Ryan McMillan and their three youngsters live just two blocks away from Wilson’s English cottage-style house on a /continued on next page

As a young man, I only had a burning desire to create art,” Wilson said during the dedication of his archives at McMaster in May. “We are all trying to do the very best we can. But I don’t know what I’m doing. I never have. Ask my manager, ask my family, ask my teachers in high school.”


Things were clicking in early 2020 – the band’s 25th anniversary – with the release of King of This Town, a new major label deal with Warner Music Canada, and a tour that included debuts at the venerable Grand Ole Opry and Bluebird Café in Nashville. Of course, it all ground to a halt in March of that year. And Wilson readily admits he happily found a routine that included staying close to home.

“I want to be part of creating a world that no longer needs the word reconciliation and that doesn’t need to apologize to our grandchildren for what we were. But only love changes the world.”Soin that vein, Wilson established the Tom Wilson Scholarship in Honour of Bunny Wilson at McMaster University in 2020. It will support first-year Indigenous students from anywhere in Ontario in any faculty. The scholarship is supported by a range of contributors, including a $100,000 donation by McMaster, Two fundraising concerts finally performed in May after two years of pandemic postponements included a small orchestra led by Darcy Hepner, Wilson’s son Thompson Wilson, long-time Black ie and the Rodeo Kings bandmate Colin Linden, Indigenous musician Phil Davis, and Hamilton singer-songwriter Terra Lightfoot. Wilson also recently donated his archives to the McMaster University Library, joining other musical luminaries such as Bruce Cockburn, and Hamiltonians Ian Thomas, Valerie Tyron, Jackie Washington and Boris Brott, and writers Farley Mowat, Margaret Laurence, Pierre Berton and Stuart McLean. Wilson’s archive contributions include note books filled with thoughts, song ideas, and lyrics, vinyl recordings and photographs, notes and annotated galley proofs of his memoir and some paintings.“Ihadno chance of ever being accepted here. I wasn’t built for that kind of learning.

photo: ron scheffler for mcmaster university library

For someone who doesn’t know what he’s doing, Wilson sure is busy doing it.

On a beautiful June morning at his Kirkendale home, Wilson says he’s not looking forward to the long tour for O Glory running from July through December (including a stop Dec. 10 at Hamilton’s FirstOntario Concert Hall.)

As a 62-year-old grandfather of three who’s perhaps more in demand than ever before, who can blame him?

beautiful street off Queen Street just before it climbs up the escarpment. He is tall, with a booming baritone, intense eyes and strong features that would make a wood carver eager to get started on his likeness. His signature style – long hair and beard, boots and hat would look far too intentionally “authentic” on most anyone else. Though he looks badass, no one can be intimidating who is out shepherding his grandsons to school or taking his mom for groceries. But throughout Beautiful Scars are glimpses of the hard edges of the Hamilton Wilson grew up in – a violent, gritty, survival-of-the-fittest type place where kids weren’t protected or coddled. They were toughened up for a cold, cruelWilson’sworld.clean, bare bones style of writing stares you right in the eye. He refuses to depict himself as a hero or even with much sympathy. His accomplishments he diminishes and his weaknesses he flaunts. He writes unflinchingly about the heartbreaking end of his first marriage and the loneliness of his stint in rehab.

Wilson started painting when he quit drinking in the early 1990s. It was an outlet, a way to fill his time and to be productive. He started out giving them away. But that’s certainly not the case anymore when a Tom Wilson painting captures tens of Butthousands.theoutlet is the same.

“I never say I’m an artist. I’m working every day to become one. And when you’re working as an artist, you are really trying to be a threeyear-old version of yourself.” n

He watches RuPaul’s Drag Race a lot these days (he says his wife likes it.) At the end of each episode they show a picture of the drag queen contestant at eight or nine. “They ask them what they would say to that kid and it’s so moving and emotional because it’s such a universal feeling to look back and wish you could tell yourself something. I was a devil,” he says. “There is regret you live with. You can’t shake it. You might change and clean up and live a better life but the people you f*cked up are still f*cked up and you can’t shake that. I’ve hurt people and I have to live with that.” Whenever he can, he finds time to be in his studio space at the Cotton Factory on Sherman Avenue North. On this day, he’s adding “10,000 dots into the sky” of a large canvas that takes up most of a wall. It’s unlikely he’s actually calculated that number, but it doesn’t seem an exaggeration given his highly detailed, mesmerizing work.

“There is a mindfulness to it. I can lose myself for hours in it. It centres me.” Wilson says it might be easy to think an artist spends a lot of time in contemplation, searching for“That’sinspiration.notit. It’s hard work. It’s discipline. Sometimes you come up empty… I had to learn that when I got caught up in trying to control the reception or trying to write the hit or writing for an audience you hope exists, it’sHumanstrouble.”are born to create, he says. Kids sing and drum and dance and make up stories but many lose that instinct as they grow up.

As Wilson toils, Lucy, his spunky, sweet border collie/Australian shepherd/German shepherd mix is never far from his side.

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2022 HCM 45 HamiltonCongratulationsCityMagazine! On behalf of the 1,290 Children & Youth, 230 Caregivers, 175 Educators & 16 Artist Educators engaged in Artasia 2022 visual and media arts programming across 25 neighbourhoods thissummer.Would like to say ConnectArtistsToCommunities We activate spaces for neighbourhoods to flourish with high-quality arts education experiences and professional artists. MISSION Inspire EverydayArtsEverywhereforEveryone We change the future by connecting citizens of all ages to creativity to build better communities. VISION CreateArtsAccessForAll We build access to arts for everyone to inspire citizens and fosterwellbeing.community PURPOSE All of this programming is offered at no charge to children and their families. Learn how you can donate and support. www.artsforall.co This space has been sponsored by HAMILTON CITY Magazine in support of local not-for-profit arts organizations that engage and inspire our youth. You can support other community organizations by sponsoring an ad. Contact us at sales@hamiltoncitymagazine.ca


Kyle Joedic K e uses spray paint and brushes to stories on photo:

walls in and beyond h amilton.


inscribe i ndigenous



By Stephanie Vegh

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2022 HCM 47 The land acknowledgements that have become commonplace at our civic gatherings are often inadequate gestures to the First Nations history overwritten by colonial settlement. Vague statements of poorly pronounced territorial names can too often consign these cultures to an equally vague past that fails to see Indigenous lives in our today, or Artiststomorrow.Alex Jacobs-Blum and Kyle Joedicke have both struggled against this landslide of obscured history to reclaim their Cayuga traditions from the tangled roots of their mixed European ancestry. Within this work of carving out vital space for Indigenous visibility in our city is a vital drive to make these ideas sing for the future. /continued on next page

Jacobs-Blum is a photographer whose conceptual lens follows in the wake of First Nations photographers like Jeff Thomas and Shelley Niro. These exemplars went unmen tioned in her classrooms at Sheridan College, which offered strong technical training but limited scope for navigating her growing awareness of the intergenerational trauma that persisted in her family. A road trip to her ancestral Cayuga lands in upstate New York opened a process of “coming home to myself” through photographs that capture isolated vignettes largely glimpsed from a car’s alienating distance. These works were recently exhibited in Sense of Belonging: A Place Called Home at the Woodlands Cultural Centre, a site weighted with its origins as a residential school. Jacobs-Blum’s photographs layer themselves upon the ghosts that haunt colonized spaces, bridging scenes of natural wilderness with neglected infrastructure and weather-worn historical plaques marking the burial mounds of Cayuga culture and lives. Jacobs-Blum defies these signs that insist on confining her identity in a dusty past. As the inaugural Indigenous curatorial resident at Hamilton Artists Inc., she has been researching Indigenous futurism through the practices of artists that carry their ancestry and kinship through time and space to imagine fantastic possibilities. These ideas are threaded through Born Celestial, an exhibition she organized this summer at the Inc. that reclaimed the white cube of the gallery space for Indigenous wom en’s visions of eclectic, sparkling futures. Survival in the face of ecological tragedies

Alex J Acobs- b lum, Oh.wé.ja:de’ , from the series o nákdo:t,  2019 , d igitA l Photogr AP h


Alex J Acobs- b lum. photo: marc lesage A ro A d trip to her A ncestr A l cA yug A l A nds in upst A te n ew y ork opened A process of “coming home to myself” through photogr A phs th A t c A pture isol A ted vignettes l A rgely glimpsed from A c A r’s A lien A ting dist A nce.

