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Hamilton rock band Strathcona marks their arrival Pinning down the exact sound of Hamilton’s new rock band, Strathcona, is a challenging task. “If we had a simple answer to that, I think that would be worrisome,” explains Jon Harley, one of the band’s six members. What makes Strathcona work so well, the band agrees, is the diversity of musical tastes and histories brought in by each collaborator. The creative challenges of melding it all together keeps the work interesting. Harley, for instance, is a violinist with a background in classical music; not exactly what you’d expect in a band devoted to rock ‘n roll. Though it’s exactly this mix of musical influences that makes Strathcona stand out. Their name comes from the band members’ various connections to the well-known neighbourhood in Hamilton, and from a desire to pay loving tribute to the band’s roots in a city that has been so openly helpful to them on their music journey. “We love what’s happening in the music scene, and we’re honoured to be a part of it,” says Strathcona bassist Mark Korczynski. As the six members of Strathcona sit on a continues on page 14








N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 9 | T H E H E R I TA G E I S S U E


decision. The current plan is to construct five residential and commercial towers of up to 28 floors. There’s even talk about extending King William Street to include a roofed openair shopping district that runs between the towers.

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I recently attended a tour around Hamilton intended for Torontonians to showcase some of the interesting activity happening in the city. Run by Urban Land Institute, the tour had three main sites to visit: Hamilton City Centre, the Barton-Tiffany lands, and Westinghouse HQ. Hamilton City Centre – the failed shopping mall by Eaton’s that was built in 1990 – is pending the closing of a sale to IN8 Developments. The buyer is a reputable builder in the Kitchener-Waterloo area and was attracted to Hamilton’s potential, citing LRT and great location as large factors in the

Next was the Barton-Tiffany site, which is a stretch of cityowned land that was originally intended as the location for the new stadium. When the decision was made to construct Tim Hortons Field on the same site as Ivor Wynne Stadium, the land that was assembled at Barton-Tiffany was left abandoned. Now, there is new life surrounding the property as Momentum Developments looks to create a top-of-class film studio mixed with residential and commercial uses. Creating a film hub of this scale will undoubtedly continue to attract large production companies to the city (read pg. 18 for more on this topic). The





Westinghouse HQ — a restored historic building which has undergone a massive rehabilitation in order to preserve the property’s character. Currently under renovation, the reimagined Westinghouse HQ will feature Class-A offices with modern systems and finishes while remaining true to the building’s distinctive feel and original accents. Given that I’m surrounded by Hamilton news stories on the daily, I tend to forget just how out of touch most of the region is with what Hamilton is doing. When out-of-towners flood the streets of Hamilton and see our city for the first time with eyes wide open, I am both humbled and encouraged that this is still just the early stages of Hamilton’s revival and that the best is yet to come. And while it’s important to focus on the future, it’s also wise to reflect on our past — especially in a city so rich in history as Hamilton. That’s why we’ve taken a step back and dedicated this issue to heritage. In this

magazine, you’ll find stories of Hamilton’s past including Hamilton’s sports history (pg. 4), the John Weir Foote armoury (pg. 7), the re-enactment of the Battle of Stoney Creek (pg. 9), and the Fall Garden & Mum Show (pg. 15). We're also featuring stories of recent history being made such as Hamilton's own music band Strathcona releasing their debut single (front cover), Canada’s first edible cookie dough shop (pg. 6) and the new Electric Diner (pg. 12) that brings back the 80s in a really cool way. Here’s to a good November and a bright future for Hamilton! If you’d like to contact me directly regarding any of the articles, advertising, or just want to say hello, you can do so by emailing Be sure to download the Urbanicity app on the App Store and cut out the ad below for $2 off the upcoming Craftadian Christmas Market! ROBERT CEKAN

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1. Hamilton installed its first parking meter in what year? 2. Which waterfall did the Royal Botanical Gardens source its rocks from for the Rock Garden? 3. The Dundas Valley School of Art is located in a designated heritage building that used to produce this manufuctered item. What was it? 4. What was the first industry in the Gore District?

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A sports history full of highlights


Recently moved to Hamilton from Amsterdam, Ayolt is a huge fan of sports, craft beer, and good food. Currently loving The Hammer as his new home.

Walk along the streets of Hamilton and you’ll have a hard time not seeing some sort of sports reference. Flags from one of the professional teams waving in the wind, people wandering around in their favorite player’s jersey or a community centre named after a famous former athlete or coach. It's easy to see that Hamitonians love their sports and with its extensive heritage in countless different disciplines, it’s not hard to understand why.

A PI GS KI N TOW N Hamilton sports heritage undoubtedly starts with the team which you will run into the most on the streets — the Tiger-Cats. The roots of this CFL team can be traced back 150 years, all the way to November 3rd, 1869. On that day, in a room above George Lee’s Fruit Store on King and James, the Hamilton Football Club was formed. It would take just four years for the “Tigers” nickname to come into

existence. In 1873, the team faced off for the first time against their archrivals, the Toronto Argonauts, debuting their now iconic black and yellow uniform. Thanks to these colors, their new name was born: the Hamilton Tigers. As the sport of football grew in Canada, the Hamilton Tigers grew along with it. They would however not become the first Hamilton team to hoist the elusive Grey Cup. This honour was reserved for the Hamilton Alerts. This team’s history is short, but sweet. Founded in 1911, they made it to the Grey Cup in their first season, only to lose to the Toronto Argonauts. In 1912 they got a rematch, this time coming out on top, laying claim to the 4th Grey Cup. There would never be a title defence as the team closed up shop before the 1913 season after disputes with the league. Many of the Alerts players wanted to stay in the sport and moved to the Hamilton Tigers. This gave the Tigers the talent injection they needed and in the 1913 season they managed to keep the Grey Cup in Hamilton, winning their first ever title. Let’s jump ahead a bit now, to 1941. With a large number of players heading into armed services during World War II, the Tigers suspended play. This gave room for yet another Hamilton team to

take their moment in the spotlight: the Hamilton Flying Wildcats. This team combined a handful of Tigers players who did stay home with a large group of Royal Canadian Air Force personnel, giving them enough talent to win the 31st Grey Cup in 1943 and reaching the final again the next season. Once the Tigers returned to business in 1945, the two teams began to struggle. While competing for a share of the same market, they couldn’t keep up financially. In 1950 they decided to join forces and form the Hamilton TigerCats, the team the city knows and loves to this day. Soon after amalgamation, the team quickly became a football powerhouse. After moving into the iconic Ivor Wynne Stadium the year of the merger, the team went on to win 8 more Grey Cups up until 1999, moving Hamilton’s total up to 15 football titles. Since the turn of the century the TigerCats have hit a bit of a rough patch. They reached the final just twice (2013, 2014), losing both. This year they hold the best record in the CFL and things are finally looking to go the team’s way again. On November 17th, Tim Hortons Field (the Tiger-Cats' home since 2014) will play host to the Division Final and if all goes well, the Ticats may compete for the 107th Grey Cup, hosted in Calgary on November 24th.

