King Street Ghost Town Virtual Tour

Walking down King Street feels like walking through a ghost town. Metrolinx has cancelled the transit project, but remains the owner and landlord of 60 properties, concentrated in Ward 3 on King St E between Wellington and Ottawa. Dozens of houses, apartment buildings, and businesses have been vacated and boarded up. Tenants have been evicted from their homes, children transferred to different schools, people taken away from their friends and social supports. For those who remain, the neighbourhood feels empty, eerie, too quiet – almost like living in the aftermath of a bomb. We feel the loss of our neighbours, displaced to different corners of the city.

As part of our Survey of Displacement for Light Rail Transit (LRT), we took photographs and gathered data on properties planned for purchase and demolition. We worked from the demolition list provided in the 2017 Hamilton LRT Environmental Project Report, but supplemented this by walking the length of the route, photographing each affected property, carefully counting mailboxes and hydro metres, and talking with residents and business owners. The full data set is available in a Google Sheet here and the results of the survey are summarized here.

While our estimates exceed the counts reported by Metrolinx staff, we nevertheless underestimate the true numbers. We know that Metrolinx has altered construction plans in sections of the route and added buildings to their demolition list. (The original demolition list published in 2017 included 56 properties, but as of 2019 Metrolinx said they would need to demolish 90 properties.) We call on Metrolinx to publish an up-to-date list of all properties acquired for the LRT project, with a full accounting of the number of residential and commercial units at each property.

If you are a current or former resident or business owner of one of these properties, please contact us at kingstreettenantsunited@riseup.net. We welcome your input and any information you’d like to add.

Thanks to King Street Tenants United member Taras for these photographs.

Address: 85 Paisley Ave S
Ward: 1
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for Longwood Stop
Estimated # of residential units: 1
Estimated # of commercial units: 0
Ownership:
Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Vacant

Address: 940 Main St W
Ward: 1
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for Longwood Stop
Estimated # of residential units: 0
Estimated # of commercial units: 1
Ownership: Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Vacant

Formerly Town Media marketing company.
*Not included in 2017 LRT Environmental Project Report demolition list, but added afterwards.

Address: 160 Bond St S, 930 Main St W
Ward: 1
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for Longwood Stop
Estimated # of residential units: 0
Estimated # of commercial units: 4
Ownership: Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Vacant

Formerly Chisholm Assessment Centre, WestMac Properties, Ferma Exchange, and AM Bowen Therapy.

Address: 918 Main St W
Ward: 1
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for Longwood Stop
Estimated # of residential units: 1
Estimated # of commercial units: 1
Ownership: Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Vacant

Formerly Popeye’s Louisiana Chicken restaurant.
*Not included in 2017 LRT Environmental Project Report demolition list, but added afterwards.

Address: 612 King St W
Ward: 1
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for turning lane
Estimated # of residential units: 0
Estimated # of commercial units: 1
Ownership: Unknown
Status: Occupied

Currently Shoppers Drug Mart.

Address: 619 King St W
Ward: 1
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for Dundurn LRT stop and turning lane
Estimated # of residential units: 3
Estimated # of commercial units: 0
Ownership: Unknown
Status: Occupied

Address: 621 King St W
Ward: 1
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for Dundurn LRT stop and turning lane
Estimated # of residential units: 3
Estimated # of commercial units: 0
Ownership: Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Occupied

Address: 426-428 King St W
Ward: 1
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for track/turning radius
Estimated # of residential units: 4
Estimated # of commercial units: 1
Ownership: Unknown
Status: Occupied

Currently appliance store.

Address: 2 West Ave N
Ward: 3
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for Wellington LRT stop
Estimated # of residential units: 9
Estimated # of commercial units: 1
Ownership: Unknown
Status: Occupied

Formerly coin laundry in commercial space at building rear.

Address: 401 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for Wellington LRT stop
Estimated # of residential units: 5
Estimated # of commercial units: 1
Ownership: Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Vacant

Formerly Filipino Takeout and Grocery.

Address: 403-415 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for Wellington LRT stop
Estimated # of residential units: 6
Estimated # of commercial units: 0
Ownership: Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Vacant

*Not included in 2017 LRT Environmental Project Report demolition list, but added afterwards.

Address: 561 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for track/turning radius
Estimated # of residential units: 1
Estimated # of commercial units: 1
Ownership: Unknown
Status: Vacant

Formerly Lolo La Congolese Tropical Food and Beauty Supplies.

Address: 563 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for track/turning radius
Estimated # of residential units: 3
Estimated # of commercial units: 1
Ownership: Unknown
Status: Vacant

Formerly Concan Computer Repairs and Internet Cafe.

