Stop the world and hold a picnic on Hamilton's High Level Bridge
Hamilton businessman Patrick Bermingham says his picnic idea is gaining traction
An imaginative idea to close the High Level Bridge on Hamilton's York Boulevard and picnic on it is gaining traction.
A Hamilton businessman and bridge-dinner-party enthusiast, Patrick Bermingham, has been floating the idea in recent years, ever since his own 50th birthday party happened on a bridge.
On a bridge, Bermingham argues, a person can eat "suspended in time".
He wants Hamilton to stop for an evening on Hamilton's grand entrance, the Thomas B. McQuesten High Level Bridge.
To take a breath, to take a couple of moments to enjoy the view, a sunset, to say, "We live here and we love it."
Committee to meet next week
Bermingham told CBC Hamilton on Wednesday that a group is forming to put some plans together for a celebration on the bridge sometime next June, in time for the 150th anniversary of Confederation.
The first meeting is next week, he said.
At this point, planning is in the early stages, Bermingham said. The event could include public events, an open picnic, a catered fundraiser. People may arrive at the bridge by boat, by canoe, or park a car or a bicycle at Dundurn Castle. Perhaps there'd be Chinese lanterns, maybe even fireworks.
A view repossessed
But the important part, to Bermingham, is to close the street to remove the distraction of traffic on York Boulevard between Dundurn and the Royal Botanical Garden.
And while the street is closed, he hopes people will take a few moments to gaze out to Cootes Paradise in the west, and the harbor in the east. To "repossess" that view and that space that is so often whizzed past in a vehicle.
"We can close the roads for construction – no problem," he said. "But we don't close it for life."
'One of the best and most welcoming views of the entire city'
Perhaps people may even be permitted to climb into those four "niches" in the towers and be photographed in black and white. Hamilton star architect John Lyle designed them for statues that were never built.
A small-scale, trial run of the idea happened when Bermingham treated former Mayor Bob Bratina to eggs Benedict and orange juice on the sidewalk there three years ago. He earned a fan of the idea then.
"It's one of the best and most welcoming views of the entire City and, hypothetically, a riveting spot for a leisurely picnic to absorb the lovely setting sun over Cootes Paradise," wrote Margaret Lindsay Holton.