Before I came to work at Hamilton Community News I held a similar position with a group of community newspapers in Toronto. While I worked in many great communities, with many great and passionate people, the folks I’ve met so far in Hamilton make me proud to be working here.
Among the first groups I met with were those involved in helping others.
I met Ellie Sly, Jan Nichols and Elaine Daley of the Dr. Bob Kemp hospice, a caring, peaceful facility dedicated to making the final days of its residents as comfortable as possible. I found myself choking up several times as I was told how the common room Christmas tree was used by a young family about to lose its mother to have one last Christmas morning together, or how its Camp Erin initiative brings together children dealing with loss for three days of summer camp and healing.
I visited Mission Services, where I met Barry Coe, and Neighbour to Neighbour Centre, where I spoke with Denise Arkell and Doug Farraway. What struck me in both places was not only the strong desire to help those in need in a way that also preserves their dignity, but the innovative nature of the programs that both groups have developed to tackle the root causes of poverty in our communities.
As my first public duty in my new role, I attended a forum organized by Tourism Hamilton and Sport Hamilton for the amateur sports community to talk about how to get their teams and events covered in the local media. I met many wonderful people that night and was heartened to hear how appreciative folks are of the job that we do in covering local sports. It seemed that during the question-and-answer period everyone who stood up with a story of woe in dealing with the media would at some point gesture to me and say: “Except for you guys. You guys are great.”
The size and enthusiasm of the sporting community was reinforced when I attended the media launch for the annual CANUSA Games, which was packed athletes and volunteers. It’s no wonder that these games have continued uninterrupted since 1958.
I also spent some time checking out the local arts scene at the recent Hamilton Fringe Festival. I’ve been involved with theatre most of my life and was fortunate to take in excellent productions involving friends that I have worked with over the years (Mischa Aravena, who played Gerardo Escobar in Death and the Maiden and Heather Davidson, who co-produced Bridezilla vs. the Apocalypse) as well as seeing what else the community has to offer. I was thoroughly impressed by venue offered by The Pearl Company. Not only was it a fantastic space to see theatre, but also the folks behind it, like co-owner Barbara Milne, are clearly passionate both about the arts and Hamilton as a whole.
And the more wonderful people I meet doing wonderful things in our communities the more passionate I become about Hamilton as well.
— Gordon Cameron in the Group Managing Editor for Hamilton Community News