Address: 1 Grant Ave
Ward: 3
Impact:
Building demolition, Road widening for Wentworth LRT stop
Estimated # of residential units: 3
Estimated # of commercial units:
0
Ownership:
Purchased by Metrolinx
Status:
Vacant

Address: 654 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact:
Building demolition, Road widening for Wentworth LRT stop
Estimated # of residential units: 1
Estimated # of commercial units:
0
Ownership:
Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Occupied

Address: 656 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact:
Building demolition, Road widening for Wentworth LRT stop
Estimated # of residential units: 1
Estimated # of commercial units:
0
Ownership:
Unknown
Status: Occupied

Address: 658-660 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact:
Building demolition, Road widening for Wentworth LRT stop
Estimated # of residential units: 6
Estimated # of commercial units:
2
Ownership:
Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Vacant

Address: 662 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact:
Building demolition, Road widening for Wentworth LRT stop
Estimated # of residential units: 2
Estimated # of commercial units:
2
Ownership:
Unknown
Status: Occupied

Address: 666-668 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact:
Building demolition, Road widening for Wentworth LRT stop
Estimated # of residential units: 0
Estimated # of commercial units:
1
Ownership:
Unknown
Status: Occupied

Currently Stala Building Solutions.

Address: 674 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact:
Building demolition, Road widening for Wentworth LRT stop
Estimated # of residential units: 0
Estimated # of commercial units:
1
Ownership:
Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Vacant

Formerly Insta Loan, Koodo Mobile, and Little Caesar’s Pizza.
*Not included in 2017 LRT Environmental Project Report demolition list, but added afterwards.

Address: 676 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact:
Building demolition, Road widening for Wentworth LRT stop
Estimated # of residential units: 0
Estimated # of commercial units:
1
Ownership:
Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Vacant

Formerly gas station and car wash.
*Not included in 2017 LRT Environmental Project Report demolition list, but added afterwards.

Address: 692-694 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact:
Building demolition, Road widening for Wentworth LRT stop
Estimated # of residential units: 0
Estimated # of commercial units:
2
Ownership:
Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Vacant

Formerly Integral security company.
*Not included in 2017 LRT Environmental Project Report demolition list, but added afterwards.

Address: 696 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact:
Building demolition, Road widening for Wentworth LRT stop
Estimated # of residential units: 0
Estimated # of commercial units:
1
Ownership:
Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Vacant

Formerly St. Vincent de Paul Value Shop.
*Not included in 2017 LRT Environmental Project Report demolition list, but added afterwards.

Address: 698-700 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact:
Building demolition, Road widening for Wentworth LRT stop
Estimated # of residential units: 0
Estimated # of commercial units:
1
Ownership:
Unknown
Status: Occupied

Currently Momentum Credit Union.
*Not included in 2017 LRT Environmental Project Report demolition list, but added afterwards.

Address: 702 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact:
Building demolition, Road widening for Wentworth LRT stop
Estimated # of residential units: 0
Estimated # of commercial units:
2
Ownership:
Unknown
Status: Occupied

Currently Amazing Fitness and Common Sense Automotive.
*Not included in 2017 LRT Environmental Project Report demolition list, but added afterwards.

Address: 787 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact:
Building demolition, Road widening for track/turning radius
Estimated # of residential units: 2
Estimated # of commercial units:
0
Ownership:
Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Vacant

*Not included in 2017 LRT Environmental Project Report demolition list, but added afterwards.

Address: 789 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact:
Building demolition, Road widening for track/turning radius
Estimated # of residential units: 4
Estimated # of commercial units:
1
Ownership:
Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Vacant

Address: 832 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact:
Building demolition, Road widening for track/turning radius
Estimated # of residential units: 27
Estimated # of commercial units:
0
Ownership:
Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Vacant


Address: 850 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact:
Building demolition, Road widening for Sherman LRT stop
Estimated # of residential units: 0
Estimated # of commercial units:
1
Ownership:
Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Vacant

Formerly Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery office.

Address: 3 Proctor Blvd.
Ward: 3
Impact:
Building demolition, Road widening for Sherman LRT stop
Estimated # of residential units: 0
Estimated # of commercial units:
1
Ownership:
Unknown
Status: Unknown

Address: 891 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact:
Building demolition, Road widening for Sherman LRT stop
Estimated # of residential units: 2
Estimated # of commercial units:
0
Ownership:
Unknown
Status: Occupied

Address: 893 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact:
Building demolition, Road widening for Sherman LRT stop
Estimated # of residential units: 2
Estimated # of commercial units:
1
Ownership:
Unknown
Status: Occupied

Currently King Sherman Sauna.

Address: 895 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact:
Building demolition, Road widening for Sherman LRT stop
Estimated # of residential units: 3
Estimated # of commercial units:
0
Ownership:
Unknown
Status: Occupied

Address: 897 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact:
Building demolition, Road widening for Sherman LRT stop
Estimated # of residential units: 0
Estimated # of commercial units:
1
Ownership:
Unknown
Status: Occupied

Currently African Food and Beauty Supplies.

Address: 899 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact:
Building demolition, Road widening for Sherman LRT stop
Estimated # of residential units: 0
Estimated # of commercial units:
1
Ownership:
Unknown
Status: Occupied

Address: 900 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact:
Building demolition, Road widening for Sherman LRT stop
Estimated # of residential units: 0
Estimated # of commercial units:
1
Ownership:
Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Vacant

Formerly Microdental Dental Laboratory.

Address: 902 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact:
Building demolition, Road widening for Sherman LRT stop
Estimated # of residential units: 5
Estimated # of commercial units:
0
Ownership:
Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Vacant

Featured in Hamilton Spectator article by Jeff Mahoney (January 18, 2019): https://www.thespec.com/opinion-story/9132837-lrt-turns-fairy-tale-ending-into-rubble-jeopardy-for-spectacularly-revitalized-st-clair-apartments.

