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urbanicity A monthly journal in the bay city


HAMILTON ONTARIO | CANADA | Published Monthly | OCT 2011 |

Sean Fresco, age 4, ponders the future | photograph by Reg Beaudry










The man with his eyes wide open

The dating scene can be an absolute minefield, with casualties strewn across local bars, clubs, and hiding in the anonymity of the Internet. While some people search in vain for Mr. (or Mrs.) Right, others are perfectly fine whittling away their time with Mr. Right Now. But if you're hoping to snag something serious without wasting time, then take note: stop staring at the damn trees and consider the forest. It doesn't matter how your date treats you. After all, most people can fake it for a few dates, especially if they want to get into your pants. Instead, pay attention to how your date treats those around you. Does your date snap at the waiter or waitress? Does he belittle the clerk at the movie theatre? Does she treat the cabbie with disdain? A guy may seem like the perfect gentleman: opening up the car door, being attentive to you and throwing

On August 7, 2010, Ward 2 Councillor Bob Bratina took the stage at a rally supporting the West Harbour location for the Pan-Am Games stadium. In an unforgettable moment, he tore off his dress shirt to reveal a bright yellow t-shirt emblazoned with "WEST HARBOUR". It was a shock, and not just because of the theatrics. Previously, Bratina had not supported the West Harbour. In 2009, he wanted the stadium built at the site of Sir John A Macdonald high school. In February 2010, he said, "After reviewing the documents related to a Pan Am Stadium site selection, I have to declare my total opposition to a West Harbour Site, and the creation of a Stadium Entertainment Precinct." Then on July 15, 2010, he said he favoured "genuine 'Downtown' locations" for a stadium. Maybe he was warming up to the West Harbour. It was hard to tell, because he also said that "city building is not served to

Hamilton is a wonderful city - ripe with art and culture on the brink of exponential growth. Over the next few years, hundreds, if not thousands, of professionals will migrate here from Toronto. But make no mistake: Hamilton is also a sick city populated with fragmented and torn individuals and families. Hundreds, if not thousands, of marginalized, institutionalized, and financially and emotionally desperate people have already been migrating here for years. I recently interviewed Sally J. who has requested anonymity for this publication. She has immersed herself in this city; Sally votes here, volunteers here and has become involved with numerous organizations and Hamilton institutions. She moved here from Toronto almost 13 years ago. As we spoke, she expressed frustration at the recent media attention paid to the influx of professionals from other cities. “Now that professionals are migrating

I jumped in my car after church and started to feel a bit hungry. My mind bounced to a variety of potential eating establishments - friends, good food, and relaxation. The clouds were looking ominous; the radio was predicting rain and maybe a thunderstorm so I headed to Williams on the Waterfront. It offers a great view of the weather coming over the Dundas escarpment, good panini, and the soothing water of the harbour. I drove north on Bay Street, my usual route albeit a little bit quieter than usual because it was Sunday. As I passed Main Street, my ears were distracted by the noise of destruction. My eyes instantly followed my ears and I was somewhat surprised to see workmen busy tearing down the decaying old Federal Building. It was Sunday…why today? Were they trying to fly under the scrutiny of the ever-critical public eye? Is it safer to do this work when fewer people are

It happens all the time. Bill Carson meets someone and they ask what he does. “I’m a hypnotist,” he replies. “Oh,” they say, and turn their head a little. Carson just smiles: “It’s okay to look me in the eye. I won’t do anything.” Even he, who has practiced the mysterious craft longer than anyone else in this town, can’t make you fall under his spell just like that. All going well, he might be able to help you stop smoking, or lose weight or learn how to relax. Those are the big three, but Carson turns his hand, his eyes and that trademark voice to every kind of malady – bed wetting, nail biting, claustrophobia, fear of flying. He once worked on the fear of butterflies. For that person, a lovely monarch could be as frightening as a snarling Shepherd. Carson is now 86. We find him on James South near

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FREE PARKING * PRIVATE LOUNGE for 60 PEOPLE * PATIO 191 James Street North }{ Hamilton, Ontario }{ L8R 2K9 }{ 905.523.7269 }{

HAMILTON ONTARIO | CANADA | Published Monthly | OCT 2011 |


urbanicity [ur-buh-nis-i-tee] - noun 1. a monthly in the bay city.

DISTRIBUTION QUANTITY: 10,000 copies per issue | 12 issues per year DATE: First day of each month COST: Free

There’s a popular misconception that the ‘American Dream’ was simply about getting rich. For most immigrants, the dream that brought them to the shores of North America was a dream of building a life of opportunity for their children. It was about sacrificing the familiarity, language, and relationships of their homelands in order to give their children a better life than theirs. Someday.


There’s also a popular misconception that the dream only belonged to our neighbours south of the border. Both of my parents are, in fact, immigrants from the Netherlands. Their families immigrated to Canada after Europe had been torn apart by two world wars. The opportunities in Holland were limited, but Canada was a new land, brimming with possibility. When they arrived in the middle of the last century, Canadian cities were thriving. Waves of immigrants were arriving, and eagerly digging into their new lives with a vigour that could only be attributed to parents filling their roles as providers. The skylines of our cities were built in this period. The immigrants of the midcentury built churches, schools, institutions, and infrastructure. They built with an inspired vision for the future, using stone, brick, and steel. They were ambitious, as they were building a land for their children.

Downtown Hamilton International Village Ottawa Street Locke Street Westdale Village of Ancaster Town of Dundas Village of Waterdown Stoney Creek Concession Street District Selected Hamilton Mountain locations Greater Hamilton Area

Then their children grew up. The children of the builders, often referred to as the ‘boomers’, grew up in a land that had been built for them. There seemed to be less to strive for – after all, the heavy lifting had already been done. Somehow, a sort of complacency set in. Life had become comfortable, and the sacrifices of the previous generation were very unappealing to these children. The suburban lifestyle was born, and cities began to sprawl to their deaths, transforming greenfields into shopping malls and low-quality cookie-cutter homes. The top priority of City Hall became 0% budget increases. Life was safe, but somehow never cheap enough. Somewhere in this period, the City of Hamilton removed the words “The Ambitious City” from its welcome signs.

MARTINUS GELEYNSE Owner | MG International Director | Hamilton24 Festival LAYOUT + DESIGN *REG BEAUDRY Freelance | photographer Graphic designer CONTRIBUTORS *PAUL WILSON Former columnist | Hamilton Spectator MARK CHAMBERLAIN President | Trivaris Family of Companies Chair | Jobs Prosperity Collaborative

MARTINUS GELEYNSE | photograph by Daniel Banko


Then their children grew up. I am one of them. Now, I find myself living downtown Hamilton, working to revive the city that my grandparents’ generation built. The reality is, however, that the boomers are still in charge. When we talk about LRT, stadiums, two-way roads, and investments in infrastructure, the question is rarely, “How will this benefit the next generation?” And too often, “How much will this cost on my tax bill?” This editorial is not intended to offend the boomers, but rather to plead that they consider their children, and their grandchildren. We are statistically the first generation to have less education than the previous, the first generation to have less money than the previous, and we have greater issues facing us than any generation before. It is critical that we invest in the future. It will cost us more on our tax bill, but it is a small sacrifice when you consider that you are building the cities that your grandchildren will grow up in. Tomorrow.

FRED EISENBERGER Former Mayor | Hamilton, Ontario CEO | Canadian Urban Institute

MARTINUS GELEYNSE | Publisher + Editor

GRAHAM CRAWFORD Owner | HIStory + HERitage

The land they built for their children | James Street South, Hamilton ON | photograph by Reg Beaudry

MURLINE MALLETTE Director | Liaison College Hamilton Campus TERRY COOKE CEO | Hamilton Community Foundation PAUL SHAKER Director | Centre for Community Study RYAN McGREAL Editor | *ADRIAN DUYZER Associate Editor | *LAURA FARR Staff Writer *JAMIE TENNANT Program Director | 93.3 CFMU

FORUM We welcome discussion! Each month, the FORUM section will display letters to the Editor. In order to be accepted, letters must include valid contact information and the full name of the writer. Send your letters to:


*CHRISTOPHER CUTLER Manager | PATH Employment Services

I was thrilled to read your Chedoke Park article in urbanicity!