MOR E THA N JU ST F OOTBAL L The Tiger-Cats have the most far reaching history of all the sports teams in Hamilton, but that doesn’t mean they’re alone in this city. There are more teams making history, even if they’re just writing their first chapter. Take the Hamilton Honey Badgers for example. This basketball team, competing in the newly established Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL), made it to the finals in this inaugural season, losing out to the Saskatchewan Rattlers. The team made history in another sense as well, by having coach Chantal Vallée at the helm: the first female to be both coach and GM of a professional men’s basketball team. You can expect to see a lot more from this team in years to come, since, as coach Vallée said in a press release: “We are at an unprecedented time of growth for basketball across Canada.” Another team that is bound to have a rich history is Forge FC. This newly established soccer team competes in the also newly founded Canadian Premier League (CPL). On April 27th, 2019, they hosted rival York9 FC in the first ever league game played, in front of 18,000 fans at Tim Hortons Field. In this first season the team has made it to the final, in which they will meet Cavalry FC from Calgary. The second leg of

URBANICITY.COM the final will be played on November 2nd, so by the time you read this article, it will be clear whether the team made history or not.

Hamilton 100 is seriously exploring the opportunities to get the Commonwealth Games back to Hamilton, the city where it all started.

We obviously can’t forget about the Bulldogs, Hamilton’s own hockey pride. The former AHL franchise operated in Hamilton between 1996 and 2015, as the affiliate team of the Edmonton Oilers and later the Montreal Canadians. Since the move of the original team to St. John’s, the Bulldogs have come back as an OHL team, starting off in 2015. In the short time since, the team has already won the league title in 201718. And on top of that, Bulldog-alumni Robert Thomas got to hoist the Stanley Cup with the St. Louis Blues in 2019, the year after trading in the OHL for the NHL.

Modern-day Hamilton has proven that it’s up to such a task given its solid track record in the 21st century. In 2000, the city hosted the 32nd International Children’s Games – the youth equivalent of the Olympic Games – sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee. A total of 1,950 children between the ages of 12 and 15, from 26 countries, participated across 15 different sports. Then in 2015, Hamilton was one of the co-hosts of that year’s Pan-Am Games. Whilst the majority of the venues were based in Toronto (the host city), Hamilton was appointed to host the soccer, rowing, and canoeing competitions.

Unfortunately the efforts of getting an NHL franchise to Hamilton have been futile so far. The closest the city ever came was in 1990, when in just 24 hours, a total of 14,000 fans made a nonrefundable downpayment for season tickets. Hamilton was the only expansion bid at that moment that met all the criteria set by the league, but in the end the bid was blocked by the owners of the Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs. These teams have always been scared of losing fans from the Hamilton region if the city should get its own team.

Whether this recent track record

kilometres up the Claremont Access proved to be too much for many cyclists, especially seeing that the women had to do 10 of these laps and the men 21. At the end of the race the Swede Susanne Ljungskog took home the gold in the women’s road race, whilst the Spaniard Igor Astarloa came out victorious in the men’s race. Another big championship to which the city has played host is one that was back in town in 2019: the Canadian Open Golf Championship. In total, the Hamilton Golf and Country Club has been host to this event 6 times. The course layout, which is seen as being very traditional, is a favorite of many pros, making it easier for the organizers to attract big names. Past winners include Rory McIlroy in 2019, Jim Furyk in 2006 and in 1919, the first time winner, James Douglas Edgar.

After a few (failed) attempts to set this up, Hamilton Spectator sportswriter Bobby Robinson was present in Amsterdam for the 1928 Olympic Games, where he successfully lobbied to organize the first ever British Empire Games. These games came to take place in 1930 in Hamilton, with the Civic Stadium (later known as Ivor Wynne Stadium) as the center of attention. The games featured 400 participating athletes from 11 countries, competing in 7 different sports, including athletics, swimming, and lawn bowling. At the end of that week’s events, England sat atop the table, with 25 gold medals, beating Canada’s 20. The Commonwealth Games – as the British Empire Games are now known – have since grown into a sporting event hosting close to 5,000 athletes from more than 70 Commonwealth nations, every 4 years. With the 100th anniversary of the first Games coming up in 2030, a non-profit group named

Around the Bay (March 29th, 2020) is now open!

HA MI L TON I N N OVATI ON S GO GL OBA L This city has produced some great teams and athletes, but Hamilton’s footprint in the global sports scene is much larger than that. Thanks to several Hamiltonians, there have been a number of important innovations our city is known for. In 1917, Emil “Pops” Kenesky took a pair of regular cricket pads, modified them slightly and added some width to them. Lo and behold, the hockey goalie pads were born. The pads were a big success from the start and would remain the standard until the 1970s, having been worn by various Hockey Hall of Fame goalies throughout their careers. Ron Foxcroft used to be a basketball referee, using the traditional whistle, with a cork ball inside it. From time to time this “pea” would jam, preventing Foxcroft and his colleagues from making crucial calls. After this happened to Foxcroft on the international stage several times in the 1970s and 1980s, he decided things had to change. Together with design consultant Chuck Shepard he created a pea-less whistle, which they began to produce as Fox 40 International. The company still makes 40,000 whistles per day, which are being used not just in major sports leagues, but also in search and rescue operations all around the globe.

T H E CO MMO N WEA L T H G A ME S F O RM IN HA MIL TO N In 1891 Englishman John Astley Cooper was the first person to propose a plan to bring together the members of the British Empire for a sporting competition. “A Pan-BritannicPan-Anglican Contest and Festival every four years as a means of increasing goodwill and good understanding of the British Empire”, as he put it.


Canadian Open Golf Tournament, 1919

will prove enough to be selected as the 2030 host of the Commonwealth Games will be an unanswered question for quite some time. At the 2020 CGF General Assembly, the 2026 host will first have to be selected. When the 2030 decision will be made is still undecided.

TH E C ITY OF C H AM PIONSH IPS Not only has Hamilton played host to multi-sport events, but single sport championships have also come to town. In 2003, the UCI World Cycling Championships were hosted on the streets of Hamilton. An event that, with 500 million television viewers worldwide, was considered to be the third-most watched sporting event in the world at the time, only beaten by the Olympics and the soccer World Cup. For the race a 12.4 kilometre long loop was created through the city, integrating various mountain accesses both uphill and down. The 1.5 kilometre climb up Beckett Drive and 2.5

RUNNING YOU R WAY INTO TH E HI STORY BOOK S Many will consider it enough to view historical events from the sidelines. For an annual event you can cheer on and still have fun, check out the Around the Bay Road Race. Every March, a 30 kilometre run starting in the centre of the city takes runners along Burlington Street, the Beach Strip into Burlington, along North Shore Blvd, and back to FirstOntario Centre where you’ll find the finish. As if finishing a 30k run in Canadian March weather isn’t historic enough, finishing this run will give you the chance to say that you completed the oldest long distance foot race in North America. Many people believe the Boston Marathon is the holder of this title, but that’s not the case. The first Around the Bay run took place in 1894 — three years before the first Boston Marathon. So do you want to be part of Hamilton sports heritage? Registration for the 2020

As a catcher in the MLB, Charlie O’Brien knew he had a dangerous job. After being smacked in the face twice by consecutive foul-tipped balls, he was fed up with it. He took it upon himself to create a new kind of catcher’s mask, based on the design of a hockey goalie’s mask. Whilst playing for the Toronto Blue Jays, he worked with Stoney Creek-based Van Velden Mask Inc. to create said mask. The All-Star MVP mask was approved by the league in 1996, making the life of catchers much more comfortable.

