Sprawl

Meadowlands East Puts New Centre Mall to Shame

By Jason Leach
Published October 06, 2009

Next time you get a chance, drag yourself to the new box centre at the junction of Linc/Red Hill.

I was there yesterday and I meandered around the site (in my car, of course) to see if it was just as bad as the Meadowlands and Centre Maul.

Believe it or not, they are developing a streetscape along Upper Mount Albion Rd. It's no Locke Street, but it's miles better than "The Centre on Barton".

It's quite frustrating, actually, because all I would have liked to see (besides a proper mixed-use development) on Barton was street facing stores like they are doing on Albion Rd.

Centre Mall big box store from Barton Street (Image Source: Flickr)
Centre Mall big box store from Barton Street (Image Source: Flickr.com)

There are parallel parking bumpouts similar to the stretch of Hughson between King and Jackson, and the buildings are built right to the sidewalk with entrances off the street as well as the parking lot around back.

Why we didn't demand at least this treatment for Barton Street is beyond me. Here is a street in the middle of nowhere with nothing on it that gets treated better than Barton. They've used stamped concrete and some cobblestone in an effort to make it appealing.

Believe me, it's way more appealing than the parking Lot on Barton.

If I'm ever back out that way I'll snap some pics, but anyone in Ward 4 should be ticked off to see their area once again treated second class.

Councillor Sam Merulla and the city promised a nice mixed use project, and then we end up getting something even more suburban than what they are building now in the suburbs.

I guess local councillors figured, "Ah, it's only Barton. Who cares..."

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 Terry Lindly (anonymous) | Posted October 06, 2009 at 12:26:40

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 06, 2009 at 12:54:27

is this comment meant to be serious?? If so, please explain this line:

"Barton street looks fabulous"

If that's your idea of fabulous, then of course you'd love any of our current politicians to stay in power or be mayor. Barton St looks more 'fabulous' now than it did 40 years ago and you can thank the 'leaders' in our business community and politics for that.

The days of being able to brush someone off as 'anti-business' or 'oppose for the sake of opposing' are long behind us. My suggestions and ideas have been proven in city after city all across this continent and around the world. The old boys club, and those who support them are the ones opposing change. One stroll down fabulous Barton St makes this quite apparent.

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By Terry Lindly (anonymous) | Posted October 06, 2009 at 13:09:52

Barton from Ottawa to Kenilworth is fabulous.Right across from the Centre.You are critical of the Centre but that stretch of Barton is one of the most successful part of the street.

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 06, 2009 at 13:15:25

I'm sorry, but I think Queen West if fabulous and Bloor West is fabulous and Queen East (Beaches) is fabulous and even Locke South is fabulous. If you really believe that, then more power to you. You're the only person I've met in 32 years that thinks Barton Street is fabulous. I prefer Barton over Upper James or Centennial, but in no way do I think it's fabulous, despite all the nifty ads during Ticat games for the "Rosewood Suites in trendy Barton Village".

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By Jonathan Dalton (registered) | Posted October 06, 2009 at 13:52:09

Barton between Ottawa and Kenilworth is strip malls and auto garages across from the BACK WALL of a mall.

Has this city really lowered the bar so far that someone could in all seriousness suggest that he finds this appealing?

I think 'fabulous' in this context means new, generic and 'not a vacant store or a crackhouse'.

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By Terry Lindly (anonymous) | Posted October 06, 2009 at 14:12:13

Well then take a gander at Ottawa St where it is incredibly fabulous. Frankly worry about your downtown. Things are moving nicely in the east end!!!

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted October 06, 2009 at 14:24:02

"Well then take a gander at Ottawa St where it is incredibly fabulous."

Er would that be the same Ottawa St with the storefronts opening onto the street, mixed use buildings, curbside parking etc that Jason says they should have done with Centre Maul?

Exactly.

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 06, 2009 at 14:34:41

C'mon Nobrainer. You can't suggest ideas like that. You're just opposing for the sake of opposing.

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By Really? (registered) | Posted October 06, 2009 at 14:50:10

I dunno who ANYONE is kidding, but Ottawa St has been flourishing for YEARS!

If it was thanks to Marilyn Dennis & CityLine for promoting it; Or Ottawa Street BIA for lobbying/paying CityLine to promote it; Perhaps it was the fact that it was (still is) a Destination Street (meaning they went there for a purpose; usually fabric-- infact I know some older people that come from Owen Sound to buy fabrics on Ottawa St, and have so since as long as I can remember).

The fact that 'The Centre on Barton' is being credited for Ottawa St's re-birth is an absolute lie!

Ottawa Street did it for itself... WAY before the Centre MAUL!

ALSO: Locke Street's gentrification is another reason storefronts are filling up along Ottawa St as they move to fill in the Home Decor section of that strip.

What in/about Centre Mall actually compliments Ottawa St? The Easy-Home? HA!

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By Steve Kosar (anonymous) | Posted October 06, 2009 at 15:28:18

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By Dave Van Camp (anonymous) | Posted October 06, 2009 at 15:44:37

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By Jason (registered) | Posted October 06, 2009 at 15:51:13

Thanks Terry/Steve/Dave. We got it the first time.

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By Really? (registered) | Posted October 06, 2009 at 15:56:37

Are the last couple of comments from the same person/different login?

Firstly, 7 years ago I would have been a Senior at my Inner-City High School which was not that far from Ottawa Street--so I would stop by with friends pretty often.

I remember there was a fantastic cake store (started with a 'k'?) with a giant cake ontop that burned down (replaced by a hugely expanded European Textures), there were people walking up & down the streets buying fabrics, foam, Mikes Subs... Limoncello's opened up which paved the way for more eateries. ALL of this WAYYYYY before even the IDEA of a 'renovated' Centre Mall was in the books.