JOEY COLEMAN Independent Journalist

I have just retired as a dentist in Hamilton for 31 years. My father was also a dentist - Don Coburn who was involved in getting skiing at Chedoke happening in the 60s.

DONNA SKELLY Broadcast Journalist *KEANIN LOOMIS Chief Advocate | Innovation Factory PETER ORMOND Environmental Engineer Lecturer | Mohawk College

I have felt sad that it ended. Now I am excited by your story. How can I help make this a reality? Andy Coburn

I live in Hamilton and grew up here as well. I'm a painter and I also have been teaching yoga for years at Andrea Soos Yoga Studio here in Hamilton.

I have suffered from 'low City of Hamilton esteem' for many years. It has been most unpleasant but have endured.

I just finished reading the September urbanicity while having my lunch. Every time I read your monthly journal I feel so inspired by its words and hopeful about the people in this city.

Now it's encouraging to see the positive developments taking place.

Thank you for this. Thank you to your contributors and yourself for writing the things you do.

Your 'urbanicity' is certainly one of them. It's great Hamilton reading, and well-written. Congratulations!!

It's so important that we feel connected to one another and our environment as we move about our lives.

It's very important to feel 'good' about where one lives. It's uplifting to experience the changes taking place. Also, the full page on the AGH World Film Festival is awesome. I worked at the AGH for 16 years and now volunteer for Film Events.

Andrea Michaluk

Good luck in your fantastic work.

RICK COURT Dean of Business, Media, & Entertainment | Mohawk College

Grace Bisutti

DON FORBES Manager, Specialist Advisory Services | Grant Thornton LLP

FRONT COVER [ left to right panel ] *The Northenders cartoon strip by Reg Beaudry *Bob Bratina/The World According to Garp satire by Reg Beaudry *Back of woman, photograph by Reg Beaudry *Demolition scene at Wellington and King, photograph by Reg Beaudry *Hypnotist Bill Carson

ROBERT LEAKER Vice-President of Innovation and Emerging Markets | Meridian Credit Union *LYDIA LOVRIC former writer and broadcaster | currently enjoying life as a full-time mom to three little rug rats. AD INQUIRIES | 905.537.5928 PRINTER Canweb Printing Inc.


FORUM We welcome discussion! Each month, the FORUM section will display letters to the Editor. In order to be accepted, letters must include valid contact information and the full name of the writer. Send your letters to: *denotes in this issue urbanicity 27 John St N | Hamilton ON | L8R 1H1 | 905.537.5928



One of the world’s most unique musical personalities

“Never was a standing ovation so richly deserved” - Classical Guitar Magazine


7 PM Sunday,October 23, 2011 Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts - 126 James St S. Tickers availabel at the door or online at

| IDEAS HAMILTON ONTARIO | CANADA | Published Monthly | OCT 2011 |


Original photograph by Alex Zafer | enhanced by Reg Beaudry


When I was a child, shortly after our arrival in this area, we would make the journey, first from Dundas, and subsequently from Rockton, where I grew up, into Hamilton. We would make our way east, past University Plaza along Main Street West into the city. Upon entering the city I would spy the welcome sign to Hamilton. Located at the old Consumers Distributing Plaza, now the home of the Baskin Robbins outlet, just before the hydro lines, it read, quite simply, “Welcome to Hamilton: The Ambitious City”. Downtown was a shopping Mecca at that time, especially for those of us living in the surrounding communities and outlying villages. We were an Eaton’s family, of course. They were my father’s first employer. It was a job he had found following three straight days of pounding the pavement after getting off the boat upon my parent’s arrival in Canada. We did almost all of our shopping those days at Eaton’s, and always followed with a stop at the old Eaton’s parkade to shop at the farmer’s market. On our way home we would stop at the Tim Hortons in Westdale. Back then it was store number two or three in the burgeoning chain. Tim Horton was still alive. It had only been a few years since the Leafs had won the Stanley Cup. Hamilton was still the Ambitious City. At

PUTTING THE AMBITION BACK INTO THE AMBITIOUS CITY least that was what the sign said. Why not, The Ambitious City? This was the home of Canada’s steel industry. It was the epicenter of the nation’s industrial and manufacturing heartland. It was the home of the Tiger Cats. It was the home of the indomitable Billy Sherring, winner of the 1906 Athens Olympic Marathon. It was home to the Around the Bay Race and the incline railway at the foot of James Street. It was the home of the first British Empire Games conceived by Bobby Robinson played out in our new civic stadium, now called Ivor Wynne. However, in his book, Hamilton: A People’s History, Bill Freeman noted that already at this time, “The deterioration downtown had set in to such an extent that stores were sitting vacant, movie theatres had emptied and even the market was losing business”. It sounds eerily familiar. He continued,” People were simply not coming downtown in numbers that they once had, and it was generally agreed that something dramatic had to be done…” This was the state of the Ambitious City in the late 1950’s and early 60’s. So we did some pretty dramatic things. In 1956, literally over night, City Council turned our downtown thoroughfares into one–way express ways. To this day Cannon Street remains a dangerous

speedway cutting an ugly swath through the centre of our Code Red neighbourhoods. No Jane Jacobs was here to rally us then. Soon the Birks building and the former City Hall were gone. In there place we had Jackson Square, the Stelco Tower and the Eaton’s Centre. That made my mother happy. She still had her Eaton’s credit card and we were still an Eaton’s family. According to the sign, Hamilton was also still the Ambitious City. Over the following years, an ambitious plan for a Civic Square opposite the new City Hall was compromised. Instead, our downtown became a large outdoor urban gallery dedicated to the brutalism school of architecture. This was a style of architecture that enjoyed a 20-year love affair with concrete, our Main Public Library being the most painful and obvious homage to this school. We still had the new Education Centre, Hamilton Place, the Convention Centre and the Art Gallery of Hamilton to show for it. Finally, let us not forget the greatest local monument to the “build it and they will come” philosophy of downtown redevelopment, Copps Coliseum. Ostensibly built as bait in a civic mousetrap to catch an always inevitable NHL franchise, it remained empty more often than not.

By the time we arrived at the end of the last century, there was no Eaton’s anymore. We were no longer an Eaton’s family anymore. According to the sign, Hamilton was still the Ambitious City, but I noticed that as I aged, so had the sign. The paint was peeling and no one seemed to tend to it as it fell into noticeable disrepair. Ambition was no longer a word you heard in Hamilton. Questions swirled around the issue of amalgamation. The Super City was going to solve everything. Questions swirled around the Red Hill Valley Expressway. It was going to solve everything. We now have both. Neither really solved anything. If we learn anything from history in Hamilton it clearly must be that mega projects don’t solve our problems. Indeed, they likely have exacerbated them. Upon amalgamation, the “Welcome to Hamilton” sign disappeared from Main Street West. New welcome signs were erected at our new borders. The word “ambitious” was not on the new signs. So where has our ambition gone? Shortly, the Hamilton Spectator will be releasing an update on the Code Red series. I predict that we will not like what we read. According to the published unemployment rates, we are hovering around seven

percent. Not bad by some accounts. Somehow it just doesn’t feel like it’s alright. With over 13,000 cases on Ontario Works affecting over 30,000 Hamiltonians, it is clear that a sizeable number of individuals are being impacted while under the age of 12. Another 13,000 cases on Ontario Disability Supports means another 30,000 citizens impacted – many more of these are children. Sadly, these statistics reflect a city whose vision reads, "To be the best city in Canada to raise a child, promote innovation, engage citizens and provide diverse economic opportunities." Sounds ambitious, but are we truly willing to address these issues and achieve this vision? Are we ready to be that ambitious? Yes. It’s time to put the “Ambitious City” back on our welcome signs, to look at ourselves, and to learn the lessons of our history. While it won’t be a quick process, it is time to put the “ambition” back in the Ambitious City. CHRISTOPHER CUTLER is a manager with PATH Employment Services serving persons with disabilities. He is a proud and highly engaged resident of downtown Hamilton.

