Arts

Hamilton Place Theatre Ranked #1 in Canada

By Jason Leach
Published April 20, 2009

After making the world's top 50 list last year, Hamilton Place has again made the list of the world's best theatres this year, except this time the theatre is ranked number 1 in Canada.

Last year it was number 2 behind Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto.

Kudos to HECFI and everyone working hard in Hamilton to bring us world class entertainment in the heart of downtown.

Jason Leach was born and raised in the Hammer and currently lives downtown with his wife and children. You can follow him on twitter.

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By Hmmm (anonymous) | Posted April 21, 2009 at 12:28:58

Great to hear! Too bad it's so ugly!

No one will know how great the interior is if it's entrance is hidden down a small, scary 'street' (aka parking ramp) covered in in cement and over-flowing with homeless people.
Summers Lane is yet another 60's era (Hamilton) urban-planning-blunder that needs to somehow go?

What about adding Spot Lights or LEDs to Hamilton Place in the short term so people (visitors?) don't think it's just another concrete chunk stuck in the middle of our core!?

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 21, 2009 at 13:11:20

I've always thought that some curved, steel panels should installed on the exterior walls complemented with coloured lighting. It could become a huge piece of art that adds to the character of the downtown streetscape, especially sitting close to the new AGH.
Think of the exterior of the Opera House in LA. Curved steel like that would look awesome covering up all the brick and in between the windows on the west side of HP.

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted April 22, 2009 at 14:26:01

I agree with Hmmm 100% Hamilton Place is in the middle of a wasteland.

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By Hmmm (anonymous) | Posted April 22, 2009 at 15:07:08

You actually put words in my Blog... I never once said Downtown Hamilton is a wasteland, AS IT'S NOT!
Simply stated Hamilton Place is outdated and needs to be replaced / renovated much like the AGH was (and is now a beauty stuck in that same parking ramp).

So take your squelching elsewhere! Hamilton is done with your kind!

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By highwater (registered) | Posted April 22, 2009 at 16:54:45

Simply stated Hamilton Place is outdated and needs to be replaced / renovated much like the AGH was

Anything more than cosmetic updates would be a huge mistake. The acoustics in the Great Hall are second to none, and one of the main reasons Hamilton Place gets such consistently high marks.

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By songs_that_saved_your_life (anonymous) | Posted April 25, 2009 at 11:16:44

I agree with Jason. The entertainment at Ham. Place has been unbelievable. Leonard Cohen (best songwriter of the 20th c., sorry Dylan fans - oh wait, he was here too!). Hawksley Workman was back again this week and was in rare form with his cabaret pop and hilarious anectdotes. He mentioned opening for his hero Morrissey in 2000...I'll never forget that show either

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By another capitalist (anonymous) | Posted April 27, 2009 at 11:54:07

Congratulations to everyone at Hamilton Place.

I am a proud capitalist and I'll take the potential of Downtown Hamilton over any ugly concrete, unimaginative area full of nothing but unattractive box stores that are no different than any other sprawl in any other suburb.

The chance to make more money lies in being different. Different buildings, different offerings of restaurants, clothing stores etc.

The inefficiencies of these areas are mindboggling. The waste of gas, time etc. easily outways any transit or parking costs.

My two cents

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By A.N. Other (anonymous) | Posted April 27, 2009 at 12:01:07

Hamilton Place is beautiful, but it's too bad it's hidden away like that. Surely a relatively minor change can be made so it doesn't lose a season or two.

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By Meredith (registered) - website | Posted April 28, 2009 at 01:35:52

Lighting alone would make a huge difference in showing the entrance better.

I pass by every day, so I knew where the building was, but I didn't figure out exactly how to get inside until I went to the opera one evening, and even then had to ask. It's not friendly to visitors that way.

The outer area near the sidewalk with paving stones and grass growing between them has potential as well, instead of just being a shortcut/sidewalk/eyesore.

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 28, 2009 at 10:06:33

ahh, Meredith you hit my soft spot. I LOVE that little cobblestone area on the Main St side of Hamilton Place. I wish that we would develop our City Hall forecourt with that same paving treatment, lots of trees, benches, cafe patios etc..... it has a piazza feel to it, like one would expect to see in Europe.

Unfortunately, there's nothing there and it's a tiny area, but I love walking by there on the rare occasion that I need to walk on Main St for something.

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By Alex (registered) | Posted June 06, 2009 at 15:04:06

You don't touch grand dames like the Great Hall at Hamilton Place, except perhaps cosmetics. Many artists like Tony Bennett call Hamilton Place the best acoustically designed facility since Royal Albert Hall. Some of the best theatres in the world can be found in the oddest of neighborhoods. It's part of the charm. As long as Hamilton doesn't tear this one down like it has a history of doing... a town once filled with extraordinary performance palaces.

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By Larry (anonymous) | Posted March 08, 2012 at 22:05:13

I was the Assistant General Manager when Hamilton Place opened in 1973. I started there when there was only 1 person on staff, Geo McPherson the GM. The building was designed by Trevor Garwood Jones of Hamilton who also designed the Convention Centre and the Art Gallery. The real genius on the team was Russell Johnson a sound consultant from the USA. Russell insisted that the interior walls be constructed from bricks from the Ohio valley that had a a special acoustical quality. The bricks were built in a pyramid design to deflect sound in over 40 directions. The balconies were built away from the walls to allow sound to circulate around the room, this also allowed us to hang banners or drapes that could be lowered to absorb sound in loud shows that used several mics. When the Philharmonic played the banners whent back up into the ceiling to allow sound to bounce off the walls. Russell would not use carpet in the Great Hall because it absorbs sound. The same with the backs of the seats which have a hard surface. The wood structures on either side of the stage and the curved wooden canopy above the stage could be moved to direct sound. When we first opened there was a speaker under every two seats to create a surround sound and to create interesting sound effects. These were removed because they operated with the house sound system and most shows traveled with their own sound system. The sound engineer had an ope3n booth in the middle of the seating area so that he could hear the same sound as the audience. It was later removed again because most shows had their own sound systems. Lastly the Great Hall is a building unto itself. When you enter the Great Hall yo walk through a double set of doors 5 or 6 feet apart. The area between the two walls were empty and again designed to enhance the sound. Sorry for the length of this piece.

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