Another ex A mple of Kyle Joedic K e’s wor K th At A dorns A formerly

loc A l exterior wA

As a self-taught artist, Joedicke is navigating his painting practice with a modest sensitivity to what he doesn’t yet know and an infectious appetite for Indigenous legends that can speak to contemporary challenges. The parable of an evil serpent that plagues a village and is defeated through wisdom and collective effort resonates powerfully with the social failings he has witnessed in the present: income inequality, unaffordable housing, the fragility of social ties in alienating urban spaces. Despite this critical eye, Joedicke insists on a world marked by lively forms and bright yellows that, for him, signify “the light of the sun or the act of turning a new leaf.” His is the optimism of an artist rising to heights that had never before seemed possible. Equally important is the impact of his public murals for an urban Indigenous community that is now seeing their culture writ large on Hamilton’s walls. A renewed sense of belonging flows from these bold interpretations of the stories that were first spoken on this land and will persist long into the future. n more photos: scan the qr code hamiltoncitymagazine.ca Joedic K e. photo: submitted non-descript ll. photo: submitted

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2022 HCM 49 like the disastrous sewage spill into Cootes Paradise also informs Jacobs-Blum’s first foray into sculpture for this year’s revival of Urban Moorings, a floating exhibition on those same waters that was first curated by Nora Hutchinson in 2008. Inspired by the Haudenosaunee creation story, a large dome representative of Mother Earth floats alongside platforms planted by the Royal Botanical Gardens with native species to clear toxins from the water. An augmented reality component to this work, also a new horizon for Jacobs-Blum, incorporates Sky World imagery that situates this spoiled para dise within its larger cosmic realm. The result is a forward-thinking call for care and steward ship, floating in a site of wounded depths. Ur ban Moorings Two runs until Nov. 1 in the lower Chedoke Creek watershed. Accesses include Princess Point and the Desjardins Trail. An artist of ambitious ideas, Jacobs-Blum is an active collaborator both within and beyond the realm of art. Working with the Bawaadan Collective, an Indigenous film collaborative, has encouraged Jacobs-Blum to push her lensbased storytelling into the realm of moving images. She also organized a youth video series with the Hamilton Regional Indian Centre that that screened during this year’s Supercrawl – a project that, like much of her practice as a cu rator and community advocate, holds space for First Nations presence in the urban complica tions of the downtown core.

Kyle Joedicke turns instead to spray cans and paint brushes to inscribe Indigenous stories on a growing number of walls in and beyond Hamilton. We met at the site of his largest project to date – a frieze that stretches the full depth of a Concession Street storefront and wraps around its back door. A path marked on the ground, as well as the wall, traces a youth’s encounters with seven animals representing the Seven Grandfather Teachings, painted in the Woodlands style immortalized by Norval Morrisseau but layered with uninhibited spray marks that recall Joedicke’s roots in graffiti’s street culture. This mural, commissioned last year by the Concession Street BIA, was created over two months in between dispiriting day shifts in the home development industry picking garbage out of the mud of what used to be untouched wilderness. Completing this work opened a promising door out of that job: a CBC article on the new mural exploded his Instagram follow ing overnight, leading to many new commis sions, gallery representation with Beckett Fine Arts, and participation in this year’s Concrete Canvas mural festival. A lifelong self-described doodler who grew up in Caledonia, Joedicke was active in street art as a teenager and well into his 20s, until the toxic culture of competition drove him towards other creative outlets. He moved through tattoo design and other practices in search of a voice that would reflect his identity as an artist of mixed Cayuga and Scottish descent who, despite countless weekends with his “second family” on Six Nations, feels the absence of the teachings his work now seeks to share.


T y

is T


By Jamie Tennan T The aT 141 Park sT n ., he facili and rovides usic T submitted


In 2016, The Gasworks was purchased by the John and Ellie Voortman Charitable Foundation. The Voortman Foundation works alongside charities that share their community-first values.

a much-needed home for T he h amilTon m


ive. photos:



The HMC, however, has many other programs. Its vision was to create a true community hub that could enrich anyone’s life. Without a permanent, appropriate home base, this vision was difficult to turn into reality.

renovaT ed and reimagined g asworks,

c ollec

The Gasworks, at 141 Park St. N., is not only the headquarters HMC needed – it’s the con summate community arts facility. Built in 1850, The Gasworks takes its name from the property’s original purpose – an industrial space where flammable coal gas was produced to power the lives of Hamiltonians. As coal gas was replaced by hydroelectric power, the building changed purposes but remained a heritage fixture in the downtown.

consummaT e communi T y arTs

50 HCM SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2022 Music makes a difference. It draws indi viduals together, creates friendships, and helps build communities. It invests young people with confidence, drive, and pas sion. It enriches life itself. Something so fundamental should be acces sible to everyone in our society – but it isn’t. The Hamilton Music Collective exists to help people overcome the economic, social and edu cational barriers that stand in the way for many. Its most celebrated program, An Instrument For Every Child, has seen enormous success by reaching out to Hamilton neighbourhoods and at-risk populations via schools and Boys & Girls Clubs, providing instruments, education and opportunities for our youth to discover the potency music can have in their lives.

The HMC has always extended a hand into the inner-city community, and it made no sense to design a space that felt elitist, out of touch or, more importantly, out of reach. The Gasworks is functional and beautiful, and it feels accessible without feeling institutional.

The Gasworks will be a true cultural hub – a centralized location that will make education, exploration, and entertainment accessible for its inner-city neighbours and anyone else who wishes to participate. That participation can take on many forms, thanks to the HMC’s variety of programs. There are performance programs for youth, such as JAMBASSADORS, where middle- and high-school students have an opportunity to demonstrate their skills. There is the Open Jam for Kids, which brings novice players together with local professional musicians, also in a live setting. At the most introductory level, there is the Instrument Petting Zoo, where anyone can try a variety of musical instruments at community events city-wide. Older youth can learn about hip-hop, electronic dance music and other electronic production techniques through the Beats By U! program. This fall sees the launch of Music for Mental Wellness, a songwriting program for older youth, utilizing songwriting and recording of pop songs to engage and promote wellness and empowerment in a time when the chal lenge of mental wellness has become a crisis in many populations. The Gasworks contains classrooms, collab orative spaces, a recording studio, and event rental areas. The Gasworks is not only for musicians, but for music and performance lov ers, whether it’s a presentation by HMC youth programs or simply a great concert for every one. Throughout the pandemic, the excitement about live music has only grown. The building itself is a heritage structure, one that is both old and new, both traditional and forward-looking, much like the city itself. The Park Street façade has been returned to its former splendour, while the new back-end addition provides what was lacking – the new lobby, a green room, a loading dock, all things a modern performance space cannot do without.


Voortman Foundation chair Carl Joosse saw this inner-city heritage site, magnificent but tired, as a place where someone could foster bright futures for Hamilton youth. The Founda tion purchased the building knowing that our inner-city was a place of hope but also hardship, of progress but also poverty. The organization believed in the HMC mission to the point that it was willing to purchase The Gasworks, but also to fund its revitalization. To help realize the joint vision of the Foundation and the HMC, they turned to Hamilton firm Curran Gacesa Slote Architects (formerly Thier + Curran Architects) who designed and oversaw the project.

The arts have suffered immensely over the last several years. Yet after a time when both adults and children have lost opportunities, we must respond by providing opportuni ties. With The Gasworks, the HMC and the Voortman Foundation have created something visionary and important. Cities across Canada should look to The Gasworks as a blueprint for innovative and direct community engagement, and as a model arts facility for our rapidly changing world.

With creativity and an understanding of what was needed, Curran Gacesa Slote Architects ensured that the modest renovation delivered a metamorphosis. This building is exactly what it needs to be, where it needs to be, for those who need to be part of it.


Everyone should feel welcome and naturally, to that end, the space is now fully accessible. Urban renewal is important for the city’s future. Yet we must never lose sight of those who are often left behind. Communities must be improved for all, not for a select few.

It also features more classroom space. The cov ered porch welcomes you into the building and doubles as a performance space. Large seating areas, windows, and even a fireplace make the space feel welcoming as opposed to intimi dating – because for some, being involved in the community is intimidating enough already.


JESSE THISTLE. photo: courtesy penguin random house



“Never have I heard a sweeter sound than a newborn learning to laugh,” writes Thistle in the book’s final part, “Someone’s Ancestor,” in which readers will delight in the palpable joy Thistle feels toward his newborn daughter, Rose.

Those who have read From the Ashes will be familiar with Thistle’s poetry, which is used sparingly throughout the memoir. Scars and Stars allowed him to dig deeper into the poetic form, resulting in a heartfelt and unforgettable amalgamation of poetry and prose.



By Jessica Rose

52 HCM SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2022 If there’s one Canadian book that people have been talking about for the past two years, it’s the extraordinary debut memoir, From the Ashes, by Jesse Thistle. In it, Thistle, who is Métis-Cree from Prince Albert, Sask., now living in Hamilton, shares his deeply personal experiences with drug and alcohol addiction and homelessness. A No. 1 national bestseller, From the Ashes won the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize for Nonfiction, an Indigenous Voices Award, was named a Globe and Mail Book of the Year, and was a finalist for CBC Canada Reads, to name just a few of its accolades. It should come as no surprise that Thistle’s follow-up, Scars and Stars, a moving collection of poems and stories, is one of the most anticipated releases of the “Scarsyear.can be beautiful or ugly; it’s just how you look at them,” writes Thistle in the book’s prologue. “They adorn our skin, tell us where we’ve been, and all we’ve survived.” Told in five parts, Stars and Scars brings together the past, present, and future through an exploration of family, community, and memory. It’s also a book about new beginnings – in particular, new parenthood.

This summer, PEN Canada announced that Hamilton poet Fareh Malik was the winner of the prestigious 2022 RBC/PEN Canada New Voices Award, which rec ognizes emerging writers across multiple genres. The jury described an excerpt from his debut poetry col lection, Streams That Lead Somewhere, as an intense “portrait of what it’s like to feel othered and alienated by daily doses of hate.” Exploring Islamophobia, rac ism, and other forms of discrimination, Streams That Lead Somewhere is throught-provoking and tender, proving that Malik – a spoken word artist – is a writer to watch. He has also won Hamilton’s Shirley Elford Emerging Artist Commission Prize and Muslim Hands Canada’s 2020 Poetry Contest.

Whether your fall plans include cozying up with a thought-provoking new collection of poetry or taking some time to re-evaluate your relationship with the environment, there’s a book by a Hamilton author for you. Visit one of the city’s independent bookstores or your local branch of the library to add these local reads to your to-be-read pile.