TAK E I N A L L THE ACTI ON There is much more sports history out there in the city of Hamilton; simply too much to write about. If there’s any interest in learning more, we challenge you to venture out in the open and experience it for yourself. Support an upcoming and growing team, attend a sport you’ve never been to, visit the Hamilton Sports Hall of Fame, or simply sit down in any sports bar the city has to offer and have a chat with the person next to you. Chances are that he or she will have something to tell you about Hamilton, its teams, and their history.



Canada’s first edible cookie dough made right here in Hamilton Jason. “We love being a part of these larger experiences, and being at places like Tim Hortons Field during games is so much fun.” Tania adds, “At the time it seemed so big and impossible, but we thought, ‘Why not just try it?’” And their team isn’t just Jason and Tania – their son Jack and daughter Tessa help run the booth during games as well. Despite their growth, Cookie DOH! is still a family-run business. One of the challenges for Tania and Jason is managing that growth in a way that is sustainable. Jason explains, “We want to ensure that as we scale, the quality people have come to expect remains intact.” As a small operation, they’re slowly working to expand into other cities in the Golden Horseshoe. “Right now we’re the ones overseeing it, doing sales, delivering orders, and making the product, ensuring it’s always fresh,” says Tania. Their next goal is to find someone to join the team who can help manage the venture.

and gushed about the delicious treat. Not yet caught on in Canada, the Glosters were ahead of the curve when they created Cookie DOH! in spring 2017, not only the first edible cookie dough in Hamilton, but in Canada. STEFANI SOLIMAN

Stefani is a social media marketer & freelance editor. She's an avid supporter of local businesses, Canadian-made goods, & fashion. Along with her love of dogs, punctuation, & the ‘90s, Stefani is a keen recycler and instrument collector. Tell her a corny joke and you’ll be friends for life.

It’s a trend for a reason – cookie dough is tasty, rich, and a whole lot of fun to eat. Tania and Jason Gloster knew they had to try making their own version of edible cookie dough after an employee at their Dundas store, Horn of Plenty Urban Market, visited New York City

The husband and wife business partners took the inspiration from New York City and worked hard to develop a safe-for-eating version of the dessert that mimicked the real thing, right down to the texture. Co-creator Jason recalls growing up enjoying cookie dough, “It reminds me of my favourite memories as a child, making cookies at home and licking the beater. I got to enjoy the dessert even before it was done baking.” If you’re on the fence about trying edible cookie dough, rest assured it is safe to indulge in. Tania and Jason’s Cookie DOH! is shelf-stable and made with real butter, whole egg powder, and heat-treated flour. “It’s a bit more

time-consuming, but the extra steps are worth it,” says Tania. “We use all real ingredients,” Jason continues. “We did a lot of testing to get it right; it’s about getting it down to a science.” With a shelf life of five to seven days on the counter and in the fridge for three weeks (freezing is also an option), you can savour your dough at your own pace. Better yet, you can choose to eat it as is, or save some and bake it as you would regular cookies. Two desserts in one! Customers clearly had this same nostalgic feeling, as Cookie DOH! took off as soon as they introduced it at Horn of Plenty. As popularity increased, the pair looked for other locations to offer their confection. Now you can find Cookie DOH! at Rush Sugar Bar, select Cineplex movie theatres in Hamilton, Ancaster, Stoney Creek, and all the way to Oakville, FirstOntario Centre, and Tim Hortons Field. “It was always a dream to be in big stadiums,” says

In the meantime, they offer the product online. With regular customers as far as Ottawa, they sell their core flavours in packs of four – perfect for testing tried and true favourites. Chocolate Chip, Birthday Cake, Oreo Cookies and Cream, and Reese’s Explosion are the best sellers, with special flavours released periodically, including TiCats-themed and seasonal. For the holidays, customers can look forward to choices like chocolate orange, candy cane, and the unique offering of warm cookie dough for those chilly winter days. “We’re always trying new flavors. The creative process is exciting, and diverse options for customers are a great way to get noticed. We love hearing people’s responses when we release something new,” says Jason. Be sure to stop by Dundas for the Christmas tree lighting this November and visit Horn of Plenty for some hot chocolate and Cookie DOH! to warm you up! F I ND COO KI E DO H! AT HO R N O F PLENTY UR BAN MAR KET AT 24 KI NG S TR EET W ES T I N DUNDAS O R O NLI NE AT COO KI EDO HDUNDAS .CO M










The John Weir Foote armoury provides an important Hamilton history lesson others. Their Colonel-in-Chief is Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.


Kara Savas is a born and raised Hamiltonian; an English and Social Sciences teacher, freelance writer, and sun chaser. Kara is a passionate supporter of local businesses, fresh perspectives, and lifelong learning.

If you live/work/play/were born and raised in Hamilton, but know very little about its heritage, you’re not alone. While there is a great deal of Hamilton lore to be shared and no shortage of places of historical significance, much of it is surprisingly unknown to many. How often we walk by a beautiful century building, a plaque or a statue just hidden in plain sight, yet pay it no mind. One place that I admittedly pass by often but knew very little about was the John Weir Foote Armoury. I always referred to it as “The Armoury;” to me it seemed mysterious, like a fortress, far removed from the bustle of the street at its doorstep. As always, there are rumours of ghosts and tunnels, but more importantly, this building is a symbol of the significance and presence of the military on a local and global level. Since this is the month of Remembrance (and really, shouldn’t every month be?) it seems only fitting to get to know a bit more about this mysterious place that is certainly much more important than a big building you pass on your way to dinner. First, let’s clarify some key terms. An armoury is a place that stores military arms. Infantry is another word for combat soldier; they are tasked with engaging the enemy in battle ( Light infantry refers to foot soldiers who would be responsible for carrying lighter arms or weapons. This made them more agile and more maneuverable in battle. The John Weir Foote VC Armoury, located at 200 James St North, is a training site for army reservists, a museum, and a designated national historical site as of 1989. It is home to the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry Unit. The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada (Princess Louise’s) is a unit from the Canadian Forces 31 Canadian Brigade Group, a division of the Canadian Forces. They were established in 1903; their battalion fought in important battles at Vimy Ridge, Normandy, Afghanistan, etc, and established an active presence in countries like Bosnia and Kosovo, among many