The Expressway? Clearly this guy's just planting the Troll Seeds of Endless Debate (he sure knows how to Grind us Urbanists' Gears)... so I'm not even touching that.

But c'mon, dude (since the last several comments are clearly from the same person), if you even spent ANY time in the Ottawa Street area over the last decade-or-so, you'd know your comment is so wrong.

I'm calling TROLL ALERT on Dave Van Camp, Steve Kosar & Terry Lindly

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By steve kosar (anonymous) | Posted October 06, 2009 at 16:03:17

The rebirth of Ottawa st and east end is alive and well. Now focus your energy on problems not fabricated ones. I've lived in the east end my entire life and ther is excitment about what is happening in the last 5 years. Again leave us alone and worry about the Downtown. Also I read in the paper that the LRT has 2 east end priorites. Not 2 bad at all!!!

Now fix the downtown will ya!

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By realitycheck (anonymous) | Posted October 06, 2009 at 16:10:57

For teh sake of honesty and fairness, can a recent photo of the Shops at the Centre be shown? That flickr shot is a year-old photo of an unfinished wood frame and does not honestly reflect how this building looks now that it is finished. Relying on dated photos from a web stock is not exactly a very high standard of journalism by the way...

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By Really? (registered) | Posted October 06, 2009 at 16:13:05

Hmmm, Wonder if Dave/Steve/Terry received the 'Sam Merulla' Google Update when this article was published ;)

I also love Barton between Ottawa & Kenilworth! It features lovely faux-stucco walls (which will be wonderfully dirty/tagged/full of holes this time next year), lack of light/street pressance (which will ultimately result in an increased sense of danger in an already-feared neighbourhood), the several empty lots and/or used 'dealership' lots which house a beautiful one-bed trailer as offices. Clearly, the above paragraph is oozing with sarcasm... but also the truth!

The fact is--sorry Merulla--that the Centre's Maul did not start the re-birth of Ottawa Street; that's thanks to the BIA and their efforts over the last decade. If anyone deserves Thanks, shoot it their way (not Merulla's or Redcliffe).

Here's their Feedback/Contact Form: http://www.shopottawastreet.com/ottawast...

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By Steve Kosar (anonymous) | Posted October 06, 2009 at 16:16:39

Lol! Not only are you clueless ur paranoid too!!

Sincerely

Sam. Lmao

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By Really? (registered) | Posted October 06, 2009 at 16:50:21

haha No no, not paranoid... just logical. Plus, I know Merulla's responses are way more pretentious, anyway. I'm assuming your an older person who loves the way Hamilton has been over the last 50 years, don't want it to change, and was introduced to the world of Blogging by your Grandson. You're probably the type that likes to yell at Town Hall Meetings "If it aint broke, don't fix it!"

Exactly the problem Hamilton (Downtown, East End, Westdale, Mountain, North End, WHEREVER) needs to correct!

Hamilton IS broke; SO LETS FIX IT!

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 06, 2009 at 17:03:41

Reality Check, you really want to see another picture from that same angle?? I'm sure the only difference will be some oversized 10,000 watt signage blazing into the night on the back of the building. Trust me, the view isn't much different.

It's a slap in the face to great businesses like Stardust Records, Helens, Logans, Limoncello, Crash Landing, all the fabric/home decor stores, Quality Bakery, Poco Loco etc.... that were there long before some highway to the Home Depot was built. Give your head a shake if you think that highway turned Ottawa St from a forlorn stretch of Barton into the next Danforth.

Really? Trust me, the best way to get a massive response on a blog posting is to use the words 'Sam Merulla' in there somewhere. LOL
It works everytime.

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By Steve Kosar (anonymous) | Posted October 06, 2009 at 17:08:12

Its the change that I'm referring to laddy! What's new at the Centre is actually. Its closer to the original Mall now then what was there filled with dollar stores. I appreciate the fact you like the dollar store types but please keep them downtown. Things are just growing nicely here.



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By Really? (registered) | Posted October 06, 2009 at 17:14:45

ZooKeeper? Anyone? Ok ok, I'll do it:

STOP FEEDING THE TROLLS! They've adopted new aliases! They're ignoring blatant facts and responding with nonsensical arguments! AHH!!

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By realitycheck (anonymous) | Posted October 06, 2009 at 17:57:32

Jason if you are genuinely interested in mixed use development here then I suggest you contact Redcliffe and ask them about their plans are for the former Canadian Tire site at Ottawa and Barton. You may be surprised by the answer.

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By Michelle Martin (registered) - website | Posted October 06, 2009 at 18:09:28

We moved here 9 years ago, and Ottawa St. was fine then and improving steadily, I don't think Centre Mall renos are the reason. I always preferred it to Locke St. S (imagine!). Having said that, it does look a little better than the old mall. It's just that it could have been so much nicer.

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By Jason (registered) | Posted October 06, 2009 at 18:31:29

Reality check. Thx for the tip. If they plan anything other than parking spots I will be pleasantly surprised. My whole point to this blog was merely to state that even something as crummy as a big box complex could have been done a lot better with one tiny change. Doors onto Barton street. If they can do it on upper mt Albion, why not here? Then merullas google alert clan derailed the whole discussion. Kind of like a council meeting.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted October 06, 2009 at 18:38:30

realitycheck wrote:

Jason if you are genuinely interested in mixed use development here then I suggest you contact Redcliffe and ask them about their plans are for the former Canadian Tire site at Ottawa and Barton. You may be surprised by the answer.

