The DNA Chronology – Present Day To 1972

2017 – The DNA celebrates their 45th Anniversary in Durand Park with special emphasis on the Association’s history and the heritage of the neighbourhood.  Activities included poster and media displays, horse drawn carriage rides, face-painting and balloon animals, local musicians, vendors and food trucks.  Over 500 folks enjoyed the day.   In September, the DNA and Pharmasave came together for our Annual Movie Night to celebrate Canada’s 150th Birthday; another fun filled family friendly event that attracted over 400 families.  The Durand Built Heritage Inventory is completed  providing more protection for the heritage of the neighbourhood.   Council supports our Character Zoning Project and directs staff to follow up with suggestions for implementation by the 3rd quarter of 2018.   Our Heritage Conservation Districts (MacNab Charles and Durand Markland) have new historic street signs. These were part of the Plan Local improvements from 2014.  Currently exterior work is still being done on Phase 1 of St Mark’s. Phase 2 interior work is scheduled to begin in 2019 and Phase 3 in 2020.  Two  very large development proposals  were presented to the neighbourhood, both of which were met with opposition.  Medallion Developments, new owners of  Aberdeen Apartments, propose demolishing 5 low rise affordable apartment buildings to build 2 25-30 storey towers.  Brad Lamb Developments purchase the CH site.  The proposal is to retain 163 Jackson West, which is designated;  however, the site plan application is  to build  a 40 and 30 storey tower.  The DNA submits its objections to Planning Staff on the rational presented by the developer for this  development.  This has not gone to Council  and is not in compliance with either the Official Plan nor the Zoning By-laws currently in place.  The DNA does not support this development in its current form.  The Durand Neighbourhood Association submits its comments and concerns with the new Downtown Secondary Plan which is scheduled to go to Council in the New Year 2018.  Local streets are made safer with new stop signs and speed humps, Bay Street bike lanes are implemented and Queen Street will become 2 way; major improvements for pedestrians, cyclists and cars drivers.

2016 – DNA hosts a Jane’s Walk in Durand to showcase our heritage, architecture and activism.  Over 50 guests join Janice Brown and Brenda Dowd.   Council approves Capital Funding for Phase 2 & 3 to operate St Mark’s as a cultural and community facility.  Council approves motion by Councillor Farr to dedicate proceeds from the  sale of 52-56 Charlton Ave West to St Marks.  Project could be completed in two years rather than three. Herkimer and Charlton protected bike lanes open in June. Durand Park officially opens June 17th. DNA hosts the 4th Grand Durand Garden Tour 2016.  Over 800 toured the beautiful gardens and Durand Neighbourhood on June 18th.  Councillor Farr agrees to fund Phase 2 of Character zoning.  Artists from the Dundas Valley School of Art showcase the Durand neighbourhood with their paintings in an exhibit at the DVSA.  Images will be used to  create a calendar to be sold by the DNA, the artists and the Spectator.  Conversion of Duke and Bold to two-way is implemented.  Durand hosts 6th annual Movie Night in revitalized Durand Park along with the celebration for the Herkimer Charlton Bike Lanes.  New Horizon Homes advertises for Phase 3 of City Square.

2015 – Valvasori Developments begins long-awaited construction of  condo/apartment on Bold Street.   Council approves Cultural and Planning  Financial and Operating Plan for St Marks.  Durand undergoes Built Heritage Inventory as part of a city-wide process. Developer who purchased 1 St James Place, designated in 2014, continues to apply for demolition permits and is denied. Conservation Review Board upholds Council  designation.  St Marks is awarded the Federal Canada 150 Grant for $280,000.  Ward 2 Community Council and Councillor Farr vote to contribute $400,000 from area rating funds for St Marks. The DNA and Duranders volunteer at Doors Open greeting over 460 guests at St Marks.  Staff and Bike Lane committee continue to advocate for protected bike lanes on both Charlton and Herkimer. DNA takes part in 100 in 1 Day, a city-wide initiative. Durand Park Revitalization begins in September  The 5th Annual Movie Night moves to HAAA grounds as the Durand Park is closed for renovations.  The DNA and Ward 2 Community Animator host Durand 101 to target new residents in the Durand.   The DNA &  Civic Plan introduce Phase 1 of the Character Zoning Project at the AGM. 

