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Old Posted May 22, 2017, 2:51 PM
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Toronto and Hamilton in November by vid

This was my first time in in Toronto (I had been to Mississauga by plane about 3 years before but 90% of my time there was spent running from one gate to another at Pearson so it doesn't count). My final destination wasn't Toronto, though. I was actually going to Hamilton, on a most-expenses-paid-trip by provincial government's universal healthcare plan to Hamilton Health Sciences Centre so my mom's cancer could be removed! (It was and she's fine now.)

We were originally supposed to leave a day earlier than we did but a freak snow storm hit my city and shut down our airport, so the day we originally intended on spending in Toronto (we wanted to check out the AGO and CN Tower) was cancelled. On the way back we didn't have time so the Toronto bits are limited to what was within a 5-minute walk of Union Station.

Flickr's Terms of Service (last time I checked) requires me to tell you that all the photos posted here are hosted on their website, and you can view them here. There are some photos there that I'm not posting here so it's like an exclusive behind the scenes sneak peak directors cut extra content.

Here are the photos:

This is a weird cloud canyon somewhere over Lake Superior, taken from the window of the plane on the way there. We flew Porter, which gives you free beer (I don't drink) and offers 6 to 12 flights between Toronto and Thunder Bay every day.



This is Sault Ste. Marie. The main road on the right side is Great Northern Road.



After about 5 minutes wandering around on Google Earth I decided this is Thessalon, on the shore of Georgian Bay.



Rainbow!



My first photo of Toronto! Landing in the city was very fun, there was heavy rain and sleet and wind gusts around 80km/h so we approached the airport at a weird angle.



The weather was really shitty.



To get to Hamilton, we got a ride to the airport in Thunder Bay by car, then flew in a plane, then took a ferry to get to the mainland, then took a bus to the train station, then took a train to Hamilton, then took another bus to another train station (because trains don't go to Hamilton on the weekend), then a cab to the hotel, and then an elevator to the hotel room. I didn't get to ride a streetcar though.



This little park was nice. People smoke here because it's hidden.



Shit weather.



Banks and hotels. First Canadian Place (the tall white BMO building) is as tall as the tallest mountain in Thunder Bay, so it was interesting to stand here and look up at it and realize that.



Union Station was really confusing. They've been renovating it for 90 years.



"No one Cityplace tower stands out, but the combined effect will be staggering!" -Toronto forumer "Are Be" circa 2005.









This one is Etobicoke



This station stop was Port Credit. Port Credit was this station stop.



Oakville.



When we got to Aldershot (end of the line), I used the washroom and bought a bottle of Dr. Pepper to drink. We took a GO Transit bus to Hamilton's GO station and that was where the hilarity ensued: Our literal first impression of Hamilton was walking up to three cabs parked in a row. The first cab driver was arguing with the second one, we don't know what he was arguing about because he wasn't speaking English, but the dispute ended with cab driver 2 kicking cab driver 1's car and then cab driver 1 drove off and cab driver 2 followed. We went got into cab number 3, and that driver apologized for them.

Anyway if you ever stay at the Sheraton in Hamilton don't bother using this overhead walkway because it's always locked for some reason.



Now you might be wondering "Why did you stay at the Sheraton?" and the answer is "It's connected to the mall". The hotel is the only one connected to Jackson Square Mall, a large (by my standards) shopping centre with over 100 stores and a pretty interesting food court. Connected to that mall is another mall (a dead mall) with a bunch of empty spaces on three levels. More on that later.

So anyway, on to day 2 of our week long visit. This was the view from our room:







Hahaha remember Eatons?









BONUS FEATURE: Click here for a panoramic view of BURLINGTON!!!!

So, I don't think I have to tell you when this building was built. Just by looking at it you can probably figure it out.



I was surprised to see graffiti in Hamilton, because the letters to the editor in Thunder Bay's local paper imply that this only exists in Thunder Bay, and no where else, and that it's specifically our mayor who is to blame for it. Hmm..



