Architecture

Notes from James Street South Jane's Walk

Some people asked for my notes from this past Saturday's Jane's Walk along James Street South. I added some photos for those who would like to follow the tour from Gore Park to Ballinachinch.

By Ryan McGreal
Published May 05, 2014

Cities need old buildings so badly it is probably impossible for vigorous streets and districts to grow without them. ... Old ideas can sometimes use new buildings. New ideas must use old buildings.

— Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities

I was honoured (and rather terrified) to be asked to lead a Jane's Walk in Hamilton last Saturday. My walk focused on James Street South and started on Saturday, noon, at the Gore Park Queen Victoria statue.

I was told the walk should take an hour or so, but I had no idea how many people would show up or how long it would take to walk it, so I decided to err on the side of having too much information rather than too little.

The walk had an amazing turnout and there was indeed more than an hour's worth, but we collectively decided to call it a day at around the 1.5 hour mark (we had reached St. Joseph's Hospital) as the rain that had been falling since just after the start of the tour seriously intensified.

As promised, here are my notes from the walk, including the stops past Charlton which we didn't get to see. I took some photos at lunchtime today so anyone walking the route can follow along more easily.

Three Tales of a Street

Victorian Era

Gore Park

Queen Victoria statue

Gore Park Fountain

Gore Park Fountain
Gore Park Fountain

18-28 King St E

18-28 King St E
18-28 King St E

Commerce Place I and II (CIBC buildings)

Commerce Place I
Commerce Place I

Vacant Lots, west side of James

Scarfone Hawkins Building

Canada Permanent Building

Site of Canada Permanent building
Site of Canada Permanent building

Pigott/Sunlife building

Pigott/Sunlife building
Pigott/Sunlife building

Landed Banking and Loan

Landed Banking and Loan building
Landed Banking and Loan building

Main Street

Main Street at James
Main Street at James

Bank of Montreal

Gowlings/Bank of Montreal building
Gowlings/Bank of Montreal building

St. Paul's Church - Doors Open site

St. Paul's Church
St. Paul's Church

Whitehern - Doors Open site

Bell Telephone Exchange

James Street Baptist Church

James Street Baptist Church
James Street Baptist Church

YMCA Downtown Hamilton

TH&B Hunter Street GO Station - Doors Open site

TH&B Station
TH&B Station

James Underpass
James Underpass

MacNab Church - Doors Open site

Mural

James South Mural
James South Mural

Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts

James Street Bookseller

Chateau Royale

Two-Way

Bold sidetour

James South Stone Terrace #140-160

James South Stone Terrace
James South Stone Terrace

Two-tiered sidewalk
Two-tiered sidewalk

Radius

Augusta sidetour

Augusta House
Augusta House

Surface parking
Surface parking

Duke sidetour

Strip Mall between Duke and Robinson

Amisfield hidden behind strip plaza
Amisfield hidden behind strip plaza

Medical Arts Building

Medical Arts building
Medical Arts building

Forest sidetour

Frederick James Rastrick House
Frederick James Rastrick House

St. Joseph's Hospital

Charlton and Beyond

#224 Lawry House (James and Charlton)

224 James St S
224 James St S

#15 Herkimer

#250 James - Balfour House

250 James St S
250 James St S

#252 - Griffiths palatial home

252 James St S
252 James St S

#262 - Coburn Queen Anne Revival home

262 James St S
262 James St S

#268 - James Counsell home

268 James St S
268 James St S

Escarpment Stairs

James Street Escarpment Stairs
James Street Escarpment Stairs

#316 Ballinahinch

316 James St S
316 James St S

Sources

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

12 Comments

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Read Comments

[ - ]

By VicGedris (registered) - website | Posted May 05, 2014 at 13:32:30

Ryan,

Your Jane's Walk was excellent. Thanks for taking the time to lead it, and especially for putting together so much background info about all the places you lead us to. Notes have been bookmarked for later reading!

I'll post/send you some photos I took along the way once I get them sorted out.

Cheers, Vic ....former Hamiltonian, current Torontonian, still in love with The Hammer

Permalink | Context

By VicGedris (registered) - website | Posted May 27, 2014 at 23:28:06 in reply to Comment 100964

Finally posted some photos from this walk: https://www.flickr.com/photos/vgedris/se...

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted May 05, 2014 at 14:04:05

Note that the Marine Building in Vancouver quickly overtook the Pigott building as "tallest building in the British Empire": it was completed in October 1930 and is 22 storeys and 98 m high. It seems Canada was keen on this record. Unlike the Pigott, it is still an office building. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marine_Buil...

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2014-05-05 14:04:39

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By durander (registered) | Posted May 05, 2014 at 16:16:01

Awesome information! Even with your personal opinions on development, traffic, etc...that I don't necessarily agree with. :) I wish I had been able to make it!

Permalink | Context

By Seconded (anonymous) | Posted May 06, 2014 at 22:14:47 in reply to Comment 100974

Seconded.

Permalink | Context

By Stinson (registered) | Posted May 05, 2014 at 18:03:37 in reply to Comment 100974

Same here. Good job Ryan.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By rayfullerton (registered) | Posted May 05, 2014 at 19:50:04

informative 411, good research Ryan, thanks.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By fmurray (registered) | Posted May 05, 2014 at 20:45:11

Thanks for this, Ryan. Wish I could have been there, but it was really kind of you to put this out for those of us who couldn't attend.

Amazing research.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By bvbborussia (registered) | Posted May 06, 2014 at 08:56:25

well done

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By ScreamingViking (registered) | Posted May 06, 2014 at 16:16:33

I enjoyed reading this as well - lots of great details. I might print it to take along on a walkabout of my own soon.

Thank you!

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Corktown PodTrod (anonymous) | Posted May 06, 2014 at 22:17:42

Here's soemthing that I think I was directed to some time ago by someone on this site:

Go to the HIStory and HERitage site and append podcasts/2009/8/11/podtrod-corktown-walking-tour.html to it. Stupid inability to provide a URL as an anon poster. (Please don't give me the speech about registering, I've heard it too many times :) Alternately just search "Corktown podtrod" in Google.

It's an audio file to play on your iPod while you walk around the Corktown neighbourhood. Provides info on the buildings, past and present, the streets, etc. My wife and I did it and it was great.

Permalink | Context

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted May 07, 2014 at 06:02:50 in reply to Comment 101058

Here's the link:

Permalink | Context

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to comment.

Events Calendar

Recent Articles

Article Archives

Blog Archives

Site Tools

Feeds