The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry Unit was originally established in 1862 (perspective: Canada became a country 5 years after this, so technically the RHLI is older than Canada itself ). They are known as “Rileys,” and members have served in the Boer War, both World Wars, the Korean War, etc, and established an active presence in Haiti and Afghanistan, among many others. Their Commander-in-Chief is His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Sometimes we forget our enduring ties to the Crown, but they still very much exist. The Armoury itself is technically split into two sections; the North section was built in 1888, and the South section was built 20 years later in 1908. When the 1936 addition was built to join the North and South drill halls, it effectively established the courtyard that is visible from the street sometimes, thus joining the sections into one cohesive unit. Occasionally, the Armoury will open its doors to the public (most notably during Doors Open Hamilton), allowing visitors and possible recruits to get a glimpse of what lies beyond its walls. Inside, the museums house various exhibits of items with historical significance; there are training facilities, arsenals, and of course, soldiers. What might be most profound is the story of who the Armoury was named after. Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel John Weir Foote was a Chaplain in the RHLI, and was the only one to be awarded the Victoria Cross. The Victoria Cross is “awarded for most conspicuous bravery or some daring or preeminent act of valour, self-sacrifice or extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy” (Veteran Affairs Canada). It is the highest decoration of honour in the British Army. Foote was awarded this for his extraordinarily brave actions during the Dieppe Raid in 1942, when as German soldiers were closing in, Foote ventured across the beaches, ministering and tending to wounded soldiers. He also carried many soldiers back to their unit post to receive First Aid, and eventually to landing crafts, under enemy fire. When after receiving orders to withdraw, he refused to vacate the beaches and his fellow soldiers still in need of help. This bravery and loyalty to his troops and his country cost him his freedom, as he was taken as a prisoner of war. He was imprisoned for three years, and continued his ministry as he

was sent to various camps until he was finally freed and sent home in 1945. He later entered politics as an elected Progressive Conservative Member of Provincial Parliament for Durham region. When hearing the magnitude of his life story, I was almost ashamed that I did not know it sooner, and that so many others do not as well. While citizens have mixed feelings about war and the military, one cannot argue that these stories are examples of the selflessness that comes with choosing to risk one’s own freedom and life in order to protect something greater than oneself. Canada’s reputation as a peacekeeping nation is part of our foundation, and is evident as seen in our roles in various military events throughout history. We are reminded of bravery of soldiers like Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel John Weir Foote, or Cpl Nathan Cirillo,

who was killed five years ago while on ceremonial sentry duty at the Canadian National War Memorial in Ottawa. Cirillo was a member of Hamilton’s Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. The Armoury is a tangible landmark of the bravery of these and so many other soldiers, and those who served and continue to serve our country in the armed forces. It’s a haven, a training facility, an educational institution, a piece of history, and a pillar of our city and national identity. When making your way down James Street North, perhaps you’ll choose to pause and observe this place which has existed for so many years before our time. Read the plaque, marvel at the structure and the Hamiltonians who built it (quite literally). Most importantly, understand its significance and what it stands for.



Jamesville redevelopment plan an abdication of responsibility

Harbour and North End areas, redevelopment and densification of the site makes sense. Earlier this year the City issued a formal Request for Proposals (RFP) for the site and out of 4 bids submitted, a team led by Marz Homes was chosen as the preferred proponent. LACHLAN HOLMES

Lachlan is a local urban advocate who advocates for increasing the height and density of developments in Hamilton, with the goal of increasing housing supply and lowering the cost of housing.

If you follow development or housing news in Hamilton, you’re likely aware that the City is embarking on a scheme to redevelop the 6-acre Jamesville social housing complex in the North End. As a group with a keen interest in urban development and housing affordability, HamiltonForward took a closer look at the City’s plans for the site.

JA M E SVI LL E, TO DAY As it sits today, the Jamesville complex is an unremarkable relic of outdated public housing policy which confined many below-market units in a small area. In anticipation of the redevelopment, CityHousing Hamilton has been emptying the 91 units on site, relocating residents to other CityHousing buildings across the city. Considering the context of the site, the new West Harbour GO station just across from it, and the various new developments proposed in the West

TH E C ITY ’S VISION While the RFP did not exactly prescribe a height, density, or total unit count of the plan, the RFP stipulated that all bids would need to include a 46-unit CityHousing-owned rent-geared-to-income building, an additional 45 units of ‘affordable’ (defined as 125% of Median Market Rent) rental units, and that any bid must not exceed current zoning of the site. With a current total of 91 rent-gearedto-income units on the site now, the RFP is requiring an unnecessary 50% reduction of social housing units while the CityHousing waitlist is just under 6,000 applicants long. And with the requirement to stick to existing zoning, the site is confined to 3 storeys over the vast majority of it, and up to 6 directly along James Street North, which limits the site to about 400 units. During a severe housing shortage, it is unacceptable to limit this site to only 400 units and just 3 to 6 storeys. Plus, given the location next to the brand new West Harbour GO Station,

it is unthinkable that the City would push for such a low density of the site, and throw away housing affordability potential.

be included and instead that buildings should be separated by pedestrian pathways lined with shops, restaurants, and other amenities.

The City’s plan is an abdication of its responsibility to promote housing affordability, plain and simple.

Third, our plan places a focus on affordability that the City’s does not. Rather than shrinking the supply of deeply affordable units from 91 to 46, our plan accommodates an increase to 164. And instead of 330 market units, our plan allows for 825 market units, and market units which are delivered in a more affordable mid-rise and tower form rather than an expensive townhouse form.

TH E H AM ILTONF ORWAR D VISION Our vision for the site is simple: more units, better design, and greater affordability will lead to a better outcome. Our group has compiled an alternative proposal that fits around 1000 units on the site, grows public park space in the area, creates new urban amenity space, and increases the count of truly affordable units from 46 to 164. First, recognizing that next to a brandnew higher-order transit station, the West Harbour GO, density and height can and should be encouraged and planned for. Our proposal highlights buildings ranging in height from 6 to 25 storeys, which will allow for more space to be opened up to the public and increase both the count of market-rate units and deeply affordable units. Second, accepting that the development is directly beside one of the main transit gateways to our City, we have proposed that the buildings on the site should be placed in a manner that promotes walking, cycling, and transit usage. Apart from the reconnection of Stuart Street, no new roads should

Finally, our plan sees Jamesville as a complete community rather than a bedroom community, so our plan includes a swath of commercial and retail space, including room for a large-format grocery store.

THE N EXT STEPS The City’s plans for Jamesville are not finalized yet, and pro-housing residents can make a difference in the outcome. HamiltonForward will be campaigning for the City to increase the density, height, and unit count to reasonable numbers like the ones in our alternative proposal, which will improve affordability for both the general populace and those who need deeply affordable units. If you’re interested in supporting our vision for Jamesville, consider joining HamiltonForward at



Hamilton’s events reflect our diverse heritage


Cynthia is a freelance writer and poeticminded writing mentor who works at The Hamilton Public Library. Reading, writing, and music are her passions along with yoga and lake swimming.

Important Canadian history, that occurred right here in Hamilton, is continually kept alive through the annual re-enactment of the Battle of Stoney Creek. This pivotal point in the War of 1812 is highlighted in a unique way through the efforts of Hamilton Civic Museums, owned and operated by the City of Hamilton. The re-enactment attracts 8,000 to 10,000 visitors over a two-day period and offers the two-fold benefit of promoting all events and attractions in Hamilton as well as highlighting how very important the Gage family homestead, the hamlet of Stoney Creek, the Niagara Escarpment, and surrounding thirty-two acre parkland are. The annually-gathered crowd watch as the Americans are stopped at Fort George Niagara-on-the-Lake and are driven back from advancing. What is the value in continually reminding ourselves of these specific, pertinent, and local historical events?