From what I understand, Redcliff's original proposal for the Centre Mall was mixed use as well, but the city didn't hold them to it and allowed them to go with the cheapest, most expedient form. That's why Sam's name got dragged into this. It's mostly the city who's to blame for allowing this to happen. I guess they counted on the majority having the Terry/Steve/Dave mentality that will settle for any piece of crap just because it's 'new', because they don't think they deserve better.

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 06, 2009 at 19:25:35

If anyone's interested, I found some pics of what replaced Centre Mall:

http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthre...

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By Really? (registered) | Posted October 07, 2009 at 10:25:41

For anyone who's interested in a Google Streetview Image of what it looks like now: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&sour...

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 07, 2009 at 10:36:08

man, what a fabulous street.

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By Dave Kuruc (anonymous) | Posted October 07, 2009 at 11:01:00

Dave/Steve/Terry are such east end names. ;-)

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By realitycheck (anonymous) | Posted October 07, 2009 at 17:39:37

Note to Ryan:

Please review the comments posted here. They all are of relatively equal quality in content and delivery. The comments critical of the development are consistently upscored by registered users. Those supportive are consistently scored down. Moreover, certain members call out others as trolls, prompting a mass vote-down for those commentators. This is really a misuse of the comment scoring feature and a blatant example of what I had feared would happen when you first introduced this scoring system. Comment scoring is being used to supress differing opinions and promote a groupthink mentality. Comment fading is adding to this abuse of the comment scoring feature.

What are you going to do to address this issue, or are you happy with how this behaviour is being conducted on your site?

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted October 07, 2009 at 17:53:10

I do not think it is wise for those in the downtown area and those in the east end to be dissing each other. I thought the idea is to create opportunities where all can discuss the issues to move toward a better city.

It should not be about different areas but the city as a whole. We should move away from the "turf protection" mode.

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 07, 2009 at 17:56:47

Reality Check, I wouldn't call the comments 'equal quality'. Some are illegible, some make crazy claims that Ottawa Street was a dump 2 years ago when Red Hill opened. Others that are more thought out and more readable are not being downvoted. Terry Lindley's 2nd and 3rd comments aren't being mass downvoted at all, despite having a contrary opinion than the one I posted in this blog.

Stupidity and unreadable trolling will be downvoted from what I can tell.

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By question? (anonymous) | Posted October 07, 2009 at 18:26:33

Mr Kuruc:

Please inform fellow bloggers what an average east end name would be? Inquiring minds would love to know!

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 07, 2009 at 19:08:45

read his above post. He said that Dave/Steve/Terry are east end names.

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By Question? (anonymous) | Posted October 07, 2009 at 20:26:24

Jason:

One would question why are you responding on behalf of Mr Kuruc? Also why did Mr Kuruc feel the need to respond in such a nonsensical manner and include a smilie face? Unless of course his statement is tongue and cheek which brings us back to the original question; Mr Kuruk what would you believe to be an average east end name?

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 07, 2009 at 20:41:19

I was simply trying to keep the conversation moving before getting bogged down in another useless discussion that has nothing to do with the topic. You noticed the smiley face, so why bother trying to turn it into something?? Dave was clearly making a joke. HE'S from the east end and HIS name is Dave also.

Some of our readers really need to lighten up and learn to laugh a little. Anytime someone posts a joke on here it gets turned into a big deal. Just chuckle and move on.

Cheers

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By Question? (anonymous) | Posted October 07, 2009 at 20:59:57

Jason:

Its apparent you need to lighten up. :-)

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By woody10 (registered) | Posted October 07, 2009 at 23:30:49

All I know is that anybody who thinks Sam Merulla should be mayor (or even a councilor anymore) Is seriously in need of a common sense shake-up. Seeing him on the news the other day with friends from out of town was an embarrassment. "Who is that guy in the pullover?? Some guy off the street??" Ya, and then I filled them in on some of his foolishness. Very, very, embarrassing.

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By Susan1985 (anonymous) | Posted October 08, 2009 at 01:28:56

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

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By realitycheck (anonymous) | Posted October 08, 2009 at 07:32:44

Ryan,

If what you assert is true, then why was this posting by Steve Kosar dated 10/6/2009 5:08:12 PM collectively downvoted? How was this posting factually incorrect to have a collective downvote to -4 at the time of this posting? How was it insulting or abusive?

It is interesting to know that postings that refer to people as stupid get upvoted. I teach kids that stupid is an insulting word that is not to be used in decent conversation. Am I wrong?

How is it considered correct to upvote sarcasm that was designed with the intention to belittle people and their opinions?

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By Sameee (anonymous) | Posted October 08, 2009 at 08:11:27

I'd like to downvote this voting system!!!

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted October 08, 2009 at 10:57:40

Ryan >> they are factually incorrect and personally insulting and serve not to spur discussion around fair criticism but rather to troll the board for reactions.

By Terry Lindly (anonymous)
Posted 10/6/2009 1:09:52 PM

Barton from Ottawa to Kenilworth is fabulous.Right across from the Centre.You are critical of the Centre but that stretch of Barton is one of the most successful part of the street.

(Permalink)
Comment Score: -3 (5 votes)

Ryan, this is a simple opinion and it scores -3 votes.

Here is another opinion, albeit in the opposite direction and it scores positive votes...

By jason (registered)
Posted 10/6/2009 1:15:25 PM

I'm sorry, but I think Queen West if fabulous and Bloor West is fabulous and Queen East (Beaches) is fabulous and even Locke South is fabulous. If you really believe that, then more power to you. You're the only person... trendy Barton Village".

(Permalink)
Comment Score: 6 (6 votes)

Two comments based solely on personal opinions and yet they differ in voting score by 9 points. Why is this? Ryan, if people are NOT supposed to vote based solely on differing opinions, how do you explain this discrepancy?

