Glass Walls and Gallery Walls

By Jason Leach
Published January 30, 2007

Toronto's loss is Hamilton's gain.

The Ontario Municipal Board has approved several residential towers near Queen West and Dufferin in Toronto.

It's an area known for art galleries, low rent studios and hundreds of artists.

A spokeswoman for the art community, says many of the artists are thinking about moving to Hamilton where there's more affordable space.

More glass walls for the Big Smoke. More urban artists in the Hammer to fix old homes, renovate downtown storefronts and add to the already growing vibrancy taking place in our city thanks to this recent boom of TO artists moving here.

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 oldcoote (registered) | Posted January 31, 2007 at 11:51:18

The first sign of hope in terms of restoring neighbourhoods comes with the arrival of artists looking for affordable studio space. Many derelict Toronto neighbourhoods, from Queen West to Parkdale to Cabbagetown have been revitalized after artists made the area's 'trendy'. And now, there is no more affordable space in the T dot? Great news for Hamilton.

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 31, 2007 at 12:23:45

Hey OldCoote.

I love the bit on your blog about our new mayor - Eric Hamburger. Very funny.

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By just wondering (anonymous) | Posted February 02, 2007 at 14:37:07

Not to point fingers of blame, but I cannot help but wonder why Hamilton must rely on folks from away to revitalize business in our city.

In other cities artists are quickly followed into down-at-heels business districts by design shops, gift stores and new restaurants. Store-front furniture shops offering sleek, trendy furniture hail the arrival of condo and apartment developers.

With the exception of Mixed Media, and the nearby tattoo shop and arts bookstores, I can't think of many new businesses that have capitalized on traffic generated in the James North gallery district. By refusing to open on Friday gallery strolls, I am given the impression some of the earlier, existing businesses don't want this increased traffic.

Am I wrong, or is Bread & Roses Cafe the only new restaurant in the district since the galleries arrived? Oops, wait, there is one new, eat-in bakery just north of the Amories. So am I'm just impatient, waiting for Hamilton's version of the Drake or Gladstone hotels. Where are the small, touristy operations that seem to flourish in similar communities in other towns?

Not that I'm about to open shop myself. I'm anything but retail oriented. Still I cannot help but wonder why Hamilton's small business class seems slow to respond. Is there a limit to the level of entrepreneurial spirit in Hamilton? Is there something the Chamber of Commerce or local business schools need to address?

Or am I the only one still seeing the glass half empty?

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By Shara Ross (anonymous) | Posted February 02, 2007 at 22:04:44

Hi Jason,

I remember telling you that's what would happen 2 years ago! And 3 million in some development isn't going to stop them from coming...
especially with the trickle already flowing west.

Good point by "just wondering" and they're absolutely right - where is the Hamilton version of the gladstone or the drake hotel? Why aren't creative hopefuls jumping all over the glaringly obvious potential of the james north art district?

The secret good news for me is that having lived down there when the drake was "born" i'd have to say WHO CARES!!!!

As soon as those things start up...bigger commercialized brand name business show up - coffee houses like starbucks, fashion houses like mendacino, roots and the gap follow...taking up the limited real estate downtown and leaving in it's possibilities. No creative originality.No unique stores. No soul.

Right now Hamilton is like a flower about to bloom - how shall it bloom is still full of possibilities! The trend is definitely positive, and the one thing Hamilton has that Toronto doesn't is tons of soul. Great, warm, welcoming people....people that care. May sound odd - but you'd know what i'm talking about if you just moved here from TO like I did. Took a while to shake off that why are you talking to me attitude - truly I'm not a snob - I just wasn't used to everyone's open friendly nature. Let's hope that that can remain in tact, while we blossom....and remain as long as we can....a city full of possibilities.

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By Rusty (registered) - website | Posted February 03, 2007 at 11:13:14

Well said Shara.

I moved the other way (from the Hammer to TO) recently and I'm no longer able to afford the antiques on Queen Street east - what the hell happened there?

It seems to be a delicate balance between the Bohemians influence in regenerating a shopping district, and the subsequent buyout by the big boys. I suppose one way to get the kind of local businesses you want is to spend your dollars accordingly.

Good luck with your gallery :)


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By Transwall (anonymous) | Posted April 28, 2015 at 08:56:39

Glass wall is the best technique for designing Office because it takes less space and look wise so nice - Transwall

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