2014 – In January the  DNA  Board of Directors held a Visioning workshop to develop a new Vision Statement, a new Mission Statement and establish priorities for the next 3-5 years.  Heritage suffered as two-thirds of James Street Baptist Church was demolished,  a significant landmark building that was designated.  A culturally significant heritage home at 1 St James Place was threatened with partial demolition by a parking lot developer who wished to create parking spaces. Residents, the DNA and Councillor Farr moved to have the City designate 1 St James Place.  The DNA successfully lobbied City Staff to engage in a review of “minor alterations and delegated authority by an appointed City director” which led to the decision to demolish two-thirds of James Street Baptist.  Fire destroys the interior of the Pasadena Apartments, the first apartment built in 1914 and designated.   New Horizon Homes to build a third 11 storey tower as  Staff and Council vote to not uphold  1995 Minutes of Settlement.    Community Planning attends DNA meeting to discuss a  Secondary Plan  to replace the 1987 Durand Neighbourhood Plan.  Councillor Farr presents motion and consultation to begin in the next 3-5 years.
2013 –   The Association and the City host a Public Information Centre to begin the Durand Park Revitalization Process. In June 2013, a second Public House was held in the Durand Park. The draft concept plan was presented where Duranders provided feedback again. In November of 2013, the plan received budget approval for $650,000. Construction will take place over the next three years beginning in 2014. The third Grand Durand Garden Tour was held June 15th 2013 and was another sellout and success story for the Association.

Durand 40th Anniversary Logo
Durand 40th Anniversary Logo

2012 – The Association  celebrates 40 years of Community Service.  Director Janice Brown is presented with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal by MP David Christopherson.  As part of Durand’s 40th Anniversary,  the DNA gives $2000 to Graham Crawford, editor and  publisher of the Grand Durand Mansions, for sole sponsorship towards the publication of “The Grand Durand Mansions”.

2011– The Association conducts Survey to help identify major concerns and issues of Duranders. The Association  hosts 2nd annual Movie Nite in Durand Park providing free popcorn.   Sweetness Bakery Food Truck sells cupcakes during the evening.

Movie Night poster
Movie Night

The Association invites  Municipal By-Law Enforcement to the Annual General Meeting to discuss the  by-law blitz conducted in Durand during the spring.  City Square Condo Development on the old Thistle Site hosts Grand Opening on May 26th, 2011. Durand Executive is invited.

2010– Jason Farr, Councillor Elect Ward 2 is invited to attend Board meetings and accepts. Funding is approved for demolition of Sunday school (St Mark’s site). Council considers adaptive reuse for St Marks for  Whitehern Museum activities.  The Association  hosts first ever Movie Night. Grand Durand Garden Tour 2010 sells out.

Photo of Durand Garden Tour 2010
Durand Garden Tour 2010

The Association sends representative  to Hamilton City Housing committee meetings to address ongoing concerns. Councillor Farr and Sgt Miscione represent the City and Police.  The Association  hosts Ward 2 Mayoral and All Candidates Meeting  at the AGM.  Standing Room Only. Traffic and property standards continue to be issues in Durand. Nicholas Kevlahan requests 2nd Traffic Study. Councillor Bratina agrees to follow up with Hart Soloman of Public Works.  Owner of 41 Inglewood backs away from  OMB hearing regarding his application to sever his property.  Hess Village Liaison Committee is formed and includes Durand representative.

2009– Longtime Board Member, former President of the DNA and author of Durand, A Neighbourhood Reclaimed, passes on April 17th, 2009. Picnic in the Park 2009 features Juno Award Winner, Tomi Swick. The new playground equipment is officially opened at the Picnic in the Park. Durand Park Revitalization is approved in the Capital Budget Forecast and is scheduled for design work in 2013, with construction to begin in 2015.

Photo of Durand's New Playground

Durand participates in Hess Village Review to address ongoing problems with patrons and bar owners. Initial talks take place with new developers (Dundurn Edge) for Thistle Site. Durand participates in “Canada Walks”, a national program to promote walking. ( Hamilton is one of 5 cities in Canada selected for this program). Durander Newsletter goes electronic.  The Association  hosts  community workshop by Gil Penalosa of “Walk And Bike For Life”.

2008– Park Committee struck to develop a business plan for Durand Park improvements. The Ice Rink returns to Durand Park.

