Opinion – Brenda Duke

Over the years, I’ve lived in a few neighbourhoods but no matter where it was, Barton Street was part of my daily life. Being a public transit user, the number 2 Barton was my transportation everywhere! You see a lot when you’re riding from Ottawa Street to downtown. You see the pockets of neglect, the areas that need attention. But only if you focus on the negative!

If you keep an open mind, you notice the historical buildings, businesses that have lined the street for decades, greenspaces and parks. Major institutions like Hamilton Health Sciences, Service Providers like Helping Hands, 541 Eatery and Exchange, Mission Services, that care for and offer help to our residents. You see the dozens of children on their way to the schools and recreation centers that surround Barton Street. And you meet people… everywhere! At the bus stop, they say hello, they ask about you, on the bus, you make friends; the people you travel with every day, the bus driver waits when he sees you running for your daily commute. Don’t stop at the grocery store on the way home or pop into the local dollar store unless you have time to have a chat. People aren’t afraid to say hello to a neighbour or make you feel welcome.

Many people have opinions and we don’t expect that everyone will love Barton Street. What we expect is that you will give it a chance. Shop at the new store or coffee shop that opened, support our local BIA with their initiatives.

Barton Street has been called many things over the years; an area of transition, an opportunity for small business and the Code Red Area. To me and many others, Barton Street is home and it is community. With all of its bumps and bruises, Barton Street has shown residents, new business owners and The City that we are not giving up any time soon.

How do you feel? Email galaherald@gmail.com and we’ll publish your thoughts, no matter your viewpoint.

Note: I wrote and published this in 2019 and it’s still relevant today. Our BIA works diligently to bring new businesses to the area and work toward improvements. Let’s all do our part to support the local businesses and each other.