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By zookeeper (registered) | Posted October 08, 2009 at 11:01:20

Frantic troll is frantic. Keep downvoting until the troll stops trolling and learns to behave.

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By reuben (registered) - website | Posted October 08, 2009 at 11:18:53

zookeeper - i hope you realize that your posts are just as bad as some of the 'trolls'

there is no reason to say what you are saying most of the time. please let people make up their own minds when it comes to voting.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted October 08, 2009 at 11:19:41

zookeeper, if two people offer opinions, both without abusive language, how can they differ so greatly in voting score? If the only difference in these comments is the subjective view of the commentator, why is the voting system punishing one opinion and rewarding the other?

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By reuben (registered) - website | Posted October 08, 2009 at 11:24:26

a smith - many people knee-jerk vote based on certain users posting history since that history makes up the context for the individual comment. i am sure if you chill out on the posting style that gets people in a tiff, your reputation will come around and the knee-jerk downvotes on your comments will chill out as well.

as a side note, since this whole voting system has come into effect, your posting style has improved considerably. but your reputation proceeds you!

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By z jones (registered) | Posted October 08, 2009 at 11:33:00

A Smith, what reuben said. Heck, I made this account partly as a reaction to you (ha! I been trolled) but even I've found myself up-voting some of your comments lately when you've been reasonable and on topic. Give it time, keep posting respectful comments, stop bitching every time you see a vote you don't agree with, and I'm pretty sure you'll start getting the respect you seek on this board. You have a lot of mistrust to dispell ..... and posting "bikes are for children" type comments on cycling discussions like you recently did ain't helping your status one bit.

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By z jones (registered) | Posted October 08, 2009 at 11:34:12

Also, confidential to zookeeper: if we down-vote A Smiths reasonable comments as well as his unreasonable ones, why should he bother to be reasonable? You're as one-track as he is!!

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted October 08, 2009 at 12:49:32

Reuben >> many people knee-jerk vote based on certain users posting history since that history makes up the context for the individual comment.

The only requirement necessary to get downvoted on this site is dislike, plain and simple. If the majority feels as if their views are being challenged, regardless of how nice the opposing view is presented, it WILL get erased.

For example, Ryan was quoted as saying this against my proposal to lower tax rates...

"If we try to compete on price, we will ONLY attract the bottom feeders."

but then on another article he said this...

"the Downtown Residential Loan program has been remarkably successful at ensuring the completion of several important private downtown revitalization projects."

So, when I bring up the idea of using financial incentives to get more investment, Ryan says this is a BAD thing. Then, when Jason writes an article speaking about giving financial incentives (DRL program) to increase investment, Ryan thinks it's a GREAT idea.

When I brought up this contradiction to Ryan, my comment was downvoted. Furthermore, it wasn't too long after pointing out Ryan's hypocritical position regarding financial incentives that he came up with a way to fade comments from view.

Coincidence?

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted October 08, 2009 at 16:46:14

Ryan >> The reason your comments are downvoted is that you continue to attack straw men instead of engaging others' arguments honestly.

Ryan >> Registered RTH users already have the option of setting a comment threshold in their user profiles so that comments with a score below the threshold are hidden by default; but most site visitors read articles anonymously, so this feature does not help them.

In other words, the whole reason why comment fading was introduced was NOT to protect registered users, but anonymous users. If that's the case, then I would like you to point me to comments from anonymous users that asked for this feature to be introduced.


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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted October 08, 2009 at 17:13:04

Ryan, if the comment fading system is designed for anonymous users, why are you allowing registered users to be the ones who vote on whether or not it should stay or go?

Isn't that like asking Americans who should be the next Prime Minister of Canada?

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By helloagain! (anonymous) | Posted October 09, 2009 at 00:11:01

Really? You are really out to lunch!! Just 7 years ago Ottawa St was as tired and old as the Centre was and was declining greatly ! It now has Home Decor Textiles great restaurants art gallery and much more. Short memories serves no one accurately!! Now focus on the real problem DOWNTOWN!!! P.s. You were probably one of the whiners about Ottawa St before we opened up there. Just enjoy the renaissance and say something positive. But then again your not wired that way!

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 09, 2009 at 08:34:34

7 years ago, Ottawa St was doing just fine. Our family has been shopping for textiles there for decades.
enough of the multiple screen names, with the same tired old spiel.

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By reality! (anonymous) | Posted October 09, 2009 at 12:12:08

The fact is you do not know the facts! Look back in the archives of any media outlet. Ottawa was in a decline and you are in denial understand facts always interfere with your arguments and this site is a fraud! The east end is my home and again the rebirth of it has nothing to do with you or your dooms day naysayers. Now. Talk amongst yourselves but leave the east end out of it because despite your toxic energy we are truly the centre of a rebirth which is unprecedented in Hamilton's east end. Now fix the downtown!!!

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By Lou Malone (anonymous) | Posted October 09, 2009 at 13:54:15

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

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By not "dickless lou malone" (anonymous) | Posted October 10, 2009 at 12:08:14

hey lou,

nice threat, very welcoming. way to play up the ignorant east ender stereotype.

hey moderator,
i think a thinly veiled threat of physical violence deserves to be deleted.

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By Lou Malone (anonymous) | Posted October 10, 2009 at 18:42:09

Hey Woody10:

I look forwward to speaking to you in person. No threat. I'm surrised to feel so anxiuos considering how well you hide behind your fabricated names making outrages comments. Where I come from if you can't attcah your name to comments they are not worth reading. Moreover anyone hiding behind a fabricated name is simply not worth it. You are indeed a coward. Grow some well Ya!

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By Popester (anonymous) | Posted October 11, 2009 at 01:38:33

What happened to civil discourse? It sounds as if some of Sammy's friends are ticked?!

