A Hamilton weekend; – 2 ‘Biggies’ 1

Review by Danny Gaisin
               We’ve been Hamiltonians for a half-decade. Alas, whenever we have guests we invariably show them eight or twelve waterfalls, and then back home. This year, we’ve decided to expand our appreciation of other things local. The Greenbelt Harvest was our inaugural. As suggested by a neighbor, yesterday we visited the vintage Steam & Technology Museum on Woodward Avenue. A commanding sense of déja vu as we approached, yet this would be our first visit!  Our guide Julia, explained the reason for such a recollection…we’re fans of CBCTV’s ‘Murdoch Mysteries’.Hamilton's Steam Museum, aka Downtown 'Toronto' 1900Lori Yates & Drugstore Cowboys, performing

Steam Museum, aka Downtown ‘T.O’ 1900                                Lori Yates & Drugstore Cowboys

Hello; we were back in downtown Toronto circa 1902!  The operation was completed in 1859 and seeing the intricately detailed engineering involved in what I estimate is a 75-foot tall operation is mind-boggling. We kept thinking that designing & constructing the thousands of interconnected pieces that are part of the apparatus was done WITHOUT a computer is almost unbelievable. Meeting one-on-one with the operation’s engineer, let us hear an explanation of weight/size rations of protons…which somehow led to E=MC2 . This was discovered at about the same time as the steam generators went into operation. He also clued us on the A/C vs D/C currents debate by Edison & Tesla. They both got it – we still don’t!
Climbing ancient staircases lit by old-fashioned bulb and exposed wiring; traversing all six floors might be intimidating for some folks. Living in a century-old house it was normal for us (albeit without a resident ghost!). We also saw the area designed to entice, thrill and occupy children who might not want to explore the procedure. However, this grandparent would certainly recommend taking them along – just for the educational benefit. The museum is open daily from noon until 4pm.

James St. North SUPER CRAWL is an annual event attracting oodles of visitors. By the numbers: – 100,000 sightseers; thousands of performers; 100’s of displaying artisans; dozens of food trucks and tens of community-fund booths. The atmosphere is friendly and gives off an aura of neighborliness than is almost tangible. We walked (twice) the entire length of the showcase area; was politely chastised by a local gendarme for looking only at the street light – not the walk/don’t walk warning sign, and was approached by more than a few people who recognized us. Had a chance to tell the ‘SPEC’™ booth-attendees how annoyed we are by the ad-wraps the paper utilizes. Hint to publicists…we studiously REFUSE to patronize any company that uses this means of promotion!
The creative talent that is on display boggles the mind. Visual arts that are bargain-priced and quite probably will retain or even capitalize on such an investment. Saw one work that was reminiscent of Thomson’s North Channel windswept bleakness, but it was over our definitely limited budget. Visited a leather works booth and nearly bought a new business card holder. Saw some candles that looked like huge cupcakes; so artistically creative as to probably never having their wicks fired. We meandered through the ‘family area’ with its goal of entertaining the younger generation.      Did a lot of people watching, especially the kids and their pace-changing when spotting some interactive opportunity such as the trio of climbable bears. Heard some of the myriad free entertainment performing during the afternoon; but missed the evening headliner draws.

Hamilton's RED HILL woodworkers

Hamilton’s RED HILL woodworkers

When we contemplated making the move to Hamilton from Oakville, one of the major draws was the evolving interest and support of things cultural. The emigration of Toronto’s Beaches folk of theatre to visual arts to music reflected a trend that attracted us. Forget that ‘lunch pail’ description; we’re right up there with any of the communities our O.A.R. crosses. Not a single regret (except maybe the new Bus Only lanes on King St.) about becoming a Hamiltonian; but won’t really be a native until someone explains what ‘oskeweewee; oskiwawa’ means!

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