“In the last five years Hamiltonians have done a great job of speaking about our city with pride, and that is great for business. We used to talk about potential in this city – now it’s about momentum.” – P.J. Mercanti, President of Carmen’s

Gabriela + Carlos - Married on the beach in Hamilton ON | photograph by Reg Beaudry


I recently attended a friend’s wedding. Everything from the bride and groom to the table settings was absolutely beautiful. While standing at the bar, looking over the room, and tallying up the costs in my head, I couldn’t help but think about how much money was spent on just this one day. Think of all those details – table cloths, napkins, chair covers, silverware, glasses, flowers, decorations, tuxedos, dresses, shoes, hair, makeup, jewelry, photographer, food, music, venue…and on. Rebecca Mead writes in “One Perfect Day: Selling of The American Wedding” that weddings exist, “in part to give expression to the values and preoccupations of the society in which they take place” and that it has become almost commonplace to “think of a wedding as a star vehicle” no matter what the circumstances might be. Whatever odd psychosocial collective longing we may have to spend this much on weddings, it occurred to me that weddings are a profound example of what Hamilton is becoming – a post-industrial economy.

PEGGY SUE GOT MARRIED...and made a lot of money for everyone! So, how does a wedding contribute to a local economy? The majority of goods and services purchased and rented are typically from local small businesses, including the rental of a venue, which can account for up to 30% of the overall cost of a wedding. In an effort to add more value to an already expensive day, many venues are located near, or attached to hotels. One such newcomer in town to the scene is The C Hotel at Carmen’s Banquet Centre on the East Mountain. ‘We’ve noticed an increase in the amount of bookings from Mississauga, Toronto, Oakville, and Cambridge when the Red Hill (expressway) opened, but even more since the C Hotel opened” noted P.J. Mercanti, President of Carmen’s. “The split in revenue is about 50% weddings, 50% other events overall. And now there is a broader mix of clients and more costconscious customers. The typical wedding size is smaller, and now we’re able to tap into that market, which was part of the reason we built the hotel.” Last year’s statistics from Tourism Hamilton show

that trade shows and conventions had an economic spinoff of $15.5 million city-wide. As these account for less than half of the hotel stays in the city, we can posit that the wedding industry may actually draw many more. Add food, entertainment, and wedding gifts, and this adds up to an enormous amount of spending in the service sector that is not tracked together. Couples, friends and family are typically willing to spend more for the big day, as the cost of a Canadian wedding averages about $30,000. There will be an estimated 156,000 weddings occurring in Canada in 2011. More than half of these will occur in Ontario, resulting in an annual $1.8 billion dollar industry in our province alone. Is there a way to bring more of that business to Hamilton? With so many communities competing for the same service dollars, the outlook is optimistic. “In the last five years Hamiltonians have done a great job of speaking about our city with pride, and that is great for business.” P.J. Mercanti goes on to say, “We used to talk about potential in this city – now it’s about

momentum.” It is true that there is momentum in Hamilton. The key for us is to channel it intelligently. I would argue that a multiplicity of smaller businesses, events, and economic activities could result in larger gains than the silver bullet solutions we seem so addicted to. Perhaps there is, in fact, an underexplored opportunity for Hamilton to pursue a higher volume of smaller events [read: weddings] as an economic development opportunity. To be honest, after attending six weddings in three months and watching guests and happy couples spend a lot of money on each one, it feels better knowing that there is a positive economic impact to the city. Plus, it makes me feel better about buying all those kitchen appliances. LAURA FARR is a civically engaged, communityminded downtown resident.

WEDDING COSTS BY CATEGORY Reception 28.3% Consultant 15.0% Wedding Rings 11.5% Photography/Video 6.6% Bridal Gown 6.1% Music 5.2% Flowers 4.6% Bridal attendants' apparel 4.5% Rehearsal dinner 4.2% Men's formal wear 3.2% Invitations 2.8% Attendants' gifts 2.1% Mother of the bride apparel 1.7% Bride's veil 1.6% Clergy and ceremony fees 1.2% Limousine 0.9% Groom's attire 0.8% (Association of Bridal Consultants)

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HAMILTON ONTARIO | CANADA | Published Monthly | OCT 2011 |


I’m a white male, in my early fifties, living in downtown Hamilton, born and raised in Ontario with roots going back more than two centuries in Canada. But the Canada I live in will continue to become increasingly diverse, and noticeably so. From 2001 to 2006, more than 4000 immigrants settled in Hamilton each year. One half of those newcomers to Hamilton were born in Asia or the Middle East. Only 23% were born in Europe. This pattern is true across Canada, particularly in urban areas. This means that the complexion of “Hamiltonians” over the next decades will continue to change. And the values and worldviews of new Canadians will gradually cause changes and adjustments to popular understandings of what it means to be “a Canadian.” My first “Canadian” ancestors migrated to Canada from the United States as ‘loyalists’ to the British monarch at the time of the Revolutionary War (1780s). That means they were fleeing as political refugees. The next grouping of ancestors arrived in Vaughan (“Pennsylvania Dutch” 1792) as religious and political refugees, originally from Switzerland, then from the United States. My Irish ancestors arrived in eastern Ontario in the 1820s as part of the fallout from the Irish Rebellion of 1798, some having only been recently released from prison. Scottish settlers (1830s) seeking the promise of a more prosperous life in Lanark County arrived only to be disappointed with the story they had been sold by immigration recruiters. Each of those sets of ancestors brought values and worldviews that have shaped Canadian society. The monarchist United Empire Loyalists, the pacifist Anabaptists who were fined for refusing to contribute to the war effort in 1812, the fighting Irish calling for representative government, and the stern Presbyterian farmers from Scotland who eked out a living on the edge of the Canadian Shield. What can be said of how Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Ukrainian and Hungarian values and worldviews have shaped Hamilton over the last half century or more of immigration? What will be said of how the values and worldviews of Indians, Sri Lankans, Iranians, Syrians, Rwandans, Congolese, Chinese, Filipinos and Vietnamese will shape the Hamilton that my children and grandchildren will live in? Is the Multicultural Society Really “Dead?” Last October German Chancellor Angela Merkel started off a chorus of conservative European leaders with her comments that attempts to build a multicultural society in Germany had “utterly failed.” Merkel was followed by David Cameron of Great Britain and Nicolas Sarkozy of France, echoing that multiculturalism is a ‘sad failure’ in their countries as well. But these comments are not new, as former prime ministers in Australia and Spain have articulated similar sentiments in the past several years Of course one has to qualify what is meant by “multiculturalism” in their context? How did the policies develop historically? How does it function in practice? And, of course, one has to wonder if this is all just political gamesmanship courting dissatisfied voters. Politically conservative governments elsewhere have typically tapped into anti-immigrant nationalists for support. But are these European leaders telling us “all” the truth about multiculturalism in their countries? At a recent Metropolis Canada conference in Vancouver, Dr Jan Rath, a professor of sociology at the University of Amsterdam, indicated that, “while there is a lot of fuss about a ‘cultural backlash’ in Europe, a miracle is


