Lloyd D. Jackson Square
|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 |
|Total retail floor area||Approximately 390,000 Square Feet|
|No. of floors||2|
Lloyd D. Jackson Square, also known locally 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 to much fanfare, followed by the completion of the Bank of Montreal Pavilion in 1972 and then the municipally famous Stelco Tower in 1973 and various other attractions throughout subsequent decades; thus serving as a center of community life in the region to this very day.
Modernism embodied the spirit of progress and technological advancement inherited from the Enlightenment, and was reflected in a variety of late-nineteenth-century and twentieth-century cultural movements. Rejecting nineteenth-century historicism, modernist architects favoured clean, straight lines and used concrete and steel to create buildings without ornamentation, often believing that their buildings could bring about positive social change. Modernist planners aspired to create functional cities where efficient transportation corridors could move traffic quickly between distinct zones.
As the nearby city of Toronto, once Hamilton's infrastructure inferior rival, grew into a staggering metropolis, Hamilton’s politicians and downtown businessmen felt as if their city was being held back by its old predominately Victorian architecture and looked forward to a complete modernist makeover for their downtown core. Toronto during the 1960's, in part owing to the political uncertainty raised by the resurgence of the Quebec sovereignty movement, witnessed many national and multinational corporations move their head offices from Montreal to the Downtown Toronto and as a result their skyline changed significantly. With the surge in business, Toronto began to flourish economically and Hamiltonian leaders looking to replicate such success demanded urban economic renewal through modernist architecture that was visible in the projects under construction in Toronto. Previous facelifts to the stores, hotels, and banks along Hamilton’s King Street West had usually involved moderate enhancements such as paint or new cladding for the existing buildings, but the municipal government planned on removing swaths of the built environment in order to start from anew. Hamilton’s civic and business leaders had spent years lobbying federal officials for urban renewal funding to revive the central core and they welcomed the modernist transformation openly by clearing forty-three acres of the downtown core to create a large Civic Square with King Street West (one of Hamilton’s two main arteries) running right through the middle of it even before the grants were fully secured.
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,” 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.” Modernist architecture’s simple lines and forms were a reaction against the more ornate and grandiose beaux arts style which emphasized symmetry and grand vistas and was popular from the late nineteenth century to the early twentieth century. Judging from the protest that erupted when the plans for the gardens and pools were threatened, the citizens of Hamilton cared a great deal for the greening of their downtown, whether modernist or beaux arts in style.
The gardens and pools would replace the downtown blight that the old buildings had come to represent. Hamilton businessmen had prospered in these old buildings as the city grew, but in 1955 when the Greater Hamilton Shopping Centre opened to the east on the old Jockey Club race track, now known as Centre Mall, the dual threat of suburban growth and the suburban mall made the nineteenth-century downtown storefronts look out of date. In 1957, the Hamilton Downtown Association began to lobby for an urban renewal study to be carried out by the federal government. However, when this study was completed in 1958, planner Mark David could not recommend redevelopment for the downtown because the federal-provincial cost-sharing program was initially designed to improve housing conditions and the downtown was a commercial district. Federal and provincial urban renewal money began to flow into Hamilton in 1958 to allow the city to expropriate and tear down Lake Ontario cottages for its first urban renewal project on Van Wagner’s and Crescent Beaches. Hamilton’s next government-funded urban renewal project focused on the residential North End, again a project fully supported by the downtown businessmen who continued to lobby politicians to expand the urban renewal program to allow for downtown redevelopment. Finally, in 1964, the National Housing Act was amended to allow for federally assisted civic improvement, and Hamilton immediately requested government funding to begin an urban renewal study of the 1,150 acres of central Hamilton.
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. The downtown core was perceived as ramshackle and slum-like 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. “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.” Concrete would replace the stone facades, and Hamilton would be able to stand proud as it approached the 125th anniversary of its incorporation as a city, knowing that it would finally look “modern”—a term used by politicians and commentators to signify the new, up-to-date style.
