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The Gore Master Plan

Project Summary

An initiative of Hamilton's city-wide Transportation Master Plan is the recent Transit Terminal Study which will result in a new Multi-modal transit facility downtown. HSR buses that currently stop along the south leg of King Street East will be relocated to the new facility.

Removal of buses from the South leg of King Street East is a notable change in function that provides the opportunity to blend this portion of roadway with the existing pedestrian zones in that area, such as Gore Park and the existing store-front sidewalks. An improved pedestrian environment aligns with the City's Downtown Secondary Plan, Putting People First.

In recognition of the mutual influence between the south leg of King Street East and Gore Park, the Public Works Department has undertaken The Gore Master Plan Project. The Gore Master Plan Project has undertaken a comprehensive review and assessment of the Study Area, and it's connections, to subsequently propose a revised physical form that responds to the identity and needs of the site. Changes to the form of the space may be quite minor, and may be focused on the south leg of King Street East.

Assessment of the form, function, and essence of the Study Area and any resulting recommendations will pay special attention to the uniqueness of this site. The process and outcome will respect its extraordinary physical identity, and its presence in the collective psyche of Hamilton's people. Although the special character of the Gore is somewhat elusive, it is recognized as significant and borne of over 150 years of attendance as a physical and psychological anchor in Hamilton.

Project Status

Project Update April 2014
Public Works is preparing for the first phase of construction for the Gore Pedestrianization Initiative, which is Veterans’ Place between Hughson and John Streets. The boundaries of the entire Gore Pedestrianization Initiative are James to Catharine Streets, the north edge of Gore Park, and the southern sidewalk along the south leg of King Street East.

The Gore Pedestrianization Initiative was initiated by the Downtown Transportation Master Plan Review, 2008 (DTMP). A three-part recommendation was approved by Council, which was to: reroute HSR buses from the south leg of King Street East to the new multi-modal facility at MacNab Street; to undertake a design study to explore what the area might look as a pedestrian-focused space; and to begin the pedestrianization as a pilot project.

The new multi-modal terminal opened in January 2011, removing idling buses from the south leg of King Street East adjacent to Gore Park. The design study began in 2008, involved a comprehensive public engagement process, and resulted in a preferred conceptual plan that was presented to Public Works Committee on January 18, 2010. This was followed by the implementation of the Gore Pedestrianization Pilot Project in July 2012, which focused on the south leg of King Street East between James Street and Hughson Street. On November 7, 2012, Hamilton City Council approved the continuation of the Pedestrianization of this portion of the south leg of King Street East.

On February 6, 2013, General Issues Committee directed staff to meet with stakeholders and accelerate the Gore Pedestrianization Initiative by discussing “Gore Park infrastructure improvements that could be completed prior to the start of the 2015 Pan Am Games”. As directed, Public Works staff engaged various stakeholders including the Public Stakeholder Group (PSG) that was engaged during the design study, and the private developer planning to revitalize the Connaught property. The Connaught developer requested that the block between John and Catharine Streets be constructed upon completion of their works. Bringing this information back to the PSG and the Hamilton Veterans’ Committee resulted in the block between Hughson and John Streets being selected as the preferred phase one of construction to proceed in 2014. The PSG felt that the temporary installations employed during the summer months to pedestrianize the street between James and Hughson Streets, in coordination with the Downtown BIA’s summer Gore Park Promenade program are serving well to improve the aesthetics and overall appeal of that portion of the Gore. The Veterans’ Committee felt that, given the aging Veteran’s community, there is a desire to implement this commemoration to Veterans while we have WWII Veterans with us to see it completed.

Therefore, activities associated with the first phase construction, Veterans’ Place, is targeted to begin in spring 2014. Substantial completion of construction is targeted for December 2014. Work to remedy minor deficiencies may occur in early 2015. Construction activities associated with this are to be complete prior to the Pan Am Games to be held in July 2015. The current target to commence phase two of the project is no sooner than 2016. Phase three, the Connaught forecourt, will be coordinated with development of the Connaught building.