THE FUTURE of HAMILTON WILL NOT LOOK MORE AND MORE LIKE ME slowly and surely taking shape: ethnic and cultural diversity is becoming commonplace in Europe.” “In the Netherlands, for instance,” says Rath, “while the government was considering banning headscarves in public spaces, the biggest supermarket chain introduced headscarves for the thousands of Turkish, Moroccan and Pakistani girls and women who work as cashiers. These females wear the headscarves—in the company color of course— when they sit behind the checkouts and nobody has ever bothered about it.” Rath summarized his comments by suggesting that, “despite complaints about immigration and diversity, and despite integrationist or assimilationist discourses, ‘multiculturalism’ by stealth is de rigueur.” Hamiltonians have also been exposed to these back and forth interpretations of multiculturalism in this city. In articles earlier in the spring, the Hamilton Spectator had columns from guest writers Rama Singh and Gary Warner giving a glowing picture – “Canada succeeds where Europe fails” and “The city has acquired an enviable reputation as a welcoming city for newcomers and a model of social inclusion; discrimination is rare.” Recently, however, Spec staff writer, Nicole MacIntyre, suggested that, “gone are the days when newcomers flocked to this city to join its bustling economy, shape its neighbourhoods and weave threads into its diverse fabric. Now Hamilton is failing in its attempts to attract the world's best and brightest and running the risk of losing its standing as a major metropolitan player in the Canadian economy. The number of newcomers selecting Hamilton as their home is dropping.” Multiculturalism in Canada is Not Dead Despite the various prognostications, multiculturalism in Canada is not dead. Montreal’s social philosopher Charles Taylor says, “we should think of multiculturalism as a work in progress. It is never finished.” Scotiabank Chief Operating Officer Sarabjit Marwah agrees: “Canada, in many ways, has done remarkably well in embracing multiculturalism.” Queen’s University professor Will Kymlicka, however, talks about the difference between the policies that are needed to facilitate a multicultural state, and the everyday challenge of relational engagement between cultures. Kymlicka suggests that not only do we need a multicultural state, we need intercultural citizens. Neighbours of diverse cultures who will choose to engage with one another despite the challenges and anxiety, recognizing that adjustment will be required on both sides. The future of Canada will not look more and more like me. Get over it. In fact, a recent study, from York University professor Tony Fang, recommends that the Canadian government should increase immigration by 100,000 newcomers per year, over the current level of about 250,000. This kind of an increase would boost Canada’s gross domestic product, helping the government’s balance sheets, as well as spur investment in housing, all without increasing unemployment, so the report says. The development of Kymlicka’s intercultural citizens is a requirement. Former BC premier, Ujjal Dosanjh suggests that, “as we expect more from new Canadians, we must also expect more from those of us who were born here or who have lived in Canada for decades.” Novelist Kerri Sakamoto thinks we have “outgrown multiculturalism as we know it.” She feels that we need to see ourselves as “global citizens with worldly understanding and links because of our unique diversity. These are inter-cultural connections and knowledge that we should share and benefit

from…” I have just returned from a three-week stay in Sri Lanka, one of the most ethnically-challenged countries in the world. While the country’s sociopolitical environment will still take years to resolve, I spent day after day interacting with citizens of Sinhala and Tamil background who find a way to conduct life with respect, acceptance and camaraderie. If intercultural engagement is possible in Sri Lanka, I am certain it is possible here in Hamilton. Intercultural Competence Required In the City of Hamilton’s Economic Development Strategy 2010-2015 there is an outright acknowledgement that, “to more fully embrace and realize the enormous social, cultural and economic assets that immigrants offer and that already exist within our extraordinarily diverse city, significant changes must be made to our civic, cultural and organizational practices.” Significant changes must be made to our…practices. Intercultural educators and practitioners, a profession normally engaged with persons travelling overseas for business, community development or diplomatic assignments may have some insights and skills to help this conversation. Their work involves aiding persons crossing cultures to see the world around them from the perspective of the culture they are entering. These new, developing, cross-cultural explorers seek to make sense of the other’s perspective as a valid and legitimate way of interpreting life. That’s what it takes to thrive in a setting where they are not part of the dominant culture. This is the kind of competence development that is being required of all of us Canadians in our increasingly diverse communities. This approach suggests that the toleration, or recognition, of diversity is not sufficient for enabling a multicultural society. Acceptance of, and engagement with, difference is also required. Perhaps, it is the exploring of relations, rather than underlining of differences that is truly representative of Canadian multiculturalism. People of differing cultures are given the space to express their distinctive identities and in so doing construct and reinforce a cohesive unity that respects, includes and incorporates. Twenty years ago constitutional affairs scholar Carolyn Touhy wrote, “What appears distinctive about Canadian institutions is their extraordinary capacity to embody conflicting principles within structures ambiguous enough to allow for ad hoc accommodations over time.” Exactly. Canadian artist Lata Pada feels that we “must reflect on [our] global, plural and often inter-cultural identities… it can no longer be only about the song, dance and food of other cultures, but more about reshaping a collective and cohesive definition of who we are as Canadians.” Multiculturalism is not dead in Hamilton. But my children and grandchildren will need to be interculturally engaged, if not fully competent, to function as active citizens in the land of their birth. DAN SHEFFIELD has lived in Hamilton for 15 years. He is an intercultural educator and works on the issues highlighted in this article with his business partner, Syam Chandra, through their consulting business, CultureShift. CultureShift works with organizations in Canada and around the world to develop interculturally competent personnel.

The oh so white choir boys | circa 1952

| ISSUES HAMILTON ONTARIO | CANADA | Published Monthly | OCT 2011 |


Bob Bratina at the Hess Village West Harbour Rally, Aug 7th, 2010 | photographs by Alex Zafer

Bratina's behaviour is different. Not only does he change positions as quickly as the wind changes direction, but his position appears to change depending on the day's circumstances or the audience to whom he is speaking. continued from p.1 | WORLD any great extent by stadiums and arenas". All doubts were cast aside on August 7 when he tore off his shirt and declared that the east mountain location the Tiger-Cats demanded was "crap" and that the West Harbour had become "the best decision for the community". That was music to the ears of cheering West Harbour supporters. Unfortunately for them, Bratina didn't carry the tune for long. On August 31, he voted in favour of considering building the stadium at the McMaster Innovation Park instead. Four days later, on September 3, he said that Confederation Park was "probably still the best overall site" for a stadium. In the end, no one really had any idea where Bratina thought the stadium should go. He became mayor and somehow we ended up with a brand-new stadium at Ivor Wynne, even though we thought we were paying for a renovation. Now consider light rail transit (LRT) and ask yourself: does Bob Bratina support LRT?

He did when he was Ward 2 Councillor, or at least he said he did, but let's just focus on Mayor Bratina for now. On June 30, The Spectator reported that Bratina had reservations about LRT. "We‚ are not hearing any kind of clamour from the public on that file," he said. This triggered quite the clamour indeed, and he was forced to clarify his position, which he said was simply that he's waiting for staff to finish studying the LRT proposal. "We‚ are still in the LRT game," he said, "LRT has not changed on the priority list," and "The LRT file is fine.” In other words: don't worry, be happy, and don't listen to people who voice concern. It's all just a "Spectator brouhaha" and "boosterism by certain groups". "The only damage seems to be occurring among a small group of dissident local residents", he claimed. It's impossible not to notice, however, all of the other things he said that contradict this position. He has repeatedly said that all-day GO Transit service is a

higher priority for the city, even though Metrolinx has said GO Transit and LRT are not an either-or proposition. He has said that, "no solid interest has materialized" from developers for LRT. On August 31, he came right out and said that LRT "is not a priority", but that planning for it would continue "ad infinitum". Then, "if somehow a million people move to Hamilton over the next five years and we have traffic congestion all over the place, we will look at all transit options including LRT." It's also impossible not to notice that his actions and those of City Manager Chris Murray have gravely jeopardized the future of the LRT project. On July 15, Murray suspended all work on the LRT project except for the work that had to be completed as part of the $3 million funding agreement with the province to study it. Since then, Jill Stephen, the manager of the City's Rapid Transit Office, has resigned, and Premier McGuinty has said that GO Transit outranks LRT as a priority based on "important conversations with the

mayor". "Over time, we can enter into other discussions about things like the LRT," McGuinty said. By the time you read this, the situation will probably have changed yet again, but if the past is any indication, you still won't have a clear picture of where Bratina stands on the issue. The economist John Maynard Keynes once responded to criticism that he had flip-flopped on policy by saying, "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?" Keynes was right. There is nothing wrong with changing your mind when new evidence emerges. Bratina's behaviour is different. Not only does he change positions as quickly as the wind changes direction, but his position appears to change depending on the day's circumstances or the audience to whom he is speaking. Combine this with a new culture of secrecy at City Hall, a series of questionable in-camera meetings,

and musings by Bratina's Chief of Staff Peggy Chapman about controlling information, and it's hard not to ask the question: is Bratina being forthright and honest with the public? When Bratina says something, do you believe it? If not, what does this say about the Office of Mayor under Bratina's leadership? Here's one more quote to ponder. Speaking recently on 900 CHML about the B-line LRT route – the one that passes through downtown and its many surface parking lots – Bratina said, "you can drive up and down our proposed LRT route all you want and you don't see large parcels of land waiting to be developed". That's just unbelievable. ADRIAN DUYZER is an entrepreneur, business owner, and Associate Editor of He still believes that Hamilton can be the Ambitious City. Adrian lives in downtown Hamilton with his family.