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. 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. 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.” Unfortunately, Hamilton chose a developer with an inferior physical plan but who also promised higher economic returns to the city. In the end, the hometown favourite was unable to deliver the project. With the downtown blocks flattened, the city would engage in anxious deliberations for more funding and search for a new developer to take over the project. As money grew tighter, the public’s enthusiasm for gardens and pools in the Civic Square was disregarded in order for the city to recoup its costs. In July 1968, the plan for the Civic Square was redrawn to increase the commercial components of the scheme by fifty per cent.
King Street West would no longer cross a square of gardens and pools and the street was no longer part of a grand vision for the Square; instead it became a transportation corridor where the flow of traffic cut through the two super-blocks as cars moved through the city. The stores to the north turned away from King Street and into an enclosed mall. The civic buildings now confined to the south side were to have walls of high concrete. King Street West was to become divorced from pedestrian life. As the public part of the Square shrank and the commercial interests increased, the automobile was the only winner. With roots in European industrial architecture and social housing, straight modernist lines were easy and cheap to replicate in steel and concrete. The city would rely on the modernist machine aesthetic of efficient straight lines and monotonous concrete construction to transform King Street West from a street where people had window-shopped to a street where traffic flowed.
Construction Process, History, and Recent Renovations
Known as Jackson Square by the locals, this mall is part of Hamilton's "Super Block", which includes the Hamilton Public Library, Stelco Tower, Copps Coliseum, Sheraton Hamilton, the Hamilton Farmer's Market, the Standard Life Building and the former Eaton's Centre now known as the Hamilton City Centre. It is also known as an "indoor core connector" to the Convention Centre (Ellen Fairclough Building), Art Gallery of Hamilton and Hamilton Place Theatre across the street: all three downtown landmarks are connected to the mall by a skywalk that crosses over King to Jackson Square.
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.
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. In 1983, the Standard Life Centre office tower opened at the west end of Jackson Square. In 1985, the Sheraton Hamilton, connected to Jackson Square, opened, boosting downtown Hamilton's hotel space. 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. 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.
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. 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.
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.
Jackson Square tenants by category & number:
- Cards & Stationery (3), includes Jackson Station Post Office
- Children's Fashions (2)
- Financial Services (6), includes Royal Bank, Bank of Montreal, TD Canada Trust
- Food Stores/ Restaurants (31), includes Denningers
- Footwear (4),
- General (26), includes Mr. Print-All, Small Business Enterprise Centre
- Government (3)
- Hair Salons (3)
- Jewellery (8)
- Ladies' Fashions (7) includes Urban Planet
- Medical Health (10), includes a fitness centre and a dental office
- Music, Entertainment, Books, Photography (6), includes Japan Camera and Landmark Cinemas
- News & Tobacco (5), includes United Cigar Store and Gift Post
- Specialty Shops (31), includes the LCBO, The Source (retailer), Grand and Toy, Tim Hortons, Harmony Global Arts and Crafts, Core Sports
- Travel (2)
- Unisex (11), includes Roots Canada,
- "Property details". Retrieved 2011-06-05.
- “Bold Downtown Plan Unveiled,” HS, 9 April 1965.
- Anthony Butler, “Perspective,” Canadian Architect 14, no. 6 (1969): 7.
- “Bold Downtown Plan Unveiled,” HS, 9 April 1965.
- We’ve Got to Densify: City Centre a Slum,” HS, 14 December 1967.
- 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.
- “Time Gentlemen Please,” HS, 1 February 1969.
- No reports of organized were opposition found in the newspapers of the day, This was confirmed by Herman Terpstra, interview, 2 June 2004, Hamilton.
- “Merchants Appeal Closing,” HS, 16 December 1967.
- Joint Review Committee on the Commercial Development Proposals, “Hamilton Civic Square,” 1967, 52, 307.30416 HAM, Hamilton Public Library Archive.
- Ibid., 51.
- "Stelco Tower: 1973". Retrieved 2007-04-11.
- Johnston, Bill. "Hamilton Spectator article: "Lament for a Downtown"". Retrieved 2007-04-11.
- "OHL Arena Guide: Copps Coliseum (1985)". Retrieved 2007-04-11.
- "Tigertown Triumphs" (Press release). The Hamilton Spectator-Memory Project (Souvenir Edition) page MP56. 2006-06-10.
- "Experience Hamilton (Tourism Hamilton)". Retrieved 2007-04-11.