It’s funny, Toronto has the hustle and bussle, but it’s downtown Hamilton that I like more. Probably, as my friend Kathy pointed out on Flickr, it’s because despite it’s size, Hamilton’s downtown feels more like a small town than Toronto does. Sure there’s a handful of skyscrapers, Stelco Tower for example, but there’s not a canyon like you find along Bay Street in TO. Hamilton still maintains many of it’s historic buildings (well most of them…if you see a random parking lot, good chance that used to be a historic building). Despite the many years of decline the downtown is starting to come back it still has a way to go, but with more time, and continued support from the local government and businesses Hamilton will once again be the city it once was.
I seem to be going on a small town kick for this project. Week 15 brought be out to St. Jacobs. After an early start to the day and a run up to Lindsay to pick up a puppy with my friend Nicole I headed out to the Kitchener-Waterloo area for a friend’s stag-and-doe. But I took some extra time to head up to St. Jacobs. I usually stick to the area around the Highway as that’s where there’s this awesome antique store. But I never ventured into the historic downtown. Like many towns that grew up in this part of Ontario it was based around a mill, St. Jacobs is no different. The mill operations are long gone, however the mill is now an arts complex.
Note to Self: When wanting to reuse fixer, mix a stronger dilution.
Oops. Yeah, I fixed this roll of film in exhausted fixer so lets say that the results were well interesting, but with a bit of work in Photoshop I was able to recover some images, but the contrast just wasn’t there that I’m used to in Tri-X. But I had to post them anyways. Today we visit the small village of Ancaster located in the shadow of the Niagara Escarpment. I took a break from the family Easter dinner to wander the historic downtown. The main draw for me was the historic mill, now an upscale restaurant, was used to house prisoners during the Bloody Assizes of 1814 during the later end of the War of 1812, also two fantastic waterfalls.
Situated high above the rushing waters of the grand river sits the tiny town of Elora Ontario. And in all my time living in the area I’ve never actually visited the small town. But taking advantage of a cold bright Monday morning (we had a long weekend here) I drove the hour or so north to visit the town. I was inspired to visit here after seeing an entry in the recent contest for the Milton Camera club of an old mill on a river. I wanted to see this place for myself. I was plesently surprised I have to say.
The local residents who saw this strange young man all bundled up lugging around two cameras were friendly and engaged me in conversation as I wandered through their downtown. I need to go back in the summer when the folliage is out to check out the conversation area, and water sports going on in the rapids. So you may just see this place again!
Back in October when I visited New York City in addition to a plethora of still photography cameras I also took along a super 8 camera, and while in NYC picked up two cartridges of Super8 film, Kodak E100D, and shot them around the city. Once again the footage was out of focus, which I soon found out was due to the camera not my operation of it. Which is a good thing over all. Again I’m rather pleased with how it all turned out.
Now the camera, it sadly lost it’s life after getting hit by a subway (after I had pulled the second cartridge out) so it won’t be bothering me anymore and I’ve already replaced it with a much nicer unit, again a Eumig, a 300/XL with a big bright split screen focus viewfinder. I also picked up the last two caridges of E100D (as Kodak has discontinued this line) from West Camera and plan on shooting it again this summer (maybe Chicago?). I am also looking forward to working with Kodak’s new Super8 stock the Vision3 50T!
At the foot of Trafalgar Road is one of my two favourite locations in the town of Oakville, the downtown. Located along the old Highway 2, now Lakeshore Road is dotted with boutique stores, coffee shops and high-end restaurants. The snow and bright sun only made the place that much better in my view as I took a cold walk through not only the main street but the side streets that run down to the lake, taking in again the century homes, the small frame ones to grand brick manor homes, reminders of Oakville’s past, and current wealth in the area.
Nikon F3 – AI-S Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4 – Kodak Tri-X 400 (400TX)
HC-110 Dil. B 4:30 @ 20C
I wore a suit into Toronto for Canada Day, I was meeting up with a group of friends later on that day, but I took advantage of the beautiful weather and the bustle of the city to get some street photography in, and looking dapper there was only one choice in cameras, my Leica. I haven’t been giving my Leica love recently mostly because it’s a bit of a pain to use, bottom loading, cutting the film leader, making sure there’s enough tension so that the sprockets catch. But after some choice words I managed to load up a roll of classic Kodak Plus-X and hit the streets. Even met a fellow Leica IIIc shooter along the way.
