James Street Baptist Church Demolition

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Demolition has begun at the James Street Baptist Church, a nearly 140-year-old building that, along with the Pigott Building and St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church, has dominated James Street South for generations.  

According to a letter written by Janice Brown, president of the Durand Neighbourhood Association, two-thirds of the church will be demolished. Developers are planning to save the church’s fa├žade, as well as its east tower. The rest of the building will be demolished, making way for an $80-million condo development.

James Street Baptist Church was built between 1878 and 1882 by architect Joseph Connolly (1840–1904). Connolly was an Irish architect who specialized in Gothic Revival, also building Hamilton’s St. Patrick Roman Catholic Church on King Street East at Victoria Street.

According to the plaque at the James Street Baptist Church, it is designated under the Ontario Heritage Act, and is Hamilton’s oldest surviving Baptist church. 

It wasn't very long ago that I watched another Hamilton landmark get destroyed, this one by fire. Here’s a shot from today of the Pasadena on Bold.

Village Station Bazaar

Sunday, 4 May 2014

House drama (should we buy a house or shouldn’t we?) kept me away from Doors Open Hamilton and Jane’s Walk Hamilton today, but we did stumble upon the Village Station Bazaar in the International Village. The bazaar was a great surprise, and I’m happy to hear it’s going to become a regular thing in the city. The next Village Station Bazaar happens at Ferguson Station on June 1st, followed by July 6th and August 3rd.  

Doors Open Hamilton: Day One

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Doors Open weekend is one of my favourites in Hamilton. From 270 Sherman to Treble Hall, there’s always a new corner of the city to explore. Today’s exploration got started a little late, but I still managed to visit three Doors Open Hamilton sites — MacNab Presbyterian Church, Whitehern, and St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church.

It was a cold and rainy day, but signs of spring lurked everywhere. My highlight was St. Paul’s Presbyterian, a church that dominates James Street South. The church was built by Scottish immigrants in the mid-1800s, and the Bells of St. Paul’s were added in 1906. The bells are played every Sunday morning (I’ve grown used to hearing them from my apartment), but as part of Doors Open Hamilton, we were allowed to climb the steep stairs to see how they are controlled, and were treated to a sample of “Amazing Grace.” 

There's still one more day to check out Doors Open Hamilton. I'm looking forward to being out and about tomorrow, too. 

These last two pictures have nothing to do with Doors Open Hamilton, except for the fact that my day of wandering around Hamilton (which also included Craftstock and Ottawa Street antique shopping) ended at the Hamilton Farmer's Market where I bought a pound and a half of cheese. Really, every good day should end with a haul of cheese. 

Miriam Toews at Gallery on the Bay

Miriam Toews has a new book out. It’s called All My Puny Sorrows and, so far, it’s amazing. There are few authors I feel loyalty to, but every time Miriam Toews has a new book, I rush to read it. Her brand of nostalgia laced with humour always gets to me.

Years ago, I heard her read on a CBC podcast. It was an excerpt from A Boy of Good Breeding or Summer of My Amazing Luck, but I can’t remember which one. Since then, I’ve wanted to hear her read, but didn’t have the chance until Thursday night when she read alongside Claire Cameron (The Bear) and Steven Galloway (The Confabulist) at Gallery on the Bay. It was a fantastic night of good books, insightful authors, and wine. The best part is that the event sold out, proving once again that Hamilton really does have a kick ass literary community.

If you haven’t been to Gallery on the Bay, especially for an author reading, it’s worth a trip to the city’s North end. On May 22, Bryan Prince Bookseller and the Hamilton Public Library are co-hosting a reading featuring David Adams Richards (Crimes Against My Brother), Cecil Foster (Independence: A Novel), and K.D. Miller (All Saints). Tickets are $10 and proceeds will go to Hamilton’s Short Works Prize.

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