I love rounded brick objects that serve little to no purpose. I really think we need to bring this back.



So anyway, the roof of Jackson Square Mall (which I know in Hamilton is beat up on as a shit hole but I come from Thunder Bay so it was really awesome to me) is a public plaza. You can go up there and walk around or sit and look at the trees and ugly buildings or whatever. Few people seem to bother to do that. I had looked at Hamilton's aerial photos for years and seen this large useless expanse and wondered "why would they put such an ugly plaza there?" before but it wasn't until actually going to the city that I realized it was the roof of a mall.

The first two photos show Hamilton's main library which also functions as a farmer's market.





Stelco Tower, Hamilton's tallest office building.



The building to the right of the Sheraton Hotel is one of the ugliest things I've ever seen but it has a 10 storey atrium above a giant LCBO inside the mall, so it's not all that bad.



The new buildings on the right are a Hampton Inn or Hilton or something.



Copps Coliseum. I don't know why the sign calls it the wrong thing???? There was a hockey game one night while I was there and I walked by the place, you'd hardly know anything was happening. It's apparently soundproof. No one used those doors on game night, I don't think they even unlocked them?



The rooftop plaza has the most delightful 1970s geometry. The trees were really nice to look at.



This is the entrance of Juravinski Hospital. It's where the operation was done.



McMaster University Hospital. Prettiest hospital in Canada! On the way here the cab driver said many very good things about this hospital which was encouraging. We spent several hours here waiting for numerous tests to be done.



This is the smoking area on hospital property. We were astounded because in my city, the entire hospital property is a no smoking zone and carries a $300 fine for the first offense so people have to walk all the way out to the highway to smoke. At the hospitals in this city you can smoke wherever you want apparently?



Beautiful architecture. A masterpiece. This building just screams "health and vitality await you here!"





Here are some more shots from the hotel room:



Toronto waving in the distance!



These buildings looked neat.







Tim Hortons started in Hamilton. I celebrated that by not going to a single Tim Hortons while I was there. (I did stop at one in Tornoto. More on that later.)



Art.



This is the end of day 2. That's enough photos for now, so I will leave you with this super awesome panorama of Hamilton!

Next up, photos of Hamilton from the ground!!
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  #2  
Old Posted May 22, 2017, 3:15 PM
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goot put frand.

For real though, nice pictures. It's a shame it wasn't sunny/blue sky everyday, but it does give it a nice gritty atmosphere.
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Old Posted May 22, 2017, 4:00 PM
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Nice pictures! I'm looking forward to more!

I always like follow-me-around threads of Toronto, Hamilton, and Ontario in general. Being there every summer, I can really picture myself being up there again and picturing my life in those places.

So Porter Airlines flies 6 times a day to Thunder Bay? I may have to look up flights from Toronto to explore Canada a little more.
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Old Posted May 22, 2017, 5:07 PM
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Depending on the day, there are 12 to 17 round-trip flights betwen Thunder Bay and Toronto, on the three major airlines, between 5am and 1:30am. Porter only operates between 7am and 9pm but Pearson and Thunder Bay airports are 24/7.

If you fly directly here from the US East Coast, flying out of Newark is faster. The layovers aren't as long as when you fly from Washington.
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Old Posted May 22, 2017, 10:45 PM
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Oakville.

That's Clarkson, not Oakville.
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Old Posted May 23, 2017, 2:06 AM
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Quote:
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Depending on the day, there are 12 to 17 round-trip flights betwen Thunder Bay and Toronto, on the three major airlines, between 5am and 1:30am. Porter only operates between 7am and 9pm but Pearson and Thunder Bay airports are 24/7.

