Sanford Avenue School c 1932 in Hamilton Ontario

[video / opinion / photos] Historic #hamont school to be demolished – an artist & feminist rant against it.

Sanford Avenue School c 1932 in Hamilton Ontario

Sanford Avenue School c 1932 in Hamilton Ontario

We were feeling helpless and exasperated at news that the local school board had slipped through a demolition order request to level a heritage building – and this gets processed within 10 days! Apparently the obliteration can begin in January, 2013.

Ward 3’s Wever Hub community meeting called for Tuesday, 6m at Cathy Wever School! Chance to clarify, discuss Sanford Avenue School and show Tim Simmons and Bernie Morelli how the Ward 3 neighbourhood really feels. Please attend!

Please, especially Ward 3 residents, contact Tim Simmons, HWDSB Chair at 905-308-6832 to voice your concerns. Please do it now!

There is no or little chance of fighting it this at this point. But what we can do is document the moment by complaining on a cold, overcast and very windy day as we walk around the school. We can let everyone know, especially future generations, what happened here and who was involved in these decisions. We can present more viable options to demolishing heritage buildings – such as a senior home, artist live-work spaces or even condos. We also talked about related issues such as bicycle infrastructure and the onus of meaningful community consultation on our elected officials.


In Hamilton Ontario where we live many beautiful buildings get torn down and now one of the most historically significant landmarks of built heritage in the city core is to be quickly demolished and replaced with a soccer field with plenty of free parking. Sanford School was opened in 1932 and is the first 100% Canadian steel framed building.

Production Note: Apologies for wind noise in microphone. So cold my iphone kept failing and Jen’s is a lower quality device, so the editing got quick and choppy, with a lot of noise. We felt it was important to be on site to talk about this, and within the limited window for meaningful public discourse on this, we are working with the footage we obtained in these less than ideal conditions. It was also important to us to limit the entire production cycle to one day. Much of what we said was cut because of the wind noise but added back in as captions. Much was also cut because we said some inappropriate things or bickered about the cold.

It is meant to have a sense of humour thoughout, so we hope you found parts of it funny – though it’s mostly just sad.

The building is located at 149 Sanford Avenue North, Hamilton, ON

Here are the links to our sources for our rant and more about Sanford “School-Gate”, our Councilor Bernie Morelli, the HWDSB and the general history and current state of our neighbourhood called Barton Village.–sanford-school-demo-a-lesson-for-heritage-advocates-mchattie–the-barton-street-boondoggle


How to reach Bernie
Bernie Morelli
Councillor, Ward 3
Hamilton City Hall | Second Floor, 71 Main Street West
Hamilton, Ontario L8P 4Y5


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  1. artlistpro · November 26, 2012

    Here’s something my friend Stephanie found that might pertain to this situation … if there are any philanthropic municipal and provincial heritage zoning lawyers reading this:

    Ontario Heritage Act
    Effect of notice of designation
    Permits void
    30. (1) If a notice of intention to designate a property as property of cultural heritage value or interest is given under section 29, any permit that allowed for the alteration or demolition of the property and that was issued by the municipality under any Act, including a building permit, before the day the notice was served on the owner of the property and on the Trust and published in a newspaper is void as of the day the notice of intention is given in accordance with subsection 29 (3).

    she says “Hello Chris and Jen,
    I just watched the video that you guys made regarding the demolition of the Sanford School and I thought of something… or a different approach, if it hasn’t already been taken, in trying to stop the demolition.
    Would it be possible to get an estimate from a contractor or someone like that to find out how much it would cost to fix up the place so that it can be used again? Would it be possible to find out how many classrooms there are in the school? Would it be possible to find out how much it would cost to remove the “pavement playgrounds” and replace it with grass/trees/a park?
    I think that if we can find out how much all of these cost, and then figure out how much money could be made if the rooms were rented out to artists, or used as lofts or an old folks home, (every and any option possible), and calculate how much money could be made in 2 years, or 5 years, or 10 years, that it may help “the authorities” see that demolition is not a good option. (oh, and also find out how much it would cost to demolish and rebuild or whatever their plan is, and use it against the numbers we come up with the 2 year, 5 year or 10 year estimates we make)..”

    Good idea and there is a plan and a group of conspirators forming with a plan to address this scenario next time.

  2. Michelle R. (@GrafiKGurl) · November 26, 2012

    How much green space does one need in a one block radius. There is Powell Park and Woodlands Park as you stated. Woodlands park is also getting a $30K reno courtesy of Rona. (Not sure when exactly).

    The Weaver Hub is a joke. When Missions Services moved into the area 80+% of the parents at Cathy Weaver didn’t even know what what going in there until the deal was done.

    And just like someone else commented before.. this NEVER would have happened in Westdale or anywhere else. “They” just think we are just too stupid to know any better in Ward 3.

    As for the little ‘parkette’ … The only people that use it are the local prostitutes, drug dealers and dogs.

  3. artlistpro · November 26, 2012

    from raise the hammer, my comment in response to comment that the “local parents” involved with the Wever Hub should have more say in the demolition of a heritage building:

    “By Barton & Sanford (anonymous)
    Posted November 26, 2012 at 09:34:48 in reply to Comment 83179

    We live beside Sanford Avenue School and we were never consulted or notified by Wever Hub. Does the fact our child does not go to Wever School mean that our voice does not matter in this?

    It’s an old political trick to cherry pick members of the community to give you the feedback you want to go ahead with a certain decision. Obviously neglect, poor planning and poor stewardship by the local councillor has led to this situation.

    However, if you like to argue that who was here first and longest in Ward 3 is the most entitled to decide this matter then ok – Sanford Avenue School was here first so should stay. Maybe use this opportunity to build a better rec centre and a park with the money you make selling the property to developers. “

  4. Pingback: [Podcast #5 / Interview] I talk with HWDSB Trustee Tim Simmons about Sanford Avenue School « Christopher Healey

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