By authenticating costume, guns, ammunition, battle, camps, and ways of life that modern members of society can experience sensually brings the past to light. Then and now are juxtaposed. Historians can speak about their subject in a way that is no longer static, or a bygone intangible story with a disconnect and irrelevancy to the present. This approach transcends the separateness of the traditional museum. People can smell the smoke from fires burning, the acrid and visible flash of musket fire, and hear drums beating along as the battle commences. For many people the past is not important because they don't feel connected to it; the re-enactment brings us close, breathes on our hearts and whispers in our ears.

OTH E R E VE NTS TH AT I M M E RSE US W ITH H E RITAG E The re-enactment is only one of several events that have connected Hamiltonians with the city’s diverse heritage. Fieldcote Memorial Park and Museum is an example of an organization which concentrates on cultural heritage with a view to the preservation, collection, and exhibition of local history. Natural heritage and fine arts are celebrated through events such as adult workshops, children’s activities, the experience of walking in the pesticide-free gardens and hiking trails, summer

concert series, and rotating exhibits of fine art. And we cannot consider events surrounding fine art without more than a nod to the Art Gallery of Hamilton, where painting events and artist talks occur alongside art exhibits. At McMaster Museum of Art, regular curated exhibitions and openings are organized and offered to the public. A plethora of available classes and silent art auctions are put on throughout the year by the Dundas Valley School of Art, too. Branching out from this we consider Hamilton Public Libraries, whom display art, run film screenings, book clubs, and authorial events. The Cotton Factory on Sherman Ave N has also been instrumental in opening their doors to share artists’ experiences and work with the public. Fine arts, artesian crafts, literary events, poetry, and music play an integral role in the lives of Hamiltonians. Live music and literary events occur in an on-going fashion in the multitude of bars and venues throughout the city. This culminates monthly during Art Crawl and annually when Supercrawl transpires in the downtown core along James Street North. Getting together and physically showing up to these events, to artistic events in particular, is demonstrative of a collective soul for Hamiltonians. The

occurrence of artistic events demonstrates how Hamiltonians thrive emotionally, socially, and economically in the area of the arts. How do these ongoing events reflect the personality of Hamilton and our heritage? The re-enactment of the Battle of Stoney Creek and events supporting the continued understanding of Hamilton’s history (like the ones mentioned) promote natural and fine arts preservation of the city’s past, which in turn adds layers to our ongoing and growing heritage. We are a city steeped in historical significance that bears meaning to our present existence and our place in history. Events that take place in Hamilton have evolved and grown from a rich, sprawling natural history that is retold in new and creative ways. Yes, considering all of the events that we Hamiltonians have the opportunity, fortune, and pleasure to participate in, diversity and a plural identity is key. When considering all the different events that occur within our city, we can reflect upon how Hamilton is a home for the multitudes and the events that take place here reflect this reality.


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“Scorsese is at the top of his game.” - New York Post “This is Scorsese’s least sentimental picture of mob life, and for that reason his most poignant.”- New York Times

Opens November 22nd

Fri, Mon-Thurs 3pm & 7pm Sat 4pm & 8pm • Sun 3:30pm & 7:30pm

Winner Top Prize Diamond Award Best Hamilton Movie Theatre HAMILTON SPECTATOR ---------2019 recipient Hamilton Architectural Restoration Award



Brand new Electric Diner brings the 80s back to Hamilton


Seyi is in his final year of the Communications, Culture, Information, and Technology program at the University of Toronto. He has a passion for storytelling and engaging with the world around him.

Hamilton business owners Erika Puckering and Jamie Ewing are nostalgic for the days of seeing bicycles on front lawns and finding your friends by knocking on doors instead of texting them. These were the days before technology seemed to take away our ability to connect. Their new restaurant, Electric Diner, is an embodiment of that nostalgia, as well as the warm memories it evokes. Jamie and Erika have been in the restaurant business for a long time. They are part of a group of local business owners who have taken on the challenge of rejuvenating Hamilton — specifically George Street. Their first restaurant, Lou Dawg’s Southern BBQ, has seen consistent, steady growth since opening in 2016. Their restaurant, coupled with Moody's, were the catalyst for rebirthing a restaurant district that runs perpendicular to Hess Village.

Erika Puckering describes Electric Diner as almost serendipitous, the result of a lot of things falling perfectly together at the exact right time. In March 2018, she and Ewing were asked to take on ownership of Sidebar but were hesitant because Erika was pregnant. They were given the opportunity to take it over and maintain it until January, when they would be able to fully take it over and do renovations to make it their own restaurant. They accepted. Sidebar was known as a quick stop for drinks, so although there was a grill in the kitchen, it was rarely used. The duo decided to develop a burger menu and run it as a popup shop outside of Sidebar in order to test the market. The burgers were a hit. They were so wellreceived that the Hamilton Ti-Cats

asked them to run a pop-up burger shop for their home games at Tim Hortons Field; Electric Burger is now a permanent stand there. As much as they had hoped for success and believed in their ability to succeed, the way things came together so quickly and organically has been a really special experience for them. Renovations commenced in January, with a clear vision in mind for the space. In addition to selling burgers, the pop-up shops had some breakfast items as well so it was fairly natural for Ewing and Puckering to decide upon a vintage diner feel. Jamie, who is responsible for cooking and menu construction, built a menu that was based on food items from when they were growing up.

"THEIR FIRST RESTAURANT, LOU DAWG’S SOUTHERN BBQ, HAS SEEN CONSISTENT, STEADY GROWTH SINCE OPENING IN 2016" A lot of the menu items evoke memories of their childhood experiences. Erika mentions the thrill of Saturdays with cartoons, tomato soup, and grilled cheese. They wanted to keep the nostalgia of simple classic breakfast items like pancakes and french toast while also elevating it to a higher culinary level, so they re-imagined a lot of the items for a more satisfying dining experience. Instead of Campbell's from a can, the diner makes tomato soup from scratch using high quality ingredients (such as San Marzano tomatoes) so that customers can get both a retro home-style cooking experience and the gourmet restaurant experience in one place. As Jamie developed the menu and the theme of nostalgia became more and more apparent, the couple took a trip to New York and ate at every diner they could to look for inspiration.

URBANICITY.COM They found that most of the diners that were 50s-themed were built in the 80s which created an interesting dynamic that they liked. They saw an opportunity to do something like that with Electric Diner where the next generation emulates the era they grew up in; a reimagining based on a reimagination. So far, the most rewarding aspect of their experience since opening has been how good the food is and how well people have received it. Virtually everyone who comes in to eat loves the food and ends up coming back for more – in just a month since their opening they have had multiple customers come back numerous times. Aside from the food, Erika and Jamie are also very proud of the way the diner ended up looking. The 80s aspect and diner aspect both came together to make a very pleasing aesthetic, right down to the neon signs and jukebox. Even though they fully believed in their vision, there were still the inevitable nerves about if it would fully realize itself the way the couple were hoping. To see other people fall in love with the finished product has been incredibly validating, they tell us. Being present throughout the whole process and looking back on it is very comforting for them in terms of their long-term outlook. The way that


everything seemed to click and fall into place naturally inspires confidence and makes them feel more and more like it was meant to be. Their current focus is on getting word out about the diner. They know how good their food is and have seen how much customers love it, so they are confident that the business will grow as long as people hear about it. All it takes is a single taste of their food to get hooked. One of Puckering and Ewing's big focuses was to ensure the diner was universally approachable so that people can come for more casual meals as well as for more formal occasions. It’s appealing to every age range – people who lived through the 80s diner era can enjoy it for the throwback, while younger people can enjoy it for the retro aesthetic. They have food options for vegetarians and vegans, as well as a highly Instagrammable aesthetic for young people. While the diner was born out of their own personal nostalgia, the feelings it evokes are highly relatable to just about any"TO SEE one. In a world that OTHER often feels to be moving too fast, where progress PEOPLE FALL often feels like regresIN LOVE WITH sion, where luxuries THE FINISHED such as social media


and smartphones and the Internet feel overstimulating and it often feels like everything we gain is at the expense of something else, sometimes we all find ourselves wondering if we’re truly headed in the right direction or if we should take a step back.

the world as it is today. Electric Diner has the potential to speak to everybody because beyond the good food, beyond the excellent atmosphere and gorgeous aesthetic, they are able to connect you with the idyllic warmth of childhood through every bite.