HAMILTON ONTARIO | CANADA | Published Monthly | OCT 2011 |

p.6 Hamilton's future can become the envy of cities across Canada and even the world. Will we take a bold step forward at this crucial moment in our history?



It's been over five years since I first wrote about light rail transit on I must be honest. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that this short time later we would be completing design studies, intensification plans, and have such broad-based support for a Hamilton LRT system. For all of Hamilton's notoriety when it comes to advancing and moving forward, we have seen the future, and have rapidly worked towards seizing an opportunity that will forever change our city. I don't want to rehash all of the gaudy return-oninvestment numbers or statistics from other cities that have reaped massive urban development along their LRT lines. We've done that many times. Instead, I want to take a moment to discuss the critical point that we find ourselves at today as a city.

as a city. Don't think we're alone. Every city comes to this critical crossroads in its history. Toronto's Crucial Moment Toronto faced a crucial moment in the 1970's when it decided to cancel five new freeways and to instead increase streetcar funding. That city has grown around its streetcars and subway lines in the decades since to become Canada's largest and arguably most prosperous city. Hamilton faced a similar choice in the 40s and '50s and chose to tear up the streetcar tracks that once criss-crossed our lower city. Five years after the last streetcar was shut down, we converted our lower city streets to wide, one-way, de facto freeways. The downward movement of the city since that time has been almost surreal.

expensive, intrusive, and with not enough spin-off development, and had they chosen to revert back to their massive freeway network, we would probably not be seeing this public campaign to build LRT in Hamilton. But the facts are that Portland has continued to expand the system, build new lines in the past 30 years, and now enjoys the many benefits of a bustling downtown. They enjoy a growing economy and a worldwide reputation as a safe and livable city in a nation not known for safe or livable cities. These facts should be strong signals to Hamilton that we are on the right track. A large number of North American cities are now proceeding with new LRT systems, while countless international cities already enjoy fantastic rail networks. More than Just Transit

If we want to change our reality as a city and give ourselves a new direction and new future, we must do exactly that: change our reality. A Crucial Moment In life, politics, business, city-building or personal relationships, we all come across crucial moments where we either take a bold step forward, or we shrink back and maintain the status quo. We've all experienced the nervousness that comes when we decide to step out of our comfort zone and advance. It's not always easy, fun, or simple, but it's absolutely necessary in order to move forward. If we want to change our reality as a city and give ourselves a new direction and new future, we must do exactly that: change our reality. Cities all over the world are rapidly changing and looking to keep ahead of their counterparts as we all fight for our share of the pie in the globalized 21st century. Hamilton now faces an historic opportunity that will radically change how we function, grow, and prosper

A Model to Learn From Portland, Oregon is a fascinating model for Hamilton to learn from. Like other cities, it encountered its own critical time in history that would forever alter that city's economy, growth, and future. Robert Moses developed a grand plan of freeways that were to criss-cross Portland. Old neighbourhoods would be wiped out in several spots to make room for the new expressways. Local citizen groups sprung up and began to fight for their neighbourhoods, and against the expressway plans. The result is a huge network of un-built freeways in Portland. The cancellation of the Mt. Hood Freeway in 1974 is, in fact, considered the tipping point that led to the modern, vibrant Portland of today. Some of the funds set aside for that project were instead re-directed to Portland’s first LRT line. The rest, as they say, is history. One of the great things about being just one of many cities in the world is our ability to learn from the mistakes – and successes – of others. Building on Success Had Portland found their first LRT system to be too

NW 10th, Portland, in 1921 (Image Credit: Vintage Portland Files)

It is imperative that Hamiltonians understand we are talking about much more than just a transit system. We are talking about a whole new way of building and developing our great city. Imagine a place where you are excited and proud to bring your out-of-town guests. Imagine a city of growing economic opportunities for the next generation of skilled workers and thinkers being trained at Mac and Mohawk. Where we now see empty parking lots and deserted multi-lane, high-speed streets , we could realize spectacular public spaces, new buildings and sidewalks full of people, commerce, and vibrancy. Hamilton's future can become the envy of cities across Canada and even the world. Will we take a bold step forward at this crucial moment in our history? Based on the constant buzz I'm hearing around town and in the community, I think we're ready. This is our time. Join us at and help re-shape the future of Hamilton. JASON LEACH was born and raised in the Hammer and currently lives downtown with his wife and children. This article was originally published September 23, 2011 on

NW 10th, Portland, in 2011 (Image Credit:

When selling Hamilton to my Toronto friends, I paraphrase Sam Adams, the Mayor of Portland who said, "If you want to be rich, go to Seattle or San Francisco. If you want to be prosperous you come here.”


Those that have despaired recently with the direction of the City’s LRT and velodrome files have found rejuvenation from a five day period in September that proved that our political leadership can’t stand in the way of all signs of progress in this town, as much as they may seem to try. In a city that suffers from a muffling ratio of private to public sector jobs, in less than a week, three events – Locke Street Festival, Supercrawl and Lion’s Lair – provided impressive evidence that entrepreneurism in Hamilton is alive and steadily improving. Let me first start with my beautiful neighborhood in the shadow of the escarpment. On Saturday, September 10th, the Locke Street Festival drew thousands of people who perused over 200 stalls and storefronts, including those of the many new foodie hangouts that have recently appeared. Starbucks, with its visionary determination (just four years ago? Really?) to give the street a chance, may have lessened the risk to Bread Bar, Chuck’s Burger Bar, Bitton, and NaRoma. However, with the success of so many new joints on Locke, evidence is growing that if you build it and have a good (even premium) product or service, you can do well in Hamilton. With other restaurants reportedly forthcoming, next year’s festival promises to have an even wider array of offerings. On the same day, throngs of people took to James Street North for the third annual Supercrawl, which boasted a truly world class musical lineup on two stages. Praise be to the underappreciated Tim Poticic, the Godfather of Hamilton’s creative entrepreneurs, this festival has gone from