With many stores temporarily closed, the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to examine our relationship to shopping. For some, this meant courier packages arriving daily. For others, it was a chance to pause and think about the economic and environmental impact of our compulsion to buy. In his new book Shopomania: Our Obsession with Possession, Paul Berton, editor-in-chief of The Hamilton Spectator, offers a fascinating and satirical look at consumerism that challenges readers to look at their own shopping practices, making choices that are environmentally, socially, and politically responsible.

BATTER ROYALE LEISL ADAMS Batter Royale, a colourful, fast-paced graphic novel, takes young readers behind the scenes of a baking show. But this little bit of reality television escapism isn’t all cupcakes and icing sugar. Contestants are willing to lie, cheat, and even sabotage their oppo nents to take the top prize. Batter Royale is the debut book by storyboard artist and illustrator Leisl Adams, who was born and raised in Hamilton. It’s the perfect read for any budding chef or reality show addict who enjoys a healthy dose of bitter rivalry. n

All local businesses that weathered these closures and disruptions to their business, es pecially the live music venues, need the support of area residents now more than ever before to not only survive – but to thrive. The Greater Hamilton-Burlington area is blessed with a vibrant live music scene. All these venues are intertwined into the fabric of the culture and the community of their neighbourhoods. From heritage buildings to pubs, theatres to arts hubs, each space offers a unique experience. This feature shines a spotlight on a dozen of these spots that give not just local – but national and international artists – a place to hone their sounds and grow their audience. Despite losing some venues due to the pandemic, the future of live music in the Hamilton area looks bright, according to Potocic. “People are eager and ready to take part in life as it is meant to be – hanging out with friends, getting out and participating in concerts and festivities. I’m really looking forward to what the next few years have in store for the Hamilton community.” continued on page 54



Music as an essential service – one that is ingrained in the culture of small towns and big cities alike from coast to coast – became even more apparent over the past two and a half years when, for extended periods, these rooms were silent. Some venues unfortunately did not survive the pandemic’s pause. Despite government bail outs, the economic toll caused by the coronavirus proved too much. “COVID was certainly one of the most difficult times for arts and culture, musicians and support services,” reflects Tim Potocic, Supercrawl founder and co-owner and operator of Sonic Unyon Records. “We managed by simple perseverance and supporting artists where we could. The work we managed to pull off during the pandemic lockdowns will assist us in the future. It has allowed us to be identified as a group of people who care and are true supporters of the arts.”

ive music venues are the lifeblood of a city’s ecosystem. Humans need art and music to feed our collective souls. These places where artists and audiences connect are more than buildings. As songwriter and artist Corin Raymond – a former Torontonian now proud to call Hamilton home – says: “Local ven ues get talked about nationwide; they’re part of a city’s character. Hamilton venues define its stature among national and global touring artists as much as they provide a bedrock for the developing and working artists here in town.”



By Davi D M c Pherson

WHAT: A popular watering hole and live music venue jointly owned and operated by champion of the local scene Brodie Schwendiman. This storied dive bar features low ceilings, dark corners and an intimate stage – offering an electric atmosphere regardless of who’s playing. Like your music loud? The Casbah delivers in doses of decibels.

WHAT: A community hub and multi-functional event space located on the north border of Central Park, on the former site of a historic bridge steel truss manufacturer. Bridgeworks features a pair of rooms with a capacity of 500. Concerts planned for the fall include Basia Bulat (Sept. 24), Ron Sexsmith (Oct. 15) and Classified (Oct. 16).


WHERE: 200 Caroline St. N., Hamilton WEB: bridgeworks.ca SOCIAL: @bridgeworkscentral/@bridgeworksca

WHAT: Downtown night club and music bar going strong two decades on. Check out their legendary Mo town Wednesdays – it’s the midweek place to meet for a wild, no cover DJ dance party. Equally notorious are their Saturday ragers and drag events.

WHERE: 27 Dundurn St. N., Hamilton WEB: peopleunderthestaircase.com SOCIAL: @thestaircase

WHAT: A beloved comedy, spoken word, music and arts incubator for more than 25 years, The Staircase Theatre closed during the pandemic but was reborn this past summer with a new name, new focus and new management, just in time for the Fringe Festival.

WHAT: One of the area’s coolest venues in a centu ry-old building that first opened in the early 1900s as a hardware store. The original sign still hangs above the bar. The heritage building was transformed to a music venue in the 1950s. Through the years, diverse acts ranging from Ronnie Hawkins & The Hawks to the Tragically Hip and the Ramones have performed at the intimate venue.

WHERE: 95 King St. E., Hamilton WEB: millshardware.ca SOCIAL: @millshardware PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRCASE

WEB: absinthehamilton.ca SOCIAL: @Absinthe_Hamont


WHAT: A not-for-profit arts community hub a stone’s throw from Burlington’s bustling waterfront, the BPAC features a pair of venues: a 720-seat main stage and a more intimate 165-seat studio theatre. From touring acts to local performers, the Gold LEED certified venue hosts more than 70 shows annually. Notable concerts booked this fall include: Air Supply (Sept. 15); Tom Cochrane with Red Rider (Sept. 20); Glass Tiger (Oct. 14) and The Way We Feel: A Concert Celebration of The Songs of Gordon Lightfoot featuring Jory Nash, Suzie Ungerleider (Oh Susanna), Matthew Barber, Lori Cullen, Kevin Fox, Jason Fowler, David Matheson and Maury LaFoy. WHERE: 440 Locust St., Burlington WEB: burlingtonpac.ca SOCIAL: @BurlingtonPAC The Casbah. photo: submitted/don gleeson b ridgeworks. photo: submitted The sTair C ase. photo: submitted

WHERE: New management recently moved the venue back to its original location at 233 King St. E. in the core





WHERE: 306 King St. W., Hamilton WEB: casbahlounge.ca

WHERE: 339 York Blvd., Hamilton WEB: stonewallshamilton.com


THE CORKTOWN WHAT: At 89 years young, The Corktown is Hamilton’s oldest licensed establishment and live music venue – the building itself dates back to 1888. This Irish pub offers open-mic nights weekly and is famous for its East Coast Kitchen Party nights and Irish jams. Over the years, a who’s-who of Canadian musicians have graced its storied stage, from Blue Rodeo to the Forgotten Rebels.



WHERE: 357 Wilson St. E., Ancaster WEB: memorialarts.ca SOCIAL: @ancasterartscentre Anc A ster Me M ori A l Arts c entre. photo: submitted t he Zoetic t he Atre. photo: submitted B- s ide s oci A l. photo: submitted things to do: visit our website for a comprehensive online resource of things to do in h amilton, including live music and performance

WHERE: 526 Concession St., Hamilton WEB: thezoetic.ca SOCIAL: @thezoetic STONEWALLS WHAT: Restaurant and live music venue in down town Hamilton owned by Priscila. Here, bands find a home every weekend. Food includes pub classics along with authentic Filipino dishes that celebrate the owner’s heritage.

WHAT: Located inside a two-and-a-half storey late Victorian brick building constructed in 1895 in historic Corktown, the B-Side Social offers live music every Friday and Saturday. The interior is highlighted by a giant music-themed painted mural and a wall of vinyl – providing the perfect backdrop for weekly live music. The inspiration behind the venue’s name and raison d’être follows four things the owners love: barbecue, bourbon, beer and beats. Try the southern fried chicken, which is the menu’s star.

WHERE: 17 Augusta St., Hamilton WEB: bsidesocial.ca SOCIAL: @b_side_social/

WHERE: 175 Young St., Hamilton WEB: corktownpub.ca SOCIAL: @corktownpub

WHERE: 384 Wilson St. E., Ancaster WEB: coachandlantern.ca SOCIAL: @CoachAndLantern THE ZOETIC THEATRE


SOCIAL: @stonewallshamilton

WHAT: A British pub, located inside a 200-year-old stone building – the third oldest in Ancaster – serves up live music and pints of Guinness every weekend. On Thursdays, the Coach hosts an open mic night and offers half-price apps.

WHAT: A former elementary school transformed into a new 470-seat theatre auditorium (Peller Hall) and arts hub. Located in downtown Ancaster, the historic building features a state-of-the art sound system. Built primarily for theatre and film, it is also perfect for concerts. Sass Jordan is booked to play Oct. 21. Fun fact: the school’s classrooms have been repurposed as washrooms, visual arts rooms and teaching labs.


WHAT: Yet another historic Hamilton building saved from the wrecking ball and recently reborn. Previously housed in this space were: The Movie Palace, The Mountain, The York and The Lyceum. Zoetic means “of or relating to life.” The moniker chosen for this up town venue is apropos since it is vital to the Hamilton arts ecosystem.