Electric Diner speaks to a collective desire to go back to calmer times where we were more connected to ourselves and to each other, a desire that often manifests as nostalgia even for those too young to remember anything before

You can visit Electric Diner at 96 George Street. They open at 8 am every weekday and 10 am on weekends, running until midnight every day, extending to 2 am on Fridays and Saturdays.





of The Mule Spinner, and I think of really cold winters,” adds DeRoo, referring to the distinctly Hamiltonian feeling the song conjures. “It seemed like the perfect choice as a first release.” When asked what Hamilton can expect from Strathcona in the future, it immediately becomes clear that the band is intending to hit the ground running. “We’ll be releasing more singles in the near future, and we’re planning an EP release in the coming year as well,” says DeRoo. break in the rehearsal space they’ve dubbed The Beacon inside of Laidlaw Memorial United Church – a space they try to gather in three times a week thanks to the kindness and musical interest of the church’s Reverend Doug Moore – it’s easy to get a palpable sense of the energy they all feel. That unity makes sense, given many of the band members have histories spanning as far back as high school: lead singer Alexander DeRoo originally attended Westdale Secondary with drummer Luke Ormond and lead guitarist Adam Rogerson. From there, Strathcona came together in a gradual way. As DeRoo attended McMaster University while pursuing his music career as a solo act, he reached out to his former Westdale friends Ormond and Rogerson about collaborating. Ormond and Rogerson had recently started jamming with bassist Mark Korczynski as their own trio, while DeRoo himself met violinist Jon Harley during his time at McMaster.

band’s current repertoire while performing as a solo project. He’s quick to express that the songs would not be what they are without the entire band and what each musician brings to the material. Strathcona’s first single "Parkdale and Sinclair", which dropped worldwide on November 1st, is a full-blooded Hamilton product: produced by Glen Marshall of Steady Canoe and executive produced by Johnnie D of Alexr Group with contributions to arrangements and mixing by Westmoreland Recording Studios’ Carl Jennings. The song’s sticky melody and tight musicianship feel like an eclectic, cohesive union of six artists in total simpatico.

fleshing out the feel of the song, it was eventually debuted in a live performance at The Mule Spinner — a performance and event space at The Cotton Factory. Music producer Glen Marshall happened to hear the performance, and liked the song so much that he suggested Strathcona develop the tune further and consider recording it. The official release of "Parkdale and Sinclair" was celebrated with a special event at This Ain’t Hollywood, Hamilton, November 1st to coincide with the track’s worldwide drop: a digital release on all streaming services complete with cover artwork by Hamilton visual artist, Loraine Mohar. Besides the achievement of this being their first official single, the band believes it’s special for other reasons too.

Suddenly, with five, fresh collaborators onboard, Strathcona was beginning to take shape. It wasn’t until British Columbia-born vocalist and pianist Kaitie Allinger moved to Hamilton this year and joined the gang that the sixth and final piece of the puzzle snapped into place.

“The song was written on a warm, sunny day in my parents’ backyard,” says DeRoo. It then sat tucked away for years and came back out again one day when Strathcona was in rehearsal jamming.

“Parkdale and Sinclair is an intersection (in Hamilton), and it’s also a metaphorical intersection because it’s bringing together these diverse tastes and diverse influences in music. We’ve finally produced something we’re deeply proud of and ready to share,” explains Harley.

DeRoo wrote the basis of a lot of the

With each musician’s individual talents

“When I hear the song, I always think

It can be hard to tell what a band’s future will be while it’s still young, but with their forceful ambition and a vibrant, special sound to share with Hamilton and beyond, the future is looking bright for Strathcona. "Parkdale and Sinclair", the first single release by Hamilton rock band Strathcona, is now available worldwide on all streaming services. Upcoming appearances include a University of Guelph private performance for 600 students; a show at This Ain’t Hollywood, January 10; a private fundraiser for a worldclass, elite, Hamilton gymnast; and a quick jaunt to an intimate US studio. Their music will also directly support the Brain Tumor Foundation of Canada, of which they are proud supporters. Catch Strathcona on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram @StrathconaMusic


Michael is an award-winning writer, theatre artist, actor, producer, and craft beer lover addicted to all things Hamilton. Most recently, his acclaimed Voaden Prizewinning play The Team premiered to sold-out houses with Essential Collective Theatre and Theatre Aquarius.



Fall Garden & Mum Show: a century-long tradition

a student, Sheila has watched the show grow into itself. “My first one was in 1985,” she recalls. “It was Chrysanthemum and Crystal.”


Elise is an award-winning creative writer and budding musician living in Hamilton. A recent graduate from Redeemer University College, she hopes to craft stories and songs for years to come.

What if I told you there’s a local event older than Hamilton’s Supercrawl (est. 2009), Fringe Fest (est. 2002), and Tiger-Cats team (est. 1950) combined? Meet the Fall Garden & Mum Show. Established in 1920, the floral exhibition has outdone itself many times since, fashioning thousands of chrysanthemum blooms into artful displays for the public each year. October marked the show’s 99th run, and the centenary celebration is being dreamed up as we speak. “We begin meeting as soon as the show’s done,” says Sheila Munday, horticultural supervisor for the City and long-time go-to person for the Mum Show. “We’ll discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly of this show and start planning the next one. “When you’re working on it,” she admits, “you think about it 24/7. There’s no stopping!” This was her 33rd round. Having worked on various details of the event since she was

