About Downtown Sparrow
What we’re all about
First and foremost, the Downtown Sparrow is a resource. It’s meant to be a place where reports, zines, magazines and all sorts of other media and data are stored in perpetuity for the public in accessible, transparent, and searchable formats.
The founding data, primarily development mapping and elections material, was made possible through the culmination of work, over many decades, by volunteers from neighbourhood associations and community groups in all 6 of Hamilton’s Ward 2 neighbourhoods.
That being said, the bulk of the research that makes up the site’s founding data was gathered, analyzed, and organized from 2017 to 2021. It remains a work in progress.
For the time being, most of the information here is focused on Ward 2 but we hope to expand to Ward 1 and Ward 3 as our volunteer base grows. Downtown Sparrow is currently looking for folks to take on moderation and curation for some neighbourhoods in Wards 1 and 3. More immediate help is needed in Ward 3 in the Lansdale and Keith neighbourhoods and in Ward 1 in the Strathcona and Kirkendall neighbourhoods.
The site’s content is aggregated, edited, and published by a small group of moderators. If you’re interested in joining the flock, send us a message.
Why a sparrow? The idea was inspired by the many sparrows that frequent the holes in the walls at City Hall. They represent a constant presence, inquisitive nature, beautiful song, and watchful eye.
Defining “downtown Hamilton”
The downtown core is significant to many Hamiltonians and not everyone agrees on what makes up downtown Hamilton. We appreciate everyone’s unique perspectives on this subject and the work that has been done to define downtown Hamilton. We’re not trying to change that and are happy for many interpretations and viewpoints on the subject. That being said, in our view, downtown Hamilton has grown outside of the traditional 4 neighbourhoods (Beasley, Central, Corktown, and Durand) to include parts of the North End, Strathcona, Kirkdendall, Stinson, Keith, and Lansdale neighbourhoods (from Dundurn Street / Highway 403 in the west, Wentworth Street in the east, the Hamilton Harbour / Burlington Bay in the north, and the Niagara Escarpment in the south).
Rather than setting up artificial street boundaries, it made more sense to include entire neighbourhoods. While, historically speaking, it’s important to be precise about boundaries, this project was started from a desire to connect people to information about downtown Hamilton and, as a result, goes in a slightly different direction.
This isn’t a history project
Downtown Sparrow is not meant to replace the trove of information that can be found in the Hamilton Public Library’s Local History & Archives or to act as a check on or counterpoint to Hamilton’s historical community and experts. This project is more about providing access to information than interpreting it. We tried to strike a balance between historical data, like the elections information, and up to date information, like the active developments map.
Thanks from site editor Cameron Kroetsch
First and foremost, thanks to Matt Jelly and Sam Allemang who respectively provided the design and web expertise needed to get this off the ground. Teamwork really does make the dream work.
This wouldn’t have been possible without the help of the Corktown Neighbourhood Association’s Planning & Development Subcommittee (PDS). It latched on to the idea of creating and maintaining an active development map for the neighbourhood and it inspired the continued research that formed the Downtown Sparrow’s core dataset. Huge thanks those who showed up to our PDS meetings, especially Lauren Brady, Peggy Costie, Mary Hudecki, James MacNevin, Jessica Merolli, Jamie Philp, Nicole Smith, Leanne Stephenson, and Stuart Wheldon.
Many people contributed to the Downtown Sparrow by editing or giving specific advice including Christina Babcock, Janice Brown, Graham Crawford, Sean Hurley, Tima Hussain, Sarah Kovacs, Shawn Selway, Sheri Selway, and John Terpstra. Thank you for your patience and generosity. Any errors or omissions are entirely mine (hope there aren’t too many).
Some others contributed by offering support and encouragement, for which I’m extremely grateful, including Karl Andrus, Brandon Braithwaite, Joey Coleman, Terry Cooke, Jon Davey, Rob Fiedler, Derek Gamlem, Daniela Giulietti, Dave Kuruc, Maggie Martineau, Terry Mote, Chris Redmond, Anne Tennier, Matt Thompson, Ashley Wilson, and Maureen Wilson.