5 Things We Wish We Could Have Back from Hamilton's Past


Hamilton is a city with a long history and, let's face it, change doesn't come easy to us.

It's not unusual to hear a longtime Hamiltonian longing for the days when things were far more simple.

What are those things we long for, you might ask? Well, let me illuminate you.

Here are 5 things Hamilton used to have that we wish we could have back.

5. Hamilton Tigers

This was Hamilton's NHL team that existed in the early half of the 1920s. The team finished first in the league in the 1924-25 NHL season, but a players’ strike before the playoffs that season resulted in the franchise’s dissolution. The issue of an NHL team returning to Hamilton has come up a number of times in the intervening years so the desire for our own franchise is there but it seems the conditions aren't ripe. Hang in there, maybe one day.

4. Christmas houses in Gore Park

Gore Park is beautiful around the holiday season and the city and local businesses have put a lot love into the holiday-themed displays in recent years — the Christmas Tree of Hope is a particular favourite and a beautiful tradition. When I was a kid, though, my dad used to take us to see Santa in Jackson Square and then we'd walk around Gore Park to look at the little Christmas houses and the little scenes they housed. For me, it wasn't Christmas until I saw an animatronic Santa preparing for his big night alongside a red-light-nosed Rudolph. I'm sure in today's world the logistics of such a display in the city's core aren't practical but they really were a special addition to the park during the holidays season.

3. Mall movie theatres (Limeridge Mall, Centre Mall, Fiesta Mall)

It's funny, but it seems like the big movie theatres are becoming more like malls with the inclusion of food court-like dining options and arcades so one has to wonder why we moved away from this model in the first place. There was something so convenient about being able to do some of your shopping and then relaxing with a movie. Don't get me started on the ample (and free) parking. We still have our theatre at Jackson Square but I can't tell you how much I miss going to $2 Tuesday at Fiesta, or cheap night at Centre Mall and then hanging out in the food court until they kicked us out. It was also just nice to have so many choices when it came to places to go see movies and having easy access (ie: walking distance in most cases) just made life easier.

2. Roller Gardens

This roller rink on the East Mountain set the scene for many birthday parties and school trips over the decades. I have fond memories of cardboard-ish pizza, stale popcorn and disco balls. I also have some not-so-fond memories of scraping my left knee and ripping a hole in my favourite black tights because I sucked at rollerskating. Roller Gardens was also the place to see and be seen in the early 90s at their Friday night dances. To this day I can't hear an Offspring song without visions of a roller rink floor illuminated by pink and blue lights and disco balls, packed with a bunch of grunged-out preteens popping into my head. I still remember laying eyes on the dude who would become my high school crush for the first time at one of these dances. Those were the days!

1. Stoney Creek Dairy

When Stoney Creek Dairy closed down in 2012, I'm pretty sure you could hear the sound of our collective hearts breaking. This was a Hamilton landmark. This restaurant set the scene for many special occasions: from first dates to 500th dates to birthday parties and local sports team parties, Stoney Creek Dairy was a tradition for Hamilton families for decades. Let's not forget that their ice cream was simply out of this world. I think I miss the coy pond most, though. What is it about places with water features that just make them next-level awesome? We would throw pennies into the pond while holding our freshly scooped cones and make a wish. If I only knew back then I would've wished for Stoney Creek Dairy to never close.

Photo of Stoney Creek Dairy courtesy Loozrboy via Flikr

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