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By JonC (registered) | Posted October 11, 2009 at 09:39:52

That's also sexist Lou.

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 12, 2009 at 12:12:51

Must be a slow day at Sam's constituency office.

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By frank (registered) | Posted October 13, 2009 at 14:52:48

I've lived in the east end long enough to remember my mom shopping there for textiles and I think what "east enders" are trying to get at is that the number of closed store fronts is less. Also since the market came there, it's experienced a significant influx of people. The only problem is that it's limited to that area. If you go over to Kenilworth, you'll find more boarded up store fronts than before. So while Ottawa Street itself gives the impression that it's doing better, it's not a general improvement in the area nor has it proven that it will stay that way.

It's also kind of funny how the "east enders" are telling downtowners to fix up downtown when it's highly unlikely that those people had anything at all to do with the recent growth on Ottawa Street. The fact of the matter is that the Centre Mall blows big hairy chunks and it's a lame design. It has backs of stores to streets it forces you to take your car there and it also forces you to have to use your car to visit various stores if the weather is anything other than sunny and 25 degrees. It's a lousy design, plain and simple...and the culprits for that are the east end councillors and the people who didn't speak up when they should have in order to stop the catastrophic vision leak.

It's the collective responsibilities of the everyone in this city to make sure that the entire city is developed to its full potential. It's not the responsibility of downtowners to take care of downtown and east enders to take care of the east end - everyone should be concerned about everywhere.

While the East Meadowlands isn't the ideal use for land, its built differently and designed differently than the lame attempt to replace Centre Mall. That makes it much easier to swallow in forward thinking circles.

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 13, 2009 at 19:01:38

not only have east enders become accustomed to being treated as second class and being told to be grateful for any new development that comes, no matter how crappy it is, they are actually now willing to fight and use violence to ensure that nobody dares speak on their behalf and try to see that their part of town is treated as more than a dumping ground. So sad. Get some self-respect.

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By Baystreeter (anonymous) | Posted October 14, 2009 at 18:19:18

I live downtown...and it needs to get fixed. But today I had lunch at Limoncello on Ottawa and drove through the new Centre Mall. Ottawa street is doing fine and some of the merchants I talked to credit the Red Hill Parkway as having motivated the investment at the mall; and the mall has sparked interest and improvements on Ottawa St. I am no fan of the creepy Merulla but whatever he did to approve the parkway and the Mall and the improvements on Ottawa Street is fine with me and most Hamiltonians regardless of where they live.

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By Really? (registered) | Posted October 17, 2009 at 10:43:13

reality! said>> "Look back in the archives of any media outlet."

That would be the same media outlets that publish 'Police Blotter' to show what neighbourhoods? Or the TV outlet which air reports on "Why Burlington is Better than Hamilton", yet claiming to be 'Closer to [Us]'!? Everyone knows Hamilton Media is a laughing stock, and The Spec has gone so Sun-Tabloid lately it's pathetic!

Having one mainstream-media source per outlet is very dangerous. It gives one opinion, and usually forces it down people's throats. This, along with a tunnel-visioned City Council over the last several decades, is part of the reason Hamiltonians are so closed-minded.

Just b/c something looks new doesn't make a good development. I don't know how familiar people are with stucco (or fake stucco in this case), but it gets real dirty real easy. Think about wearing a beige coat in the Winter, and being exposed to the elements all season long (snow, rain, slush, road debris)... that beige, fake stucco wall sure wont look 'new and pretty' for long.

Not to mention the copious amount of blank wall-space that will surely be used as Graffitti Canvas (this City has a serious issue with poorly done 'graffitti', aka tag, ie: CHILLEN). Had the walls faced the back (parking lot), and storefronts/windows faced Barton Street, the tags/'graffitti' would face inside, and would not make Barton Street look even trashier. This also works for the dirty/damaged fake stucco that will no doubt show after this Winter Season.

And please, even if you're opposed to the majority of comments, do not try and derail the thread simply b/c you feel threatened by an uprising of logical & intelligent urbanist (or urbanist-friendly) individuals.

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By Really? (registered) | Posted October 17, 2009 at 10:57:28

Re: Kenilworth Ave; Let's see how Main & Kenilworth looks (as of Summer'09): http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&sour... I love the Giant Crying Baby Sign, Rebelz which for some reason is allowed to have that 'façade' (and has had it for YEARS), an empty bank (moved to the precious Centre Maul simply for a Drive-Thru), and another empty bank that has frosted out windows. Centre Mall sure made a great difference in this part, especially considering it's literally right down the street and CLOSER to the Red Hill Parkway!!

Keep walking down (via Google Maps Streetview)... More empty lots, boarded-up buildings...

Continuing still, Ooh a VERY nice Library, and a Tims. Nice! Oh wait, those have been there aslong as I can remember. Guess we can't thank Red Hill Pky for that?

Almost at Barton! McFrugals! Oooh! Although I'm pretty sure Centre Mall's new Easy Home will put out of business soon! And finally Jump Off. The only decently done building in the area (only b/c The Centre on Barton's rents are too expensive for small-time shops).

So if the Red Hill Valley Parkway is credited for Ottawa St's 'revival', then why did it do NOTHING for Kenilworth, which it is physically closer to, and therefor 'faster to get to'!?

Perhaps because Ottawa Street was ALWAYS flourishing as a niche-street (fabrics & textiles, home decor, and now Antiques thanks to Locke Street's gentrification).

