This book is a chronology of events detailing the history of the Durand Neighbourhood Association. It begins with its formation in 1972 to combat massive high-rise development and spans three decades of active citizens’ involvement in the preservation of this historic inner-city district in Hamilton, Ontario. It will be a useful reference for anyone interested in the evolution of a community organization and the public’s right to participate in the urban political process. It covers a wide range of issues: neighbourhood and downtown planning, demolition and development, heritage preservation, traffic and transportation, housing, school, open space and commercial development.

The author, Russell Elman, was a former journalist and college professor who lived in the Durand Neighbourhood until his passing in 2009. He readily admitted to becoming an instant community activist on the news that a high-rise apartment was about to displace almost every house on his own block. He gained a unique insight into the issues confronting this inner-city Hamilton district by serving on various planning advisory committees and becoming involved in the Durand Neighbourhood Association. In telling its story, he wrote: “I have endeavoured to be as complete and as impartial as possible in recounting its successes and failures, its battles won and lost”.

Unfortunately, Russell’s book is out of print, but copies are available at the Hamilton Public Library.