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Go Back   SkyscraperPage Forum > Regional Sections > Canada > Ontario > SSP: Local Hamilton > Urban, Urban Design & Heritage Issues

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  #41  
Old Posted Jan 14, 2009, 2:39 PM
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Firefighters battle blaze on Ottawa Street

January 14, 2009
By Emma Reilly amd John Burman
The Hamilton Spectator
http://www.thespec.com/News/BreakingNews/article/495971

Mike Mojsiloich had just got to work when police told him to get out.
 
Flames roaring through the Indigo Decorating Centre store meant Mojsiloich could not stay at his job at Zorro’s Cleaners behind the burning building on Ottawa Street North at Campbell Avenue.
 
Mojsiloich said there was “a lot of smoke and a lot of flames” pouring from the paint and carpet store when he left the cleaners.
 
Hamilton firefighters are still on the job and expecting to be there most of the morning, battling smoke and  flames inside the two-storey brick building as well as  brutally cold temperatures which quickly turned water over spray to ice.

The roof of the building collapsed just before 8 a.m.

 
No cause has been determined and not estimate of damage is available
 
The two-alarm fire, at the intersection of Campbell Street and Ottawa, broke out on the first floor at 4:40 a.m.  and spread into the second quickly A passerby spotted flames inside and called 911
 
It has burned through the Indigo Decorating Centre,  consumed stocks of paint and carpet and sent flames roiling out through the roof.
 
Indigo’s owners, who have had the business for four years are at the scene and too upset to comment at this time.
 
The interior ground floor  of the two-storey brick building has  collapsed and firefighters are fighting to keep flames out of adjoining buildings, using two aerial trucks, one in front and one at the rear to pour water into the building.

 Xian Meng, owner of Zorro’s cleaners, said he had just put $50,000 into renovations in his store and has suffered smoke damage but fire did not reach his business.
 
He said he is worried about the smoke though, because it has been very heavy.
 
There have been no reports of injuries although at least one firefighter is reported to have slipped and fell on the now icy street.
 
There are apartments above the two-storey store but fire officials report they were empty.
 
Although police Mojsiloich at  dry cleaners shop  to leave the premises, there has been no evacuation ordered in the largely business district.
 
The building – in the middle of the Ottawa Street fabric district – is bounded by stores, including Greta’s Flair, a lingerie shop next door.
 
Fire has not got through the brick firewall between Indigo’s and the lingerie store, but water and smoke have got into Greta’s.
 
The owners  Greta’s Flair – a fixture on Ottawa Street North for 25 years –are on the scene but declined comment
 
Police have blocked Ottawa Street North between Barton Street East and Cannon Street and have asked the city to send plows and sanders into the neighbourhoods on either side of Ottawa Street to clear snow clogged residential streets and to handle expected traffic.
 
This is the second time in less than 24 hours Hamilton fire crews have worked in bone-chilling temperatures with the ever present danger of ice underfoot. On Monday, crews fought a $500,000 blaze that destroyed a Seabreeze Crescent home in Stoney Creek.
 
An HSR bus has been dispatched to the scene to provide a warm shelter from the -14C temperatures and -27 wind chill for firefighters to rest in rotation.
 
Box 43, the volunteer coffee wagon called to major fires, is on the site.
 
City works crews are on the scene with truckloads of salt to deal with frozen run-off water.
 
The Ministry of Environment has been informed and a city front end loader has been called to remove snow banks along Ottawa Street so sewer grates can be located and sealed so runoff water from the paint in the store does not go down the drains.
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  #42  
Old Posted Jan 14, 2009, 4:47 PM
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A photo of the aftermath

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  #43  
Old Posted Jan 17, 2009, 11:23 PM
bornagainbiking bornagainbiking is offline
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New Store Maxxums

Looks like a new fitness equipment store on Lower Ottawa near Barton, on the West side. Big front windows and plenty on display. Is this the place that used to be on Nebo Rd near Stonechurch.
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  #44  
Old Posted Feb 27, 2009, 3:55 PM
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  #45  
Old Posted Feb 27, 2009, 4:16 PM
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Very nice, I love how they are lit at night. The 'OTTAWA' really stands out. We've been admiring those during the day when we head to the Ottawa Street Farmer's Market.

