Hamilton

Who the donors are behind the $300K HAMILTON sign

The donations are in for Mayor Fred Eisenberger’s pet Canada 150 project, a sign proclaiming “HAMILTON” outside of city hall.

Mayor says it'll be an eye-catching draw in front of Hamilton's city hall

In an artist's rendering, the proposed sign is seen illuminated in front of Hamilton's city hall. (City of Hamilton)

The donations are in for Mayor Fred Eisenberger's pet Canada 150 project, a sign proclaiming "HAMILTON" outside of city hall.

Twelve companies, groups and families each contributed $25,000 toward the $300,000 project, CBC News has learned.

They include prominent homebuilders, hospitality companies and a steelmaker.

The sign is expected to be about 2.25 metres tall, two metres deep and 20 metres long. It was pitched as a Canada 150 project, but it appears the sign won't be installed until 2018.

The letters will be hollow so people can stand in them, and the city will have the ability to change the colours of the lights to reflect holidays or events.

Toronto installed a similar set of letters at Nathan Phillips Square in 2015. But Eisenberger has insisted that Hamilton's is original. It'll be lit different colours, and people can see through them to city hall.

He noted earlier this year that several other cities in the world have signs proclaiming their name.

"It also looks like Amsterdam's and Brisbane's and Nice's and Hollywood's," he said of the charge that it looks too much like Toronto's. "With a sign that says 'Hamilton,' there are only so many ways you can go."

The city chose Hamilton Scenic Specialty Inc. of Dundas to design, manufacture and install the sign without the usual bidding process.

The donors are:

  • Carmen's Group
  • The Mercanti Family
  • AIM Environmental Group Inc.
  • LOSANI Homes
  • Fengate Real Asset Investments
  • The McKeil Family
  • Dan Lawrie Insurance Ltd
  • Valery Homes/Valery Properties
  • LiUNA
  • Vrancor Hospitality Corporation
  • ArcelorMittal Dofasco
  • A group of three individuals under the heading "Roxborough Park Development Legacy Project" (Sergio Manchia from Urbancore Developments, Nick Carnicelli from Carriage Gates Homes and David Horwood from Effort Trust)

A story about the proposed sign by CBC drew hundreds of comments from readers, with many suggesting the city hall forecourt was the wrong place. Many thought the waterfront or even along the escarpment brow were better places for this kind of sign. 

kelly.bennett@cbc.ca

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kelly Bennett is a freelance reporter based in Hamilton. Her writing has appeared in CBC News, the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, Voice of San Diego and in the National Observer for the Local Journalism Initiative. You can follow her on Twitter @kellyrbennett or email kelly@kellyrbennett.com.

With files from Samantha Craggs

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