The hall leading to the show’s entry is clad with commemorative, sun-tinted plaques of themes past. “Chrysanthemum and Crystal” hangs among them, featuring delicate trellises and an ornate fountain. Themes weren’t always so elaborate. In fact, they weren’t even incorporated until 1976. Pinned to a board behind Sheila’s desk is a black-and-white photograph of the first show ever, boasting four rows of mums propped on the benches of a tunnel greenhouse. Visitors sport headscarves, bowler hats, and bowties, moseying down aisles in single-file. “People walked in and looked, just like that,” Sheila explains. As years passed, potential for grandeur grew. “Superintendent Jim Pook first had the vision of arranging them,” says Sheila. “They started with simple themes, then evolved into some pretty crazy ones.” The last four decades have seen seascapes, outer-space, sports, symphony, holidays, wildlife galore and more. Circuses, industrial wonders, fairy tales, and Mardi Gras. One year was devoted entirely to Elvis Presley. The gardeners use oasis foam to sculpt

show-stopping displays; the spongelike bricks are glued and trimmed into shape, then wet and set to hold thousands of flowers in place. Floral feats over the years include 1986’s baby grand piano, 1990’s massive football (that wouldn’t fit in your bathtub), colossal rings around Saturn in 1998, and a TNT container erupting with starry sparks in 2011’s fire-themed spectacle. This year uncovered “The Secret Life of Bugs” with a detailed and endearing take on insects and their garden shenanigans. More has changed about the show than its themes. Tools, marketing, and demographics have shifted too. “When I first started,” Sheila says, “we grew all the plants in clay pots, now we grow them in plastic. Clay pots are very heavy, and back then we weren’t allowed to use carts because they’d wiggle the flowers’ heads and sometimes break them. “We could carry two pots at a time,” she says reaching forward, “one in one hand, and one in the other. Your thumbs were so sore carrying those pots! After lunch, you’d probably start carrying one at a time. “Now,” she adds, “we’ve got a good fertilizer program so the heads are really strong. We can put them on carts and move them around.” Sheila’s seen the variety of mums grow from 28 to over 200; the size of

the show swell to 200,000 squarefeet; and the events’ duration shrink from 20 days to ten. “After 20 days, boy, the show was pretty tired. Ten days is perfect,” Shiela admits. The exhibit has also widened its appeal to all age groups, hosting varied workshops, seminars, dinners, and entertainment. What was once mainly catered to folks 55-and-up is now incredibly family friendly. “Demographics have shifted probably within the last ten years,” Sheila says. “We had a team join us - we call them Alex & Flo. They came from City Hall and started organizing our events with better marketing.” Past announcements sat on street-signs and the occasional ad in The Spec. “Now they reach out to so many groups.” Next year being the 100th show, the team is feeling nostalgic. “We’re hoping to take a piece of a lot of the popular shows and do a walk down memory lane,” she explains. “An ode to the past.” It’ll be especially memorable for Sheila, since it’s the first one she’ll attend after retiring this year. “My kids have been to every show since they were born,” she says. “It’s been a great career. The people here in Horticulture are so fantastic and creative.”





vegan spots in Hamilton


1044 King St W, Hamilton (289) 389-9997

If you feel like some lighter vegan fare, Westdale’s Rawlicious might be just what you’re looking for. From healthy salads to desserts to sizeable smoothies, Rawlicious puts its focus exclusively on raw, vegan, and organic ingredients. There’s a bit of space inside their Westdale location ( just a short walk from McMaster University!) if you want to sit down for a light lunch, but Rawlicious is also available for catering and for pre-ordering food & juice cleanses, custom-prepared fresh and made available for you to pick up.


236 James St N, Hamilton (289) 396-2288

James North’s Green Bar is one of Hamilton’s longest standing plant-based eateries, pumping out vegan awesomeness even before it was as trendy as it is today. Their popularity in Hamilton is obvious, given that they’ve also just opened a sister location on Locke Street that even has differing menu options from its James North counterpart to keep things lively. Big bountiful bowls of nutritious goodness take notes from Indian, Mexican, and Mediterranean cuisines, and hefty made-to-order smoothies are always there for your midday healthy boost of energy.

TH E H E ARTY H OOLIG AN 292 Ottawa St N, Hamilton (905) 807-0577

The Hearty Hooligan does locally-sourced, fromscratch vegan cooking in their Ottawa Street cafe and bakery, and a tagline on their website says it all very simply: “keeping vegan trashy.” That tagline is pretty fitting: one glance at their menu makes it clear that this ain’t your grandma’s vegan food. If you never thought you’d see fresh, thick & delicious pizza bagels or mac ‘n cheese burritos among a vegan restaurant’s offerings, then grab one of their signature cocktails or local craft beer selections and get ready to have your mind blown by The Hearty Hooligan.

SY NONY M SH OP 328 James St N, Hamilton (905) 525-7974

If you’re looking for primo vegan-friendly eats in a setting that’s the epitome of Instagram-worthy, you have to check out Synonym. A newer addition to bustling James Street North arts and food hub, Synonym has rapidly earned massive local popularity for its excellent coffee, its striking modern aesthetic, and of course, its menu of vegetarian and vegan brunch and lunch dishes. Avocado toast, kale salads, vegan burgers, and couscous bowls are all well worth your tastebuds’ attention; especially paired with a fresh Americano or a craft beer from their selection on tap.


202 Locke St S, Hamilton (289) 389-2466

Endeavouring to be equal parts cafe, vegan eatery, and community space, Democracy* thrives on being an open, welcoming environment that also happens to serve killer vegan bites. Tofu Banh Mi and Big Mac pizzas are eye-catching offerings, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg in a stacked plant-based menu filled with share plates and sizeable entrees. If you need a spot to tuck in with local coffee and ethical eats, and get some work done on your laptop, it’s hard to think of a better place to do it.

L I CK THE WHI SK 29 Barton St E, Hamilton (905) 522-9191

Hamilton’s first vegan dessert shop and bakery is a sweet-tooth’s paradise. Located on Barton Street just off of James North, Lick the Whisk deals in all things delicious. Its founders are full-blooded Hamiltonians, and they’ve got you covered for relatively guilt-free sugary indulgences made in-house daily that also double as ethical eating choices. Waffles from scratch? Check. Homemade dairy-free ice cream? Check. Fresh crepes? Check. Pure sugar-high happiness? Check check check!



Vegan spots in Hamilton are on the rise. The reason is simple: plant-based eating is becoming increasingly popular. Some people eat vegan because it’s better for the animal population and the environment. Some do it for health reasons. And some just do it because good vegan food is freaking delicious. Here's our top 10 on the city's best! PL A N T ED IN H A M IL TON 225 John St S, Hamilton (289) 389-6676

Planted in Hamilton is good food and good vibes all around. In their relaxed cafe setting slightly hidden away on John Street South, vegan foodies can savour plantbased goodness in the form of hearty tofu bowls, satisfying salads & sandwiches, nachos, mac ‘n cheese, and tantalizing gluten-free baked goods. Live music routinely populates the restaurant’s front corner, adding even more to the chill communal energy that Planted has nailed.



295 Ottawa St N, Hamilton (289) 246-9222

274 James St N, Hamilton (289) 389-2642

The menu at Boon Burger is jam-packed with a wide array of burgers and ‘chicken’ sandwiches featuring a number of different plant-based patties (including a Beyond Meat option!) loaded with toppings that are always fresh beyond fresh. As if that wasn’t enough, Boon also offers excellent oven-baked fries and poutines alongside salads, personal pizzas, and desserts. You can even buy some of their house-made sauces, aiolis, and meat substitutes to take home. And trust me: you’ll want to.

A spin-off of the immensely popular St. Catharines eatery of the same name, Rise Above Pizzeria is already exceeding pizza lovers’ expectations, and doing so with not a shred of cheese or scrap of meat in sight. The tangy, smokey, and oh-so-satisfying Buffalo Wing Pizza is a stand-out on Rise Above’s current menu of pies, but in some ways, the main attraction here are the incredible seitan wings, slathered in flavourful house-made sauces.


