Let’s Drage the Stadium Thing On and On and On?

I was very excited when Hamilton was announced as the venue for the Athletics (track and field) portion of the Pan American Games. Many years ago I represented Canada at the Pan Am Juniors in Barquisimeto Venezuela. I recently volunteered for the entire month of February at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver  (most of the pictures in the right column are from that trip). I was amazed that Hamilton had scored something so near and dear to my heart. I began taking Spanish lessons right away, with the goal  of volunteering for Pan Am athletics in 2015.

The stadium was always supposed to be in the west harbour. It was written in the Toronto Pan Am  bid book well before 2010. The “location beside the railway tracks” has been publicly labelled as stadium territory a long ways back. In a tragic turn of events the stadium location became bogged down in local politics and Hamilton missed the deadline set by the Toronto (official host city), and lost the crown jewel of the Pan Am games. It is unimaginable. It now appears that the stadium itself is in jeopardy as the Feds and Queen’s park will not fund a tenant-less stadium. The Tiger Cats have made it clear that they will not be going to a stadium in the west harbour. It makes sense because cats don’t really like water. City council promptly voted for the harbour site, and now the Ti Cats are planning to leave Hamilton. The stadium plan will leave with them.

Conflict Of Interest

I will declare that I have a potential conflict of interest here. My family owns three properties on Dundurn street within walking distance of the my proposed stadium. One of those properties is The Staircase Cafe Theatre. The Tiger Cats play a sport called Canadian Football. A few Canadians watch this sport, but no one plays it recreationally. The ten home games each season will make no difference to The Staircase.  If we were to fill The Staircase every Ti Cat game, that would be a mere ten times per year. There are 355 other days of the year to lose money.

Present Situation

The city has wanted to put a stadium where the rail yard is for a long time. Those hopes were dashed when CN sold the yards to someone other than the city. So now the city has to make do with a stadium  beside the railway tracks for a long time.  The cities choice is a  40 acre parcel of land close to the harbour, but it is really beside a busy train yard. Resident’s private homes will need to be expropriated. Commercial property will need to be purchased. Some dirty land will be reclaimed.  The closest proposed light rail stop may be as far as one kilometer away. Buses can go there for sure. Go transit cannot have a stop at this location. There is NO parking. The benefits and drawbacks have been discussed ad nauseum.   The key point is that the Tiger Cats won’t go there, and therefore higher levels of government will not  fund this location.

Proposed stadium 40 acres.

The only potential tenant for the proposed stadium plays in the  80 year old Ivor Wynne Stadium. Ivor Wynne is quite ironically a Commonwealth games legacy stadium. Ivor Wynne  is on the bus route and proposed light rail line,  has NO parking, and is no where near a  GO transit line.  The only tenant is losing money hand over fist at this location (or is it because no one plays or watches Canadian Football?). The city funds this location to the tune of at least $120000 per Tiger Cats game. Meow.

Ivor Wynne 15 acres (stadium and practise field).


Modest Proposal

Let’s put the stadium on Kay Drage Park. This park is a parcel of land laying between the 403 Highway and the rail way tracks. Kay Drage Park hosts a wooded lot for transients at one end and some soccer fields (more than a million Canadians play soccer regularly) at the other end. Move the sports fields to the proposed West Harbour Stadium location. There is about  30 acres available to work with. The parcel of land is long and somewhat narrow. It just depends whether you like it long and narrow or short and wide.  Design it to look  like the nearby Gothic basilica and call it The Cathedral. Here are some of the perks:

  • No land needs to be expropriated.
  • No land needs to be purchased.
  • Quick walk from proposed rapid transit.
  • GO Train stop right beside the stadium is possible.
  • Build over rail tracks to increase space and improve local living conditions.
  • It is near many bus routes.
  • Thousands of parking spaces.
  • 403 highway exposure.
  • 403 highway access is possible.
Proposed stadia Kay Drage Park (yellow) Railway (red).
Stadium, some parking GO station fit here (20 acres)
Additional 1000 parking spots here (9 acres).

