City Considers Punish Hess Village for Success

By Jason Leach
Published May 22, 2009

There's another disturbing report out of City Hall, this time regarding Hess Village. Police want the bar owners in Hess to pay the full cost of policing instead of continuing with the split that they've been using up until now.

Basically, they are punishing this district for being Hamilton's most attractive urban tourist destination, best patio district, and area most frequented by folks from Toronto and all of Southern Ontario.

While many buildings sit decaying and in clear violation of property standards throughout the city, harming the public and driving down property values and investment dollars, we punish folks who have added some life, vibrancy and coolness into our city.

It's the same over at the Pearl Company. Perhaps the folks at the Pearl should close down shop and allow the dealers and pimps to have the abandoned building for their uses. Perhaps it's time for Dean Paquette and other Hess investors to close down shop and relocate to Toronto.

Considering the constant nonsense that goes on around the dive bars of Barton Street, it's quite stunning that Hess Village would be centred out like some rotten neighbourhood in Hamilton. I had lunch there today and plan many meals on their wonderful patios during the summer.

Perhaps I should book a spot on the next Art Bus and finish off my Art Crawl with a stop in Hess before both attractions are shut down, giving us locals a couple more reasons to head to Toronto anytime we want to have some fun.

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 JM (registered) | Posted May 22, 2009 at 09:56:25

just another way to turn hamilton into the quiet, sterile, suburban wasteland that its residents seem to want it to be... rather than a bustling urban centre for people to interact.

thats ok though... we can go sit on the new kelseys patio, in the pleasant setting of the silver city parking lot at the top of the red hill

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By JonC (registered) | Posted May 22, 2009 at 16:29:41

The city wouldn't need to cut down on what is essentially hooliganism if they enforced existing laws for over serving. One by-law officer would have a larger effect than a dozen cops.

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By danarchy (registered) - website | Posted May 24, 2009 at 13:05:09

It's a destination for kids (18 to 25) to get drunk. Nothing wrong with this, just as long as it's recognized as that. Unfortunately Hamilton has a history of resenting anything too brash. Hess village is a major attraction for a younger demographic, which this city is in desperate need of.

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By hgreenwood (registered) | Posted May 24, 2009 at 14:57:26

I am no longer a resident of Hamilton but on my return visits I make a point of visiting Hess Village. I can state that I was among the originl customers to the Gown and Gavel, John and Bruce the original owners and then Bruce and Charlie became good friends. So much that for my sixtieth Birthday, my retirement and on the eve of leaving Hamilton for the West coast I was feted by Dinners for all my G&G friends. Saturday afternoons were known to host what we called "The Gentlemen's Club", so named for manners and good fellowship shown to all in holding conversation. An artist was commissioned to do a painting of the "Gentlemens Club" of which I was presented with a copy as a retirement gift. I still have it. The original was on the Gown's west wall and later removed to the office. However on my last visit "home" I asked the new owner if it was still on the premises and alas it was not to be found. I must admit that I am saddened that the original G&G no longer exists, decorum lessened by the appropriation of adjacent property and the extension of patio but I also understand that it is a business and profit now overules heritage. Happy though that the picture "Men of Steel" still adorned the Bar area or at least it did on my last visit. A long worded account to get to the point, Hess Village is a vibrant beat in the heart of Hamilton and the City benefits from its presence and should be doing everything to make sure it stays alive by providing all services including policing.

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By jason (registered) | Posted May 24, 2009 at 18:58:14

cool to hear from a long-time resident hgreenwood.

I'm with you. There are only a handful of hours each week that Hess becomes a drunk-fest. The rest of the week it is filled with folks like us enjoying life in the heart of the city and feeling proud of Hamilton when we bring visitors there for a meal and hear them go on and on about how amazing it is and that they had no idea Hamilton had such urban attractions.

Pretty remarkable that we would consider punishing businesses who have invested a lot of money into this district and have helped to create a vibrant, fun face on downtown Hamilton for residents, suburban visitors and far-reaching visitors.

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