If you fly directly here from the US East Coast, flying out of Newark is faster. The layovers aren't as long as when you fly from Washington.
Interesting. I always drive to Ontario. I think flying out of Toronto or Hamilton to another place in Canada would be easier since I wouldn't have to go through customs at the airport. Some time I think I'm going to do 24 hours in another city while I'm up vacationing on the Niagara Peninsula.
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Old Posted May 23, 2017, 11:17 AM
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Could have taken a streetcar if you'd wanted to. It's only a block or two from where you get out of the island airport.
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Old Posted May 23, 2017, 11:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthernDancer View Post
That's Clarkson, not Oakville.
Sorry, they all look the same to me.
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Old Posted May 24, 2017, 3:55 AM
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Great tour and excellent commentary. I look forward to more!
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Old Posted May 24, 2017, 6:34 AM
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wow your thread is such a wow to me!!!

firstly why we (me too) always face shitty whether in Toronto? whether weather in there always being shitty?

secondly is the WOW point, I couldn't believe people can look to Toronto skyline from a DT Hamilton window!!! this is brand new, wow, it's real and it really happens and it's true, so wow, can't be much wower! long ago it shocked me that people could look to Toronto from the falls but this time from Hamilton ... WOWer!
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Old Posted May 24, 2017, 4:09 PM
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wow your thread is such a wow to me!!!

firstly why we (me too) always face shitty whether in Toronto? whether weather in there always being shitty?

secondly is the WOW point, I couldn't believe people can look to Toronto skyline from a DT Hamilton window!!! this is brand new, wow, it's real and it really happens and it's true, so wow, can't be much wower! long ago it shocked me that people could look to Toronto from the falls but this time from Hamilton ... WOWer!
I think downtown Hamilton to downtown Toronto is only about 60km as the crow flies.


Good shots vid. It's been a long time since I've seen Hamilton. Looking forward to the shots from the ground.
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Old Posted May 24, 2017, 11:40 PM
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The exact distance from my hotel room to the top of the CN tower was 58.02km:



As for the shitty weather, if you like sunshine, Canada is pretty much a write off between October and April, and these were in November. In most of Canada, November is the month with the least amount of sunny skies. (Even December has more clear, sunny days than November in Thunder Bay.)

The week before we went there it was in the high 20s in Hamilton, people there kept joking that we brought winter with us. As I said in the first post, Thunder Bay experienced a snowstorm (the largest of last winter, I believe) the day before we left, but the three weeks that proceeded that were beautiful. Most of the photos I took last year were in November, which is usually the month I take the fewest photos.

I'll have part two up later (starting it now) and I'm also going to do a Thunder Bay photo thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beedok View Post
Could have taken a streetcar if you'd wanted to. It's only a block or two from where you get out of the island airport.
I had my mom with me for a medical trip, so we didn't quite have the time. Porter had a free shuttle bus to Union Station (a block away, at least—the week we were there they actually moved it from Simcoe Place to the Royal York for some reason so we had trouble finding it on the way home) so we didn't need to take the streetcar.

We did take the tunnel to the airport on the way back. My god, that thing gives the Pyongyang Subway a run for its money in the depth department. Just when you think you've finished a ride on the tallest escalator in the world, you go around a bend and there's a second one just as tall! We thought the elevator on the way down was slow... it was just going really, really far.
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Old Posted May 25, 2017, 1:27 AM
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Flickr's Terms of Service (last time I checked) requires me to tell you that all the photos posted here are hosted on their website, and you can view them here.

While I was in Hamilton I didn't take my "big camera" (Nikon D7000) out, I just used my point and shoot Samsung ES80. I did intend on taking a couple walks with the "big camera" but I didn't have the time due to the nature of my visit to Hamilton (medical purposes).