Address: 911 King St E
Impact:
Building demolition, Road widening for Sherman LRT stop
Estimated # of residential units: 0
Estimated # of commercial units:
1
Ownership:
Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Vacant

Formerly Petro Canada gas station.

Address: 927 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact:
Building demolition, Road widening for Sherman LRT stop
Estimated # of residential units: 0
Estimated # of commercial units:
1
Ownership:
Not yet purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Occupied

Currently Atlantic Sub.
*Not included in 2017 LRT Environmental Project Report demolition list, but added afterwards.

Address: 924 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact:
Building demolition, Road widening for Sherman LRT stop
Estimated # of residential units: 0
Estimated # of commercial units:
1
Ownership:
Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Vacant

Formerly Hakim Optical.

Address: 929 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact:
Building demolition, Road widening for Sherman LRT stop
Estimated # of residential units: 0
Estimated # of commercial units:
1
Ownership:
Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Vacant

Formerly Martin’s Bowling.

Address: 935 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact:
Building demolition, Road widening for Sherman LRT stop
Estimated # of residential units: 0
Estimated # of commercial units:
0
Ownership:
Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Vacant

Address: 937-943 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact:
Building demolition, Road widening for Sherman LRT stop
Estimated # of residential units: 0
Estimated # of commercial units:
0
Ownership:
Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Vacant

Address: 945 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact:
Building demolition, Road widening for Sherman LRT stop
Estimated # of residential units: 0
Estimated # of commercial units:
2
Ownership:
Unknown
Status: Occupied

Currently Matrix Group Publishing.

Address: 949 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact:
Building demolition, Road widening for Sherman LRT stop
Estimated # of residential units: 10
Estimated # of commercial units:
0
Ownership:
Not yet purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Occupied

Currently Brock Lodge, residential care home for low-income people, including elderly people and people with mental health issues. Featured in Hamilton Spectator article by Matthew van Dongen (February 1, 2017): https://www.thespec.com/news-story/7095731-residential-care-home-in-the-way-of-hamilton-s-planned-lrt/

Address: 951-953 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for track curve/CP grade separation
Estimated # of residential units: 2
Estimated # of commercial units:
2
Ownership: Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Vacant

Address: 3 Barnesdale Ave S
Ward: 3
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for track/turning radius
Estimated # of residential units: 3
Estimated # of commercial units:
0
Ownership:
Unknown
Status: Occupied

Address: 1125-1127 King St
Ward: 3
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for track curve/CP grade separation
Estimated # of residential units: 2
Estimated # of commercial units:
2
Ownership:
Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Occupied

Formerly Celebrity Barbershop and Caribbean Vibes restaurant.

Address: 1135 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for track curve/CP grade separation
Estimated # of residential units: 0
Estimated # of commercial units:
1
Ownership:
Unknown
Status: Occupied

Currently Eric’s Automotive.

Address: 1137 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for track curve/CP grade separation
Estimated # of residential units: 2
Estimated # of commercial units:
0
Ownership:
Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Vacant

Address: 1139 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for track curve/CP grade separation
Estimated # of residential units: 1
Estimated # of commercial units:
1
Ownership:
Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Vacant

Formerly Robert’s Quality Upholstery.

Address: 1141-1143 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for track curve/CP grade separation
Estimated # of residential units: 1
Estimated # of commercial units:
1
Ownership:
Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Vacant

Address: 1145 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for track curve/CP grade separation
Estimated # of residential units: 3
Estimated # of commercial units:
1
Ownership: Unknown
Status: Occupied

Currently Taste of Poland restaurant.

Address: 1149-1151 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for track curve/CP grade separation
Estimated # of residential units: 3
Estimated # of commercial units:
1
Ownership: Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Occupied

Formerly AIPS: Affordable Immigration and Paralegal Support.

Address: 1153 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for track curve/CP grade separation
Estimated # of residential units: 0
Estimated # of commercial units:
1
Ownership: Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Vacant

Formerly Tim Horton’s.
*Not included in 2017 LRT Environmental Project Report demolition list, but added afterwards.

Address: 1173 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for track curve/CP grade separation
Estimated # of residential units: 3
Estimated # of commercial units:
0
Ownership: Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Vacant

Address: 1175 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for track curve/CP grade separation
Estimated # of residential units: 1
Estimated # of commercial units:
0
Ownership: Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Vacant

Address: 1177 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for track curve/CP grade separation
Estimated # of residential units: 1
Estimated # of commercial units:
0
Ownership: Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Vacant

Address: 1179 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for track curve/CP grade separation
Estimated # of residential units: 1
Estimated # of commercial units:
0
Ownership: Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Vacant

Address: 1181 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for track curve/CP grade separation
Estimated # of residential units: 1
Estimated # of commercial units:
0
Ownership: Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Vacant

Address: 1183 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for track curve/CP grade separation
Estimated # of residential units: 1
Estimated # of commercial units:
0
Ownership: Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Vacant

Address: 1185 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for track curve/CP grade separation
Estimated # of residential units: 1
Estimated # of commercial units:
0
Ownership: Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Vacant

Address: 1191 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for track curve/CP grade separation
Estimated # of residential units: 1
Estimated # of commercial units:
0
Ownership: Not yet purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Vacant

Currently Otto’s Auto Sales.
*Not included in 2017 LRT Environmental Project Report demolition list, but added afterwards.

