Attempt to Save Tivoli From Demolition

posted by Hamiltonian on July 7, 2004 at 10:50 pm

HAMILTON, ON — The following email was sent in by Loren Lieberman, Executive Director of Creative Arts @ the Tivoli Theatre:

“Hi Everyone,

I’m sure that most, if not all of you know what’s going on at the Tivoli. I’ll make it brief for those who don’t. Last Tuesday night part of the roof and wall on the third floor of the Tivoli collapsed. Since then, the city has removed the entire third and fourth floors of the building as well as the marquee.

Some city workers say the destruction will end there, some say the whole building is coming down. Just to be clear – the auditorium is fine and the last 1/3 of the lobby (closest to the auditorium) should come out unscathed, but we stand to lose the oldest part of the Tivoli (it was built as a carriage factory built in 1875).

We have not been able to gain access to the building since last Tuesday. All of our wardrobe and props department are on the second floor directly below the collapsed wall, so needless to say we are desperate to get in and get our stuff out. Also, we haven’t been able to retrieve any of our computers or files from the office, which is making the Festival of Friends, (just 4 weeks away), an even bigger challenge than it was before.

For years, we at the Tivoli and at Creative Arts have been screaming and jumping up and down at the City of Hamilton, trying to get them to understand the structural problems that the Tivoli was facing, and asking for their financial help to fix it before it…well…fell down. The Tivoli theatre is still owned by the Sniderman family (of Sam the Record Man fame), so it was never eligible for any federal or provincial funding.

For the past 6 years, Loren (Lieberman the general manager of the Tivoli Theatre) has been percieved as the boy who cried wolf by both the City of Hamilton and the Sniderman family, neither believing that the situation could be as bad as he said it was, even though we had architects and engineers from the City look at, and assess the building many times.

The City has never enforced the property standards act on this building, becuase then they would have to do the same for the Lister Block or any of the plethora of deteriorating and depreciating buildings of which downtown Hamilton can boast. Downtown Hamilton is deteriorating at a rapid rate, and despite the many businesses who are being forced to close because no one is interested in coming downtown, His Worship Mayor DiIanni insists that everthing is fine.

This Friday evening, starting at 4pm, we are asking that you come down to the Tivoli Theatre (108 James Street North) and not only show your support for this beautiful building, but also show the City your disatisfaction at the lack of support, financial and otherwise, for heritage buildings, Hamilton revitalization and downtown in general.

Please come, and please bring your children, your grandparents, your next door neighbour who doesn’t speak any english, everyone you know who cares about this city. We need to show city council that we do care about what happens to Hamilton’s downtown and the buildings and businesses and businesses who make it what it is.

Thank you,

Loren Lieberman
Executive Director
Creative Arts @ the Tivoli Theatre
108 James Street North
Hamilton, ON, L8R 2K7"

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Comments (2)

hamiltonmark on November 5, 2004 at 5:52 pm

Years from now, the City of Hamilton will regret that it did not stand up and save the last theatre of it’s kind in Hamilton. I was fortunate to see a movie at either the Palace or Capital before they were both torn down in 1972 and the city again did not save one of these because it had Hamilton Place in the works. These two theatres would match any theatre that the City of Toronto has. Mark

Seanj on February 26, 2005 at 8:04 am

I actually have a little bit of footage on mini dv of the Tivoli prior to the collapse. There are perhaps five shots in total. A wide shot with some traffic going by and a few shots of the marquee and windows, plus a close up of a pigeon walking along the sign. The Marquee was advertising Shane. I can’t remember when it would have bee, but I remember it being a cold day.

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