On being a mature student

On being a mature student

by Erin Shacklette

When I first attended Mohawk College in 1999, I was scared and insecure. All I recall was being surrounded by thousands of other 18- and 19-year-olds. I didn’t join any clubs at first. I did join the soccer team in second year but didn’t make any lasting friendships. Although I did make a few friends in class, I spent most of those two years simply adjusting to life on my own. The school itself wasn’t that accessible for people with learning or physical disabilities. The cultural diversity was minimal but growing. I didn’t feel like I had truly experienced college life.

Fast forward to 2015. At age 35 I was back at Mohawk College, and this time was different. Not only had the campus changed but the diversity of the students was amazing. The school now supports students of all learning abilities and is more physically accessible than it used to be. There was something else that was different: me.

Being a mature student felt odd, but in a good way. I had life and work experience. I wasn’t as shy as I used to be. Heck, I would joke with some of the kids who had just graduated high school though I was old enough to be their mom (well, almost). I wanted to make the most of this experience.


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Exploring history and art in east #HamOnt

Exploring history and art in east #HamOnt

Photo by Shiona Mackenzie

by Shiona Mackenzie

Paul Elia didn’t set out to re-imagine southern Ontario in 2007. Yet through his lens some of the most cynical critics have been awakened to the beauty lurking within and around post-industrial rustbelt cityscapes.

Inspired by the juxtaposition of homes and factories, his initial Hamilton Strip series of limited edition, black-and-white archival giclée prints was a smash hit. Since then, Elia’s panoramic street views have graced the walls of The Bread Bar, Hamilton Artists Inc., Mixed Media, The Art Gallery of Hamilton, the Hamilton Museum of Steam and Technology, and Toronto’s Propeller Gallery, among others.

The process of creating these prints, now also in colour, reflects his Drawing and Painting and Integrated Media studies at the Ontario College of Art and Design.

“Most pieces take about two months to complete,” Elia says. “I start with the photography and stitch about 100 photos together to create the long panoramic images. This is the easier part; the illustration work that follows takes a couple months to complete. Originally, I would choose a streetscape by walking around the city and taking in whatever inspired me.”


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Clubs, cards, and camaraderie for seniors

Clubs, cards, and camaraderie for seniors

Photo by Liz Mochrie reproduced under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

by Tyler Fish

Crown Point’s demographics may have changed over the years, but it has always been a walkable community with plenty of attractions for people of all ages. Our neighbourhood’s prime location in the heart of East Hamilton means a variety of events and programs for senior residents are available within a short commute. Some of these programs are summarized below.

YWCA Active Living Centre –  Sir Winston Churchill Recreation Centre – 1715 Main St. E.

  • wide variety of ten-week programs for fitness, dance, and technology
  • drop-in centre offers technology classes, bingo, bid euchre and progressive euchre
  • membership is by class, with free class passes available for those looking to try something new

This location is the temporary home for the Ottawa Street Active Living Centre while the property is redeveloped

The Roxborough Senior Centre – 785 Britannia Ave.

  • open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
  • offers bingo, euchre and other games as well as fitness and strength training
  • other events include public speakers and pot-luck lunches
  • membership is $10/year

Rosedale Seniors Club – 100 Greenhill Ave.

  • programs run on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at various times
  • offers progressive euchre, bid euchre, contract bridge and duplicate bridge
  • each card group has luncheon socials throughout the year and there are several bid euchre tournaments
  • membership is $6/year

In addition to official senior’s programs, there are many organizations in the area offering events that may be of interest to older residents. The Royal Canadian Legion (Hamilton Branch 58) offers leagues for darts, billiards, snooker, cribbage, and euchre and runs a variety of special events throughout the year. The Young at Heart (Hamilton East) organization is also based out of the legion hall and runs bingo and euchre nights. Ryerson United Church offers seasonal euchre tournaments, while Laidlaw United Church hosts monthly bingo nights as well as numerous concerts. For those looking for a more active outing, Jimmy Thompson Memorial Pool offers leisure swims as well as waterfit classes, with monthly and yearly passes available for a low fee.