Address: 1197 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for track curve/CP grade separation
Estimated # of residential units: 4
Estimated # of commercial units:
0
Ownership: Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Occupied

Featured in Hamilton Spectator article by Matthew van Dongen (April 2, 2019): https://www.thespec.com/news-story/9264217-hamilton-s-lrt-is-back-on-track-so-what-happens-next-/.

Address: 1199 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for track curve/CP grade separation
Estimated # of residential units: 3
Estimated # of commercial units:
0
Ownership: Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Vacant

Address: 1201 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for track curve/CP grade separation
Estimated # of residential units: 3
Estimated # of commercial units:
0
Ownership: Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Vacant

*Not included in 2017 LRT Environmental Project Report demolition list, but added afterwards.

Address: 1203 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for track curve/CP grade separation
Estimated # of residential units: 1
Estimated # of commercial units:
0
Ownership: Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Occupied

Featured in Hamilton Spectator article by Matthew van Dongen (June 8, 2018): https://www.thespec.com/news-story/8660742-moving-out-of-the-way-of-lrt-when-do-i-have-to-leave-/.

Address: 1205 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for track curve/CP grade separation
Estimated # of residential units: 1
Estimated # of commercial units:
0
Ownership: Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Vacant

Address: 1207 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for track curve/CP grade separation
Estimated # of residential units: 1
Estimated # of commercial units:
0
Ownership: Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Vacant

Address: 1209 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for track curve/CP grade separation
Estimated # of residential units: 1
Estimated # of commercial units:
0
Ownership: Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Vacant

*Not included in 2017 LRT Environmental Project Report demolition list, but added afterwards.

Address: 1 Glendale Ave N
Ward: 3
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for track curve/CP grade separation
Estimated # of residential units: 9
Estimated # of commercial units:
0
Ownership: Not yet purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Occupied

Address: 2 Glendale Ave N
Ward: 3
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for track curve/CP grade separation
Estimated # of residential units: 1
Estimated # of commercial units:
0
Ownership: Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Occupied

Address: 1253 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for track curve/CP grade separation
Estimated # of residential units: 0
Estimated # of commercial units:
1
Ownership: Not yet purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Occupied

Currently Eyecatcher Signs.
*Not included in 2017 LRT Environmental Project Report demolition list, but added afterwards.

Address: 1257 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for track curve/CP grade separation
Estimated # of residential units: 8
Estimated # of commercial units:
0
Ownership: Not yet purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Occupied

Address: 1145 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for track curve/CP grade separation
Estimated # of residential units: 4
Estimated # of commercial units:
2
Ownership: Unknown
Status: Occupied

Currently Breezy Corners restaurant.

Address: 1147 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for track curve/CP grade separation
Estimated # of residential units: 0
Estimated # of commercial units:
1
Ownership: Unknown
Status: Occupied

Currently Neworld Martial Arts Fitness.

Address: 1149-1151 King St E
Ward: 3
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for track curve/CP grade separation
Estimated # of residential units: 6
Estimated # of commercial units:
1
Ownership: Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Vacant

Formerly Penny Pincher Costumes.

Address: 1390 Main St E
Ward: 4
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for Kenilworth LRT stop
Estimated # of residential units: 0
Estimated # of commercial units:
1
Ownership: Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Vacant

Formerly Levy Medical Clinic (moved to 55 Parkdale Ave N).
*Not included in 2017 LRT Environmental Project Report demolition list, but added afterwards.

Address: 1392 Main St E
Ward: 4
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for Kenilworth LRT stop
Estimated # of residential units: 0
Estimated # of commercial units:
4
Ownership: Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Occupied

Currently Cash Money, Old School Boxing & Fitness.
*Not included in 2017 LRT Environmental Project Report demolition list, but added afterwards.

Address: 1395 Main St E
Ward: 4
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for Kenilworth LRT stop
Estimated # of residential units: 2
Estimated # of commercial units:
2
Ownership: Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Vacant

Formerly Royal Farmacy: Cannabis Culture.
*Not included in 2017 LRT Environmental Project Report demolition list, but added afterwards.

Address: 1403 Main St E
Ward: 4
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for Kenilworth LRT stop
Estimated # of residential units: 2
Estimated # of commercial units:
1
Ownership: Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Vacant

Formerly Rebelz Fashionwear Outlets.
*Not included in 2017 LRT Environmental Project Report demolition list, but added afterwards.

Address: 1407 Main St E
Ward: 4
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for Kenilworth LRT stop
Estimated # of residential units: 0
Estimated # of commercial units:
1
Ownership: Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Vacant

Formerly CIBC branch.
*Not included in 2017 LRT Environmental Project Report demolition list, but added afterwards.

Address: 1410-1414 Main St E
Ward: 4
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for Kenilworth LRT stop
Estimated # of residential units: 0
Estimated # of commercial units:
1
Ownership: Not yet purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Occupied

Currently South Pacific restaurant.
*Not included in 2017 LRT Environmental Project Report demolition list, but added afterwards.

