September 23rd 1968  (Age 53)

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Random Thots is brought to you by Graeme MacKay, Editorial Cartoonist at the Hamilton Spectator, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Website:

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Thursday, June 15, 2006
The Lister Saga

The biggest decision facing the city's downtown renewal comes up for debate and for a vote before council and my newspaper leads with a bunch of pointers on how we should eat more vegetables and cut down on donuts and other fatty foods. All I can do is just shake my head. Apparently, this sort of fluff appeals to our readers. Please don't call me to complain, phone my bosses.

For some reason, the city where I live and work has been obsessed by a number of issues which seem to go on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on... Thankfully, several of the perennial Hamilton subjects have been recently resolved and gone away. The Red Hill Expressway has been talked about since the 1950's, and next year the first vehicle will finally motor down it's newly paved asphalt; the discussion over municipal amalgamation only seemed to last 50 years during the period leading up to, and the eventual unfolding in the 1990's; Hamilton is a breeding ground for interminably long lasting politicians, like the 18 year reigning mayor, Bob Morrow, and Federal politicians of the Liberal sort such as John Munro, and of course, Sheila Copps.

So, happily, we're counting down the days (now 59, to be exact), until something is going to happen regarding the city's downtown blight, which'll turn this, the Lister Block:

Into something that looks like this:

While there are many decaying edifices in and around the downtown's core, nothing stands out so starkly and so obvious than this building at James and King William. While I love old buildings and lament the loss of so many gems which have once stood in this city, I'm of the feeling that the old Lister has only hurt this city's image for the past 5 to 10 years due to its dereliction. Unless the province comes in with a trove of cash in the next 59 days for restoration, the building just has to come down... because nobody else is going to restore it.

Despite its success in the past, such as the rebuilding of the CN station, I have many doubts that LIUNA's remake of the building will match the glory of the 1920's version of the Lister Block. But at this point there promises to be a replacement instead of some parking lot which usually replaces buildings that come down in the core. Good for LIUNA for wanting to rebuild, and good on the part of the Heritage folks for keeping LIUNA and the province on its toes. Hallelujah, something's going to be done, and another interminable Hamilton issue is going to go away forever.

Posted at 10:56 am by Graeme_MacKay

June 15, 2006   02:00 PM PDT
You're in cahoots with your paper's corporate policies as much as anyone else in management. Just look at all the perennial topics facing Hamilton which you mention and you've sided with the Spec on everyone of those including red hill, Tony Valeri and amalgamation. I always thought a good cartoonist should stand up to the authorities - instead of working for them.

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