BTW, Fletcher Farms at the Ottawa Market has the best Bosc Pears ever.
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  #46  
Old Posted Apr 4, 2009, 2:20 PM
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All eyes on Ottawa Street
Once down and out, Hamilton's home decor district has much to offer. With the redeveloping Centre Mall nearby, the area is looking good. And Kenilworth Street may get on board with its own BIA.

April 04, 2009
Lisa Grace Marr
The Hamilton Spectator
http://www.thespec.com/News/Business/article/542890

If the measure of a city's resilience can be taken in the spirit of its entrepreneurs, then Hamilton should look to Ottawa Street for inspiration.

As the recession deepens and layoffs abound nearby at the steel plants on Burlington Street, Patty Despinic is running around helping people who are racing to open four stores by the spring.

In between, as executive director of the Ottawa Business Improvement Area (BIA) she's gathering up eight applications for city facade grants worth about $100,000 in construction.

"There's always some excitement here, we're just this little spot that doesn't always get noticed."

But it's noticed enough, thanks to a major advertising campaign to make the home decor shopping area the top tourist attraction in the city. Not bad for a street that, to put it kindly, was a bit down at the heels less than a decade ago.

"When I started 12 years ago (with the BIA), there were 30 vacancies on the street. Now I think I have five," said Despinic.

Some of the boost in activity can be credited to the huge multimillion-dollar redevelopment of Centre Mall, which sits between Ottawa and Kenilworth streets abutting Barton Street on the north side.

Eventually, the former mall will be converted to a sprawling outdoor power centre with a Boston Pizza restaurant, a 105,000-square-foot new format Canadian Tire store, a Metro, Zellers and many others.

Many of the smaller independent stores that were inside the mall have moved out.

Many have chosen to stay in the neighbourhood, including Premier Time & Jewellery and Showtime Fragrances, opening soon on Ottawa Street.

But the big coup is the farmers' market, forced out of Centre Mall's parking lot into Ottawa Street's.

Ward 4 Councillor Sam Merulla wants the next major street over, Kenilworth Avenue, to benefit from the momentum on Ottawa and at Centre Mall.

He's determined to rid Kenilworth of the commercial storefronts that are "illegal conversions" to residential units.

He called a meeting March 3 of city staff and business/property owners to discuss creating a Kenilworth BIA. The meeting had a good turnout, with about 3o businesses represented.

It was a fortuitous day for the meeting -- U.S. Steel had just announced that afternoon that it would be laying off 720 workers at its Hilton Works plant. That's in addition to 684 laid off since November. In short order, U.S. Steel had sucked much of the life out of an already gasping neighbourhood.

Dave Shipton, owner of Shipton Furnace and Heating, a fixture on Kenilworth for more than 60 years, went to the meeting mindful of the impact of that day's news.

He remembers the days of heavy traffic down the street toward Stelco. He hopes a cleaned up street plus Centre Mall will help bring the traffic back.

"Even some flowers, better lighting, clean up some stores," he said.

"If we were like Ottawa and we got to advertising, I think that would attract even more people."

Robert Bragdon at East Hamilton Radio on the corner of Kenilworth and Barton didn't go to the meeting. But he was encouraged by the idea of a BIA on Kenilworth.

"I'm of the belief that around any power centre or mall, the small independents will show up again and serve customers. (That philosophy) has kept us in business for 78 years.

"(Centre Mall) is going to mean a lot of good stuff for this community."

Maureen Whittaker is building on that philosophy with her new consignment furniture store, The Millionaire's Daughter on Ottawa.

She plans on integrating goods from other stores such as floral displays, upholstery or drapery fabrics in her sprawling 4,000-square-foot showroom as marketing devices. "I think we can all work together."

Kenilworth businesses now must assess what properties, boundaries and potential there is for a new business improvement area in Hamilton's industrial heart.

Michael Desroches, who owns a real estate brokerage firm on Kenilworth, is convinced that change is mandatory for revitalization to take place. He said some of the buildings on the street need to be demolished, but there is potential.

"We've got to clean up. I think there are some (buildings) worth fixing up."

Despinic has been asked to help out with the first few meetings of property owners to help them chart their future. She said creating a successful BIA does not happen overnight.

Shipton said there are many lessons to be learned from neighbours.