Hamilton H ip- H op artist Jr. Be BB le returns wit H t H e release of H is latest single, “ Shelf. ” photo: submitted



The Strongman Blues Remedy is the musical nom de plume for Hamilton’s very own blues super group headed up by Steve Strongman. The local blues artist decided that it was going to be music that would help to banish the weariness of the past couple of years and put a call out to a who’s who of blues musicians – local and otherwise –for a project aimed at celebrating life beyond the pandemic. The results are demonstrated in fine musical fashion on the aptly-titled The Strongman Blues Remedy Volume 1 and feature the likes of Harrison Kennedy, Steve Marriner, Crystal Shawanda and Dawn Tyler Watson, alongside local cats including Dave King and Jesse O’Brien. The 10 tracks on Volume 1 run the blues gamut: From the roots-infused rave-up of “I Like to Ride” (featuring Kennedy) to the down-tempo lament of “Fine Young Man” (featuring Watson) to the four-to-the-floor rock romp of “Tell Me I’m Wrong” (featuring Shawanda), no blues stone is left unturned and the result almost makes you forget about that pesky virus for a little while. strongmanbluesremedy.com



They say that good things come to those who wait and in the case of Allegories, that is most definitely true. The Hamilton band – comprising Adam Bentley and Jordan Mitchell – took almost 14 years to release the follow-up to 2008’s stellar Surreal Auteur and based on the quality of the music on Endless (out on Hidden Pony Records), it was well worth waiting for. The first single “Always True” is a glorious, chilled-out slice of electro, while the other eight tracks on the sophomore release offer up all manner of electronica. From the hands-in-the-air disco house of “Pray” to the oh-so-ethereal vocals and slick beat of the equally joyous “Sentimental Hogwash” to the creeping dread – and beauty – of the piano-soaked “Ectopic,” Endless is a master-class in electronica that teems with creativity and confidence.

in the MIX


Here’s hoping we don’t have to wait another 14 years for the next one. allegories.bandcamp.com JR. BEBBLE “SHELF” Jr. Bebble (aka James Gordon Jr.) is something of a rap veteran, having dropped a number of records over the past few years, including his debut album, Eighty 9th, which was released to considerable hype back in 2019. The Jamaican-Canadian hip-hop artist has been quiet lately, but the good news is that’s about to change with the release of the eagerly anticipated EP entitled # (Sharp), which dropped in late August. The lead single off the six-song project is “Shelf,” dedicated to his late family member and one-time group member Marlando Powell, who tragically died of heart failure in 2020. It’s an absolute banger of a tune, highlighted by Bebble’s signature lyrical flow and set against a killer staccato trap beat. Be warned though, the chorus (“they’d rather see me on the shelf, but a ninja out here buzzin”) is catchy as hell and I guarantee it’ll be stuck in your head for days. Civic boosters will want to check out the accompanying video, shot by Toronto director @dieselshotthat, which features some cool footage of downtown Hamilton in all its gritty glory. Get on the Shelf at @jrbebble and watch for live dates in the coming months, including an appearance with Queen Cee at this year’s Supercrawl.

Neither Tom Wilson nor iskwē need any introduction – between the two of them, their musical pedigree is as impressive as it is diverse and includes all manner of awards, accolades, and achievements. If ever there was a musical match made in Hamilton heaven, this would be it. The eagerly anticipated Mother Love is the result of the pair’s collaboration and it’s an intimate and emotional collection of songs, eight in total, that crackles with the obvious musical chemistry between the Indigenous musicians; Wilson is Mohawk, while iskwē is Cree Metis. iskwēs’ plaintive, if not delicate, vocals are the perfect complement to Wilson’s gravelly, road-weary growl and you find yourself drawn into every word. The songs – which range from twangy country, indie folk and jazzy blues to bluesy roots and rockabilly – are delightfully melodic tales of love, longing, and loneliness that weave a majestic tapestry that is achingly personal and an absolute joy to listen to. The collection boasts some serious star power too, including Serena Ryder, who produced a number of tracks, along with musical appearances from Jesse O’Brien, Chuck Copenace and Anna Ruddick. Easily one of the best albums released this year, regardless of genre. tomwilsononline.com






wrestling legend Brother d evon


Looking to have a fabulous fall? are six local events that will get you out and about our fine city this autumn.

The Art Gallery of Hamilton’s annual film fest gets an edit this year, and its re-release is a must-see. The reimagined AGH Festival focuses the lens on a wider variety of disciplines, better reflecting the Gallery’s vision to support and champion greater artistic diver sity. Film will still be a feature, but will now be joined by some of the best local and emerging works in visual arts, creative arts, performing arts and more. The 10-day artistic extravaganza – aided by the addition of pop-ups, parties, and an artisan market – runs Oct. 14 to 23. artgalleryofhamilton.com


For two days this fall, Hamilton takes top spot for the happiest place on earth, when Comic Con – a mecca for all things pop-culture – returns. Featured guests this year include Superman’s Dean Cain, Weekend at Bernie’s Johnathan Silverman, and wrestling legend Brother Devon. Come for the autographs and artists’ alley, stay for the dedicated cosplayers, whose painstaking, intricate handiwork deserves a fandom of its very own. Sept. 24 to 25, Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum. hamiltoncomiccon.com

When your bedside table is looking bare and crying out for some new reading material, skip the shop ping apps, and take it outside. Each month, local writers representing a multitude of genres set up shop along the sidewalks of Concession Street for the Hamilton Book Crawl. Presented by the Greater Hamilton Writers’ Association, the event offers ardent authors a rare opportunity to look up from the page and introduce their life’s work to a new audience. Third Saturday of the month from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., rain or shine. Concessionstreet.ca



Date night? Dinner and a movie is a solid option, but it’s never a bad thing to keep things fresh. Standard Dance wants to keep you and your date on your toes (or each others’ toes, depending on your skills), offer ing a multitude of classes perfect for sharing. From date night dance lessons to drop-in beginner swing and salsa classes, as well as themed social practice parties, you’ll acquire a new skill while talking about something other than your childhood pet (RIP Fluffy). Shimmy to the website for more information. From $15. StandardDance.ca

THIS CIRCUS IS A BIG DRAG Adam and Steve’s Big Top Circus/Party/Show promises to be unlike the circuses of your childhood (probably), and a whole bunch more fun (definitely). Famed drag queen Jimbo – of RuPauls’s Drag Race fame – headlines, joined by a cast of talented hula-hooping, high-flying, flexible, and overall fabulous performers. The night is guaranteed to be an energetic romp and supports the organizers’ mission to create inclusive, safe, and welcoming spaces in the city for all. 19+ event. Oct. 2, 7 p.m. bridgeworks.ca drag queen Jimbo of RuPaul’s D R ag Race fame. photo: blake morrow


Telling Tales Festival returns to an in-person format this year where once again the sound of rustling book pages will waft along the breezes of Hendrie Park. While still offering a virtual component, the in-per son experience offers a literary extravaganza for the younger set. With five stages and 30-plus presenters representing the best in children’s literature and arts, there will be something to spark the interest of every little reader in your life. Sept. 24-25, Hendrie Park at the RBG. tellingtales.org

The tides of leadership in Hamilton are shifting. Indigenous women are taking charge and moving into high-profile positions across the city. In this feature, we look at three intersectional trailblazers who have been appointed to crucial roles in banking, law, business, academia and the arts. This wave of new Indigenous female leaders should come as no surprise. Just 25 kilometres southwest of the city sits Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. Its band membership of 25,660 makes it the largest population of First Nations people in Canada. As they forge new paths in fields traditionally dominated by white males, these women are working to dismantle old power structures and improve the visibility of Indigenous communities, their culture and their history throughout Hamilton. They are also encouraging the next generation of Indigenous peoples in Canada to imagine themselves in prominent positions of influence and dream big about their future.

New Faces



Three accomplished Indigenous women, JAIMIE LICKERS, SANTEE SMITH and SAVAGE BEAR, are forging new paths by taking on key roles in business, academia, law and the arts in Hamilton. VANESSA GREEN learns about their journey, what drives them and the future they dream about.

illustrations by Cody Houle, i nstagram: @ H oulefineart

“I don’t know that there is a more powerful career to have than one that allows you to shape the rules of the game that we as a society operate by,” says Lickers. “People often mistake the law for what is moral. And those two things don’t always go together.”

“If my daughter was sick or there was a snow day at school, she would come to my office and camp out under my desk. She became a fixture at the firm. The assistants would print off colouring pages for her.”

Today, Lickers is vice president of Indigenous markets at CIBC, where she leads a national team of trust and lending experts who provide financial services dedicated to Indigenous Nations, businesses and individuals.

“Single parenting, while trying to build a successful law practice and make partner at a firm, was not easy. But it was important to me,” says Lickers. “I’m a better mother when I am fulfilled both personally and professionally. So we figured it out.” And figuring it out sometimes looked like Lickers getting up at 3:30 a.m. and working for three or four hours before she got her daughter off to daycare and then went to the office.

The goal is to help local businesses become more engaged with the urban Indigenous community in Hamilton and surrounding communities, like Six Nations and Mississaugas of the Credit, to create programs such as ap prenticeships or internships, scholarships and summer positions for young people.

JAIMIE LICKERS – Vice president, Indigenous Markets at CIBC – Chair, Hamilton Chamber of Commerce

“That’s how you’re going to integrate and increase the representation of (the Indige nous) community within your business. I love Hamilton. I love living in Hamilton, and I love working in Hamilton. It’s part of the traditional territory for my people. Lots of Indigenous people live in this community, too. And we have to think about what we want the city to look like in five or 10 years.”

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2022 HCM 61 Jaimie Lickers has nothing left to prove.

One of Lickers’ other impressive achievements, for which she was awarded the 2017 Lex pert Zenith Award, was her role in securing legislative change to end discrimination against Indigenous naming traditions in Ontario. Her work helped pave the way for recognition of Indigenous naming practices, allowing for the registration of the birth of a child using a single name in accordance with the child’s traditional culture. Under previous law, children had to register both first and last names.

