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Go Back   SkyscraperPage Forum > Regional Sections > Canada > Ontario > SSP: Local Hamilton > Culture, Dining, Sports & Recreation

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  #1  
Old Posted Nov 4, 2008, 6:20 PM
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How can we help give the displaced Mac students a better intro to downtown?

The most discouraging part of the Spec article today:

"If there was a silver lining to the Brandon fire, it was the hope that the influx of hundreds of students would inject some life into Hamilton's struggling downtown.

The city has been trying for years to get a university residence downtown and the Brandon fire has been an opportunity for a trial run.

But so far, the students don't seem to be venturing too far into the downtown core.

Phyllis Stefanik, an employee at Druxy's in Jackson Square, said other than one student who asked if they accepted McMaster meal cards, she hasn't noticed any student traffic. The Honest Lawyer, Cheapies and two businesses around the Crowne Plaza -- Sushi Star and Hasty Mart -- all say they haven't noticed an increase of student business.

The only business to confirm that they've noticed a small spike was the Jackson Square LCBO.

The students say they haven't been venturing out downtown because they're afraid.

"It's creepy," Perlman said of her new downtown neighbourhood. "I'm terrified as soon as it gets dark out."

"It's not like downtown Toronto," Fairclough said. "Most of us are pretty timid. A lot of people are worried about the crime in the area.""

Most of us can agree those fears are largely unfounded, and the article likely exaggerates them, but the culture shock for suburban kids moving downtown is real, as is the opportunity to help introduce them to the postiive aspects of downtown living if some initiative is taken.

What can be done to help these Mac kids transition to the downtown, be more exposed to the good things downtown, even begin to like the downtown more? They know about Hess - how do they get exposed to the rest?

What can the government, individuals, businesses, business associations do? Heck, what could we do?

(I am glad to see that most of them aren't using their ridiculous $200 weekly cab allowance for cabs because they feel THAT unsafe, though.)
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  #2  
Old Posted Nov 4, 2008, 6:27 PM
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ryan_mcgreal ryan_mcgreal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emge View Post
What can be done to help these Mac kids transition to the downtown, be more exposed to the good things downtown, even begin to like the downtown more? They know about Hess - how do they get exposed to the rest?
That's easy: guided walking tour followed by a pub crawl.
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  #3  
Old Posted Nov 4, 2008, 6:54 PM
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Most of us can agree those fears are largely unfounded,
bwahaha!
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  #4  
Old Posted Nov 4, 2008, 7:12 PM
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The Mac students have cause to be concerned.

The downtown core, at night especially, is a different animal. Far different from campus, Westdale, and likely, wherever it is they hail from.

In terms of going out, they want to go to bars where other students hang out, likely making the trek to Hess Street.

The Downtown BIA would be smart to organize a walking tour for sure. Show them some of the local flavour. Perhaps the James North Art Crawl should extend a special offer to displaced students for the next art crawl.
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  #5  
Old Posted Nov 4, 2008, 7:13 PM
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- Intro to the Art Crawl next Friday night
- Tour of the Farmers Market, especially those at Staybridges
- The Mayor's office organizing a reception/information session
- The BIA proactively marketing to the students on behalf of their members

I can't get on thespec.com right now, but if I recall correctly there was about 500 students (can someone confirm) and they are getting $200/week from Mac's insurance. So that's a $100,000/week influx of new money into the core.

Now some are saving it for trips, tuition, etc. But human nature is to spend some of that 'found money', so even it that means 25% that's a good cash influx to the core on a continuing weekly basis.

Hopefully, the mayor's office (city) and the BIA are actively pursuing that spending money windfall.
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  #6  
Old Posted Nov 4, 2008, 7:14 PM
coalminecanary coalminecanary is offline
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i find the druxy's quote to be slightly misleading. the students just moved there. they have barely had time to explore. they may never have the time or inclination to explore. to most this is a temporary situation and "we will get through it". if there were a permanent student residence downtown, the retail position would be completely different because the stores would be going out of their way to cater to the students, seeing as they are a "permanent" placement. offering discounts and accepting meal cards for example. are any downtown businesses targeting students directly? i don't know whether or not they are - but if they are not, they have no one to blame but themselves for not reaping any benefits from the students' presence. if i owned a food establishment downtown i'd be getting my ass into the sil with a coupon every week.
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  #7  
Old Posted Nov 4, 2008, 7:40 PM
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McMaster will be asking students about their opinions regarding their stay at downtown. So really this is a test.
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  #8  
Old Posted Nov 4, 2008, 8:13 PM
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McMaster will be asking students about their opinions regarding their stay at downtown. So really this is a test.
All the more reason for the city (mayor's office) and BIA to be bending over backwards, providing ambassadors, walking tours, and informational services.
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  #9  
Old Posted Nov 4, 2008, 8:15 PM
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I just can't believe the same group of people who apparently frequent hess village find downtown scary.
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  #10  
Old Posted Nov 4, 2008, 8:15 PM
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to start with, let's hook them up with HMag, RTH, Arts Hamilton, Pearl Company etc.... not some writer from the Spec.

Students would love Pepperjacks, London Tap House, Augustra/John area, Hess, Locke South, Staircase Cafe-Theatre (reopening tomorrow as Tapestry Bistro), James North galleries, JS theatres, farmers market, library etc......