312 Dundas St E, Waterdown (905) 689-2547

SEE WHAT’S HATCHING AT NEST! If you’re looking for the ultimate vegan comfort food that’s good for you and good for your conscience, Bliss Kitchen is the real deal. Easily missed because of its slightly out-of-the-way location in Waterdown, Bliss is well worth the extra bit of driving for hearty, flavourful dishes that single-handedly destroy the myth that vegan food isn’t filling. From a wide variety of heaping bowls and burgers designed to suit pretty much any palate, to mountains of loaded fries that you’ll have to remind yourself to slow down on, you’re pretty much guaranteed to leave Bliss Kitchen more than satisfied. Bliss Kitchen even has Sunday brunch, featuring veganized takes on popular dishes like eggs benny (with chickpea eggs) and chicken & waffles (where breaded cauliflower bites play the part of fried chicken). Add to that a spacious and inviting setting along with unfailingly lovely service, and you’ve pretty much got a meat-less & dairy-less dreamland on your hands.

Unique Canadian handmade gifts and home decor items for animal lovers.

171 Locke St. S. Unit 2



Hamilton’s historic architecture makes for the perfect movie sets


Cynthia is a freelance writer and poeticminded writing mentor who works at The Hamilton Public Library. Reading, writing, and music are her passions along with yoga and lake swimming.

It’s said that Hamilton is a city with a cinematic soul; one with architectural significance and resonance. From the deep blue, choppy waters of the harbourfront to the graffitied streets of downtown — the variety this city offers can capture just about any style of film, and filmmakers are taking note. Hamilton recently became the second busiest film location in Ontario and now hosts hundreds of productions every year. The sense of a small town amid bright lights, big city architectural backdrops, sprawling rural landscapes, and Hamiltonians themselves all contribute to this thriving arts culture of film and architecture. The Scottish Rite in particular has seen quite an uptick in its use in film. Located at the corner of King and Queen Street stands this magnificent structure, built in 1895 by James Balfour (1854-1917). Balfour built over thirty buildings in the Hamilton area – most notably the 1888 City Hall (which was sadly demolished in 1961). Both of these architectural sites have a historic significance of masonic culture, community, and politics. Imported material from France, Italy, Spain, and Japan lines the interior of the Scottish Rite and its Victorian Masonic exterior has attracted filmmakers such as Guillermo Del Toro (Crimson Peak, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark 2018) Bruce Miller (The Handmaid’s Tale (BAFTA / Emmy / American Film Institute award-winning 2019 TV series) and Warner Brothers’ 2019 film IT: Chapter Two. The Murdoch Mysteries and The Good Witch were also filmed here, and all of these productions put Hamilton firmly on the map with a wide and discerning viewing audience. As a result of filming, many Hamiltonians flocked to local bookshops and libraries to read and view back catalogue materials of these highlighted stories. While the Scottish Rite has risen in popularity, the most frequently utilized filming location in the Hamilton area is The Cotton Factory at 270 Sherman Ave N. The reason for this appears to lie in

the unique ambiguity and subsequent Church on Locke, and the Scottish Rite. flexibility concerning the architec- It featured Katie Holmes as First Lady ture of the building. This is described Jacqueline Kennedy and Greg Kinnear in their online promotion as being able as JFK. This was a $20 million miniseries that aired to “accommoon the US History date scenes from Channel despite the mid-1800’s to WITH 112 PERMITS some criticism modern day and ISSUED FOR FILMING by Hollywood have been used IN 2019, HAMILTON skeptics. for future apocalypses. There are CONTINUES TO GROW Some other notealso historic and ITS INFLUENCE AS A worthy films modern indoor CINEMA CITY. of the past year spaces perfect for include Guest film sets.” A list of Honour, The of filming done in 2018 at The Cotton Factory is as fol- Christmas Chronicles, and Shazam; lows: Good Witch season 5, Murdoch all of which filmed large portions of Mysteries season 12, The Boys, The their movies within Hamilton neighHandmaid’s Tale season 3, The Kind- bourhoods such as James Street North, ness of Strangers, The Umbrella Acad- Gore Park and Corktown. emy, and V-Wars. With 112 permits issued for filming in From June through September 2010, 2019, Hamilton continues to grow its The Kennedys was filmed in Hamilton influence as a cinema city. The 260,000 at LIUNA station, the Roman Catholic square foot CBS film and television

studio in nearby Mississauga that came online earlier this year coupled with Netflix’s announcement that they are on track to exceed commitment of $500M towards Canadian production this year further supports the importance film will have in this region. The historic buildings combined with filming done over recent years here in Hamilton have contributed to the deepening of the arts as well as the changing and developing of Hamilton’s identity. This has helped project us from a predominantly steel and university town into having an incredible arts scene that rivals Toronto. Going forward, I wonder if we can look at more of the disused architecture and places in Hamilton to rejuvenate these buildings and areas for filming opportunities. There appears to be no shortage of good location sets if you take the time to truly explore what’s readily available in this city.



Royal Botanical Gardens design diagrams rediscovered


Bennett is a history student and plays as part of McMaster’s men’s volleyball team

The area near Hamilton harbour is full of many jewels; Dundurn Castle, Bayfront Park and, of course, the beautiful Royal Botanical Gardens. A collection of architectural diagrams has been discovered and handed over to the RBG which contain sketches of the famous RBG rock garden from 1928. They were found in an attic in Alton, Ontario, along with many other design drawings. These sketches were created by the design firm Wilson, Bunnell and Borgstrom. After negotiations with the family of Carl Borgstrom, who passed away in 1951, the diagrams were given to the RBG for conservation and restoration. However, many will remember that Hamilton harbour was not always as beautiful as it is today. In fact, the negative reputation that Hamilton received in the early 20th century, as a dirty steel town, was earned in part due to the massive gravel pit next to the highway from Toronto to Hamilton. Then, in 1926, the city of Hamilton purchased this plot of land where the gravel pit was in hopes of decorating the landscape with gardens. Borgstrom’s sketches were a part of a nationwide competition for design ideas. Wilson, Bunnell and Borgstrom’s submission went on to be the

winner of this competition, and the eventual designers of the rock garden. The rock garden was part of an effort to transform the unpleasant gravel pit area into a flagship piece that would entice commuters to visit and perhaps even change their minds about Hamilton.

These sketches are important because they are the first mentions of the rock garden; the feature that would come to define the gardens in many ways. The sketches are not in perfect condition and will have to undergo major restoration before they can go on

display for the public. However, the rediscovery of the documentation surrounding the genesis of the RBG is a terrific historical document for the Garden and the people of Hamilton alike.

1. 1947 2. Albion Falls 3. The building was home to Canada’s first wood screws, under the Canada Screw Company. Later on, they would produce iron and brass screws, bolts, and rivets. 4. Hard to believe but it was a chopping mill. The small mill was operating before Hamilton became a community.




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Available: January to March 2020 Includes: venue, light buffet lunch, welcome mimosas and lemonade station $40++/person* (30-120 guests)

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Profile for UrbanicityHamOnt

November 2019 | Urbanicity Hamilton  

The November 2019 issue of Urbanicity for the Hamilton-Burlington region

November 2019 | Urbanicity Hamilton  

The November 2019 issue of Urbanicity for the Hamilton-Burlington region