Leica IIIc – Leitz Summitar f=5cm 1:2 – Kodak Plus-X (125PX)
Dev: Kodak HC-110 (Dil. B) @ 20C for 5:00.
Hamilton’s Lister Block has always held a rather special place in the hearts of local explorers and those who have walked her halls. Built in 1924 to replace the old Lister Chambers building which burned the same year. Joseph Lister, the owner, and name sake, ordered a new building be constructed and that it be made fireproof. Taking advantage of being on a very busy corner of Hamilton’s downtown, the new Lister Block featured an L shaped arcade on the first floor, allowing for maximum space to be used, even the store fronts on the second floor featured wide open windows to the streets to show off their wares. But in 1994 eviction notices were served and the Lister Block was closed. And rather than be a symbol of Hamilton’s growth…it became the poster child of the cities decline through the later years of the 20th century. She sat abandoned, decaying…home to vagrients, and a draw to the curious.
I first stepped foot inside her halls in 2006…and loved it. But as the years progressed the signs that she would be torn down became more clear, the land was precious, a section of hte structure collapsed in 2008 finally prompting the city to take action. Lister Block would either be doomed to become yet another parking lot, or be restored. Thankfully the later happened. Through 2009 to 2011 the block was restored to it’s former glory. And by 2012 it was open again with local government offices and services now occupying the building.
Between the Darkness and the Light – Lister Block 2006 to 2012
This one is for my friends at Kodak!
Despite Ektachrome being cancelled in 120 and 35mm formats, I happened to find a decent sized stash in the back of my stores, mostly E100VS.
Over the Easter weekend I had a chance to go south…to Tennessee, and one of my stops was the towns of Bristol. Why towns? Simple there are two Bristols, one in Virginia and one in Tennessee, and they share a common downtown along State Street, as the name implies is the State line. When I stopped in on the town on my way down I was quickly rained out, but Monday as I started the long drive back home, the weather was perfect so I took an hour and just wandered along State Street.
Of other interesting fact…Bristol is the birthplace of Country Music.
Pentax 645 – SMC Pentax A 645 35mm 1:3.5 – Kodak Ektachrome E100VS
The Church of the Holy Trinity is one of the more unique churches I have visited, next to the round church on Manitoulin Island. The reason I say this church is unique is because you don’t just walk past it on the street, you really have to seek it out.
Also known as Little Trinity Church, the building is tucked rather out of the way in its own little square near the Dundas Street end of Toronto’s Eaton’s Centre. Surrounded by glass skyscrapers and the massive mall, it’s a little piece of the 19th century that’s still making it known in the city. Providing help for Toronto’s Homeless and providing an oasis in the middle of downtown Toronto.
Established in 1847, the Church of the Holy Trinity was designed by H.B. Lane (who also designed two other churches in Toronto), and built with funds from an anonymous donor. The donor stipulated that none of the pews would be reserved (a tradition in many churches at the time) but rather it be open to all. The donor was later revealed to be Mary Lambert Swale of Settle, England. Built in the Gothic Revival Style the church was slowly fenced in as the city grew. When plans were being made for the Eaton’s Centre, they originally called for the purchase and demolition of the church, but the members stood their ground, against Eaton’s, the Anglican Church of Canada, and the City of Toronto. They eventually won, and a three way land swap happened, and the design of the Eaton’s Centre was changed.
Today the church remains at the heart of things; their ministry is aimed at the urban homeless and needy. Along with providing services of worship the church also acts as an event venue, several concerts have been held there including two by the band Cowboy Junkies who recorded their breakthrough 1988 Album The Trinity Sessions at the church. They also did a follow up concert on the album’s 20th anniversary.
You can check out the Church’s site here: www.holytrinitytoronto.org
Pentax 645 – SMC Pentax A 645 35mm 1:3.5 – Ilford FP4+