Local filmmaker creates tribute to Hamilton Harbour

Mayor narrates film by Hamilton's Gary Kaulback that traces the history of the bay from European settlement to seaside resort to present-day efforts to revitalize the harbourfront.

Mayor Bob Bratina narrates

Hamiltonians may be unaware of how important the city's Harbourfront really was to its development, said filmmaker Gary Kaulback.

"Because of it, the city grew. That's where industry located itself," he said.

Gary Kaulback

To rectify that gap in knowledge, Kaulback created On the Bay: the Port of Hamilton, a 54-minute film about Hamilton harbour. It's the second in a three-part series on the city by Kaulback.

Last year, he made On The Mountain: The Story Of The Hamilton Escarpment, a film about the history of Hamilton Mountain. Next spring, he'll focus his lens downtown.

On the Bay, which Kaulback sees as a "way to pay homage to that part of the city's history as it's fading out," traces the history of the area from European settlement to its heyday as a seaside resort, to present-day efforts to revitalize the harbourfront.

On the Bay, Hamilton

Kaulback, who has lived in Hamilton since 1948 and now calls James Street South home, got hooked on the city's history back in the 1970s when he worked for cable television. About "10 per cent" of the footage in the film was taken during those years, he said.

Adding to the heritage interest of the film, which features photos and interviews as well as footage, is the record it provides of some of the city's most interesting North Enders, many of whom are now deceased.

Fittingly, Mayor Bob Bratina, a former North End resident, narrates On the Bay.

When asked how he got the Mayor involved, Kaulback answers simply. "I sent an email to his secretary."

Her reply: "When do you want to do it?"

Kaulback was thrilled, in part because of the Mayor's former life as a broadcaster. "He's got a great voice."

Apparently he's still got the broadcasting knack, too. "He's a one-take" performer, said Kaulback.

The film is currently available at various Chapters' locations throughout the area. "Ancaster and Burlington Chapters' say it's their hottest items," said Kaulback.

Kaulback's film about Hamilton Mountain is available online.