STILL TRENDING UPWARDS approximately 3,000 attendees to an estimated 50,000 in just three years. The vibe was the greatest I have ever experienced in Hamilton. I navigated the crowd wearing a smile that grew wider as I noticed all the other perma-grinned souls; it was a contagion of the good kind! It was a grassroots commercial and cultural success. It was a dose of image tonic for the thousands of attendees who either had never been to, or had given up on downtown Hamilton. Better yet, for those who remain so stubbornly optimistic for this city, it was nourishing for the soul. Several other events were going on in Hamilton on that weekend, leading to fears that Hamilton’s citizenry would be stretched too thin. As it turned out, however, it seemed that the various events shone a spotlight on downtown Hamilton, and, for one weekend it seemed that Hamilton was a regional hub of culture and commerce, which is exactly as it should be. Discussing the third event is shameless selfpromotion, but significant nonetheless. On September 14th, the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce teamed with Innovation Factory to host the inaugural LiON’s LAIR, an investment forum for local entrepreneurs that, for trademark purposes, cannot be referred to as a made-in-Hamilton version of popular television program, Dragon’s Den. Ten great start-up opportunities received tremendous exposure to a business community that raised $100,000 in money and services that would be distributed to the top-three opportunities. Once again, the entire community got another glimpse of what I

have experienced firsthand over the last year – there is a simmering vibrancy of small and medium enterprise in this city that could portend great growth in private sector employment. Add the LiON’s LAIR participants, and all the other entrepreneurs in this community that are following their dreams with dogged determination, to the growing list of graphic and website design companies, artists with galleries, animation studios, etc., and it is clear that the creative sector is proliferating in Hamilton. As I’ve said repeatedly, Hamilton is very attractive to businesses seeking low rents. Add that to the higher quality of life (depending on your POV, of course) and the lower cost of living (ain’t no arguing with that one), and Hamilton would be the ideal place to become a mecca for small and medium enterprises. It’s a goal that Portland, Oregon set long ago and is paying off in spades now. When selling Hamilton to my Toronto friends, I paraphrase Sam Adams, the Mayor of Portland who said, "If you want to be rich, go to Seattle or San Francisco. If you want to be prosperous you come here.” It might be fashionable to invoke Portland when talking about what Hamilton must do to thrive, but it’s a best practice that Hamilton must study and learn from. September gave me renewed optimism that my investment in Hamilton might well have been a good one. KEANIN LOOMIS is Chief Advocate at the Innovation Factory, a not-for-profit Regional Innovation Centre.



INSET: Bill Carson today, with his hypnotism circle behind him | Photograph by Reg Beaudry | Photos of Carson’s class from the 70’s | STATE OF MIND - Words of wisdom framed in Bill Carson’s office

STATE OF MIND } continued from p.1 | EYES WIDE OPEN Bold, at the end of the hall in an old stone building. The room is large but stuffed. It’s still the 1970s in here. There are green vinyl chairs and orange stacking chairs and a tweedy psychiatrist’s couch. Here, many have been lured into relaxation. Carson himself is looking pretty relaxed. His shirt’s open halfway to the waist. He wears a gold Aquarius necklace, three rings and some vintage tattoos. Years ago Carson was always in a suit and tie. Then he discovered that clients “are more comfortable when I’m comfortable.” But what you notice is the way he speaks. Where did that accent come from? The voice began in Britain, though barely. Carson’s father was a coalminer, his mother a barmaid, in northeast England. Carson was an infant when the family packed up for Canada.

If you think you are beaten, you are. If you think you dare not, you don’t.

Carson, his parents, brothers and sisters (all gone now) settled in Brantford. But when the Depression rolled through, the family moved back to England. Carson was eight and got teased for his funny Canadian accent. He was small, but learned how to fight and picked up a Geordie accent. Then the family moved to Cambridge and he learned how to talk posh. At age 12, he hired himself out to clean houses and the people he worked for seemed to like the lad so gifted in conversation. He would sometimes recite his poetry when mother had friends in. Some found his voice cast a spell. So he got a book on hypnosis, practiced the art on his friends, took a course in London. There was a stint in the navy. And eventually, he returned to North America.


If you’d like to win but think you can’t, It’s almost a cinch that you won’t.

“The only thing I wanted to do more than hypnotism was sing,” he says. He got a place on Wetherly Drive, Hollywood Hills. He cut a demo of a pop song called Secret Love and shopped it around. He also sold encyclopedias there for Colliers and was very good at that. The singing was less lucrative. Through a manager, he did get to know Elvis a little. There is a picture of the two of them in Carson’s office. Eventually Carson shook the stars from his eyes and landed in these parts. In the late ’60s, he started placing ads in the Spec for hypnosis services. At first he did house calls, driving all over. He decided an office made more sense and located downtown. He also did the hotel trade. The Americans were slipping across the border and offering one or twonight courses to quit smoking, or even to become a hypnotherapist yourself.


If you think you’ll lose, you’ve lost. For out in the world you’ll find

That wasn’t really the way Carson liked to operate, “but I had to survive.” There would be 750 people in the Royal Connaught ballroom. He would start by telling them all to go outside for one last smoke. Then, when they were seated again, he ordered them to hurl their packs of cigarettes at him. Then he went to work. It was $49.99 for two nights, and Carson guesses that at such sessions only a quarter of the people stopped smoking. He says the private option ($250 for five sessions) has an 85 per cent success rate. Carson relaxes his clients with The Voice. “Close your eyes and let yourself relax. Allow your breathing to become nice and steady...” Some say to him afterwards, “Oh, I don’t think it worked. I heard every word you said.” But it doesn’t


Success begins with a fellow’s will It’s all in the state of mind.

happen that way. Carson is really just seeding some good old-fashioned positive thinking. It’s self-hypnosis really, and he does it to himself all the time. Every now and then he gives his girlfriend Ina a refresher session too. He met her decades ago when she came to lose weight. A few years ago, their paths crossed again. So Carson has a life of love and relaxation. He says there will be no retirement. “You can’t beat helping people to help yourself.” PAUL WILSON blew into town 30 years ago to work at the Hamilton Spectator and learned to love this place. For most of his career at The Spec, he wrote a three-times-a-week column called StreetBeat. He recently stepped away from that to become a citizen at large.

Be it by policy or by circumstance, Toronto’s poor are coming here. And they have been doing so for at least 13 years. continued from p.1 | FROM T.O. here, we take notice,” she says with audible distaste in her voice. At 30 years of age, Sally found herself not only without a home, but without a job or family support. She enlisted the help of various apartment-finding agencies within Toronto but eventually fled to a women’s shelter with only a few belongings – only what she could carry by hand. She and her daughter stayed in the shelter in Toronto for three weeks, trying to put their lives back together, until they finally made the move to Hamilton. A move to Hamilton, I might add, made not by choice. So how was it that you landed in Hamilton? I don’t remember the name of the agency, but a group came by with a van. Several women (myself included) were driven to various cities outside of Toronto to view apartments. Every woman in that van was homeless

and jobless, but we all found residence - most of us in Hamilton. I would like to add that every woman was an Ontario Works recipient – not a professional. I stayed in touch with many of those women for several years… but I was the only woman I know of who found work in Hamilton. How did you adapt to Hamilton? I was quite happy in Hamilton. I found work right away and my daughter found friends at school. I had money with which to sign her up for programs that every child should be able to experience: music, camp, art, baseball. But, in time, I found myself thinking more and more about my experience leaving Toronto. It wasn’t just me – there were many, many women who were encouraged to leave their home and their city. And then I began to see a trend. It wasn’t just battered women, but individuals living with mental illnesses,

addictions, and individuals with physical disabilities… all steered by some event or situation to leave Toronto. If a citizen cannot contribute to Toronto in a financial way, they are neglected. Now, I’m not talking about the agencies that are there to help – the shelters are wonderful agencies that work tirelessly to give independence and well-being to individuals who would otherwise perish. I am talking about government policy. I am talking about Ontario Works, Hostiles and Social Housing and the policies that govern them.

– but its effects are the same as if it was written in stone: if you are homeless, jobless, or otherwise handicapped, find another place to live. I remembered when Queen Elizabeth II visited Toronto – the homeless were quite literally ushered out of their park-bench beds to accommodate an inflated and inaccurate selfimage. It sounds, quite literally, like the underprivileged were exported out of Toronto. You got it. The underprivileged: the undesired.

for the reduction of poverty and homelessness. Undoubtedly, Toronto needs to work harder than it has. As a host city to exiled Torontonians, we must demand this or we will become a Band-Aid city – treating the symptom instead of the true problem. As residents are exported from their home cities and towns, they migrate to a place where they will be treated. Hamilton can give herself a pat on the back for her spirit of inclusion, but we must also be aware that we are picking up the slack on behalf of Toronto, and thereby allowing the social injustice that occurs in other cities to continue.

