The Pasadena

Thursday 20 February 2014

I've never written an obituary for a building before, but then again, I've never spent a night watching firefighters attempt to control a blaze in my neighbourhood. The Pasadena Apartments are located at 27 Bold Street, and tonight, flames erupted from windows, doors, and the roof as horrified spectators looked on.

Only a wire fence divides the Pasadena from my apartment's parking lot. It's a spectacular building, full of century-old charm, but for me, it's one of the biggest reasons I'm living in Hamilton. I first fell in love with the Pasadena in 2007 or 2008, shortly after I returned to my parent's semi-detached home in Burlington's suburbs after more than four years of living in Ottawa. I was restless, and in need of a change, so when two close friends began renting an apartment in the Pasadena, I fell in love.

I fell in love with the apartment's charm — a nook for a kitchen, a fireplace, and whirring radiators. I fell in love with its proximity to Augusta Street and the Hamilton GO Station. And so I moved to Hamilton. At the time, a basement apartment was available at the Pasadena, but it had multiple bedrooms, which I didn't need, and the rent was too high. So I settled on the next best thing, an apartment just steps away from the Pasadena. It's from this apartment, where I have lived since April 2008, that I began to smell smoke just after 9:00 p.m.

There are Weakerthan's lyrics that seem fitting tonight: "My city's still breathing, but barely it's true, through buildings gone missing like teeth." You'll be missed, Pasadena.


  1. Beautiful and sad read. I'm up on the mountain but I've been a Hamiltonian most of my life. I lost my own home to arson when I was in the 3rd grade (I'm 27 now) and it still haunts me even through multiple rounds of treatment for fire-related PTSD.

    Seeing this unfold tonight just via Twitter and off of the escarpment was horrifying and I cannot imagine having to go through that a second time. I live in an apartment now, with my bedroom over the boiler room and ever day I have panic attacks that what happened at 27 Bold St will happen here. Terrifying and I feel horrible for those displaced and the animals who couldn't be saved.

    Here's hoping that the tenants can begin to rebuild their lives soon and without anymore tragedy.

  2. I can relate to the fire. I was in the fire service over 20 years and I always felt sad at the loss of neat old buildings and what the people living there lost. Although I grew up in a multi-family building I chose never to live in an apartment or house trailer because of fire dangers.

    Fires in the neighborhood are always scary even if they do not go out the windows(s) or through the roof. Hopefully the fire was stopped and if the building cannot be repaired what was not on fire can be restored and that part of the building used.

    The fire is a tragedy for all in the building even if some can eventually return. I hope they all can find a suitable place to live and replace the things they lost.

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