This will be a true legacy stadium. With a GO station and plenty of parking the location will be used every day of the year, instead a of a mere ten times per year by an arcane sports franchise that may not survive the rise of the MLS.

P.S. I am not a Bob Young basher at all. I am a happy Linux user and am forever grateful for what Mr. Young and Red Hat Linux have done for the open source community.

Oh Gee Ate Twenty Something

It was like a dance. The aristocracy of bureaucrats safely discussed the fate of most of the world amongst caviar and champagne austerity. The media was kept in a gilded cage with free cappuccinos, meals and lakes. The police scored copious overtime hours,  sported new crowd control clothing and broke a few heads. Even the anarchists were on time and organized, playing their role perfectly wearing the right colour even. Who paid for this dance that satisfied one and all? We did. Protecting democracy and freedom while sparing no expense, even the expense of democracy and freedom.

Robert’s Transit Service

It was a funny thing, standing there on king, waiting for a bus to arrive.
It was the kind cold, that made the young feel old, and forget how to be alive.
The wind was strong, as the bus came along. To free me from that Northern grip.
How was I to know, that the wind would blow. Me on to a sinking ship.

As the bus pulled away on that stormy day. I flashed the driver my pass.
While crossing that fence I surely did sense . That someone was watchin’ my ass.
So I turned to look at the chick or spook. That was eyeing my derriere.
But to my surprise twenty pairs of eyes were giving back a vacant stare.

I looked along that bus, and did not make a fuss, cause you know what i did find?
Just to my left, with her vision bereft was a lassie who was quite blind.
So you see, she was looking at me. And what was I to say.
She was not plain, held a white cane and her dog was pewter grey.

I forgotten the cold and was feeling bold, and looked at her lovely red hair.
So I shuffled my feet, and picked the seat that was right beside her chair
I cleared my voice, picked my words with choice and said “hey maam how do you do?”
And no word of lie she looked me straight in the eye, and said, “I’ve been waiting for you.”

That sent a chill down my spine, I did not feel so fine. So I looked round the bus again.
And no one was there, not a single chair, like they’d all dissolved into rain.
My fear really did show, I looked aft to bow for a driver that just wasn’t there.
And that dog blocked my way as I started to sway and tried to leave my chair.

She flew to her feet, giving off such a heat that all I could do was repel.
Her hair stood on end, and her cackle did rend with pitch that came straight from hell
She pushed her cane hard into the lard that covered my well fed tummy
The words that she said, hit me hard in the head and she yelled “you ain’t disabled dummy”

Her face it looked pained as I feebly explained why I’d chosen to sit beside her.
And the dog turned around I swear that it frowned, as it bristled it’s silvery fur.
The fault was all mine, as I looked at the sign, on the window across from me.
I surely could tell, i would end up in hell, if I failed with my desperate plea.

I told her she’s fair, with her fetching red hair, and that I am such an ugly man.
Seeing that she was blind, then she may not mind, for what I had hopefully planned.
Twas my hubris you see, that such a beauty as she, would join with me on a date.
We could walk in the cold, and talk till we got old, and with those words I awaited my fate.

She became quite calm and looked rather aplomb, as her gaze scanned my worried face.
And she leaned into me, so that I closely could see, what I had wanted to embrace.
Her face held a grin, eyes brimming with sin, and the bus shuddered to a halt.
Her cane tapped the floor, and blew open the door, and I left with a skip and a vault

As the bus pulled away on that stormy cold day. I still was pretty damn nervous.
I knew i was close to becoming a ghost, on Satan’s own transit Service.
So lastly I mention that you must pay attention, to signage and not to hot chicks.
Or your soul will be fried and forever you’ll ride on the bus numbered six sixty six.


Found words challenge (“make a hurtin’ country poem about dogs, girls, heartbreak and trucks”)

These found words were inspired in part by this previous post Bus From Hell, and this.