Communication to involved parties, including the public has been an on-going process through the life of the project, through various forms. Channels used to reach the public and other interested parties, to advise of the planned construction start will include: the Landscape Architectural Services page on the City’s web site; Twitter updates; co-authored article with the Downtown Business Improvement Area; articles in local Magazine(s), and the At Your Service section of the Hamilton Spectator; a media release and/or Public Service Announcement; notice of construction start from the City’s Construction Services Section; and in person meetings with interested parties where needed. There is also a sign-board on-site, which has been in place since 2012. There will also be project banners erected on the construction fencing advising of the exciting changes that are underway. Staff has also worked with the developer of the Connaught building to have graphics and information on the project available for viewing inside their sales office.

A summary of the scope of work is provided below.

Summary of Scope of Work, Veterans’ Place.
The overall theme of Veterans’ Place is service to community and country. Key components of the plan for Veterans’ Place include: Pedestrianized South-leg of King Street – With the initiator of this project being recommendations from the Downtown Transportation Master Plan Review, the focus was originally on pedestrianization of the south leg of King Street East. This stretch of roadway is so closely associated with Gore Park, that in undertaking the design study referenced improvements to the park space were also recommended. In the Gore Pedestrianization Initiative, the pedestrianized roadway is themed as a Victorian Carriageway which connects the three blocks from James to Catharine Streets. In order to eliminate the accessibility barrier of a curb, the roadway is raised to be flush with the park elevation and that of the sidewalk which runs along the front of the store fronts the south edge of the roadway.

Cenotaph – At the request of the Veterans’ Committee the Cenotaph will be refurbished, shifted south, and rotated 180 degrees. This undertaking serves three functions. First, refurbishment, which is being coordinated with the Tourism and Culture Division, allows for removal of the existing mortar which is eroding and allowing moisture to enter the interior structure of the Cenotaph. Interior moisture compromises the integrity and life span of the Cenotaph. Second, shifting the Cenotaph south removes an accessibility barrier which currently exists along the park’s northerly walkway, adjacent to the Cenotaph. Third, the combination of shifting the Cenotaph south, and rotating it 180 degrees allows the Cenotaph to be placed on a central north-south alignment within the park which reinstates the prominent stature it once had in Gore Park before various alterations to the surrounding space had taken place over the years. It places it on a central axis and dominant site line as one walks through the opening of the new Memorial Wall.

Remembrance Day services in 2014 will not be held at the Gore Park Cenotaph as the space will be under construction. For more information please visit or call 905-546-2666.

Memorial Wall – A doubled-sided, robust laminated construction, inner-lit wall to commemorate service to community and country.

Memorial Enclaves – A series of smaller memorial walls will create a rhythm along the south edge of the park. This south edge of the park will be approximately 1.5 meters (5 ft) further south than it is currently due to the removal of the existing curb and sidewalk). The Enclaves will be of the same double-sided, robust laminated glass, inner-lit construction as the Memorial Wall, and each will sit on a granite base.

Content for the Memorial Wall and the Memorial Enclaves is being determined by a focus group made up of representatives of the military community. This group, referred to as the Veterans’ Place Focus Group includes representatives from: Hamilton Veterans’ Committee; United Council of Veterans; Royal Canadian Legion 662; Royal Canadian Legion 36; Korean Veterans Association; Royal Hamilton Light Infantry Association; Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum; HMCS Star; Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders; Canadian International Military Tattoo; as well the Special Advisor to the Mayor on military issues, and a local Historian.

Electrical Enclosure – Within this portion of Gore Park, near Hughson Street, is a buried structure that once served as a public washroom facility. Many years ago the structure was decommissioned as a washroom, and electrical equipment for the area’s street lights was installed on its interior walls. For two reasons this equipment needs to come to the surface. First, the washroom structure was never designed to with the rigor required to house and keep functional, the electrical equipment now within it. Years of dampness have compromised the integrity of the cabling, connections, and related components. Second, there is current legislation which governs a confined space work environment. Protocol for safe work practices within a confined space is stringent and requires special training, which precludes easy and frequent access of workers into this space for maintenance and monitoring. Street lighting staff in Engineering Services, therefore, requested that this scope of work incorporate ‘daylighting’ of the electrical equipment. Public Works staff in Landscape Architectural Services has been working with this request since 2009.

Below-grade, Former Washroom Structure – This approximately 5 by 4 meter subterranean structure is a larger enclosure than what is required for the modern electrical equipment that will be installed in the new electrical enclosure. With disconnection of the existing electrical equipment in that space, the void will be filled with engineered fill.