Address: 1418 Main St E
Ward: 4
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for Kenilworth LRT stop
Estimated # of residential units: 0
Estimated # of commercial units:
1
Ownership: Not yet purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Occupied

Currently Pawn Kings.
*Not included in 2017 LRT Environmental Project Report demolition list, but added afterwards.

Address: 1422 Main St E
Ward: 4
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening for Kenilworth LRT stop
Estimated # of residential units: 0
Estimated # of commercial units:
1
Ownership: Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Vacant

Formerly New Hope Community Bikes.
*Not included in 2017 LRT Environmental Project Report demolition list, but added afterwards.

Address: 75 Queenston Rd
Ward: 4
Impact: Building demolition, Road widening
Estimated # of residential units: 0
Estimated # of commercial units:
2
Ownership: Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Vacant

Formerly City Motor Hotel, Herbie’s, Pharma Plus. Site of future City Housing Hamilton development.
*Not included in 2017 LRT Environmental Project Report demolition list, but added afterwards.

Address: 606 Aberdeen Ave
Ward: 1
Impact: Partial building demolition, OMSF site
Estimated # of residential units: 0
Estimated # of commercial units:
1
Ownership: Purchased by Metrolinx
Status: Vacant

Formerly Hamilton Metal Trading Inc.

Survey of Displacement for Light Rail Transit

Many Hamiltonians didn’t realize that property acquisition, eviction, displacement, and demolition were part of Light Rail Transit (LRT) construction. If they knew the truth about the number of properties purchased, the number of people who lost their homes, and how poorly people were treated during the eviction process, they would be shocked.

Metrolinx and City of Hamilton staff have downplayed the scale of displacement in interviews with journalists and reports to city council. Based on what we have seen on the ground and heard from our neighbours, we believe the official numbers are misleading and far underestimate the actual scale of displacement. We decided to conduct our own survey to try to get at the truth.

Some brief background information

Planned route for Hamilton LRT. October 2018. Image source: City of Hamilton.

In order to build the LRT, Metrolinx planned to purchase nearly 400 properties along the route from McMaster University to Eastgate Square, including portions of Main Street West, King Street West, King Street East, Main Street East and Queenston Road. This includes approximately 300 ‘partial property’ purchases and 90 ‘full property’ purchases. Partial property purchases are typically “a few metres or less” shaved off the front of the property in order to widen the road. Full property purchases are located near LRT stops in order to accommodate station platforms and vehicle turning lanes. Full property purchases result in the displacement of current occupants and demolition of buildings. The majority of ‘full properties’ planned for purchase and demolition are located in Ward 3 – by our count, 79% of all properties.

In May 2015, Kathleen Wynne’s provincial Liberals gave the project the green light and committed $1 billion in funding. In April 2017, Hamilton city council approved the updated Hamilton LRT Environmental Project Report, which details the route, location of station stops, and list of properties required for acquisition. Metrolinx’s Property Acquisition Unit began buying properties in May 2017. As of May 2018, they had bought 22 properties. In June 2018, following Doug Ford’s election and funding freeze, the LRT project was in jeopardy and property purchases were paused. The Ford government later committed to build the LRT in the April 2019 provincial budget and in May 2019 property acquisition resumed. As of December 4, 2019, Metrolinx had spent approximately $80 million on property acquisition and purchased 60 full properties – two thirds of the 90 properties required. Demolitions were originally scheduled to begin in the summer and fall of 2019, but then postponed until spring 2020. On December 16, 2019, Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney announced the LRT project was cancelled. Plans for demolition and any future property acquisition stopped.

In their most recent report to Hamilton city council (December 4, 2019), City staff provide the following numbers:

  • Of the 90 ‘full property purchases’ on the Metrolinx demolition list, 60 are residential properties and only 30 are occupied by residential tenants.
  • Of the 60 properties purchased to date, 15 are residential properties.
  • The 15 residential properties purchased to date contain 55 residential units.
  • Of the 55 residential units, 40 units were occupied and 15 units were vacant at the time of purchase by Metrolinx.
  • Through these purchases, Metrolinx encountered 66 individual tenants “requiring support” and 43 of these 66 individuals have been “successfully accommodated” (displaced) to date.
  • Had LRT gone ahead, staff reported that an additional 15 residential properties would be purchased. Staff predicted: “The total number of people [individual tenants] requiring support through our project will probably be in the 100-range…We’re at 66 now.”

We suspect these numbers are misleading and far underestimate the true scale of displacement. For example, one of the first buildings purchased by Metrolinx, a mid-rise apartment building at King Street East and Holton Avenue South, contains 27 rental units alone.

832 King Street East, at the corner of King Street East and Holton Avenue South, once home to an estimated 27 tenant households, is now vacant and boarded up. December 2019. Image source: King Street Tenants United.

SURVEY METHODS AND DATA

We have conducted our own survey and arrived at different results. We worked from the demolition list provided in the Hamilton LRT Environmental Project Report, but supplemented this by walking the length of the route, photographing each affected property, carefully counting mailboxes and hydro metres, and talking with residents and business owners.