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By Duke (anonymous) | Posted October 17, 2009 at 12:23:46

It always comes back to expressway. Get over it! Its built people love it and hundreds of millions of dollars are being ivested as a result. Frankly N dulgence moved from the Centre and invested a half million dollars on Kenilworth I also see scaffolding erected at the old theatre and properties look better kept today then they have in twenty years. I was speaking with Dave Sauve the owner of Hortons and expressway supporter who has more hope today then ever before about Kenilworth as a result of the Centre Mall redevelopment He also mentioned the city has initiated a BIA process so simply sit back and watch it thrive very soon!

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By Really? (registered) | Posted October 17, 2009 at 13:24:09

I'm sure Mr Sauvé would also love to convert his Horton's shop into a Drive-Thru only to 'optomize profits' while killing sense of community!?

Had that BIA been initiated before the RHVP, then I bet Kenilworth would look better today still. When you get a group of people together with the same purpose --in this case, improving Kenilworth Ave-- of course it'll have a positive impact! Just ask every other BIA out there (Ottawa St, King West, Locke South, International Village, etc etc).

And to be fair, the only people who brought up the RHVP are those who were trying to start a RHVP debate.

Regardless, the point is (and the proof is now available with Google Maps' Streetview App) that Barton between Ottawa & Kenilworth, along with Ottawa St, has NOT improved due to Centre Mall's renovation. Ottawa Street has always flourished thanks to it's unique nature as a destination street, while Barton along this stretch will continue as-is; empty lots, drive-thrus, shaddy used-car shops and a big, long blank wall soon to be Hamilton's largest Tag Wall!

Also Note; Ottawa Street's Streetwall http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&sour...

vs

The Barton on Centre's 'Streetwall' http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&sour...

Note: Streetwall with storefronts/windows/doors facing the street, up to the street. This gives the street a safer, more human feel. That blank wall lining Barton in the second link doesn't provide any safety (no eyes on the street), nor any reason for people to use that sidewalk (nothing to look at).

Centre Maul = FAIL FAIL FAIL !

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By Duke (anonymous) | Posted October 17, 2009 at 13:56:50

Bottom line the area looks better now then it has in 20. We are building and increasing assessment.Things are moving in the right direction.

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By Really? (registered) | Posted October 17, 2009 at 14:51:06

Problem is, Duke, although it looks new today (all shiny & clean), I can guarantee it will NOT look good in the near future!

Are you satisfied with band-aid solutions? Does mediocrity reign supreme at your household?

I am by Eastgate Square almost every day, and I can tell you first-hand that the new 'stucco' additions look like crap (holes in them exposing the uber-fancy Styrofoam Building Materials, which birds can then use as shelters/nesting sites, making even bigger holes; The pure Dirt that accumulates on this material which is difficult to clean due to it's texture; 'stucco' peeling off the wall exposing more styrofoam.

So you're correct, Duke! It is very shiny, fresh & clean NOW! So you better sell your house within the next year, or that 'streetwall' is going to look like the rest of Barton Street --tagged, dirty, soiled, spent!

Where is the Destination Store we were promised? Ikea, Dave & Busters, hell even an full H&M would have been a 'destination store' in this City. How do you feel about the East Mountain getting a Movie Theatre before replacing the one at this exact site (Centre Mall)!?! Where is the Transit Hub?! Or the GO Platform, or any footprint for a Future GO Platform!?

Sorry East Enders; No Matter what BS they try and feed you, you guys truly got screwed! A Movie Theatre, Transit Hub/GO Platform, or Destination Store would have been added value to your houses; instead your getting an Easy Home, some Drive-Thru Banks, and a bunch of 'anchors' that already existed (minus the loss of Sears)

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted October 17, 2009 at 15:52:08

Really? The Petro Canada replaced a run down variety store, plus there is a new plaza two buildings east of the Groovy Baby Store. These are not great works of architecture, no doubt, but they are NEW, they bring in many more customers than the previous buildings did and they make the area feel less run down.

If the city reduces property taxes even more, perhaps to the GTA average, there will be even more investment in this part of town.

As for whether or not the RHVP was supposed to help this area, this is nonsense. Getting free stuff never helps make an area economically, but rather the opposite is true. For example, when the "street walls" of Hamilton were being built up, the welfare state we currently enjoy did not exist. Rich people did not subsidize poor and average people to the extent they do today.

The solution is easy once you understand that nothing in life is free. If we want Hamilton to be better, we need to be willing to pay the price. This can be in the form of lower tax rates for businesses, or industry, or it can be less handouts from the Province/Feds. But it can't be holding out our hands and expecting other people to do the work for us, that will only create weakness and more poverty.

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By Really? (registered) | Posted October 17, 2009 at 17:47:15

That 'new' plaza is about 7-8 years old, actually. And you're calling a Gas Station a decent development!?

This stretch (Main between Ottawa & Traffic Circle), imo, has the most potential as an Urban-friendly street once LRT comes along. But where it is now (a gas station, the disgustingly-tagged (by 8 y/o's apparently) Bird Insurance Bldg, a Groovy Baby Store, a Curves & CashMoneyNow Shop) is FAR from where it SHOULD be!

The shops that are decent are the ones that have been there for as long as I can remember (Rankin's, Main Cycle, that one Florist Shop with the nice decorative windows, Acceti's, etc).

Again, this stretch is another that has a great streetwall with stores facing the street & nice wide sidewalks... just too bad ScotiaBank abandoned it simply for a Drive-Thru.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted October 17, 2009 at 19:59:08

Really?, you can check city records, but I would bet you money that the plaza is not more than three years old, if that.

>> you're calling a Gas Station a decent development!?

Not at all, but it's much better than an empty building.

>> this stretch is another that has a great streetwall with stores facing the street & nice wide sidewalks

I like the look of the older buildings as well, but not if they are vacant. I don't know if the city is responsible for the massive parking lot in the front of the new plaza, but I agree it is less pleasing to the eye than the streetwall effect.

