Lloyd D. Jackson Square

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Lloyd D. Jackson Square
Jackson Square Hamilton.JPG
Location 2 King Street West, Hamilton, Ontario, L8P 1A1, Canada
Opening date 1970 (First Phase)
Developer Yale Properties Limited
Management First Real Properties Limited (Joint-venture company owned by Yale Properties Limited and The Standard Life Assurance Company of Canada)
Owner First Real Properties Limited
No. of stores and services Approximately 230 [1]
Total retail floor area Approximately 390,000 Square Feet
No. of floors 2

Lloyd D. Jackson Square, also known as Jackson Square, is an indoor shopping mall, and commercial complex located in the downtown core of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, which is named after Lloyd Douglas Jackson, who served as mayor of the city from 1950 to 1962. The civic square is located in the centre of the city, bounded by several major arterial roads: King Street (south), Bay Street (west), York Boulevard (north) and James Street (east), with the appointed address being 2 King Street West. The mall was officially opened in 1970.

Development plans[edit]

The plan which was published in the Hamilton Spectator in 1965, and the accompanying artist’s sketch, show King Street West cutting through a large open space framed by civic buildings. Long pools of water and public gardens cross two super-blocks to link the modernist City Hall to the grand auditorium. This was the plan that was supposed to “leapfrog Hamilton into the 21st century,”[2] and it is very different from the diminished sidewalks and walls of concrete that now line this section of King Street West, where the automobile reigns supreme. Hamilton’s modernist architect Anthony Butler described the original 1965 plan for the “grand axial mall” as “distressingly beaux arts in conception” but he was forced to admit that “it caught the public fancy.”[3]

In April 1965, planner Murray Jones presented his plan for the Civic Square. Under this plan King Street West would travel one way west between Bay and James, cutting across new streets that flowed around the axial pools, and through open space in front of a department store and an office building to the north, and a library and parking garage to the south. The familiar older buildings would be torn down, and the open spaces left behind were said to be vital to the project because they would allow fresh air to circulate in the core.[4] The downtown core was perceived as ramshackle and slum-like [5]and in need of a good airing out.

In June 1968, the King Street merchants and tenants were told they had six months to vacate the buildings. Although the 1965 urban renewal plan was well known, the timing for the destruction had changed so often that the occupants were surprised that they had to leave at such short notice.[6] “The stores and residents will go, but so will the filthy back lanes, the grubby roof tops and the decrepit faces of the second and third floors,” reported the Spectator, “and like a phoenix rising from the ashes will grow a concrete skyscraper—the temple of the twentieth-century living.”[7]

Since the late 1950s, Hamilton politicians and business people had linked downtown redevelopment to the goal of becoming modern and up-to-date, of being able to compete with Toronto to the east and Buffalo to the south. The “ambitious city” was determined to update its look to reflect its potential and its important position within Canada as an industrial powerhouse. The modernist look it sought eschewed historical connections. The solid old buildings, some built of stone hewn by Hamilton’s earliest citizens, were no longer valued. Smooth edges of steel and glass represented the new machine look. History and ornamentation had little value, so very few mourned the old buildings’ destruction.[8] The new look needed to supersede the old and the buildings started to come down before the plan to replace the buildings was confirmed. In addition to the notion that something had to be done quickly was the pride that Hamiltonians felt in accomplishing something really big. The Civic Square Urban Renewal Scheme was said to be the largest downtown urban renewal land assembly project in Canada.[9] The city believed that it was doing something that would “have a profound effect on downtown urban renewal throughout the country” and therefore the city and the developer would have to work well together “with dedication to the sincere objectives of the program.”[10] Unfortunately, Hamilton chose a developer with an inferior physical plan but who also promised higher economic returns to the city.[11] In the end, the hometown favourite was unable to deliver the project. In July 1968, the plan for the Civic Square was redrawn to increase the commercial components of the scheme by fifty per cent.

Construction process, history, and recent renovations[edit]

Phase 1 of Jackson Square was completed in 1972, including the Bank of Montreal Pavilion. In 1973 Stelco Tower was completed. At the time of completion, Stelco Tower was the tallest building in Hamilton; that title only lasted for a year, until Landmark Place (formerly known as the Century 21 building) was completed in 1974.[12][13]

Lloyd D. Jackson Square former Bank of Montreal commerce pavilion as viewed from James Street.