  • The most recent demolition list made publicly available by the City of Hamilton and Metrolinx can be found in the 2017 Hamilton LRT Environmental Project Report, accessible here [PDF]. We call on Metrolinx to publish an up-to-date list of all properties acquired for the LRT project, with a full accounting of the number of residential and commercial units at each property.
  • Our full dataset and calculations are accessible here [Google Sheet]. Tab 1 shows the data. Tab 2 shows the analysis.
  • Each property included in our survey is listed here [blog post] with a picture and accompanying description.

While our estimates exceed the counts reported by Metrolinx staff, we nevertheless underestimate the true numbers. We know that Metrolinx has altered construction plans in sections of the route and added buildings to their demolition list. (The original demolition list published in 2017 included 56 properties, but as of 2019 Metrolinx said they would need to demolish 90 properties.) Furthermore, our survey focuses on those facing direct displacement for the LRT. We also realize that many more people (hundreds, if not thousands) have been indirectly displaced in neighbourhoods near the LRT as landlords, investors, and homebuyers cash in on increasing property values and rents due to LRT-driven gentrification. Metrolinx evictions are the tip of the iceberg.

SURVEY RESULTS

Figure 1: Total Estimated Number of Property Acquisitions by Metrolinx for Hamilton LRT

Figure 2: Map of All Properties Planned for Purchase & Demolition vs. Map of Properties Purchased Before LRT Cancellation

Figure 3: All Properties Planned for Purchase & Demolition vs. Properties Purchased Before LRT Cancellation, by Ward

The majority of impacted properties is located in Ward 3: Hamilton Centre (Councillor Nrinder Nann). This is the section of King Street between Wellington Street North and Ottawa Street North. We estimate a total of 69 properties were planned for purchase in Ward 3. We estimate 43 properties were purchased in Ward 3 before LRT cancellation.

Figure 4: All Properties Planned for Purchase & Demolition vs. Properties Purchased Before LRT Cancellation, by Property Type

We estimate Metrolinx purchased 19 out of the 34 commercial properties they planned to purchase before LRT was cancelled. We estimate Metrolinx purchased 37 out of the 53 residential or mixed-use properties they planned to purchase before LRT was cancelled.

Figure 5: All Units Planned for Purchase & Demolition vs. Units Purchased Before LRT Cancellation, by Unit Type

By our count, Metrolinx planned to purchase 72 commercial units and 180 residential units. Assuming these units were occupied, this suggests that 72 businesses and 180 households (including owners and tenants) were facing displacement for LRT. We estimate Metrolinx purchased 45 commercial units and 113 residential units before LRT cancellation.

Figure 6: All Residential Units Planned for Purchase & Demolition vs. Residential Units Purchased Before LRT Cancellation, by Tenure (Owner or Renter)

We estimate the 180 residential units on Metrolinx’s acquisition list included 12 owned homes and 168 rented homes. Assuming these units were occupied, this suggest 12 homeowner households and 168 tenant households were facing displacement for the LRT. We estimate Metrolinx purchased 113 residential units before LRT cancellation, including 11 owned homes and 102 rental homes.

Figure 7: Estimated Number of Tenant Households, Homeowner Households, and Businesses Displaced by Metrolinx Before LRT Cancellation

Figure 8: Estimated Monthly Rent Increase Faced by Tenant Household Displaced from Apartment by Metrolinx, by Length of Tenancy

Data sources for Figure 8 are as follows: Average rent for a 2-bedroom apartment in Hamilton was $1,537/month as of December 2019 (Rentals.ca National Rent Report); $1,158/month as of 2018 (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation Hamilton Census Metropolitan Area 2018 Rental Market Report); $959/month as of 2014 (CMHC Hamilton CMA 2014 Rental Market Report); and $831/month as of 2009 (CMHC Hamilton CMA 2009 Rental Market Report). Please note: Rent increase calculations are approximate and do not take into account the annual increases landlords are permitted to impose upon tenants, in accordance with the guideline set by the Province (typically 1-3%).

Tenants pushed out of their homes by Metrolinx likely have to pay hundreds of dollars more per month in rent at their new apartments, compared to what they paid when living on King Street. For lower-income tenants, especially tenants on fixed incomes through their pensions or social assistance, rent increases of this magnitude are difficult, if not impossible, to afford.

METROLINX vs. King Street Tenants United: HOW DO THE NUMBERS COMPARE?

Number of residential properties planned for acquisition
Metrolinx claims that, had LRT gone ahead, a total of 60 residential properties would need to be acquired. Our number in this case is lower: We counted 53 residential properties slated for purchase and demolition.

Number of residential properties purchased for LRT
Metrolinx claims only 15 residential properties have been purchased to date. Our survey counted 37.

Number of residential units planned for acquisition
Metrolinx has not provided the public with an estimate of the number of residential units affected by LRT property acquisitions. We estimate a total of 180 residential units would have been affected, including 12 owned homes and 168 rented homes.

Number of residential units purchased for LRT
Metrolinx reports that 55 residential units have been purchased to date. We estimate 113 residential units have been purchased to date, including 11 owned homes and 102 rented homes.