How has this affected you? Essentially, I am left with the message that I am unimportant and unwanted in my home. Toronto must do something to provide permanent shelter to all of its residents. I was cornered by my circumstances and pushed by an agency to leave. It is an unwritten policy

Hamilton may be experiencing a sudden surge of professionals, but she has also played host to whatever Toronto chooses to discard. Be it by policy or by circumstance, Toronto’s poor are coming here. And they have been doing so for at least 13 years. It is not only Hamilton that needs to cultivate solutions

SYLVIA MacNEIL is a 2nd-year, full-time business student at Mohawk College. She aspires to develop working policies that positively affect and improve the conditions for Hamiltonians.

| PLACES HAMILTON ONTARIO | CANADA | Published Monthly | OCT 2011 |

p.8 What are we missing as a society when we bemoan the often inferior construction of today – complete with windows which fall out (as in Toronto recently), and yet we continue to destroy our built heritage?

continued from p.1 | SUNDAY AFTERNOON appearance of being a very formidable foe to this "one armed machine" despite the extremely capable maneuvers of the operator. The "one armed machine" was struggling with a beam - twisting it, pulling it, and still nothing happened but a few remorseful grunts from the mangled steel. The floor boards were falling to the ground into the debris, the bricks were crashing as they tumbled down from the 7-storey height, but still the steel beam hung on. The steel beam's strength was no doubt a testament to the architect, the engineers, and the manufacturer of this steel. I surmised that one would have been safe in this former grand old building through anything mother nature could have thrown at it. However, as we all know, man's ability to build and create is evenly matched by man's ability to break down and destroy. I started to feel sad as I witnessed this steel beam start to weaken as the "one armed machine" continued to hit it relentlessly. Eventually, the beam gave in to the abuse and fell to the ground in a heap. From that point, it rained down bricks, walls, metal and sundry building materials – all crying for this steel beam that had been their protector. I continued to stand there for a few minutes – some of my fellow onlookers had moved on – and two men

walked by spewing obscenities about the destruction. Not wanting to get caught up in this negative emotion, I ignored them. The "one armed machine" was now organizing the debris from its triumphant tug of war. The steel beam which now was lying on the ground against the building was picked up from where it fell and was thrown on top of other fallen steel beams. Metal sheeting was picked up and put in another pile. Everything was being organized for the next stage of clearing. I had to ask: What are we missing as a society when we bemoan the often inferior construction of today – complete with windows which fall out (as in Toronto recently), and yet we continue to destroy our built heritage? Based on the tug of war I had witnessed, I could not help but wonder why this infrastructure could not be better utilized. There is a part of me that will always cheer for the stubborn beams of our older buildings. JUDY MARSALES is the owner of Judy Marsales Real Estate Ltd., and a highly engaged member of the Hamilton community. She is a former Member of Provincial Parliament, and remains locally active through her acting, singing, and energetic involvement in multiple boards and committees.

Demolition begins at the Federal Building at Main and Caroline | photograph by Judy Marsales

walking by? My mind was curious. Because the whole mess came upon me too fast to react, and because I did not want to be distracted from my driving – I drove around the block to verify what I had just witnessed. I drove up to Caroline and then turned on the side street that runs behind the old Federal Building. As I drove up and parked, I noticed that I was not alone in my curiosity. A roofer had parked his vehicle to get a better view, two women were standing looking askance at the building, a couple of skate boarders were lingering, and a man was leaning up against another building taking in the scene. I exited the car with my camera in hand. I was perhaps half of a city block behind the continual noise and destruction. My protective brain did a quick calculation: if the entire wing of this building were to collapse, are we all a safe distance away? Still curiosity argued with my brain. I took a couple of pictures. As I strained to capture something interesting, my mind tried to understand this long metal arm with the mechanical claw at one end grasping an old steel beam in what appeared like a tug of war. It struck me as almost a metaphor for the past struggling with the future. I started to think about the engineering that when into the design of this old building. It had the

Albion Falls | Hamilton, ON | photographs by Dwayne Ali


Location: Near Limeridge Rd E and Mountain Brow Blvd GPS Coords: 43.200339, -79.819912 Parking: Free. Across Mountain Brow off of Arbour Rd is a community-driven answer to the question “Why Hamilton?” The site has no affiliation with the city or its tourism board. For locals and outsiders, it’s a resource to show off the best of Hamilton. The emphasis on interactive maps, location, and imagery let anyone easily explore numerous “secrets” on their own as though they were local. DWAYNE ALI is the founder of Secret Hamilton, a project that seeks to introduce Hamiltonians and visitors alike to the many unknown treasures of the Hamilton.

SECRET HAMILTON | Albion Falls While not necessarily a secret to many locals, the city's many waterfalls remain hidden gems to outsiders who often still associate Hamilton with the industrial landscape seen on their way to the famous Niagara Falls. And while others may pass the city by to reach that natural wonder, it seems that we have a few smaller wonders of our own. Albion Falls sets itself apart from more popular and well-groomed spots like Webster's Falls because it's just inaccessible enough to make you feel like you've actually worked for it, but yet it is still surprisingly easy to access. The dolomite rock that makes up this area actually creates incredibly useful natural stepping-stones and as such, it's quite an easy jaunt down the hill to reach the base of the falls. That base, strewn with rocks and littered with several pools, gives the visitor the sense that they've happened upon a secret waterfall. There aren't any fences keeping you from getting too close nor are there any visible barriers to climbing any of the more challenging rocks. It all adds to the sensation of a natural wonder that has yet to be turned into a tourist hotspot. Around 19 metres high, it's considered a 'cascade' type falls where the water flows over a series of steps. The falls itself has several points from which you can admire it. For those unable to make the trek down to its base, the City of Hamilton has created lookout points at the top of the escarpment, a fair distance from the falls itself. You’ll get a great view of the falls in its

entirety, but it certainly lacks the awe of standing near the rushing water. To access the falls, descend the well marked stairs off of Mountain Brow Boulevard. There's a fair bit of parking across the street off of Arbour Road. Take care crossing the street to approach the falls as the tight turn means you have little time to see approaching cars. As a general rule on the main trail, to make it to the base, keep right. There's a small lookout next to the cascade if you take any of the trails left. The look of the falls itself can vary widely and will depend heavily on rainfall or melting snow from the past days. Head over for a look after a rainstorm to see a brilliant display. You can expect a very different view of the area if you check out the falls in the upcoming weeks as the leaves make their turn for fall. Considering the accessibility of this falls, traffic is surprisingly low. You can often venture to it during the daytime and find that there is no one else there. People tend to stop by for a few minutes, take some pictures, and head off. One of the great things about this city is that you can leave an urban centre, and in a short drive, reach an area like this. At the base of the falls, it's easy to look around and forget how close you are to a roadway. Let Albion Falls be your gateway to the various natural spots of beauty across this city. If you’re looking to get some info on all the waterfalls of this city, I highly suggest checking out