The 40-year-old member of the Onon daga Nation from the Haudenosaunee community of Six Nations of the Grand River has a laundry list of awards, accolades and achievements to her name. But her illustrious legal career was born from a desire to defy expectations placed on her as an Indigenous woman practising law. “When I went to law school, a lot of people assumed I would practise Indigenous law because of my racial identity,” she says. “But I’m stubborn. And if you imply that I should do something, or you tell me I can’t do something, then I’ll do it just to prove After graduating from law school at Queen’s University, Lickers took a job at the prestigious Bay Street law firm Blakes and became a corporate commercial litigator.

“I wanted to prove that any Indigenous law student can excel and succeed and contribute to the legal profession in every practice area, not just Indigenous law.” But after two years of working on highprofile cases, Lickers lost interest in big law. “I wasn’t passionate about the issues that were being litigated. I wasn’t personally invested in the outcome. I thought, ‘Dammit, they were right. I should be practising Indigenous law.’” After moving to Gowlings WLG, the first national Canadian law firm to locate in the Hamilton region, she has specialized her practice in Indigenous trust and tax law for almost a decade. Lickers has worked on several prece dent-setting cases for First Nations clients. She became the first Indigenous woman in the firm’s history to make partner and the first Indigenous person to hold a management position in the firm when she became the national leader of the Indigenous Law Group. But perhaps what’s even more impressive is that Lickers achieved all of this while being a single parent to a two-year-old daughter.


The residential school policy, in black and white writing, was designed to remove the Indian from the child. And when you say that out loud, for Indigenous people like me, it hurts my heart. There are gener ations and generations and generations of Indigenous families that went through this (trauma). And you can’t fix that in a couple of generations. I don’t know that you can ever fix it. I think the best that we can hope for is that we heal from it. And we learn from it. And we make sure that it never happens again.”

There continues to be a lot of denial, a lot of misinformation and miseducation around (the residential school system) and the true impact. Those government policies have led to a lot of the conditions that we see today for Indigenous communities across Canada. And we can’t collectively move forward without truly recognizing that past.

In February of this year, she was named chair of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, the first Indigenous person to both sit on the board and become chair. One of her key priorities for her first term is to deepen the chamber’s engage ment efforts with the Indigenous community and Indigenous young people.

the world of dance by a group of artist friends keen to see her return to her craft. “I was asked to choreograph a dance for a documentary by the National Film Board of Canada called The Gift, directed by First Nations actor and musician Gary Farmer. He set me up with a little studio in Toronto with some music and said, ‘Tell the story of Sky Woman. Tell the stories through movement (about) corn, beans and squash, the three sustenance foods that are very much intertwined,” says Smith. “And I was sitting in the studio just a little bit amazed at the possibility that I could create movement and dance that reflected who I was and some of the stories that came from my community.” cellor of McMaster University. She is just the second woman and the first Indigenous person to hold the “Representation,position.and what it would mean for up-and-coming Indigenous students, was important to me,” Smith says about taking on the role of chancellor. “I wanted to be a positive role model and to be able to talk in a different way in that type of leadership role.” She has implemented “subtle but impactful” changes while acting as the honorary head of the university, including recognizing Indigenous veterans at the Remembrance Day ceremony and making The Mush Hole part of McMaster’s alumni events.

SANTEE SMITH – Founder and managing artistic director, Kaha:wi Dance Theatre – Chancellor, McMaster University

Smith is a multi-award-winning Kahnyen’ke hàka (Mohawk) dancer, potter, designer, producer, choreographer and multidisciplinary artist of the Turtle Clan from Six Nations of the Grand River.

Everyone has a purpose in life, according to Indigenous philosophy. Something they’re put on this earth to do.

It’s also really important to share the inter generational effects. Residential schools affected three or four generations of fam ilies over their 150-year history. What we don’t want to happen is that (this day) is the only day that people hear about (residential schools), because it is an ongoing issue.”


For Tekaronhiáhkhwa/Santee Smith, that something was art.

“It has become an important day – Orange Shirt Day – and has evolved as a day of recognition. I’ve been working closely with the Woodland Cultural Centre inside the Mohawk Institute, working with survivors Fordirectly.me,(this day) is about acknowledging and focusing on survivors and honouring the work that they’re doing because they have to be very courageous to work on their own traumas and share their experiences.


Last year, Bear became director of the MIRI, holding joint academic appointments in the faculties of Social Sciences and Health Sciences. At MIRI, she’s built a team of Indigenous female scholars to help her run the program based on shared values of community and reciprocity.

“I wish it wasn’t just a day. I think we let people off the hook when we say it’s only a day. It’s a start. The beginning of the recognition of Indigenous peoples’ sov and water. And the inclusion of nition). Because if we truly believed that we’re intercon nected with everything, we wouldn’t be polluting. taking a course. That’s just way in which we are living and sharing this planet with other (To commemorate the day this year), I will smudge with my medicines (and community in and around dough. So if they need me for something, then I will go there, and I will be there. I make myself available for the NATIONAL DAY FOR TRUTH RECONCILIATIONAND

SAVAGE BEAR – Director, McMaster Indigenous Research Institute (MIRI) – Assistant Professor, McMaster University hamiltoncitymagazine.ca

HCM 63 Savage. It’s a derogatory term that’s historically been used to shame and dehumanize Indigenous people. But Savage Bear won’t be shamed. Formerly Tracy Bear, the award-winning Canadian scholar and director of the McMaster Indigenous Research Institute (MIRI), reclaimed the word Savage by legally making it her first name earlier this year. “I haven’t felt connected to the name ‘Tracy’ for a while. I’ve been thinking about a new name for a long time, and nothing ever felt right,” the 55-year-old mother of three says. “Then I accidentally called my granddaughter ‘a little savage’ and remembered that my mom used that as a term of endearment for her grandchildren. The name appealed to me and matches my last name remarkably well. It fits my unconventional, often challenging nature. Plus, ‘Uncivilized’ was too long.” Bear is a Nehiyaw’iskwew (Cree woman) and member of the Montreal Lake Cree Nation in Saskatchewan. She credits her success in life to being raised by strong Indigenous women, her mother and grandmother, who always believed in her and fundamentally shaped the person she is “I’mtoday.here to break a new trail for other amaz ing Indigenous scholars, leaders, and activists that come along. If there’s a trail to be broken, I’ll break it,” says Bear. “But I know I stand on the shoulders of giants: amazing Indigenous women, scholars, grandmothers, pushers, doers and activists. I wouldn’t be here if not for them.”

“This isn’t our territory. As much as (I’m) in a leadership position, it doesn’t matter who you are, you need to know where you tread,” says Bear. “You need to know the land and the people of the land. This past year has been getting to know my colleagues, the students, and external and internal stakeholders here and in and around Hamilton.” As the program’s director, one of her primary goals for MIRI is to build a Prison Education Project at McMaster. This project is an arm of a larger initiative called Walls to Bridges, an edu cational program based in Waterloo that brings incarcerated and non-incarcerated students together to study post-secondary courses in jails and prisons across Canada. Earlier this year, Bear was named the new national director for the Walls to Bridges program. “Part of my platform when I was consid ering McMaster was: Is there space for this (program)? It’s a huge part of my work. Being as privileged as I am, (it’s important for me to uplift) my sisters and brothers. Because (these incarcerated individuals) are some of the most critical thinkers and amazing students I’ve ever comeBeforeacross.”her role at McMaster, Bear worked at the University of Alberta, making significant contributions to Indigenous scholarship. She was the director of the Indigenous Women & view the full versions of were isolated and featured in this story plus two more online-exclusive pieces: s C an t H e qr

They say that necessity is the mother of all invention, but in the case of Mark Baker’s restaurant, invention was a matter of survival. The well-known chef and restau rateur reached into his culinary bag of tricks to keep Merk Snack Bar, his popular Ottawa Street North eatery in Hamilton’s Crown Point community, afloat during the dark days of the COVID pandemic. From movie nights in the adjacent alley (affectionately known as the “Alley-O”) and weekly pick-up meal prep to tarot card readings and DJ nights, the gregarious and community-minded father of three took it as a personal challenge to not only stay in business but keep his tight-knit team of employees work ing. A pleasant off-shoot of Baker’s pandemic pivoting is the fact that a filmmaker friend decided to tag along for the ride and get a unique behind-the-scenes look at his old buddy’s innovative approach to surviving a pandemic, Merk style. The friend in question is Toronto-based director/ producer Bernard Gray and the resulting documentary, titled Merk: A Covid Survival Story, is due for release any day now. The 13-minute short film was shot over a period of a year and saw Gray, who has worked with the likes of Nike, Roots, Lego and the NBA, whittle down more than 30 hours of footage into an engaging and inspiring documentary featuring candid interviews with Baker and his incredibly loyal and passionate team. While there’s no official release date just yet, Baker plans to have a series of screenings in the “Alley-O” in the fall. Watch the trailer here: his Merk photo: submitted TINYURL.COM/MERKTRAILER n





Pro tip: Dipping sauces, like garlic dill and hot chili oil, are a must for cleaning your plate with chewier crusts.

By Elain E Mitropoulos

Mai Pai. photo: joyce leung

If only New York-style pizza will do, this Crown Point West pizzeria is a go-to for quintessential classics like cheese and pepperoni pies topped with silky marinara. A nod to more traditional Italian fare, a margherita with Grana Padano cheese and fresh basil is a favourite. Other choices include a spicy sausage pizza drizzled with hot honey, a mushroom and dou ble-smoked bacon combo, and a Hawaiian with juicy chunks of pineapple to balance fiery peppers. All are served on a thinner crust with spot-on cheese-to-top pings ratios. Vegetarians are catered to with a white pizza with ricotta, pesto and lightly dressed arugula.