Total number of tenants who were facing displacement for LRT
Metrolinx reports that the number of individual tenants facing displacement for LRT “will probably be in the 100-range” (Kris Jacobson to Hamilton City Council General Issues Committee, December 4, 2019). We estimate 168 tenant households were facing displacement, but cannot know how many individuals this number translates into. This assumes that all apartments were occupied by tenants when purchased by Metrolinx.

Number of tenant households displaced already
Metrolinx reports that 43 individual tenants have been “successfully accommodated” (displaced) to date and 23 individual tenants remain living on King Street with Metrolinx as their landlord. By our count, 87 Metrolinx-owned rental units are currently sitting vacant, suggesting 87 tenant households have been displaced. We cannot know how many individuals this number translates into. But even if we assume one person per household, this suggests less than half of all tenants displaced were supported by Metrolinx in securing new housing. Many tenants displaced for LRT likely received nothing from Metrolinx.

Metrolinx reports that of the 55 residential units they purchased, 40 units were occupied and 15 units were vacant at the time of purchase. Given that Hamilton has an apartment vacancy rate of 3.1% (CMHC 2018 Hamilton CMA Rental Market Report), it’s hard to believe that 27.3% of apartments purchased by Metrolinx had been sitting vacant for a long time prior to purchase. We know that many landlords sent letters to their tenants, telling tenants they needed to leave as Metrolinx would shortly be buying the building. These letters were not legal, but many tenants got scared upon reading and left. Some landlords, knowing that Metrolinx would shortly be buying the buildings, began slacking on maintenance and refused to put money into the buildings. This made living conditions unbearable for tenants and some became so frustrated they left before Metrolinx took over. In this way, individual landlords undertook the dirty work of pushing tenants out in order to deliver a vacant building to Metrolinx, letting Metrolinx off the hook to compensate and rehouse people. Vacant possession is often stipulated in agreements of purchase and sale for real estate transactions, or communicated informally (“I’ll give you $20,000 extra for the building if you hand it over empty”).


CONCLUSION

Metrolinx and City of Hamilton staff appear to have misrepresented and de-emphasized the scale of tenant displacement for LRT, downplaying the significant financial and emotional hardship endured by many who have been uprooted from their homes and communities for a train that was never built. Numbers matter because they help us build our case for properties to be preserved as affordable housing and for every single household displaced from King Street for the LRT (before or after Metrolinx became formally involved) be allowed to return to their homes. We call on Metrolinx to publish an up-to-date list of all properties acquired for the LRT project, with a full accounting of the number of residential and commercial units at each property.


If you are a current or former resident or business owner of one of these properties, please contact us at kingstreettenantsunited@riseup.net. We welcome your input and any information you’d like to add.

Hamilton LRT cancellation: A Christmas Fucking Miracle!

We are reprinting this article written by an anonymous King Street Tenants United supporter, originally published to North Shore Counter Info on December 19, 2019.

Working class Hamilton families breathed a collective sigh of relief Monday afternoon, when the Province announced they were killing the Light Rail Transit (LRT) project.  After 10+ years of living in the shadow of the Hamilton renaissance monster, with the housing walls closing in, this is the best holiday news many have heard in over a decade.

Hamilton has been wracking up some seriously shitty stats the last while.  In 2016, the CMHC named Hamilton one of 4 ‘red-flag’ cities with “dangerously overvalued” property, as ECDEV forced our way aboard Toronto’s SS Titanic housing bubble. This year we landed on the list of Top 10 most unaffordable cities for minimum wage workers (folks now working 55-60+ hours/week to afford a basic apartment).  And for the shit cherry on top of this hot shit sundae: we took the top prize this year for the highest one-year rent increase in all of Canada, at 24%.

So when the announcement came that Metrolinx’s LRT project – the engine that’s been driving this community-wrecking shitmobile – was being shelved?  The joy was impossible to contain.  The joy overfloweth.  It was a Christmas fucking miracle.  And many of us have spent the past 4 days in a dizzy bacchanal, drunk on the tears of realtors, developers and the new urbanist toadies that were all too happy to sacrifice thousands of their fellow Hamiltonians at the altar of ‘progress’ to see that 14 km stretch of fancy track laid.

For the folks being pushed to the wrong side of those socio-economic tracks, everything about the LRT news is fucking GOLD!  Some immediate highlights include:

– Watching our city officials and booster-douches put aside their 28 billion litres of shit difference, to join together for some protest cosplay at the announcement.  What a spectacle!  Seeing them all yelling outside of an unlocked door that they’ve been asked not to open, like it was some impenetrable castle gate? HILARIOUS!

– 36 developments that were proposed along the King Street corridor are now in jeopardy?  HOORAY!  Let’s make it 136!

– 2+ billion in private investments are now at risk?  WOO HOO!  Let’s make that 5+ billion!

– Toronto transplants crying on social media, saying they are thinking of leaving the city over this news?  FUCK YEAH!  Please take all your friends and restauranteurs with you!  Don’t let the for sale sign smash you repeatedly in the fucking face on the way out!

