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June 23, 2015
Hamilton is Toronto's cool older cousin.
You know the one you don't see for a couple of years but then one day rolls up in a mint 69' GTO that they bought for a song. You wonder where they got such a find only to realize that muscle cars are everywhere there.......just happens that those muscle cars are incredible old homes.
Working on the historic lighting at Dundurn Castle the past couple years (post coming soon), I've had the opportunity to explore Hamilton here and there and really love the topography, streetscapes and architecture that exists. Grand old buildings, leafy streets and funky neighbourhoods all tucked against the Niagara Escarpment makes for a great city. You can say there's an “image” or a “bad rap” to the city but unless you experience Hamilton's charms first hand, you don't know what you're talking about or you never leave Toronto.
This past weekend, the family and I had the pleasure of visiting Hamilton on Father's day and it was the best Father's day this pops could ask for. We started in the Durand neighbourhood which is an architectural museum in itself. Huge Victorian and Edwardian mansions spoke of a time when industry ruled supreme and the money flowed.
The stone row houses on Sandyford Place on Duke street were incredible to see and I had vision of what 1850s gas lighting would have originally been in them. From there, we went to Locke Street to walk around, get lunch and do some exploring. My son loved the toys at Kid Planet and we got him to burn off some toddler energy at the H.A.A.A grounds. From there we explored more of the Kirkendall neighbourhood and walked south down some amazingly peaceful streets.
Old period homes are everywhere and you really get a strong sense of pride in the neighbourhood and the people that live there. I really loved how well a lot of the home were preserved and lived in. In some Toronto neighbourhoods where the entry level home is $1 million and the renovations mirror conceptual art, it was nice to see what a 1920s four square looks like after 90 years of just being taken care of. Period lights were everywhere as well and some houses were virtual time capsules from when they were made. Having sold a lot of lighting to Hamiltonians, it was great to see the context in which they live and I can see why they treasure their homes.
I can gush and go on about the city but you really need to see it for yourself. If you are looking for things to do, Dundurn Castle is a must along with Locke Street, Ottawa Street (antiques) and even just roaming around downtown. In many cases, it reminds me of what Toronto was 20 years ago and how quickly it changed. There's a lot of energy and movement there and you will not be disappointed with a visit. Oh yeah...........the people are awesome!
To learn more about Hamilton, check out Adam's blog Fresh Brick for incredible features on old homes or I Heart Hamilton which is a pretty fun blog.
Go Ti Cats Go!
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