MAI PAI 631 Barton St. E. | maipai.ca

A “Brooklyn of the North” pizza parlour specializing in hand-stretched pies and big foldable slices

You don’t need to look further than Barton Village for internationally acclaimed pizza. Mai Pai chef-owner Salar Madadi took home the top prize at the Canadian Pizza Summit this year for his made-in-Hamilton slant on Detroit-style pies (think unconventional toppings, like dill pickles, bacon and aioli on a thick, but airy, focaccia-like crust). An ode to the Motor City classic, Mai Pai’s deep-dish pizzas ooze an edge-toedge crown of melted cheese that forms a bottom layer of pure crunch. Square-cut slices are topped with dollops of red sauce and bold, yet balanced, ingredients for unique flavour combinations worthy of the accolades. What’s as impressive is that Mai Pai offers vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free versions of its pizzas without compromising on flavour or texture. Wash it down with a tropical drink from the resto’s not-so-secret anymore “hidden” tiki bar.

When it comes to comfort-food cravings, there’s nothing more satisfying than a hot-out-ofthe-oven pizza. Thankfully for pizza lovers in our city, Hamilton is home to a growing number of piazzaiolos (pizza makers) specializing in a range of styles as rich as the sauces that smother their pies, and as diverse as the ingredients that top their crusts. From Neapolitan to New York-style pizza, here is a roundup of some of the city’s best restaurants serving up seriously good ‘za.

A kitschy pizza spot specializing in Detroit-style pies with eclectic toppings and a tiki-bar twist

SHORTY’S PIZZA 1099 Cannon St. E. | shortyspizza.ca


For a taste of Italy in Dundas, this hidden pizzeria with a rear entrance off the high street serves classic, thinner-crust pies that reflect the Neapolitan style of pizza making. The secret to Red Door’s crust is doppio (double) zero flour imported from Italy. The finely ground flour is considered the gold standard for making pizzas that are stretchy yet still crispy. Pizza flavours span the spectrum of Italian and Canadian favourites, from pollo pesto with roasted chicken and caramelized onions and peppers, to primavera, with broccoli, mushrooms, and zucchini. Other menu items include fresh-made pastas in alfredo, meat, and red sauces. A wide selection of panini sandwiches, like housemade eggplant or chicken parm, means there’s something for everyone behind the Red Door.

The ATT ic. photo: submitted L e FT: ShorT y’ S photo: submitted

F Lor A photo: pat ozols

A near-institution for deep-dish pizzas with a flaky, pie-like crust that’s loaded with toppings Big on portion size, and flavour, Chicago Style Pizza has been a Hamilton Mountain mainstay since the ’70s. The restaurant pioneered deep-dish pizza in Hamilton after mastering the style in the Windy City. Since then, it’s gained a reputation beyond city borders for its deeply satisfying pies that require a knife and fork to devour. Each pizza starts with a thin layer of dough that hugs the sides of the pan to form a cavern-like crust. The pies are stuffed with cheese, meats, veggies and red sauce, before being topped with another layer of dough and more sauce. From prep-time to piping-hot pie, it takes about 30 minutes for a large pizza to be served. Before carving into a slice, ownership offers words of wisdom worth heeding: “Stop after two slices. The large stuffed weighs in at an average of seven pounds! Don’t even think about splitting a large between two people. A small stuffed serves three.”

THE ATTIC PIZZA PARLOUR 89 King St. E., Stoney Creek | theatticpizza.com

534 Upper Sherman Ave. | chicagostylepizza.ca

A nod to every teenage hero in a half shell’s favourite food, this playful pizzeria serves New York-style pies with a side of ’90s nostalgia Bendable, blistery crusts and crispy bottoms uphold classic and more creative flavour combinations to (turtle) power your tastebuds. Options include cupand-char pepperoni and cheese pies, or a garlicky green pizza with charred broccoli, kale, and jalapeno pesto. The spicy pesto sauce also makes a welcome appearance on “Our Marg” – a play on a traditional Margherita pie. The 1UP is a white pizza with fancier toppings, including truffle cream, Fior di Latte cheese, honey and smoked Maldon sea salt. To level up your ’za, Cowabunga also offers dipping sauces, including truffle-parmesan, jalapeno-ranch and garlic.


21 King St. W., Dundas (rear door access from 20-1/2 Park St.) | reddoorcucina.com

COWABUNGA PIZZERIA 536 Upper Wellington St. @cowabungapizzeria



An off-the-beaten path neighbourhood gem for pizza, pastas, panini sandwiches, and more

A downtown destination for classic Italian flavours and fresh, local ingredients in slab form or as slices to go

A newer addition to the Corktown neighbourhood, Flora Pizzeria has quickly become a favourite spot for Roman-style pizza served in perfect, rectangular slices. Whether it’s the mortadella pizza topped with caramelized onions and fresh mozzarella, or the fungi made with wild mushrooms, shallot, and thyme, each pie is carefully crafted using the best quality ingredi ents so that every bite boasts a balance of thoughtful flavours. True to its Roman roots, Flora’s recipe for in-house dough has a higher hydration and uses sourdough starter. The finished product is an airy, yet crispy crust with a light, crunchy texture. Ingredients, including the flour used to make the pizza, are often sourced locally, and Flora’s menu changes seasonally to highlight the best local produce. Plus, the pizzeria’s small pantry of oils, antipastos, and pastas lets you bring a taste of Italy home.

A fan favourite for when your sports bar crawl turns into a pizza crawl – with a side of crispy wings

The Attic has been a Stoney Creek staple for winning pizzas that won’t break your pocketbook since the early ’70s. The restaurant makes its dough in-house daily, scoring extra points for its homemade red sauce and generous portion of toppings. You’ll need to get your game face on for the Meatzza topped with pepperoni, sausage, bacon and ham. Make it an “ultimate” by adding chicken and ground beef. Nonmeat eaters also have a number of veggie options to choose from. A pickle pizza drizzled with ranch sauce may appeal to the more adventurous palate. All Attic pies are available with thin or thick crusts, and gluten-free diners will appreciate a cauliflower pizza base. Dessert comes in pizza form, too. A s’mores pie on a graham cracker crust will have the whole team cheering for more! n

FLORA PIZZERIA 4 Young St. | florahamilton.ca

A hip, urban brewery combining the local creativity behind boozy beverages with unique art from all over the world

An oasis for beer in East Hamilton with a full lineup of core and specialty brews to enjoy with live entertainment Clifford Brewing is home to a casual taproom pouring just about every beer style on your bucket list. Core products include the award-winning Clifford Porter, a robust beer with chocolate and coffee notes, and Pinball Wizard, a sessionable American pale ale with hints of tropical fruit. Specialty beers include El Mara villa, a Belgian-style golden ale aged in tequila barrels with lime and salt. On the sweeter side, Jamaican Rum is an imperial porter aged in barrels that once held rum. Both blends spent a year in barrel and are big on flavour as well as alcohol content. Check out Clifford for its taproom and retail shop, but stay for a round of pinball and a full roster of events, including live music, comedy, and trivia. Free local delivery is also available with a minimum spend.




207 Burlington St. E. | collectiveartsbrewing.com


By Elain E Mitropoulos

c lifford Brewing c o. photo: andrew perrins

Brewers Black B ird. photo: submitted BREWERS BLACKBIRD

398 Nash Rd. N., Unit 1 | cliffordbrewing.com

375 Wilson St. E. | brewersblackbird.ca A quaint brewery-resto in the heart of downtown Ancaster focusing on classic beer styles to pair with good food From dark to pale ales, porters to English-style bitters, Brewers Blackbird is heralded for its clean, crushable brews that are giving classic beer styles a welcome comeback. Located in a historical house, the resto-brewery is a destination for food-and-beer pairings done well. The selection on tap complements an elevated but beer-friendly menu, including woodfired pizzas, mussels and frites, and grilled duck sausage to enjoy with a house lager or wheat beer. If deciding what beer to order is a challenge, a flight of draught pours provides a thirst-quenching sampling. Growlers (refillable, two-litre glass jugs) of beer are also available alongside cans to take away.

Mention “culture” in certain beer circles and you’re likely to get an earful about yeast and fermentation. Thanks to Collective Arts, however, beer labels featuring the works of emerging artists fuse together culture and craft beer. Collective Arts is best known for its hop-for ward, juicy IPAs, although the brewery’s lineup includes goses, sours, lagers, and stouts. Collective Art’s beverage selection also spans spirits, ciders, canned cocktails, botanical waters, and even coffee. The Hamil ton brewery is home to a retail store and taproom that’s open every day, and an outdoor beer garden in warmer months. Collective Arts also offers an express delivery service for its full lineup of alcoholic beverages. Add some artfully designed merch to your order so you can look good while sipping your favourite beverages.



rom sour beers to IPAs, stouts to ciders, Hamilton’s rich landscape of craft producers are pouring all your favourite beverages – with many delivering right to your doorstep on top of being a destination for drinks. They may be smaller than their macro counterparts, but these microbreweries and cideries are making big names for themselves in Hamilton, and beyond. Here is a full listing of craft breweries and cider houses to visit in-person for their taproom experiences, or to check out online for a fresh pour in a pinch.