– the entire cast of the #HamOnt Twitterati ‘progressive’ fuck-weasel feed crying for the economic wellbeing of predatory fuck-vultures like Red Brick, Malleum, Ambitious, Urbanicity etc?  YES YES YES!   Barkeep! another round of tears for me and my pals!

GOLD.  This entire LRT death dance has been holiday fucking gold!

And how about all that hot critical analysis that followed?  Hoo boy. One of my faves has to be all the folks crying foul about Ford inflating values and using future costs to push his LRT-killing agenda.  Acting like they’ve all spotted the 2nd shooter from the grassy knoll.  “That’s not fair” they cry!  “He can’t do that” they cry!  “It’s not real math” they cry!  “He’s a liar” they cry!   Well ain’t that some shit.  And pretty fucking ironic considering THE ENTIRE HAMILTON RENAISSANCE IS BUILT ON SPECULATIVE FUTURE VALUES, TIED TO THE LRT PROJECT.  Speculation is, 100%, the new steel.  From the cost of property to the cost of burgers (sorry, I mean brgrs) – this entire city is priced by speculation.  Fixed for some as-yet-to-exist future Hamilton yuppie demographic; some influx of greasy craft-beer sipping, waxed-beard fuckfaces with bikes priced like cars.  The average present day Hamiltonian cannot afford to go out on the town.  The average present day Hamiltonian cannot afford to buy a home.  Why?  Because our city has been ripped from the hands of the present day average Hamiltonian and given to this future douche crowd, who are all riding in on the speculation around LRT.  It’s a lie!  It’s a sham!  It’s bad math!  It’s like what Ford did only, with serious, real-life, material consequences that are ruining tens of thousands of peoples’ lives.  What Ford did was unfair?  BOO-fucking-HOO. Welcome to the city of unfair. Looks good on ya.

We’ve also been hearing a lot of moaning about the $150+ million that has already been spent. Folks crying that we need to see the LRT through to completion cuz we’ve already come so far; dropped so many dollars already.  Right.  It’s like they got the green light to beat us to death but then, after breaking just one leg, a few fingers and some ribs they’ve been forced to stop.  And now they’re all standing over our injured body, demanding to finish the job.  Cool logic bro.  But, yeah, no thanks. We’re good.  You can stop there.

And betrayed!  BETRAYED!  Everyone keeps repeating that they feel betrayed.  Well, on behalf of the thousands of Hamiltonians staggering around with new steel daggers stuck in our backs, gushing blood everywhere, choosing between food and bills every month:  BOO-fucking-HOO.  If you want a masterclass in what actual betrayal looks like, visit any one of the thousands of rental units along the proposed LRT line and talk to the moms, grammas and kids that live there.  The folks that LRT betrayed from day fucking one.  The folks whose pile of bones this plan was being built on.  Ask them if they think shaving 14 minutes off their morning commute is worth the doubling or tripling of their rent.  Ask them how much better it is now, working menial shit jobs in this hip, new, super-cool, creative industry hub vs. working menial shit jobs in the old ‘Ontario armpit’ days, when Toronto hated us and everyone could afford to pay rent.  Check in with the hundreds of folks just one unpaid sick day away from living in the fucking ravine. Ask around and see if any of these folks give a single, solitary fuck about the LRT (spoiler alert – they don’t at all).  You’re feeling betrayed because your (dangerously overvalued) housing price might drop or your Danish traffic-dampening designs aren’t being implemented?  BOO-fucking-HOO.  Betrayal doesn’t even begin to describe how the LRT treated our city’s working class; the misery, tears, stress and pain that your fancy progress train has caused, for thousands of families. You’re feeling betrayed because a politician lied to you?  On behalf of the thousands of Hamiltonians that were being socially cleansed from the city to make way for your idyllic green happy train:  FUUUUUUUUUUUUCK YOU.

After 10+ years and several billion in investment, those Code Red stats haven’t changed in the slightest.  The rents have doubled and tripled.  Hundreds of families have been displaced and thousands more are waiting for that other shoe to drop.  Home ownership is completely out of reach for all but the rich.  There are no better job prospects, no new pathways of upward social mobility.  Nothing has trickled down from the newfangled #HamOnt shit heap.  It is clear – the new Hamilton, and the LRT plan it rode in on, were never meant for working class people.  The plan was always meant for the owner class, their friends, and the rat-fucks that want to be them or win their favour.  LRT has always been a death sentence for the city’s poor and working class. LRT has always been a pile of classist shit.

And so we celebrate the news, and we send you our holiday cheer.

To all the developers, realtors, and speculators; to the owner class and their sycophants; to the vulture-fucks, weasel-fucks, rat-fucks and anyone else crying over the LRT cancellation:

We wish you a shitty Christmas, filled with 100s of millions in lost investments!

We hope the cancellation of LRT causes your home values to plummet!

We wish you (even just) 1/10th of the misery and pain we’ve been enduring for LRT!

With holiday cheer, we raise a toast of 2-dollar tall can to your bursting property bubble!  May this LRT cancellation bring you ill health, misfortune and economic ruination!  May this be the first step in the collapse of your housing market and a death knell for everything ‘new steel’!

FUCK YOU!  FUCK YOU!  FUCK YOU!

HO HO HO!