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The Hamilton Spectator from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada • 3

Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
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THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR Saturday July 41998 LOCAL NEWS 526 3420 ERIC McGUINNESS CITY EDITOR A3 Holiday border town bonanza Businesses slash exchange rates to attract American shoppers By CAROL PHILLIPS The Spectator NIAGARA ON THE LAKE There is a silver lining to the cloud that hangs over the Canadian dol lar and it shines especially over the tourism industry It's the American holiday weekend or business people in this quaint tourist town it signals the beginning of the lucrative summer season And with the Canadian dollar hovering around 68 cents US heading north would seem to make sense Statistics Canada figures show American travel to Canada was up sev en per cent for same day trips in the first quarter of 1998 and up 57 per cent for overnight stays during the same pe riod the sixth consecutive quar terly increase Gary Hardy tourism manager with the Niagara Economic and Tourism Corporation said this weekend should indicate how well the summer will go a little too early to make a defi nite he said now what hearing from accommoda Ik ARGIVE tsCA wWwO Irish Design store in Niagara On The Lake advertises its 50 per cent exchange on US money Gary Ypkoyama The Spectator tions managers is that things are definitely up The only kind of sore point in the whole scenario was the de cline of the Asia Pacific mar ket in the StatsCan also reports a 30 per cent decline of visitors to Canada from the Asia Pacific region most likely as a result of that current eco nomic turmoil In Niagara that means a decline in springtime group trips Retailers here generally be lieve they have benefited from the low Canadian dollar sales have been up for the last three months" said Ian Wilson at Customs House Cigars because of the dollar and (better Cuban) On the other hand Hugh Macintosh director of operations for the Prince of Wales Hotel believes his higher end clientele would visit no matter what the exchange rate Canadian US dollar exchange rates throughout the area range this week end from a paltry 18 per cent to a whop ping 50 per cent The Bank of Commerce meanwhile was buying American dollars at 14465 Canadian yesterday and sell ing them at 14825 Canadian Several businesses were us ing a 50 per cent exchange rate as a selling point including clothing and gift shop Irish De sign Owner Paul Dickson de cided to offer the rate on cash purchases back in May when sales of his heavy Irish sweaters kilts and hats fell off due to the warm weather Since then sales have been up 20 per cent Dickson be lieves that more than makes up for the couple of percent age points in price he may lose in the offer He figures the go ing rate is 45 per cent anyway and he saves on cash purchas es by not having to pay credit card service charges But a good exchange rate seems to be secondary for US tourists kind of like a said Tim Ryan of Cheshire Connecticut who is on his first trip to Canada knew there was an exchange rate (benefit) We really give it much thought We spend more time thinking about what this side of Niagara alls offers versus (the American) side and no Hamburg NY resident Richard Petrus echoed those sentiments He and wife Christine visit Niagara on the Lake at least once a year because of its beauty the Shaw estival and its proximity to home the attraction is the he said come here because Both men said they use their credit cards when making large purchases because they know get the best exchange rate possible American dollars may be more ex pensive to Canadians but it seem to be slowing down their shop ping habits south of the border either Brian Hejmanowski director of op erations at the Walden Galleria shop ping mall a popular Canuck hangout said surveys and traffic counters indi cate Canadian numbers have re mained consistent over the last year City wants buildingto be an asset A couple of years ago the city tried to sell a building downtown The minimum bid was equal to the taxes owing: $272940 At that price no one even thought about nibbling So this property belongs to you and me hot a good thing as this is downtown Hamilton's ugliest build ing To unload this PAUL WILSON STREETBEAT 526 3391 pink and yellows Bar one in the heart of our wounded core the city is throwing out the old tax sales handbook or starters the new minimum bid on this building is one buck That gets you a 5000 square foot structure not even 10 years old on King East near John between the garish orange and whites of Pizza Pizza and the hot of the Girls Show Neither neighbour is an architectur al gem but both look good compared to 89 King East On Oct 3 1989 there was a spectacu lar fire at this