So continuing from where we left off, these are photos from a trip my mom and I took to the Art Gallery of Hamilton (no AGO, but still a really nice little art gallery). They had an exhibit showing various proposals for the city that never happened, everything from subdivisions to building proposals, which was pretty cool. There was also a Ken Danby exhibit at the time, and an exhibit of The Last Folio by Slovak-Canadian photographer Yuri Dojc which focused on an abandoned Jewish village in Slovakia where his family originated. Had I not waited so long to post this thread I could have encouraged you to see it, as it was on display until May 14th. I didn't take any photos inside (I tend to focus more on the artists work than my own and almost always forget that I'm holding a camera when I'm in a museum) but if you're ever in Hamilton, I highly recommend the AGH. It's not very big but we managed to spend around 3 hours there.

http://www.artgalleryofhamilton.com/index-orig.php

These photos were taken in the Irving Zucker Sculpture Garden, located between the gallery and city hall, which is also quite interesting and pleasant to sit in (as it was a sunny, warm day when we visited).















We did plan on visiting more of Hamilton (everyone recommended the botanical gardens) but time and health were a constraint.

If I had to make one criticism of this particular area in the next photo, which is outside of the art gallery, it would have to be that it's a bit difficult to navigate, with a lot of fences, locked doors and stairs. There was a lot of "I think this is the way back—oh, no, it isn't". But it was quite clean—the whole city was much more tidy than I had been led to believe by Hamilton's reputation.

To the right is the art gallery, and to the left is the Hamilton Convention Centre. (There was some sort of wedding exhibit going on that week?) IIRC, there is a street underneath this:



These next few photos are quite memorable. It wasn't until people saw me taking photos of this that they stopped to appreciate what I imagine is a fairly common sight on King Street:







So the photos so far were all from the second day there; I didn't notice it until after I started the photo thread that my camera had the wrong year (2015 instead of 2016) and the photos were organized a little bit out of order.


This next set of photos was taken on the third day we were in Hamilton, while my mom was undergoing surgery. I wandered around downtown for about an hour with my camera taking photos of buildings that caught my eye to pass the time instead of sitting in the waiting room.

These first few photos were taken on James Street, which is the main north-south corridor in Hamilton, and is quintessentially Hamilton. I didn't take any photos but I did walk most of it (between the two GO stations) at night on the Thursday or Friday night we were there, and there was a lot going on. I wanted to steal just a block of it to bring it home and show people in Thunder Bay what a city could be.



I like graffiti and uncommissioned art on buildings, it makes up a significant portion of what I photograph. I found this one particularly funny; I think she'll be fine.





Hamilton City Centre is a three storey, mostly empty indoor mall that was originally built for the city's Eaton's store. (Eaton's was a Canadian department store, it went bankrupt in 1998). The inside decor (and I went at night!

There will be photos later on!) is that wonderful subdued-yet-tacky aesthetic that was popular in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and it's all lit with thousands of little incandescent bulbs. Dan Bell would love it.



This is the Lister Block, a beautiful Chicago School structure faced in decorative brick and (I believe) terra cotta.

It was almost demolished after sitting vacant for many years but was recently renovated. The crane in the background is for new construction going up beside it.



Pivot right, and you can see that Hamilton is still very much a rough, gritty city. There is a lot of potential in these buildings to establish a great, vibrant neighbourhood and hopefully the next time I visit they'll be in better condition.





Travel south a couple blocks and we get to the office tower district.



Dozens of city blocks were demolished to develop Jackson Square and the City Hall/Art Gallery part of downtown Hamilton. A portion of their city nearly as large as my city's entire downtown, gone in a decade for "urban renewal".

The smaller building on the right is being converted into a satellite campus of McMaster University, the largest in Hamilton and one of the best in Canada.



A statue of HM Queen Victoria, because Canada.



Examples of art deco aren't particularly common in Canada. We had our own style in Canada that was contemporary at the time which was a homegrown blend of beaux arts and art deco that, while very representative of Canadian culture at the time, is less ostentatious and less fun. We were, at the time, a more patient and risk averse country.

This is the Pigott Building. More on it shortly.





These next two photos show off that more conservative flavour of beaux arts/art deco we favoured in Canada. They do bridge the gap between classic and modern architecture quite well, and on a small scale make for some very tasteful buildings.