Stakeholder consultations through the duration of this project have not supported the re-instatement of a washroom facility within Gore Park. Notwithstanding this, there have been questions about a public washroom facility within the downtown. There are currently washroom facilities within the downtown that are relatively new and therefore, not well known to the public. One is within the Tourism office on the main floor of the Lister Block. Another is within the MacNab Street Transit Terminal, which is intended to predominantly serve transit users. Discussions with the City’s Urban Renewal Section has resulted in the plan to include signage to locate nearby washroom facilities within their Downtown Way-finding program. During large events staff have recommended that organizers be required to provide additional, temporary washroom facilities to support their event.

Electrical Service Change-over – The process of disconnecting the old electrical equipment and connecting the new electrical equipment will carefully and precisely choreographed with the intent to minimize electrical-service disruption. Service outages are planned to be short in duration and during daylight hours.

Trees – Forestry and Horticulture have representatives on the project’s Staff Stakeholder Group (SSG) and have been working with the project team throughout the, to-date six-year, process. A coordinated effort will be utilized to address the realities of Emerald Ash Borer, as well as other trees on site that are not Ash however are nearing the end of their life-cycle and will be impacted by operations required to daylight the electrical equipment. All trees to be removed will be replaced with younger trees within this block. These have been selected for their hardiness, appropriate size, and to prevent a monoculture scheme. A monoculture is a grouping of trees within a space that are all, or predominantly, the same species. This scenario provides an environment where invasive species, such as Emerald Ash Borer, can decimate an area killing all or most of the trees within a space. Tree removals will be ten. Tree planting will be fourteen.

Sir John A Macdonald – The preferred conceptual plan developed by the Public Stakeholder Group (PSG) includes the relocation of the Sir John A. Macdonald monument and cannons to the forecourt space of the Connaught Building. This move will provide the Connaught forecourt with a strong anchor; will give the Sir John A. Macdonald monument pride-of-place in a dedicated court yard; will allow for barrier-free access along the Gore Park walkway that is at the north edge of where Sir John A. Macdonald currently stands; and allows for later installation of a public art piece in keeping with the theme of Veterans’ Place. The PSG recognize the significance and sombre relevance of the Cenotaph. The Memorial Wall and Enclaves are intended to commemorate service to community and country including events more current than those represented on the Cenotaph. The public art piece, which will eventually stand where Sir John A Macdonald currently resides, will have a smaller footprint and will be a symbol of peace and hope for the future.

The Connaught Forecourt – Staff has been working with the developer of the Connaught building to ensure that the design for the space in front of the Connaught aligns with the preferred conceptual plan that was developed through the Public Stakeholder Group, and also supports the functions of the redeveloped building.

March 7, 2013
In November of 2012 Hamilton City Council approved the continuation of The Gore Pedestrianization Project, which began in July 2012 and includes the temporary closure of King Street (south side) from James Street to Hughson Street, until commencement of construction activities associated with the implementation of the Gore Pedestrianization Initiative (Gore Master Plan).

This continuation of the Gore Pedestrianization Project includes large planters at Hughson Street and James Street to prevent private vehicles from entering the pedestrianized space. The raised cross walk that was installed in 2012 remains to facilitate a barrier-free pedestrian connection between the park space and the storefront sidewalk. Also to be maintained are the low planting areas along the south edge of the park between James Street and Hughson Street.

Businesses in the area remain open. The Gore Pedestrianization Project creates a pedestrian-focused space between James and Hughson Streets, where emergency and delivery vehicles are still able to gain access.

The Gore Pedestrianization Project will coordinate with the Downtown Hamilton BIA’s Gore Park Summer Promenade program which includes artisan and food vendors as well as local entertainment. The temporary road closure will continue until such time as the commencement of construction activities associated with implementation of the overall Gore Pedestrianization Initiative. A construction start date is yet to be determined. Public Works is currently working on construction drawings and documentation to facilitate the anticipated tendering of construction works.

The Gore Pedestrianization Project, temporary road closure is one component of the comprehensive master plan for the Gore area, referred to as the Gore Pedestrianization Initiative. The relocation of City buses from the south leg of King Street east to the new MacNab Transit Terminal was also a key element of the plan. These initiatives were recommended as part of the Downtown Transportation Master Plan Review (2008)

May 16, 2012
On Tuesday, May 22, Hamilton’s Public Works Department will begin work on the south leg of King Street East between James and Hughson Streets. The work is part of a pilot project to create a temporary pedestrian-only space for one block on King Street East adjacent to Gore Park.