Having said that, the last thing this area of city needs is more public sector activity, it actually needs less. Neighbourhoods are great ONLY when they are dominated by the private sector, that's why Locke St is more appealing than Gore Park and why Hess St attracts more people than City Hall.

This is a snippet from Wikipedia on the origins of the term Laissez-faire...

According to historical folklore, the phrase stems from a meeting c. 1680 between the powerful French finance minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert and a group of French businessmen led by a certain M. Le Gendre. When the eager mercantilist minister asked how the French state could be of service to the merchants, Le Gendre replied simply "Laissez-nous faire" ('Leave us be,' lit. 'Let us do').

In other words, if all the politicians would just stop trying to help, this area of the city and the city as a whole would go back to being prosperous. Hamilton was a great and prosperous city far before the era of big government and it could be that again if politicians would just mind their own business.

Our history is proof that small government is quite effective at attracting investment, creating good paying jobs and building a vibrant city. Our history also shows us that relying on the government is a sure way to turn a once prosperous city into a common beggar.

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By Really? (registered) | Posted October 18, 2009 at 14:11:32

Here's how Centre Mall could have (and SHOULD HAVE) been done:

Montreal: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&sour...

Note: Some stores line the major street (Ave Pierre-Peladeau), while parking is tucked neatly behind the rows. Then the developers made their own 'Main St' with shops lining it, shop entrances onto it, with a neat lil Public Square in the middle! Now imagine the Centre Mall Farmer's Market in the centre of the Centre instead of hidden behind a block of stores along Ottawa St.

ps: Also note the quality building materials in this Shopping Centre, and the slightly-modern architectural 'design' (not great, but MILES ahead of what Centre Mall got).

THIS is what the East End deserves! Not the fake-stucco big box BLUNDER you got!

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By Really? (registered) | Posted October 18, 2009 at 14:28:35

Another example:

Don Mills Ctr, Toronto: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&sour...

Not the best example, but again, miles ahead of what the East End got! Note: The Satelite image as this was a mall surrounded by parking much like Centre Mall.

Why don't Hamilton Politicians (Merulla) think their constituents are worthy of good/proper developments? Something like this --or the Montreal example-- would have not only raised assessments/housing prices in the East End, it would have made Barton Street a safer, more enjoyable street that doesn't always have to be made fun of!

The Centre on Barton = F A I L !

Don't let your Councilor get away with telling you that You Deserve Mediocrity! East Enders, along with the rest of Hamiltonians, deserve QUALITY!

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted October 18, 2009 at 23:19:36

Really?, I guess this is all you can expect when the government is the main investor....

www.cppib.ca/News_Room/News_Releases/nr_05090601.html

All the more reason for Hamilton to stop looking to the government for help. All it does is mess things up.

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By race_to_the_bottom (anonymous) | Posted October 19, 2009 at 11:50:14

FYI that's pretty much what the city's design standards mandated - but the requirement to make the redevelopment not suck was apparently killed at the senior management / local councillor level. Staff are REALLY frustrated by this. Centre Mall should have been an example of the city's new urban design policies at work but it got politicized to death by an 'anything to make the developer happy' attitude.

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By race_to_the_bottom (anonymous) | Posted October 19, 2009 at 11:50:55

^^ Sorry that comment was in reply to Really?'s examples of big box development done right.

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By Diva (anonymous) | Posted October 19, 2009 at 13:02:12

The excellent aspect to this discussion is we are talking about investment that has occurred in the east end.Ten years ago our discussions were focused on the lack investment in the east end. It might not be perfect but at least its is happening in area that needed it and for that me should all applaud the fact the old city of Hamilton is creating discussion about NEW development rather then how to attract new development.

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By William Wong (anonymous) | Posted October 21, 2009 at 12:05:50

Diva you are so correct. Here! Here!!

Bill

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By Really? (registered) | Posted October 22, 2009 at 11:33:11

Wow, Diva. So you're telling me (us) that 'anything is better than nothing' For the East End?! That's the type of attitude Hamilton and Council has adopted over the last couple of decades, and hence the situation we're in now (crap developments, empty lots and no ability to attract new major corporations).

Not only is the Centre Maul an example of lazy, careless development (you've seen the examples of what makes a 'good' big box development in Montreal & TO), but it also suggests that East Enders aren't worthy of PROPER developments, again, such as those Linked in my previous replies.

Do you East Enders think you're NOT WORHTY of getting your Movie Theatre back? Do you think you're NOT WORTHY of a beautiful development with a sense of community like those with mini 'town squares' featuring community activities (such as a Farmer's Market)? Do you think you're NOT WORTHY of proper, long-lasting building materials, such as brick & mortar rather than styrofoam walls & plaster!?

East Enders -- Face It; You Got Screwed!! Let Council (especially Merulla) know how dissapointed you are in this 'development' and PLEASE VOTE for someone WHO IS WORTHY TO REP THE EAST END next Fall (2010)!

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By Diva (anonymous) | Posted October 23, 2009 at 11:30:38

Really? You are truly an embarrassment. You want me to believe that tens of millions of dollars of investment in my neighborhood is a bad thing! Lol. I did a search on all your comments on this site and frankly you are pathetic. You are the type of person that is not happy unless your miserable and in the process you try to drag everyone down with you. Your self esteem issues and feelings of inadequacies need to be address from a therapeutic stand point. Your back seat driver approach is a sad state of affairs. Perhaps you should come out of your blog closet and run for office rather then hiding behind pseudo names advising me who I should support and telling me what I should like or dislike. Its people like you that create the apathy in ur community. Get involved during the process rather then complaining after the fact and get some help because I think at least your mother loves you!! Btw if you choose to run for office you should run against Merulla much better people have tried and he has embarrassed all of them with the same uneducated opinion of him that you are so verbose abut. I recognize he is loud and sometimes obnoxious but he works day and night for us and he is the most prolific councillor as it pertains to initiatives.

