Comment 84601

By Mal (anonymous) | Posted January 01, 2013 at 12:14:25

As the thirties began, yet another politician came up with a plan requiring "Goring the Gore". Mayor Peebles and City Engineer McFaul proposed slicing off 20 feet from the north side to allow a street railway diamond at King and James. This is the same mayor who had expressed the hope that in 50 years the park would have disappeared. The Herald was strongly opposed to the idea of changing Gore Park in any way and voiced the opinion strongly as they stated "All such open spaces and squares should be protected to the last inch. It is impossible to compensate the public for the loss of such priceless property. There is nothing that could be done or paid that would make up to the citizens for the loss of such a heritage."

Alderman Jack MacDonald, as chairman of the Transportation and Traffic Committee, came up with a plan that removed the western half of Gore Park entirely and turned it into a loading and unloading area for buses. Queen Victoria would be moved to a point west of the Cenotaph. He stated, "I don't want the citizens of Hamilton to get the idea that I am some kind of "young destroyer." Everybody talks about how serious our traffic problem is becoming. This is a chance to do something about it." Strong opposition appeared immediately from all quarters and his plan was shelved until the people could vote on it in a referendum. Well the outcome of any referendum was obvious. An editorial noted, "All suggestions in the past to remove or eliminate Gore Park have been furiously combated and it seems safe to say, Hamilton's most distinctive, if not its most useful park, has a secure place in the hearts of its residents, particularly the older ones. Ald. Jack MacDonald is perhaps not old enough to appreciate that yet."

The sixties got off to a roaring start with the dedication of the new $20,000 fountains. Prime Minister Diefenbaker was scheduled to come to the ceremony but a blizzard kept him grounded in Ottawa. The Hon. Ellen Fairclough stood in in his place. During this time period it was decided that Gore Park needed more than just occasional cosmetic embellishments, it needed a master plan for a complete change. The Parks Board decided to set up a permanent committee to look into the question. Five committees, four reports and five years after talks commenced in 1962 they were no closer to any acceptable designs for renovation than they had been at the beginning.

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