Large planter boxes will be placed at Hughson and James to prevent motorists from entering the pedestrianized space. A raised crosswalk will be constructed centre-block to facilitate a barrier-free pedestrian connection between the park space and the storefront sidewalk. A special street paint product will also be applied to the road surface to mimic future pavement.

All businesses will remain open during construction. Pedestrian access along the south sidewalk of King Street East will be maintained, however the road will be closed during construction.

The work is expected to be completed by early July, at which time the Downtown BIA’s annual Gore Park Summer Promenade will animate Gore Park with artisan and food vendors as well as local entertainment. The temporary road closure will continue until late summer.

The pilot project is one preliminary part of a comprehensive master plan for the Gore area. The relocation of City buses from the south leg of King Street east to the new MacNab Transit Terminal was also a key component of the Master Plan. These initiatives were recommended as part of the Downtown Transportation Master Plan Review (2008).

The purpose of the pilot project is to evaluate the success, acceptance, and function of pedestrianizing the area before implementing a permanent closure in the future.

January 19, 2012
The preferred conceptual plan for the Gore area was presented to Public Works Committee on Jan 18/10. Included in the presentation was information on the public consultation process we undertook to reach the preferred plan. The presentation was well received and we are moving forward with the Pedestrianization Pilot Project and development of the preferred plan.

For both of these stages of the project, continued stakeholder consultation is integral. Sixteen members of our Public Stakeholder Group, plus one addition, have indicated an interest in continuing their involvement in the project through design development. The remaining fifteen have been moved to the project's "Distribution Only" list, so that they may stay informed without attending meetings. Staff will soon be in touch with the individuals who expressed an interest is being involved.

The Pedestrianization Pilot Project will be a joint effort among the City's Landscape Architectural Services, Culture, and Transportation Planning Sections. The Pilot staff team will be setting up a stakeholder group to assist with various aspects of the project. Timing of the Pilot is not yet specifically determined, but will take place some time after the buses have been relocated to the new terminal on MacNab. It may be best to run the Pilot during the warmer months, so it will likely begin in 2011. The purpose of the Pilot is to gage the success and acceptance of restricting vehicle access to the south leg of King Street East, and promoting it was a pedestrian space.

The Gore Master Plan is currently in Phase 5, which is design development. We will take information learned during the Pilot to finalize plans for development of the preferred plan. Implementation will be coordinated with the Rapid Transit project. Timing for which is yet to be determined.


Project References and Images Detailed Design Submission - Phases 2 and 3
Detailed Design Submission 2 Detailed Design Submission 1 Functional Plan Report and Drawings Preferred Conceptual Plan

Public Consultation

Veteran's Place Focus Group
Materials from March, 5, 2014: Public Stakeholder Meetings
Materials from meeting 8 - February 6, 2014 meeting number 8: Materials from November 14, 2013 meeting number 7: Materials from March 5, 2012 meeting number 6: Materials from September 23, 2009 meeting number 5: Materials from June 25, 2009 meeting number 4: Materials from April 2, 2009 meeting number 3: Materials from March 4, 2009 optional site walk-about meeting: Materials from December 9, 2008, meeting number 2: Materials from October 29, 2008, meeting number 1: Staff Stakeholder Meetings
Materials from February 6, 2014 meeting number 6: Materials from November 14, 2013 meeting number 5: Materials from February 9, 2012 meeting number 4: Materials from September 28, 2009, meeting number 3: Materials from July 24, 2008 meeting number 1: Veteran's Committee
Materials from OCTOBER 8, 2013: Built Environment Sub-Committee
Materials from March 19, 2012: Materials from March 26, 2010: Materials presented March 8, 2010: Public Works Committee
Materials from January 18, 2010: Public Information Centres
Materials from September 9, 2009 public information centre number 1: Downtown and International Village Business Improvement Areas
Materials from April 23, 2009: Materials from November 18, 2008: Comments
Public Comments Received

There is an opportunity at any time during this process to provide comments by sending an email to:

Le'Ann Whitehouse Seely, OALA, CSLA, CLARB Certified
Phone: 905-546-2424 extension 2289