Sincerely,

Dee Rothsay

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By z jones (registered) | Posted October 23, 2009 at 11:42:32

"Get involved during the process"

Ha ha, you've got to be kidding. The "process" for this mall was completely behind closed doors. Even staff were overruled when they tried to follow the urban design guidelines that were developed, undoubtedly through a "process" but thrown aside because the councillor in question didn't think his ward deserved any better than a big box monstrosity.

I defy anyone to stand on Barton Street next to the blank rear wall of one of these buildings and feel proud about how it turned out.

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By Diva (anonymous) | Posted October 23, 2009 at 12:07:08

Z Jones,
I attending three community meetings at Parkdale Arena on the City Mall development conducted by Merulla. Agsin get you fact straight!!! Where were you? Is really the question!!

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By z jones (registered) | Posted October 23, 2009 at 12:28:02

Yeah, I can imagine all the concerned citizens crowding the mic going, "We INSIST that the developer ignore Barton Street, make all the buildings face away from the street into a big blog of interior parking and show only blank walls to the outside." The developer shrugs, throws out the urban street facing design he started out with and uses an off the shelf big box template instead. Thank goodness "process" prevailed.

If you think the developer getting away with that crap is anything other than a backroom deal then you've got alot to learn.

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By Really? (registered) | Posted October 23, 2009 at 13:44:47

Oh Diva... More and More mudslinging, for what!? Because you don't like hearing the truth? I'm sorry your community got screwed by cheap, lazy, lackluster developments and you're buying into the 'Something is better than Nothing' aproach. I'm also sorry you feel you have to insult me(?!) for my views.

" Get involved during the process rather then complaining after the fact "

How do you know I wasn't? I may not have attended community 'meetings' about the Mall, since everyone was promised a Pedestrian-Friendly Shopping Centre with Transit Connections (rumoured to be GO and/or VIA --yet there isn't even a HSR Hub here), a 'Destination Store', which to date still doesn't exist, as well as QUALITY DEVELOPMENT, not fake stucco covering styrofoam.

I was involved in discussions with my councillor (since a certain Ward 4 Councillor isn't up for hearing differeing opinions than his, and if you present them you're labeled a anti-'Whatever'), as well as expressing my opinions with the development company involved. I know for a fact that I wasn't the only one oposing this design, as after a while they said they would add a Streetwall element to the project due to 'public concern' --as we know now, that streetwall was nothing more than a wall along the street... literally!

So how dare you judge me for wanted something better for You, for Your Community and for Hamilton as a whole!

ps: I don't know who you think I'm trying to drag down? I'm simply pointing out that your community got screwed. And being someone with ties to this area, I feel like I got screwed too. I was very excited to get something like those Shopping Centres in Montreal & Toronto, but instead We got an Upper James Big Box Plaza... Shame Shame Shame!

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By Really? (registered) | Posted October 23, 2009 at 16:36:56

Meadowlands East: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&sour...

Wow, Jason... You were right! It is already better than Centre Mall just by having the store entrances face the street!

It's too bad the Stores didn't face the actual Main Commercial Street (Stonechurch Rd) rather than a little-travelled road like Upper Mount Albion.

There's still much to improve on in this development, but as you pointed out, Barton Street sure could have used storefronts/windows/doors facing it. Would have made the street seem safer, and could have added a lot more foot traffic. The more people on Barton St, the better!

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By Really? (registered) | Posted November 08, 2009 at 15:34:30

Wow!! Even Thornhill (a Toronto Suburb) has better Urban Design Policies than Hamilton:

http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&ll=4...

You'll note at the bottom-right that this is a brand-new development. How is it a sprawling Toronto suburb gets better quality anything than Hamilton!?!

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted November 11, 2009 at 12:46:47

Terry/Steve/Dave = Sam Murella ?

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By woody10 (registered) | Posted November 15, 2009 at 10:08:28

Well Lou Malone, 25 years ago I would have gladly met you down at Rankins for a drink, but I have calmed in my growing older. If you can't read an opposing opinion without giving some real feedback then you come across looking even more foolish than Mr. Merulla. Call me a coward or whatever you want, I take it with a grain of salt and you, well.....

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By Aalbaster Black (anonymous) | Posted November 17, 2009 at 10:14:00

I posted this in another thread, but this one is still active and the Centre on Barton make me angry.

While this may bring more shoppers from other parts of the city into a seriously depressed area, it does nothing to turn that area into a community. While Ottawa Street offers a certain level of community (as long as you don’t stray off the main path), the east end is without a place like Locke Street, Westdale, Hess Village or even Concession Street. Kenilworth is downright depressing.

This big box mall gives people no reason to get out of their cars and explore the neighbourhood and it give no reason for anyone in business to help turn streets (Barton and Kenilworth) full of boarded up businesses and check cashing storefronts (Drug dealers and prostitutes aside) into something vibrant. For many that don’t live in the area, it is a place where you drive through with windows rolled up and doors locked.



- Lifetime East End Tony.

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By PATRYK (anonymous) | Posted December 29, 2011 at 17:53:11

i want you guys constarction meN NOT BULID ANYTHING. JUST BULIT A NICE FIELD OF GRASS IN 1089 BARTON STREET EAST HAMILTON WERE IT USED TO BE OLD CANADIAN TIRE STORE. DO DO DO DO DO NOT BULIT A STARKSY FINE FOODS. ON 1089 BARTON STREET EAST HAMILTON.

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