address Strippers from above the bar next door then called Bannisters were forced out into Gore Park open suit cases stuffed with all manner of lin gerie They joined hundreds of other lunchtime onlookers behind the yel low police tape The blaze occupied 45 firefighters two thirds of those on duty across the city But in the end the three storey rowhouse built by John Erwin in 1842 was destroyed Record World the Tally Ho restaurant the Olympic Beauty Centre were burned out The building had just changed hands The old owner was John Norkus who ran a barber shop around the corner for decades And on the third floor of the ill fated building he had a bee operation But the bees were gone before the fire: In July 1989 Norkus sold the building to Mohammed Zaib of Os hawa for $830000 Zaib and his partner nephew Mo hammed Jaddon were having the third floor converted to five bachelor apartments The fire broke out while the workers ate lunch across the street at Kentucky ried Chicken To replace that three storey building would have cost $11 million But insurance coverage stopped short of that at $450000 So there on the perimeter of historic Gore Park Zaib and Jaddon decided to to try a low cost Toronto idea They built a one storey structure with stairs from the sidewalk to additional 'I Lil 'kJ4 4 1 at jt A retail space in the basement This building which met the lax site requirements of the day shat tered the streetscape It was a missing tooth And the old brick walls that rise either side of it give the scene the look of a wartime bombing The building is cold concrete and bathroom tile Into their new structure the owners carved space for five tenants three up two down But no tenants came And the tax bill mounted On December 11 1996 the ugly duckling became property of the city of Hamilton It doesn't want it but hopes to find someone who does Developers have until July 24 to submit tenders As stated the minimum bid is now a token looney But there is a major con dition Whoever takes over this building must agree to make that address hand some again And to be done by adding two storeys to the structure and bringing that facade back in line with its neighbours Mark Mascarenhas is manager of the building housing and loans division plus acting downtown co ordinator than the city just trying to recoup that he says looking to turn a ear into a silk He rhymes off a shopping list of in centives for the downtown developer There is for instance the Gore Her itage Program with grants of up to $40000 for facade improvements This was just used to good effect on the Woolworth's building Nine other ap plications are in place Another program provides interest jSfca The northeast corner of King and John Streets top is plagued with an ugly building nobody wants The city is asking for a buck but a catch whoever buys it has to renovate it and make it look maybe like the vision above Gary Yokoyama The Spectator free loans for residential space above stores This address could qualify for about $50000 under that program and $75000 under a commercial property program But down King East a couple of blocks in a narrow shop a man shakes his head at the news It is that nephew Mohammed Jad don the man who helped bring us that oddball structure He says that when he and his uncle built the engineer said it would not be possible to add storeys The footings would not provide enough support The city however says two more storeys will be fine It's interesting to learn that Jaddon still believes there is a living to be made in downtown Hamilton He does the commute from Scarborough each day to his buy and sell shop called In stant Cash Converters or the right CD give you a dol lar His dreams are smaller now StreetBeat appears Tuesday Thursday and Saturday ham southam ca Public demand would keep pools open Aiderman says few visit centres on holidays or weekends ather and son stabbed in apartment attack A father and son each suffered nu merous stab wounds when they were attacked by a group of assailants in their King Street East apartment The stabbings occurred in an apart ment above a downtown bar at around around 4 pm yesterday The attackers fled the scene Police were looking for four male youths Acting Staff Sergeant Bruce Graham said police believe three left on bicycles While people in businesses near the scene did not see anyone suspicious one man saw what may have been the bikes Joe Lees of Lees Shop on King Street East saw three bi cycles in front of the bar under the vic tims' apartment Lees noticed the bikes because it struck him as unusu al The father and son were both in good condition at Hamilton General Hospital last night By JON WELLS The Spectator uts to city swimming pool hours of operation could be reversed if there is a demand from the public the view of Aiderman Bernie Morelli chairman of the recreation and parks committee the political