By Gord Bowes, News staff
Thousands of stories have been told about Concession Street over the years.
The Hamilton Public Library wants to hear yours as it records the history of the historic Mountain street.
“Little stories, little snapshots of life on Concession Street over the years,” says Naomi Brun, the librarian in charge of the project.
Brun said the library recently surveyed patrons and found out they wanted more information and programming about local history.
The Concession Street Writing Challenge, which starts Tuesday, is the result.
The goal of the project is to collect stories about the Concession Street area over the years.
The neighbourhood has seen many changes and staff thought it might be fun to hear about people’s experiences on Concession Street at different points in time, said Brun.
After the challenge is over, staff will create a visual presentation about the historic street that combines images from the library’s archive with excerpts from submitted stories, which will be shown on the LED screen in the branch.
The library’s project stems from the Concession Street BIA’s “I Remember to iPad” project, an attempt at Streetfest earlier this year to record people’s recollections on video.
“It was a fun thing to do, but we found a lot of people would walk up to the booth and so, ‘Oh yeah, I just can’t remember the story right now,’ ” said Betty Toplack of the BIA. “You have to get the stories now, before people forget.”
They could be recollections of selling tickets as a teen at the movie theatre or going down the Mountain to the lower city to attend high school and taking the incline railway back up the escarpment on the way home.
“Those are wonderful stories that are going to be gone very soon,” said Toplack.
This won’t be the first time in Concession Street’s history that its stories have been recorded. The late Colwyn Beynon often reflected on the “Old Stone Road,” as it is also known, in his Mountain News column.
And in 1993, the BIA commissioned a book, “Concession Street in Context.” Copies of the softcover publication are still available at Toplack’s Mountain Book Store.
Concession Street Writing Challenge entries must be a maximum of 750 words and written by someone 18 or older. Deadline is Oct. 18.
More information about the Concession Street Writing Challenge is available at the library, located at 565 Concession Street.
As part of the Concession Street Writing Challenge, author Gary Evans will talk about his 2004 book, “Prints Across the Mountain,” at 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 5.