Ghosts Of Steeltown

Ontario's Forgotten Landmarks: Ghosts Of Steeltown

Like all larger cities, Hamilton has its architectural ghosts. These empty shells speak to a forgotten past, and point dismally to the future of all buildings. Paraphrasing Paul Virilio, one might say that architecture itself is merely the art of making ruins.

It is hard to believe now, but as recently as a few decades ago, Hamilton Ontario was a major rival of Toronto's when it came to entertainment and the like. Here's a closer look at these ghosts of memories - a look inside some of Hamilton's silent buildings.

Where did one stay, in this booming steeltown? The

Ghosts Of Steeltown

Royal Connaught Hotel

Ghosts Of Steeltown

, built in 1914 under an American developer, sits in the middle of downtown Hamilton, a silent giant awaiting redevelopment. Recent plans in this regard, however, have unfortunately fallen through.

Ghosts Of Steeltown


Ghosts Of Steeltown


Ghosts Of Steeltown

Whenever I arrive in Hamilton to explore, my first stop is always the roof of the

Ghosts Of Steeltown

city's tallest building

Ghosts Of Steeltown

, where I am able to see my 'golden triangle' of abandonments from my perch.

The Lyric Theatre (formerly 'The Century') is a stunning space, but due to a combination of the natural elements and disrepair, has become increasingly unsafe as of late, even for the most avid explorer...

Above the false ceiling in the main theatre area is the building's original roof, housing a stunning fallen balcony. Sadly, this area is open-air, and extremely unstable...

Perhaps the city's most noted entropic space is the infamous Lister Block. Built in 1886, then rebuilt just shy of 40 years later due to a massive fire, this galleria-style shopping and business centre sat in disuse for several recent decades, until a series of accidents (a gas leak followed by an 'accidental demolition' of part of the property) in the past year or so finally pressed the city to make a move to save portions of the historic site.

The view from the roof of the building is particularly beautiful - especially at night, the (former) best time to visit the eerie place...

There are many lesser known spots around downtown, perhaps not as exciting, but neverthless mysterious and beautiful...

Ghosts Of Steeltown


Ghosts Of Steeltown

One of my favorite old haunts was an old apartment complex a 10-minute walk from the heart of the city; this burn victim lost the entire roof of its upper floor, while still retaining the charred interior details...

Ghosts Of Steeltown



Hamilton will always exist in my mind as a city of conundrums and ghosts; lingering questions will always haunt its streets for me. It strikes me as a bizarre tragicomedy of a modern architectural milieu, which at one end hasn't the means nor the knowledge for rehabilitation, and at the other, lacks the respect needed for proper burial of some of its decaying appendages.

(To see more snaps of decay from this beautiful city, as well as high-res. versions of those pictured above, you can check out my flickr slide show below.)


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