Absolutely great read Smokey. I didn't grow up in Hamilton, have lived here only since 1986. And reading Smokey's post really makes me proud to call Hamilton home, this is a great city and one that is so much better than London, Ont where I grew up in, in so many ways.
Ok, niceties aside, Smokey's post points to the dilemma that now confronts Hamilton in so many respects. The history and tradition and values of the people that were born and raised here who are proud of their city I think, from what I've seen and read here, are second to none. That being said, I also believe that all Hamiltonian's need to look in the crystal glass and ask themselves what is it that will take to make this city great again, knowing that the steel mills and ancillary businesses associated with it are not as important now and probably won't be ever again. Think about it, the Bills want into this area, lucrative area, because there is money here especially just down the road in Toronto. My question is: how can Hamilton capitalize on this and make this area, which is gorgeous in many respects with the escarpment and waterfront, something which is richer in many respects to a vast variety of people, encourage them to live here, retire here etc? I'm not saying don't rebuild IWS at it's current location, not at all. But simply to think of all the alternatives and the broader picture here which is far greater than the working class and steel mills etc., as important as they have been and still are.
It's a different time and different era, a real new age era of information explosion and greener lifestyles and many people will be retiring, some with a fair amount of money. This is Canada's most populated region. What are all the alternatives and what is best knowing that the older steel mill days of yesterday, while not gone, are far less important now and will continue in the future as Hamilton transforms to a knowledge-based community and area where people could come and live and retire in for the sheer beauty of what is and could be more and more and more. There is a reason why Hamilton is investing in trails and bike paths and this is in the papers continuosly, a reason for sure! Let's take advantage of this and run with it.