A family-friendly cidery nestled in the heart of Hamilton’s farmland that sources fruit from nearby Niagara orchards Tall Post is a small-batch cidery offering crisp hard ciders that highlight best-in-season fruit from nearby orchards. A pretty, pale-pink cider, Jordan Juice is a fruit salad in a glass with a combination of fresh blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, currants and gooseberries fermented over pressed apple juice. Unlike commercial hard ciders, Tall Post’s products trend towards dry rather than sweet. The cider house is located on a family-friendly property, where kids love the farm animals and field games, and adults can sit back and enjoy their cider in a serene setting. Private tours and tastings can be arranged upon request with up to 12 guests. n

Fairweather is home to an ever-changing beer list featuring hops-forward ales and lagers, fruited sours, and some barrel-aged blends up for grabs in bottles.

Grain & Grit is located in a scrubbed-up auto body shop turned stunning small-batch brewery where patrons can order from a rotating lineup of IPAs, sours, and seasonal brews. Year-round offerings include Little Thrills, a sessionable German-style pilsner, and Invisi ble Friends, a dry-hopped American pale ale with notes of tropical and stone fruit. Community-minded events are also a brewery staple. A weekly Babies and Brews meetup offers new parents the chance to connect over an adult beverage, and a calendar of culinary events means exciting food-and-beer pairings are often on the menu. At Grain & Grit, it’s not uncommon to find a raw bar shelling out freshly shucked oysters, bowls of noo dles being dished out izakaya-style, or a plant-based brunch being served. Wash it all down with a cold one on the heated patio, or take beverages to go from the brewery’s bottle shop.

A “fat bag” of premium hops goes into every batch of High Grade, a juicy, American-style IPA with floral, fruity and pine notes. A flagship favourite, High Grade is always pouring fresh on tap inside the brewery, and available in cans from the brewery’s busy take-away window. While Fairweather doesn’t have its own kitchen, guests are encouraged to BYOF (bring your own food) from a number of tasty take-out spots in the surrounding Ainslie Wood area. In cooler months, Fairweather also holds events, like movie nights and a holiday market, making it a year-round community hub for hanging. An online shop also offers free delivery in Hamilton with a minimum spend.

SHAWN & ED BREWING 65 Hatt St. | lagershed.com

11 Ewen Rd. | grainandgritbeer.com

5 Ofield Rd., Unit 1 | fairweatherbrewing.com


STEEL TOWN CIDER 150 Chatham St., Unit 14 | steeltowncider.com

107 James St. N. | meritbrewing.ca

A bustling brewery, taproom and retail shop with a full roster of community-minded and culinary events

An award-winning, small-batch cidery located on a stunning Freelton farmhouse estate West Avenue takes a branch-to-bottle approach to cider-making to produce dry, hard ciders using locally sourced ingredients. The cidery is home to a tasting bar and bottle shop featuring seasonal, barrel-aged and flagship ciders. The latter includes Heritage Dry, an artisanal take on pub-style ciders, and Cherriosity, a dry cider made with Montmorency cherries. Visitors are encouraged to explore the cidery’s property, including a sprawling meadow and apple orchard dotted with picnic tables for tasting. Cidery festivals

A modern cottage is also onsite for those wishing to book a stay. West Avenue’s online and in-person retail market lets you enjoy a taste of the country at home.



and food vendor pop-ups are always family-friendly, and space is available to host your own gathering.


A lager-centric brewery in historical Dundas serving “beer pies” alongside live entertainment for the whole family Known as SHED among locals, this brewery is located in a historical curling rink in downtown Dundas. In side, you’ll find a vast taproom featuring high ceilings, wooden beams, and communal tables, where visitors tip back flavourful lagers and ales alongside a rotat ing list of seasonal beers. A nod to notable Canadian golfer Mike Weir, SHED’s newer offering, Weir Beer, is an ultra-lager that’s low on calories and alcohol for easy sipping on and off the course. The kitchen at SHED also serves up snacks and “beer pies” – pizzas with ingredients that pair well with flagship brews. Events at SHED are frequent and family friendly. A regular series of children’s concerts offers free entry. Beer can be purchased from a retail and online shop, and brewery tours are also available.

TALL POST 1170 Hendershot Rd. | tallpostcraftcider.ca

A modern beer hall that breaks tradition with brewing and cooking techniques that push flavour boundaries Whether you’re art or pub crawling, MERIT’s full-ser vice kitchen and bottle shop is a popular pitstop in the city. The brewery specializes in avant-garde beer styles, many of which are brewed with fruit, herbs, spices, and teas. Young Rival, however, is the brew ery’s IPA flagship and true to its style in letting its hop character shine. Beer-wine hybrids are an emerging specialty at MERIT, and include elegant offerings like Roses are Red, a lightly tart gose made with Gewürztraminer grapes and juice. Its counterpart, Violets are Blue, is made using Gamay juice and grape skins sourced from Niagara wineries. In true beer-hall fashion, MERIT’s signature, house-made sausages are a must for any visit. MERIT also offers free delivery to doorsteps within Hamilton.

Grain & Grit Beer Co. photo: submitted Fairweather Brewin G Company. photo: submitted

WEST AVENUE CIDER HOUSE 84 Concession Rd. 8 E. | westavenue.ca

An urban cider house using old-world traditions to craft European-style ciders right here in Hamilton Steel Town’s new location in Kirkendall North is bringing the dry, rustic flavours of European ciders to Hamilton. The cidery specializes in French-inspired farmhouse ciders, funky Spanish sours and Englishstyle ciders fermented with wild yeast for added char acter. Steel Town recently moved from a production facility in Dundas to its new cider house and bottle shop in Hamilton, complete with a taproom and patio to serve guests. The cidery’s flagship Session Cider is a blend of local fresh-pressed apples that have been par tially aged in oak barrels. Crisp, tart and bone-dry, with aromas of citrus and floral notes, as its name suggests Session Cider is a sure thing for easy, elegant drinking. Steel Town is worth a visit for its specialty ciders, but also offers free local delivery with a minimum spend.

A bright and lively taproom, sprawling patio and warm hospitality makes this brewery a must visit for hops and hangouts



The leaves will soon change, there’s a cool breeze in the air, and pie season is in full swing. Get your stretchy pants ready, because Hamilton and Burlington have a lot to offer in the way of pies. From new-on-the-scene pie purveyors to long-time favourites that have been here over a century, explore our region’s pie scene with some of these tasty destinations:


The Dyment’s Farm (Glen Drummond Farm) has been in operation since 1887 as a family-run establishment, and over the years it has expanded in leaps and bounds. Known for its pumpkin patch, market and bakery, Dyment’s is literally a one-stop shop of gastronomic delights. But its fame really comes from homemade pies that are made from scratch. If it is savoury pies you are after, try the meals to go: taco pie, chicken pot pie, shepherd’s pie; perhaps a beef short rib pie? For sweets: cherry, pecan, key lime or perhaps a crumble-top pie? 416 Fallsview Rd. E. Dundas dyments.com


HAMILTON MEAT PIE CO. Since its inception in 2018, Hamilton Meat Pie Co. has become a local favourite. The name gets right to the point…you know exactly what they are famous for: pies. Savoury or sweet, Hamilton Meat Pie Co. is creating everything from the classics: Steak and kidney, chicken pot pie, cherry, and apple pies, to the adventurous and new: cheeseburger, hot chicken wing with blue cheese, salmon and dill, and taco pies. In addition to all the creative and delicious flavours, they offer vegan and gluten-free options. Try the lunch combos, complete with a savoury pie and sides. 601 Burlington St. E., Hamilton 854 King St. W., Hamilton hamiltonmeatpieco.ca

What began as a pick-your-own apple orchard in 1965, Carluke has grown to a thriving gourmet food market and a bakery, known across the region for pies and baked goods. And yes, it’s still family-run. Out on the rural edges of Ancaster, you will find the cute little bake shop surrounded by the apple trees that began the operation. Inside, the scent of beautiful pies wafts through the air. Pie flavours such as Dutch apple, pumpkin, pecan, elderberry, and more, are found inside the display cases. Looking for something special? Carluke offers flavours such as coconut cream and banana cream through special order. 2194 Shaver Rd. Ancaster carlukeorchards.ca

Another Ancaster institution, Bennett’s Apples & Cider have been around since 1911. Originally getting its start as an orchard, and an apple cider operation, Bennett’s has kept to its traditions while continuing to expand the product line. At the red barn market on Garner, you will find the original apple cider, local produce, and locally made food goods, and – of course – baked goods and pies. Bennett’s crumbly crust apple pie is a customer favourite, but there are many to choose from: peach, cherry, pumpkin, mincemeat and more. They also have a large variety of no sugar-added pies.


944 Garner Rd. E. Hamilton bennettsapples.com 2022 HCM 73

Mikey’s Cream Pies came onto the scene during the COVID pandemic closures, and have since opened a storefront on Barton Street East. As their tagline says: they have been “making cream pie fantasies come true” in Hamilton ever since. Try the chocolate, banana or coconut classic cream pies, or a specialty cream pie like peanut butter or banoffee. Owner Mike Jensen and his team are always concocting new creamy creations, so be sure to check their social media to see their daily offerings. Hot tip: You can even get their pies delivered via Doordash. 775 Barton St. E. Hamilton mikeyscreampies.ca


— Year-round 35 York Blvd., Hamilton hamiltonfarmersmarket.ca

— Every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Getting its start in nearby Cambridge, British Pride Bakery has recently opened its newest location in Hamilton. Located in a small unit on Upper Ottawa, this shop is jam-packed with delicious British imports. Everything from biscuits, crisps and canned goods to frozen items that are not readily found locally. In addition to all the packaged goods, its baked goods counter is a must-try. All of the baked goods are hand-made from-scratch, daily. British Pride Bakery offers more than 30 savoury meat pie flavours to choose from, such as steak & stilton, chicken & leek, lamb & mint, and more.