This Romanesque building on the left is quite showy by comparison:



Gore Park (the greenspace shown in the last few photos) was being reorganized while I was there. The whole area, like much of Hamilton, is rough but transitioning to a cleaner, more refined area, good or bad. The architectural variety is nice.







Closer to Main Street and city hall, the building become grander. This was the point where Hamilton stopped feeling familiar to me; it got bigger.

The Pigott Building is one of the finest examples of art deco in all of Canada.











I don't know for sure if that's Tyndall Stone but I assume it is. A very Canadian building material.



I regret not getting a photo of that church. I intended to, but didn't make it back to that particular area.









The building in the distance here is Landmark Tower, an apartment building which is also Hamilton's tallest high rise.



This is now a courthouse, but was originally Hamilton's Carnegie Library.







I found this church to be kind of silly looking.



Contrasting all of this is Hamilton's modern City Hall. Though it's only about 20 to 40 years younger than most of these buildings, it stands out with its international style architecture. Like the Pigott Building, it is one of the best examples of its architectural style in Canada, and it was recently restored by the city in a manner that respected that architectural heritage as much as possible, at least on the outside. I knew that if I was going to photograph only one building while I was in Hamilton, it would be this one.





We don't have sycamore trees in Thunder Bay, so I had to go up and touch them.



I love the tiles between the windows on the lower portion of the building.









Council chambers overlook the plaza in front. The audience sits in tiered seating to either side and the council meets at a round table in the centre, overlooking the city they govern.



Across from city hall, you can see the art gallery and Commonwealth Square.



It took me a while to find out what this monument was called. It's apparently called the Ukrainian Settlement Monument. I can't find anything specific though. More sycamore trees! They're neat.



David Braley Health Sciences Centre, part of McMaster University, is the newest building in this civic amenities complex.





I found the weathered copper treatment on the façade really interesting. I think most of us can agree that verdigris is a pleasing colour to look at.



These last few photos show a bit of something that I wasn't able to capture well while I was in Hamilton: the escarpment. The city is split into two parts by the Niagara Escarpment, with one half of the city about 150 feet higher than the other half.

It makes commuting between the two parts a bit of a challenge, since opportunities to connect the two parts by road are limited. This street is called the Sherman Cut. You can see why:



This is the view of the city from that bridge in the distance:









It's a really nice view at night. The Juravinski Hospital (should you ever go there) has a great view of the city, as it's located on the edge of the escarpment.

I'll leave you with a panoramic view from the hotel hallway.

The next set (I'm hoping to post it on Saturday) will feature a couple night time shots of Hamilton, and some more of Toronto.
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Old Posted May 25, 2017, 2:56 AM
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Another great set vid. You have done Hamilton proud. It would break your heart if you saw what got torn down in the name of urban renewal. I was young but remember a thriving, bustling city with amazing Victorian architecture and no parking lots.

Once again, thanks for your pithy wit. Always a pleasure to read what you have to say.
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Old Posted May 25, 2017, 4:29 AM
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More great photos. Hopefully you'll make it back to Hamilton again, with more time to check out other areas of the city.
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Old Posted May 25, 2017, 4:52 AM
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Great pictures of Hamilton. Seeing these makes me miss living there.

Your third picture you posted is indeed Thessalon.
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Old Posted May 25, 2017, 6:47 AM
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long ago it shocked me that people could look to Toronto from the falls but this time from Hamilton ... WOWer!
Hamilton is much closer to Toronto than Niagara Falls is.
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Old Posted May 25, 2017, 12:58 PM
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Did you get to see the bus station downtown? It's fairly nice architecturally.
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Old Posted May 25, 2017, 2:16 PM
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Nice second round of pictures!
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Old Posted May 28, 2017, 6:11 PM
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Did you get to see the bus station downtown? It's fairly nice architecturally.
Yes, but I didn't have time to take any photos of it.
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