"I think it's long overdue. In these times, every little bit helps. We need a shot in the arm to get it back. I've been here 30 years. The last 20, the place has been going downhill. It's time to do something."
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  #47  
Old Posted Apr 4, 2009, 8:37 PM
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Wow this is really good news! Kennilworth is definitely one of the worst areas in Hamilton, it has really fallen apart. It's good to see that Center Mall has at least caused some good changes, such as reducing vacancies in Ottawa street.
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  #48  
Old Posted Apr 5, 2009, 3:19 AM
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I waited 20 minutes in line today to buy fabric on Ottawa street... it was a busy, busy day. The lady ahead of me had made her trip from Burlington. I did see the Millionaire's Daughter place but didn't have time to check it out... it is a good-sized place though.

The idea of some business spinoff onto Kenilworth is exciting... but what would be its focus/impetus besides hoping for some traffic to come their way? If there was a BIA, what type of stores would they want to define Kenilworth as a street and what is there to build on that's particularly positive?

I truly don't know the area that well, but is there anything distinctive they could build on/niche market the stores there could focus on?
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  #49  
Old Posted Apr 5, 2009, 5:33 AM
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I didn't know Ottawa St. was getting that busy these days. Every time I go it looks like every store is empty.
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  #50  
Old Posted Apr 5, 2009, 2:00 PM
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Originally Posted by matt602 View Post
I didn't know Ottawa St. was getting that busy these days. Every time I go it looks like every store is empty.
I'm guessing you are going by on a weekday?

If so, that's the problem we (Hamiltonians) need to work on to get to the next stage. A a truly vibrant street can't exist on Saturday business alone, it needs to be busy mid-week as well.
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  #51  
Old Posted Apr 5, 2009, 3:11 PM
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The major gripe from friends from Toronto who visit ... they can't get over how everything seems to close around 5pm here. I hope that changes soon.
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  #52  
Old Posted Apr 5, 2009, 5:47 PM
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The major gripe from friends from Toronto who visit ... they can't get over how everything seems to close around 5pm here. I hope that changes soon.
Yeah a lot of people at MAC complain about that. There just doesn't seem to be the market for staying open crazy hours here, otherwise I'm sure they would be open late.
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  #53  
Old Posted Apr 5, 2009, 8:16 PM
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As someone who runs a retail store in the downtown core....I would love to be open later and on sundays and pretty much never close the doors as long as folks are walking through them.

One problem though...you stay open late or decide to open sundays and NO ONE comes. It has to be a downtown wide promotion. We are starting to open Mixed Media on sundays for spring and summer and will encourage our neighbours to open up as well.

But it is a two-way street. People have to support it - otherwise it is a waste of time and money for the indepedent retailer.
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  #54  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2009, 1:15 AM
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Originally Posted by emge View Post
I waited 20 minutes in line today to buy fabric on Ottawa street... it was a busy, busy day.
Great to hear this. I think I spent half my childhood in those stores, waiting for my mom while she bought fabric, flipped through pattern books, took a match to swatches of fabric to test if it was really cotton or synthetic or whatever it was, lol!
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  #55  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2009, 2:41 AM
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Yeah, its a vicious circle I guess.. retailers want to be open late but nobody comes... people have habits to drive to certain hotspots like the Fortino's plaza at Dundurn and Main for EVERYTHING even though there are little stores that carry the same products within walking distance (but are closed) The art crawl is such a great way to start turning this trend around.
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  #56  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2009, 4:48 AM
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Yeah for sure, the art crawl is definitely a good idea. I'm happy to say that I have participated , I need to go again soon though!
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  #57  
Old Posted Aug 12, 2009, 2:10 PM
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http://www.thespec.com/News/Local/article/616739

"August 12, 2009
Joan Walters
The Hamilton Spectator
(Aug 12, 2009)

Rising rents and Locke Street's transformation to an upscale boutique-style shopping haven have prompted the area's third antique store to abandon the district for up-and-coming Ottawa Street."
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  #58  
Old Posted Apr 14, 2010, 7:48 PM
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  #59  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2010, 2:05 AM
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I love that little square. It's so perfect for Ottawa Street. James North needs something like it.
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  #60  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2010, 2:08 PM
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Wow, I'm impressed.
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