Dave Kuruc should take by a ton of copies of HMag and drop them off. The University has always done a crap job at promoting life in the city, so let's do it ourselves.
Heck, if they want to drink, they can step into the Honest Lawyer instead of the hotel lobby. Geez, this article is so bush league. As if they are all huddled in the front lobby peeering through the windows, scared to go out. It's a quote from an individual that the Spec LOVES. What else is new?
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  #11  
Old Posted Nov 4, 2008, 8:15 PM
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I just can't believe the same group of people who apparently frequent hess village find downtown scary.
they aren't...see my above post. it's another BS article by the fearmongering Spec.
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  #12  
Old Posted Nov 4, 2008, 9:05 PM
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The University has always done a crap job at promoting life in the city, so let's do it ourselves.
I don't disagree with that statement, but I think they really have no reason to promote life in the city. It provides no little to no value to the university to promote life in the city.

It would be the cities job to promote city life to Mac students, and I'm betting they've historically done a job equal to that of the university......

I think, all students should be getting a weekly newsletter delivered to their doors that promotes theatres, restaurants, stores, activities, discounts, etc. in the core.
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  #13  
Old Posted Nov 4, 2008, 9:12 PM
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a newsletter and getting the downtown BIA involved are both great ideas.

So who's best to get some of these things going? Who naturally would be able to make that contact with the businesses and the students, or extend it from another publication?

i'm asking most of these question because I think the need to make that connection is big, but I don't have an extra 40 hours in my week or the know-how to do it, and I'm honestly not too familiar with a lot of the Hamilton publications.

It seems a lot can be done (and as has been pointed out, there is a significant amount of money kicking around with these kids) so where to start?
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  #14  
Old Posted Nov 5, 2008, 12:10 AM
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I'm personally of the opinion that the majority of these students couldn't care about anything aside from the LCBO in JS and the dingy night clubs/bars along Hess. That's why I think none of them have bothered to find anything else. I have no faith that any more than 10% of them care to be find out the downtown culture. The other 90% are happy getting plastered and running up and down the halls of the hotel in bed sheets, screaming their heads off like 15 year old's, because they need to "calm down from the stress of studying". Apparently that was their usual routine at Brandon.
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  #15  
Old Posted Nov 5, 2008, 12:36 AM
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also remember..now is a high time for alot of students..to have to focus on schoolwork. They don't have the time or the effort to go walk around downtown..sure that weekly night out at Hess or whatever..but other than that..they're loaded overall with their focus on school.
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  #16  
Old Posted Nov 5, 2008, 12:37 AM
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Bars, clubs, and pubs, Corktown included should have pub nights to attract students. Accepting meal cards would be nice.

Jackson Square cafeteria accepting meal cards would be great as well.
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  #17  
Old Posted Nov 5, 2008, 12:49 AM
raisethehammer raisethehammer is offline
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I'm personally of the opinion that the majority of these students couldn't care about anything aside from the LCBO in JS and the dingy night clubs/bars along Hess. That's why I think none of them have bothered to find anything else. I have no faith that any more than 10% of them care to be find out the downtown culture. The other 90% are happy getting plastered and running up and down the halls of the hotel in bed sheets, screaming their heads off like 15 year old's, because they need to "calm down from the stress of studying". Apparently that was their usual routine at Brandon.
sadly, I think you're right. Turns out one of their own started the fire in Brandon.
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  #18  
Old Posted Nov 5, 2008, 1:18 AM
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sadly, I think you're right. Turns out one of their own started the fire in Brandon.
And unfortunately didn't have the personality to step forward and take responsibility in the days after the incident.
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Old Posted Nov 5, 2008, 3:29 AM
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Oh, sure, they may not be the most desirable piles o' fun right now besides what their money brings to the area, but if they get to see downtown Hamilton now and enjoy it, then when they grow up and get jobs, they might be persuaded to stay. (Not to mention that I'm sure not all of them are acting like childish drunken idiots, though that seems to prevail in most university communities).

But their long-term effects are surely the point, not the short-term misbehaviours?
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Old Posted Nov 5, 2008, 3:43 AM
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also remember..now is a high time for alot of students..to have to focus on schoolwork. They don't have the time or the effort to go walk around downtown..sure that weekly night out at Hess or whatever..but other than that..they're loaded overall with their focus on school.
To be frank, the residence experience at Mac historically tends to breed insularity and the expectation of convenience. Everything is there for you, albeit a less flavourful version of what you might be able to get off-campus. Many Mac students regularly travel no further than Westdale, maybe a kilometer from their bed. At first I thought that the change of circumstance might introduce an interesting variable, but I can see the flip side as well. It's not just about comfort level but also spare time. If this happened in late September, maybe it'd be a different story. November to January isn't the ideal time to be exploring downtown. And displaced students may have social ties within Brandon and among other residences on campus that they'll want to maintain. Hotels have plenty of tourism info, from maps to guidebooks, so it's not like they're on Mars or something. I really think it comes down to time. Hess on the weekend is a comfort and a constant, and it's what they know. Many Hamiltonians have to be coaxed into visiting downtown or require the reassurance of a crowd to know that a cultural pastime is the thing to do. It's not an exclusively undergraduate condition.
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