Photo of Winter in Durand
Winter in Durand

The Association  supports the Inglewood Residents’ Association to deny severance of property at 41 Inglewood.  Playground “Supie” returns to Durand Park.  The Association  welcomes Sgt Chris Zafirides, crime manager to Durand to help us address crime and safety issues in the neighbourhood. Liberals promise $300 million to fund 2 new rapid transit lines for Hamilton.  The Association  hosts Picnic in the Park (2).

2007 – City advises the Association  that St Marks is to be disposed of.  The Association  celebrates 35 years of uninterrupted community service and celebrates with  Picnic in the Park.  President Sonja McDonald presents to Council on Budget 2007. The Associations  hosts first ever Grand Durand Garden Tour and raises $8000.00 for Park Revitalization.

2006 – The Association  articulates a new 3 year Vision.  Four strategic elements are identified and include  Active Resident-Based Voice, Successfully Addressing, Priority Issues Affecting Our Neighbourhood, To Nurture a Vibrant Downtown Community. The Association hosts  All Candidates Meeting for upcoming election.

2005 – The Association takes part in  “Arts Day in the District, with newly formed James St South business district.  The Association  organizes a Community Dialogue meeting with representatives from the Hamilton Police Service and Municipal government to discuss increasing crime stats in the Durand.

2004– The Association, after recommending major changes in the original plan, supports a proposal for the Thistle Club property to be converted to low-rise townhouses.

Photo of Thistle Club
Former Thistle Club 85 Robinson

The Association holds a well-attended House Tour in the neighbourhood with the proceeds dedicated to tree planting. Enforcement of property standards and keeping Durand safe and clean are adopted as priority activities.

2003 – The Association endorses plans to built a townhouse development facing Park Street on the former Officers’ Club site. The Association holds a standing-room only all-candidates meeting prior to the municipal election. It becomes a founding member of the Federation of Hamilton Neighbourhood Associations. Queen’s Park rejects objections to the Durand Neighbourhood Traffic Plan clearing the way for its implementation.

2002 – The city and consultants present recommendations for improvements to traffic in the Durand Neighbourhood after receiving input from the Association and the public according to the required public process procedures; the developer demolishes the Officers’ Club but the site is not cleared for several months after complaints from neighbours and a compliance order issued by the city; the Association and neighbours request that the City seek special provincial legislation to impose stronger property standards on vacant lots; the Association renews its quest to turn the St. Mark’s Church property into public green space as the buildings fall into greater disrepair.

2001 – The Association concludes its Millennium celebration by hosting a symposium for neighbourhood associations across Ontario; it is decided to form a provincial federation of urban neighbourhood groups; the sale of St. Mark’s Church falls through, the property and future use remains in the City’s hands; a compromise is reached to convert the historic Officers’ Club into six condominium apartments instead of demolishing it to make way for a 12-storey high-rise; the Association decides on five high-priority, pro-active initiatives to update the 1987 Durand Neighbourhood Plan; it joins with the City to initiate a full-scale review of neighbourhood traffic concerns.

2000 – The Association adopts a revised mission statement and objectives; the threat of closure of Central Public School recedes; the Association unsuccessfully seeks creation of a park on the site of the former St. Mark’s Anglican Church site which Council agrees to sell to the Charismatic Episcopal Church; the Association celebrates the Millennium with publication of two books – “Durand — A Neighbourhood Reclaimed” and “Durand Chronicle: Three Decades of Community Service 1972-2000”.

1999 – The Association participates in the planning for a revitalized downtown and cements closer ties with the Central, Kirkendall and Strathcona neighbourhood associations; ongoing issues include municipal restructuring, the future of the Hamilton Psychiatric Hospital and finding a suitable re-use of the St. Mark’s Church site.

1998 – The Association celebrates its 25th anniversary; James Mountain road is reconstructed; the City’s first “Out of the Cold” programs for the homeless operate out of two Durand neighbourhood churches; the Association receives a VISION 2020 Hamilton-Wentworth Sustainable Community Recognition Award for its contributions to achieving the principles of sustainable development.

1997 – Durand’s place in a future Mega City or Region is discussed at the annual meeting.

1996 – Durand residents and the Association win support for improvements to the James Mountain Road, which will preserve the natural environment.

1995 – The Association and developers reach a settlement on new plans for the Thistle Club, avoiding a full OMB hearing.

1994 – The impact of the new Hamilton GO Transit bus-rail Hunter Street terminal on the Durand Neighbourhood is assessed; the City buys St. Mark’s Church and seeks a new use.

