Tough to Find A Better Spot
For $10, the elderly lady let me park on her front lawn on Balsam St., just up the road from Scott Park Secondary School, which in turn is just up the road from Ivor Wynne Stadium.
More than six hours later, I returned, and there she was, still sitting on her porch, keeping an eye on the last remaining vehicle on her property.
If and when the Hamilton Tiger-Cats get a new stadium, that part of Steeltown's football tradition will be lost. So much of the debate about the location for a new Hamilton stadium revolves around parking that it's hard to believe there will be anything left over for local entrepreneurs if the joint gets built.
It was a perfect afternoon on Monday for CFL football, which has to be taken into account when stating what seemed so obvious after the Tiger-Cats and Argos played, that while Hamilton owner Bob Young and local politicians spar over alternate locations for a stadium that will also be used for the 2015 Pan-American Games, Ivor Wynne is a pretty darn good location as it is.
Or maybe that's just the Hamilton boy in me talking.
There's a shortage of official lot parking, sure, but lots of places to leave your vehicle with local residents. If not, you can park a distance away and use your game ticket to hop aboard city buses for free. The pre-game parties, mostly in the field adjacent to Scott Park, are much more extensive and start much earlier than was the case 10 or even five years ago. The view from the stands is of a neighborhood, not of expressways and office buildings. Ok, a neighborhood with steel mills as a backdrop.
The stadium itself, well, once you're in your seat, there is no better place to watch a football game in the country, although people in Montreal and Regina would beg to differ. When it's jammed, as was the case on Monday, Ivor Wynne remains the perfect home, particularly for a football team that still wants to reflect the personality of its city.
If there is to be a new Ivor Wynne Stadium - and no way does that name surivive, right? - there's almost no chance it will have the same sightlines and personality as the Cats current home. Something will be lost, and it will be lost forever.
That said, there seems to be some agreement that the new Longwood location, just off Aberdeen not far from Chedoke golf course and Highway 403, is a spot both Young and city fathers can live with. McMaster University owns the land, and if there's a deal, maybe Mac ends up with the West Harbour site that the city orginally wanted and develops that for the future.
Young loves the east mountain site, but he and, I would imagine, the people who live in that part of the city would be the only ones. Certainly, that site would have little charm or poetry to it. It would be about ads on the building and expressways and parking, period.
The Longwood location at least allows the chance to retain a sense of the personality of Hamilton, of this being a downtown Hamilton team, not a surburban team.
I know some people who live in the area. Maybe they'll let me park on their lawn for $10.