More details on the programs can be found by visiting https://www.hamilton.ca/parks-recreation/55-programming, or by contacting the organizations directly. Regardless of your age, fall is a great season to get out, try something different, and make some new friends while you are at it.

Tyler Fish is a Delta graduate and lifelong Crown Point resident currently studying Civil Engineering and Management at McMaster.


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How age friendly is Crown Point?

How age friendly is Crown Point?

by Shelagh Kiely

Hamilton was the first city in Ontario to join the Age-friendly Cities Project.

Under the leadership of Dr. Margaret Denton, Hamilton endorsed Hamilton’s Age Friendly Plan in 2014, and we are currently in the process of implementing over 100 community inspired recommendations to help Hamilton become a city for all ages.  

The World Health Organization developed the Global Age-Friendly Cities Project in 2006. Age friendly communities establish policies, programs, services and infrastructure to enhance quality of life as people age. I have been privileged to work with the Hamilton Council on Aging for the past six years.  

Because of my work, I find myself constantly assessing and sometimes obsessing about my surroundings and the “age friendliness” of my environment. I tell my husband that our house is not age friendly and see him scratching his head. In my ambiguous way, I am suggesting that it would be nice if we had a bathroom on our main floor to make access easier for my grandfather who uses a cane and safer for my young niece who doesn’t appear to be very steady on our old wooden stairs.

As a relative newcomer to Crown Point, I have been slowly taking in my surroundings, assessing the “age friendliness” of “The Point.” Are our streets walkable and safe? Are essential amenities such as banks, pharmacies, and grocery stores accessible by varying means? What are the social and recreational opportunities available? Are there flexible and affordable housing choices? Am I aware of the programs and services that exist in my own neighbourhood?

The more that I explore, the more I am impressed by all that Crown Point has to offer.


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Retirement: A double-edged sword

Retirement: A double-edged sword

by Sean Hurley

Retirement for many is a double-edged sword. On one hand, there is the allure of finally being free of work and able to focus on hobbies and family. On the other hand, for many retirement represents a deeper poverty or entry into the world of precarious work and housing.

According to Statistics Canada, more than two-thirds of Canadians invest in retirement savings leaving a substantial number who do not. As well, a Globe and Mail report from February 2016 reports that “less than 20 per cent of middle-income families have saved enough to adequately supplement government benefits and the Canada/Quebec Pension Plan”. In 2014, the CBC reported, “24 per cent of those polled planned to use their homes as their main retirement income”.

A significant share of the middle-class population is with insufficient retirement savings and a fair number are depending largely upon their homes to last them through an old age with a longer life expectancy. That is worrisome enough, but what about those on the margins?

As a society, we tend to view seniors as a sort of fuzzy homogeneous group. However, all of the baggage we impose on each other throughout life is not magically alleviated when we reach the golden age of 65. Senior women are still women and senior persons of colour are still persons of colour. Senior disabled persons are still disabled persons. Senior immigrants are still immigrants. LBGTQ seniors are still LBGTQ people. In other words, the legacy and the daily existence of discrimination faced in employment, housing, and day-to-day interactions with government, agencies, retailers and on the street is carried into old age.


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POINT PEOPLE: Darren Brooks

POINT PEOPLE: Darren Brooks

by Jeff Hayward

More than five years ago, Darren Brooks started having symptoms of a debilitating disease called Guillain-Barré syndrome that affects the nerves. The disease quickly progressed and sidelined him to the point of requiring a wheelchair.

However, through treatment and his own determination, Darren not only made a remarkable recovery — he’s now a personal trainer at Momentum Fitness on Ottawa Street North. We asked him some questions about his experience with the disease, and here’s how he responded …


Get your copy of The Point coming in October to get the whole story.

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We’re sorry …

We’re sorry …

“Dog” by Kyrre Gjerstad is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The October/November issue of The Point will be a little late for delivery due to unavoidable circumstances. We expect delivery will begin after the Thanksgiving Day long weekend.

We apologize to our readers and advertizers for any inconvenience.