1993 – The Association celebrates its 20th anniversary with a concert at James Street Baptist Church.

1992 – City Council approves a study to create a Heritage District for the MacNab-Markland area; a ban on left turns in the rush hours is imposed for northbound traffic on James at Markland; the Association raises funds for a new playground in the Durand Park; reconstruction of the underpass beneath the rail tracks at MacNab South is approved.

1991 – Durand residents and police form a committee to combat neighbourhood crime; a mansion at 105 Aberdeen mansion is saved from demolition.

1990 – The Association helps neighbours delay a major reconstruction of James Mountain Road pending more detailed studies; the OMB allows rezoning of the St. Mark’s Church site; the Association unsuccessfully opposes demolition of a historic mansion at 65 Markland.

1989 – The Association is represented on a new citizens’ committee to implement the revised Durand Plan; a high-rise project on the St. Mark’s Church site at Bay and Hunter provokes strong neighbourhood opposition.

1988 – The revised Durand Neighbourhood Plan is approved; a study is sought to establish a Heritage Conservation District in the vicinity of MacNab South; the Central Area Plan is updated; a proposed high-rise redevelopment of the Thistle Club site stirs controversy.

1987 – New lighting is installed in Durand Park; the Association sponsors a study of possible upgrading and beautification of neighbourhood alleys; the wooden James Street Mountain steps are replaced with a safe, steel structure; with the Association’s support, a Bay Street home is converted to house mental health patients.

1986 – The Association helps organize a Neighbourhood Watch.

1985 – A new use is sought for the Carnegie Library on Main Street (now Family Court); the historic Bank of Montreal building at James and Main, threatened with demolition, is back in use.

1984 – The Association seeks a review of the Durand Neighbourhood Plan.

1983 – The Association and the owners of a projected new retirement home at 10 Herkimer Street co-operate on a site plan design to preserve the existing streetscape.

1982 – Sandyford Place is restored and converted to condominium apartments; a Heritage District is proposed for Durand; the Association helps judge a design contest for energy-efficient, low-rise, high-density family housing on the old Ryerson School site; the Association applies a federal Canada Day grant to install a drinking fountain in Durand Park; the OMB approves a high-rise condominium on the Officers’ Club garden site.

1981 – A proposed provincially-endorsed elevated rapid transit rail link between downtown and the Mountain running above James South is derailed after fierce opposition by citizens in which the Association plays a key role; Central Public School reopens after being refurbished.

1980 – The City approves the sale of Sandyford Place; the Association joins a three-year, ultimately unsuccessful, battle to save a Victorian mansion at 206 James Street South.

1979 – The Association is instrumental in winning City and Ontario Municipal Board support preventing creation of a strip mall at Bay and Robinson; the leasing of the top floor of Central Public School to an insurance company provides an innovative solution to prevent the school’s closure; the Association is involved in preparation of a new Plan covering the entire Central Area, including Durand; Site Plan controls are reintroduced.

1978 – Central Public School is recognized as a provincial historic site; the old Ryerson Public School is demolished.

1977 – The Association proposes an architectural competition for housing on the old Ryerson Public School site; neighbourhood residents organize to save Central Public School from closure in the face of declining enrolment.

1976 – The Association co-operates with the owners in the commercial redevelopment at the corner of Herkimer and Caroline; Sandyford Place is designated as a National Historic site; a children’s playground is erected in Durand Park.

1975– The Durand Neighbourhood Plan wins approval with implementation of neighbourhood rezonings; the Durand Park opens followed by a bazaar, the first of many events organized by the Association.

Photo of Original DNA Logo
The Original DNA Logo

1974 – The Association joins the City in an intricate legal battle to acquire property for creation of the Durand Park.

1973 – A 2,000-signature petition requests City Council to halt demolition and construction until the Durand neighbourhood is planned; the Durand Neighbourhood Association Inc. is formally established as a provincially-authorized not-for-profit association with a constitution and bylaws; a citizens’ committee completes the Durand Neighbourhood Plan and Program; Hamilton City Council imposes a four-storey height limit.

1972 – Durand residents organize to protect the neighbourhood from uncontrolled development and demolitions; the Durand Neighbourhood Citizens’ Association holds its first general meeting. Diane Dent is the first president of the DNA. (The Durand Neighbourhood Association Inc.) Learn more about the beginnings of the DNA by reading this blog post.