— May 18 to October 29 Burlington Centre, 777 Guelph Line, parking lot (Prospect Street side of the mall) burlingtonmallfarmersmarketsites.google.com/site/

981 King St. W. Hamilton weilsbakery.com

4155 Fairview Street Burlington ON L7L 2A4 thatpieplace.com




2 King St. W. Dundas frbakery.ca

If you are looking for a specific baked good, chances are that the Punchbowl Market has it. This local favourite boasts an impressive selection of bakedfrom-scratch treats: From cookies and butter tarts to cakes, pies and squares. Located on the edge of Ridge Road, this beautiful little country market not only features amazing baked goods but also stocks produce, local food items, and plants. But if it’s pie you are after, look no further. The pecan pie is a cus tomer favourite, but there are both sweet and savoury offerings so you’re sure to find something that strikes your fancy.

In the heart of Dundas, you will find the tastiest French creations at French Revolution Bakery & Creperie. Savouries like quiche Lorraine, beef pies and chicken pies are handcrafted alongside sweets such as Niagara fruit pies, galettes, and fruit tarts. Owner Rhonda Wells takes her experience in the culinary industry, plus her culinary training in France, to create spectacular dishes that will please all your senses –Francais-style. Hot tip: Try the tourtiere for a delicious taste of Quebec.

Home to both the Hane’s Sunflower Maze and the Hane’s Corn Maze, the Hane’s Family Farm already has a lot going for it. Add the Tiny Shop Bakery to the mix and you have all the ingredients for an awesome day-trip location. Since 1985, they have been baking pies from scratch daily with no additives or preser vatives. What the Tiny Shop Bakery lacks in size, it makes up for in flavour. Blueberry, apple raspberry, peach crumble caramel, raisin, gooseberry and so many more can be found pre-made in the shop or through special order.

Every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

A little outside of Hamilton, on Fairview Street in Burlington, you will find a local favourite: That Pie Place. It has been family-owned and operated since 1983 and specializes in savoury pies of all kinds. With their made-to-order pie offerings like: steak & stilton, chicken leek and mushroom, turkey pot pies, and more; it’s no surprise they have become Burlington famous and expanded their offerings since. Their pies (now both savoury and sweet) are made much the same from years past, with hand-produced and hand-rolled pastry, local produce and meats where possible, and stocks from scratch. Try their tourtiere for an extra special treat.

— LocatedYear-roundinMunicipal Lot 2C (Beside 3 Britannia Ave. off Ottawa Street North) ottawastreetfarmers.com

Weil’s of Westdale has been famous for its baked goods since 1903. From breads, cakes and tarts to cupcakes and cookies, you can peruse the display case full of these baked goods, or place a special order if you are looking for something special. Try some pie flavours such as custard, cherry, lemon meringue, blueberry, chocolate cream, or cream cheese pump kin. Does quiche count as a pie? They have that too, in a variety of flavours. Vegan pies are also available through special order.

136 Ridge Rd. Stoney Creek punchbowl.ca



1001 Hwy 5 W. Dundas thehanescornmaze.com


1575 Upper Ottawa St., Unit 10 Hamilton britishpridebakery.com


— Every Thursday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. — June 16 until Oct. 13 11 Millers Lane, Dundas dundasfarmersmarket.ca n BURLINGTON CENTRE LIONS FARMER’S MARKET



— Every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

farmers’ markets

— Every Wednesday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. — June 8 until Oct. 5 St. John’s on the Green, 37 Halson St., Ancaster shopancasterfarmersmarket.com


— Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Fridays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.


— May 28 until Oct. 15 Royal Canadian Legion Branch 551, 79 Hamilton St. N., Waterdown waterdownfarmersmarket.ca

Every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.


June 4 to Oct. 29 260 Locke St. S., Hamilton lsfm.wordpress.com


LEADERSHIP: ‘This city was made for me’ /Continued from page 63 And while Bear is proud of all her accolades, the positive feedback from the Indigenous community in Alberta during her time at the university left the most lasting impression. In 2014, the remains of 28 First Nations people, dug up nearly 50 years before at the former Sharphead reservation, were found stored in the basement of the University of Alberta’s anthro pology department. Bear was instrumental in having those remains returned to the earth and given a permanent gravesite at Maskwacis. “We had a quiet ceremony, and it was one of the most beautiful, poignant moments in my life. Because for years, I had been raged at, and I understood where that frustration was coming from. There was one elder who I thought hated me. Every time I saw her at a meeting, my heart would sink. And at the end of it all, she came up to me, and she was a big woman, and she just put her arms around me and hugged me for a long time. And then she whispered in my ear, ‘You did a good job, my girl.’ And that’s great validation. That’s what makes my heart sing.” Bear is also the academic lead for In digenous Canada, a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) designed to help Canadians understand the history of Indigenous peoples. Though the program was hugely successful when it first launched in 2017 – with more than 35,000 learners (overtaking Dino saurs as U of A’s most-watched course) – its popularity exploded when Canadian actor Dan Levy promoted it on his social media channels in December last year. Current registrations for the program are close to half a million. Though she has lived all over Canada, Bear now calls Hamilton home. Living near Bayfront Park, she says she has fallen in love with the city. “Hamilton feels like home already. I love the grittiness, and I love the realness. The authenticity is there. I’m an avid hiker and biker, so I love the trails. And I love to eat, and Hamilton has some amazing restaurants. This city was made for thewhenHamiltonwantsAndme.”shetoputonthemapitcomestoIndigenousscholarship.“IwantMcMastertobego-towhenpeoplethink of Indigenous research and Indig enous studies. In five years (when her stint as director at MIRI is over), I see myself with a boatload of Indigenous scholars, who might not have otherwise been there, gradu ating, walking across the stage with a fulsome Indigenous community on campus, where we are attracting not only students but faculty and staff from all over Canada.” n

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Colleen Stanfield

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PAUL ELIA is well-known for creating art that celebrates the grit and beauty of the city’s many streetscapes. He recently sat down with MARC SKULNICK to talk about his life in Hamilton: from getting inspired to being entertained; from Gage Park and Supercrawl to the Bruce Trail and Ottawa Street North; and everything – and everywhere – in between.

It’s always difficult to describe my work because it’s a mash-up of many creative practices. One of my pieces will start out with dozens of photographs, which are then digitally stitched together to create a photo collage, and then I illustrate on top of the whole thing to create one seamless image. For simplicity’s sake, I call it a digital illustration. How has the pandemic affected your way of living as an artist?

Things had to move to virtual for a while there, and the gallery adjusted to the rules as they changed. I found the community to be so supportive and generous throughout the pandemic.

Who are some of the other local artists who inspire and excite you? I love the work of Nathan Eugene Carson, which feels very raw and edgy and I also love the artist Stev’nn Hall, whose work is so slick and polished. Both create such sublime visual imagery. Who, or what, has been your biggest inspiration creatively? Probably the Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky. He makes powerful images that address the impact of human activity on global landscapes.

You were born in Toronto but moved to Hamilton as a child. What brought you and your family to the city?

What’s one local arts-related event you look forward to every year?

My favourite spot to explore and experience many different art disciplines is the Cotton Factory at 270 Sherman. It’s fun to wander around the huge space and discover something new every time.

When you’re not creating art, what’s your ideal way to spend a lazy day in Hamilton? These days it would be hanging out in Gage Park with my husband and our four-year-old. We enjoy the greenhouse and the rose garden and the different playgrounds. What’s the best meal you’ve eaten in the city?

I feel so lucky that I got to continue operating the gallery and creating as an artist during the pandemic.

It’s hard to pick just one, but I am always craving the chimichangas with fresh guacamole from Maria’s Tortas Jalisco in Stoney Creek. What is Hamilton’s best-kept secret?


It’s probably Supercrawl because I love when the streets are just jam-packed full of people and it’s all about celebrating the arts and creativity.

Where’s your favourite local space to see and/or experience art?

I love observing how the built environment around us reflects so much back to us about who we are and what we value. I also love the contradictions the city often presents, when a dilapidated block of houses, or the towering smokestacks are both ugly and beautiful at the same time. How would you describe the style of your work?


Your studio and gallery are steps from Ottawa Street North – what attracted you to the area and what are some of your favourite things about it? Ottawa Street has such a colourful and eccentric vibe! At first, I was a little worried about being far from downtown but we quickly realized that Ottawa Street and the neighbourhood are just a wonderful place for our family to be. I like being able to walk to most places I need to be and this neighbourhood feels safe and friendly with a vibrant street life and strong community presence.

I was around four years old and my younger brother was about to be born. My parents moved to Hamilton because my mother’s side of the family lived in Toronto and my father’s side of the family lived near Niagara Falls, so Hamilton was a good spot to meet in the middle. Much of your artwork features local streetscapes and buildings – how does the city’s urban landscape inspire your artistic process?

Many years ago I saw his photographs in a gallery in Toronto and also watched the documentary Manu factured Landscapes and it really changed the way I looked at the environment around me. Previously, my artwork had revolved more on people and figures.

I don’t know if it’s a secret but the Bruce Trail along the Escarpment is so inspiring to me. You really get a close-up experience with the geology of the city and then glimpses of the beautiful views looking down at the lower city, and the bay gives you a sense of the dynamic landscape that Hamilton was built on. And it looks so different and surprising every season! n I love the contrad I ct I ons the c I ty often presents, when a d I lap I dated block of houses, or the tower I ng smokestacks are both ugly and beaut I ful at the same t I me. more


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