Hamilton Canada --- My Hamilton
We have every reason in the world to be proud of Hamilton – Steel Town – even if we have little or no steel left. I have lived in big cities all over the world: Birmingham, Nairobi, Norwich, Singapore to mention just a few. When I first came to this great city I knew this was the place I wanted to stay. My uncle drove me down Main Street and the excitement began building. The mountain looks impressive to a first-time viewer and then there was the glimpse of the bay as we passed northbound streets. The whole city was frozen and piles of snow lined the roadway. Electric buses ran on almost all east-west streets and the stores, shops and houses seemed to go on forever.
Of course, in those days we had steel industries, which gave us a canopy of sulphur gas that could be seen for miles (we didn’t have kilometres then,) and you could smell it anywhere in town. As Beverly Hillbilly Jed Clampett said, ‘The air was so good you could see what you were breathing’. Annoyingly we had trains that constantly blocked Ferguson Avenue and always when you were in a hurry and Barton Street Jail looked like a jail with its ugly Victorian stone construction and imposing walls. Tim Horton’s was a comparative rarity and the Jockey Club still stood at the corner of Ottawa and Barton. We have had our days of fame and infamy. Evelyn Dick, Rocco Perri and Plastamet to mention but three. There were good things, too: the CNE started in this town and the Empire Games; we even had a crystal palace. We process almost all the world’s mustard and have more magnificent waterfalls than any other city. The one thing I did notice and I suppose it’s the reason I decided to stay here is the people – helpful, always ready to volunteer and cheerful. We had the largest Boy Scout parade in the world, the largest Christmas party in the world. Man! this has to be the place. We even had an Eaton’s store once. Bygone days have gone by but now I find Hamilton more magnificent than ever. We have one of the best library systems in the world and although I complain about it the public transport must be up there in the top ten – you can always get a bus to go anywhere except Waterdown. It is disappointing that Toronto has the University of Toronto and we have McMaster University. It really should be the University of Hamilton, McMaster. That sounds much better. I love Hamilton so much so that I wrote an entire series of mystery-adventure books and based my hero here in this wonderful city. Now anyone anywhere in the world can read about us – just go on the Internet and using any search engine look for Bill Reyner or me and bingo! there’s the Hamilton boy and the city I love.
Our new mayor will do a fine job, as most of our mayors have in the past, as long as they can decide where to put the stadium. I would think the only real niggling point is the pedestrian lights. Why do I have to press a button to cross the road, when the thing cycles through all three colours anyway? If I press the button to cross, I still stand the same chances of getting run over by drivers who turn right without looking. But there again we have several really splendid cemeteries. Remember: the next time you raise a glass it’s not really drinking, it’s a toast to Hamilton, my city. But don’t drive home – the person you run over might be me.