In 1977, the second phase of Jackson Square was completed with a six-storey office tower, but not the department store intended to be its major attraction.[13] In 1983, the Standard Life Centre office tower opened at the west end of Jackson Square.[13] In 1985, the Sheraton Hamilton, connected to Jackson Square, opened, boosting downtown Hamilton's hotel space.[13] Also in 1985, Copps Coliseum, sports and entertainment arena with a capacity of up to 19,000 (depending on event type and configuration) opened its doors for business. It's named after the former Hamilton mayor, Victor K. Copps.[14] The first major hockey tournament the new Arena hosted was in 1986 when the World Junior Ice Hockey Championship Games were held in the city. The Soviets captured gold against Team Canada with a top scoring line that consisted of Sergei Fedorov, Alexander Mogilny and Pavel Bure.[15]

In 1981 the Provincial Government offered to build an elevated rapid transit line from Jackson Square to the Lime Ridge Mall on what was then the outskirts of the city.[16] Hamilton-Wentworth Council turned the proposal down.

In 1997, the Bank of Montreal moved out of Jackson Square, where it had been a major first tenant, and into its own building at Main and Bay.[13] In 1999, Eaton's closed as the department store chain collapsed and Hamilton's Eaton's Centre was now known as the Hamilton City Centre.[13]


Inside the mall are two food courts, the Food Festival and the Market Court. The latter leads to the back-end of the Hamilton Farmer's Market. Many stores, restaurants and a movie cinema are included in the mall's inventory. The mall is also equipped with elevators, escalators, pay phones at all entrances, public washrooms, a lost & found department and an underground parking lot with two entrance/exits, one on King Street West and the other on Bay Street North.[17]


  1. ^ "Property details". Retrieved 2011-06-05. 
  2. ^ “Bold Downtown Plan Unveiled,” HS, 9 April 1965.
  3. ^ Anthony Butler, “Perspective,” Canadian Architect 14, no. 6 (1969): 7.
  4. ^ “Bold Downtown Plan Unveiled,” HS, 9 April 1965.
  5. ^ We’ve Got to Densify: City Centre a Slum,” HS, 14 December 1967.
  6. ^ Robert Harry Riddet, “Urban Renewal as a Catalyst of Change in the Retail Business: The Case of the Civic Square, Hamilton, Ontario” (master’s thesis, University of Western Ontario, 1969), 42.
  7. ^ “Time Gentlemen Please,” HS, 1 February 1969.
  8. ^ No reports of organized were opposition found in the newspapers of the day, This was confirmed by Herman Terpstra, interview, 2 June 2004, Hamilton.
  9. ^ “Merchants Appeal Closing,” HS, 16 December 1967.
  10. ^ Joint Review Committee on the Commercial Development Proposals, “Hamilton Civic Square,” 1967, 52, 307.30416 HAM, Hamilton Public Library Archive.
  11. ^ Ibid., 51.
  12. ^ "Stelco Tower: 1973". Retrieved 2007-04-11. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f Johnston, Bill. "Hamilton Spectator article: "Lament for a Downtown"". Retrieved 2007-04-11. 
  14. ^ "OHL Arena Guide: Copps Coliseum (1985)". Retrieved 2007-04-11. 
  15. ^ "Tigertown Triumphs" (Press release). The Hamilton Spectator-Memory Project (Souvenir Edition) page MP56. 2006-06-10. 
  16. ^ Cory Ruf (2014-05-27). "LRT and lessons to be learned from Hamilton's first flirtation with urban trains: In 1981, Council turned down elevated train line, despite province's vow to foot most of the bill". CBC News. Archived from the original on 2014-05-27. On the night of Dec. 15, 1981, Hamilton-Wentworth Regional Council rejected a proposal to build a $111-million elevated train line from Jackson Square in the city’s core to Lime Ridge Mall, the hub for what was then the southern fringe of the Mountain’s blooming suburbs. 
  17. ^ "Experience Hamilton (Tourism Hamilton)". Retrieved 2007-04-11. 

Coordinates: 43°15′29″N 79°52′08″W / 43.258°N 79.869°W / 43.258; -79.869