body that directed staff to reduce the recreation department budget by $11 million if there is demand we will have to try to respond it would be foolish to close a pool if de mand for he said the game starts of how you go about matching your dollar availability and use of fa cilities This is an evolutionary process and not an easy one" Morelli defended reduced service that will see civic pools closed on all statutory holidays and weekend evenings He said staff research shows these periods are the lowest periods of use only two people inconve nienced on a Saturday night we can get by I hope just a minority affect ed but this will be constantly assessed Staff is saying that it won't impact se He suggested the city can no longer afford to keep liberal hours of opera tion for recreation facilities but in stead needs to target peak demand times terms of the budget we need to get back to basics blocking and tack he said referring to the rudi ments of football Cutbacks will soon be evident in staffing levels in the department as well Morelli said $300000 to $400000 will be lopped from the budget through staff reductions implemented immedi ately That means about 12 fewer peo ple on the payroll through severance packages attrition and retirement but no layoffs "Budgetary pressures dictate this It came to the private sector before the public sector We're trying to maintain some service levels but also find ways to cut back All of us recognize the need to tighten our Along with service and staff cuts new and increased recreation user fees have drawn fire from some residents The cost for a summer swim day pass jumped to $25 from $6 But Ken Harrop of the recreation department said that last bargain rate was a clerical error and was intended to be higher The recreation department will offer subsidized program memberships to those who afford an increase No more shows on screen By DOUG OLEY The Spectator HAMILTON played the last picture show at the Broadway Cinema The King William Street theatre that specialized in art and foreign films closed Thursday night after 15 years of operation was co owner Vija Darkevics said yesterday owe lots of money We had al ways been good at keeping our heads above water just shown Titanic I guess we were the The Broadway co owned by Darke vics and Jon Zemitis also housed an art gallery that gave local artists a much appreciated venue for exhibit ing their works The theatre had also been the scene of many fundraising events most no tably for local foodbanks and the Hamilton Aids Network It had also along with the nearby du Maurier Centre given King William Street and downtown Hamilton some much need ed nightlife Darkevics and Zemitis have been in volved with the theatre since their repertory film operations from the old Delta Theatre where King Street meets Main Street in east Hamilton Originally a garage The Broadway near Wellington Street was originally a garage but opened as the International Cinema in the 1960s showing art films It then became the Pussycat Theatre specializing in soft core porn flicks be fore Zemitis and Darkevics took it over Pussycat logo is still behind pur Darkevics said someone will want to buy About 10 years ago The Broadway pretty well had the market cornered on art films locally It was even able to expand operations into the old Hyland Theatre orrKing Street for a time But after the opening of the Sil ver Ci ty multiplex in Ancaster last year amous Players converted some of the Lime Ridge Mall cinemas to the kinds of films the Broadway featured Darkevics point to that move for the demise but said it fragmented the market and affected the availability of the films She said the competitive pricing na ture of the local moviehouse scene was a factor irst run shows at the nearby modern Jackson Square mul tiplex can be seen for as little as $425 while the older less comfortable Broadway was charging as much as $8 for second run films She admitted a recent run of Titanic did had to pay the said Dark evics go The Broadway had struggled in the past but managed to buy its building in 1989 for $350000 The theatre came up with half the $100000 required downpayment through loans from 10 Broadway supporters Darkevics said the building will be up for sale Memberships to the cinema which provided discounts on admission will be honoured at repertory theatres in London Guelph and Waterloo have gone Darkevics informs callers to the recorded mes sage on the 24 hour phone line you and good She says she is remaining upbeat de spite the loss of her business and any one who knows her knows that a big smile is usual demeanour asked me Thursday as I told them can you be so What am I supposed to do? have to have a sense of hu mour We have done all our bitching Sure going to be tough but you have to go PAUL WILSON STREETBEAT 526 3391.

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