HAMILTON ONTARIO | CANADA | Published Monthly | OCT 2011 |


REVIEW | The Golden Mean


by Annabel Lyon

When I think of the colour gold, I think of straw bales drying in a field, or warmth and sunshine. The Golden Mean by Annabel Lyon is a book about the colour gold. It is about finding the balance in life. More specifically, the book is about Aristotle. I have a confession before you read any further: I have NO love for books about philosophy. In fact, I have a strong aversion to reading all the “old beardy ones” who are supposed to be wise due to their natural dullness and lack of narration. And yet, Lyon finds the Golden Mean – the balance between extremes – by writing a novel that is both compelling and profound

even though it is about Aristotle. The book is set in the third century BC, in Macedonia, while Aristotle is tutoring his most famous student: Prince Alexander (later, Alexander the Great). Through a vivid cast of friends and family, Lyon creates a living, breathing Aristotle. The great Philosopher of the novel is a chronically depressed man. He is plagued by nearly routine mood swings. Sometimes Aristotle can’t work or function, he weeps, and can’t concentrate. Colour seems to seep out of his life until things are dull and empty. Other days, he is brilliant. His life is infused with colour

and shines with a golden glimmer. In the ancient world, they thought melancholy was caused by an excess of black bile (the literal meaning of “melancholic”). Imbalances of fluids in the body controlled people’s health and moods. What Aristotle finds is that his melancholic condition is not damning. With balance, he can bring gold and mix it with his blackness. Lyon’s writing is deep and pretty. My favourite passages were descriptions of Aristotle swimming. As a child, those who loved him explained his oddness by saying he had the ocean inside of him. Or that he was

a favourite of the sea-god. She paints a memorable scene of Aristotle and King Philip swimming underwater as adolescents, wide-eyed with wonder and laughing at the water bubbles bursting from their mouths. Water was a place where Aristotle could suspend between the two surfaces, float with ease, and feel peaceful. And yet, we know he couldn’t stay submerged between the surface and the sea bed. Aristotle had to find a way to live with his head above the water. Lyon made me adore Aristotle for all his quirkiness and egocentricity. I related to him intimately. So, even

though I may never read a work of Aristotle, I have an understanding of his basic philosophy. He believed we must strive for moderation of virtue and character by seeking the point of balance. If you are interested in historical fiction, please give this one a try. Lyon has given me a parable for Aristotle’s teachings and I’ve been affected. ELISHA STAM is a stay at home progeny wrangler, impulsive writer, and ravenous reader. She lives downtown Hamilton. You can read more of her reviews at Partial book cover of The Golden Mean

Lee Reed | Left photograph by Tom Lawlor | Right photograph by Robert Michael

LEE REED | Emergency Broadcast


While many consider him one of Hamilton hip-hop’s most enduring emcees, Lee Reed is only now about to release his debut full-length album, Emergency Broadcast. Reed is a mainstay in Hamilton hip-hop, with plenty of presence on the James Street North scene and in activist circles. As the frontman for Warsawpack, whose blend of funk, hip-hop, jazz and rock earned praise across the country, Reed honed his intense and often riveting rhyme style. He moved closer to pure hip-hop with his next outfit, Peoples’ Republic, and completed the shift with his first solo endeavour, the well-received Introductory Offer EP. The new release is, in many ways, exactly what its

title proclaims – a roar in the face of the status quo, a reminder from Reed that the world is in deep need of change. Never known to be shy about his opinions, Reed’s lyrics are always politically charged, though presented with a clever mix of wordplay and rhythm that makes it far more artistically appealing than someone merely ranting and hectoring. “Emergency Broadcast is a little more confrontational than some of the stuff I’ve written,” says Reed. “That might sound crazy to people who know me, but…I have a song called The Bank where the chorus is just ‘fuck the bank’ and I advocate robbing banks – not going in with a gun and robbing a bank, but banks have been robbing us for years, and good on you if you

can find a way to take your money back. I’ve never said anything like that before. I’m less about tip-toeing now. I always thought if I could word something correctly I’d get people thinking in a manner they wouldn’t have before, and if it’s too confrontational maybe that’ll get lost. I’ve come to realize now, no, that’s not the way at all. If anything, it needs to be more of a slap in the face than it was before.” Reed’s rhymes are often the focus of attention in the press, but if he were only known for the words he’d be a poet; if he were only known for activism, he’d be an activist. He is both of these, but he’s mostly a musician, and the music demands attention too. Reed’s sound nods over the shoulder to ‘90s hip-hop,

a style that compliments his delivery and lyrical content. “It’s got to have big bass and kick, and a touch of the boom-bap,” he says (‘boom-bap’ referencing a style of hip hop with a signature bass drum and snare sound). “I think it’s mostly a symptom of my age.” Recorded over the course of a year with Scotty P (from Canadian Winter), Emergency Broadcast features an ensemble cast of producers and beatmakers including John P, Anonymous D, Nate Wyze and DJ Realistic. Unlike some hip-hop artists, however, there are only a few vocal guests, including singer Sara London and long-time friend and Hamilton hip-hop pioneer and artist, Eklipz.

“It’s a hard sell for people sometimes,” says Reed. “All those (local emcees) love me, I’m friends with a lot of those guys, but I think it’s a hard stretch for a lot of people to write the way that I do, or to stand next to that and say the same sorts of things. Eklipz I’ve known forever, and have long wanted to do something with him, so I’m happy about that.” Lee Reed celebrates the release of Emergency Broadcast with a CD release party at This Ain’t Hollywood (245 James St. N.) on Friday, October 21st. JAMIE TENNANT is the Program Director at 93.3 CFMU.FM, the campus-based community station at McMaster University.

“When someone constantly pressures you to have sex it is a big red flag...especially when the pressure comes on the first date.” - Laura Bilotta, Dating Expert | continued from p.1 | KISS out little compliments. But if he is rude to the person taking your order or leaves a tiny tip, that probably reveals more about his true personality than anything else. A woman may appear pleasant or dynamic, but if she rudely takes phone calls during your date or bitches about her supposed “friends” then a big red flag should go up (unless you're a sucker for drama). If your date can't feign politeness to those around him for even a few hours, don't waste your time on a second date.

Moreoever, if you and your date are polar opposites when it comes to certain key issues (politics, religion, whether you want kids one day or embrace the childfree movement with fervor) you may want to cut your losses and move on. This is not to say that successful matches can only be made from carbon copies of each other. Differences can add some much needed spice to a relationship. But if you're a diehard NDPer, for example, and your prospective partner is a card-carrying Conservative, it's unlikely the relationship can survive such a

fundamental philosophical split. Gary Direnfeld ( is a Dundas-based social worker with more than 28 years of experience (that's the length of three Jennifer Lopez marriages...times three). He has plenty of advice for would-be Romeos and Juliets. The first question should be, “Are you single?” insists Direnfeld. “If not, don't even bother asking anything else, just run.” (If only Angelina Jolie - the great “humanitarian” - could remember this simple advice. Someone who is newly separated may not be ready

for a healthy relationship. Direnfeld warns that, “ can take six months to well over a year to get past a prior relationship and be ready for another.” Direnfeld also suggests taking a “drinking inventory” of any prospective partner. “More than six drinks a week or more than four per occasion and the risk of problems begins to escalate.” Laura Bilotta, a Dating Expert with explains the importance of focus: “When your date can't seem to keep their eyes to themselves or on's a good indicator that they

don't care that much about you.” She says to be wary of someone who is sexually aggressive right off the bat. “When someone constantly pressures you to have sex it is a big red flag,” advises Bilotta “...especially when the pressure comes on the first date.” Unfortunately, most of this advice will likely be ignored because it's hard to think clearly when hormones, hunks and halter tops are involved. LYDIA LOVRIC is a former writer and broadcaster, now enjoying life as a full-time mom to three little rug rats.

| LIFE HAMILTON ONTARIO | CANADA | Published Monthly | OCT 2011 |

SUPERCRAWL 2011 WEEKEND | Top: Locke Street Festival | Bottom: Supercrawl on James North | photographs by Alex Zafer


FROM THE ROOFTOP at SUPERCRAWL 2011 | iPhone photograph by Michael Tyler Smith

WEDDING at BARANGA’S ON THE BEACH | Paula, Gabriela, Jacob + Serene | Photographs by Reg Beaudry

HAMILTON CHAMBER of COMMERCE + INNOVATION FACTORY’S 2011 LiON’S LAIR at CARMENS | Above Lions: Connie Smith, Ed Minich, Ron Foxcroft, PJ Mercanti, Nick Bontis

I N C O R P O R A T E D 244 JAMES STREET SOUTH, T: 905.522.6165


F: 905.522.2209


L8P 3B3


urbanicity - October 2011  

A monthly journal in the bay city

urbanicity - October 2011  

A monthly journal in the bay city