Saturday, December 04, 2010

Hancock's Hill, Brantford

It's always appropriate to name geographical features after famous individuals, you think of Mount Everest, Mount Logan to name a few. Or you think that a catchphrase can be thought up to register an opinion about a certain act of a politician, Seward's Folly ( the purchase of Alaska) comes to mind. Often when the deed is perceived to be a monumental blunder, the name quickly becomes the act of infamy which follows said person to the grave, even though it may be proved to be a brilliant act, usually long after those responsible are dead.

Today I took a walk down Wharf Street to look at Hancock's Hill, the slope that was once the south side of Colborne Street. I thought of a few things, namely the fact that a meeting I attended in which the now retired mayor of Brantford, Mike Hancock gave a 'state of the City' address. He spoke, as it was one of his last official acts of all the challenges that he faced as mayor and some of the successes and a few not so successes he had experienced. One fact he brought up, and I know I've mentioned this in tweets and comments, was the demolition of South Side of Colborne. I know its still a sore point to those who worked so tirelessly to preserve it and a sore point with those who didn't care for the work of those who tired so tirelessly to preserve it. I suspect most of us simply walk down Colborne Street and shrug our shoulders. After all, what's done is done. Perhaps in a few years we shall look back and agree it was a visionary act, it was what needed to kick start Brantford into the 21st Century.

I will grant you that.

Still one statement made by Mayor Mike was that he thought the slope or hill would make a great toboggan run. Yes it is possible to envision it. I can see the children of Brantford making their way to Colborne Street, sleds in hand and racing down with all the energy and joy of childhood. You can almost hear their squeals of joy as they come down at breakneck speed, and then you can hear the screams of fear and the moans of pain, when they run into the cast iron fence at the bottom.

Yes I will grant you, it's not cast iron, but its still a fence. Mind you there's one at the top so that pretty well ends the toboggan run aspect of Hancock's Hill.

So what can be done. I know there has been some opinion about putting picnic tables up either at the top or bottom for people to enjoy a picnic and the view of the river.

As I stood there, gazing up the Heinbuck's Slope

part of Hancock's Hill, named for the plucky little store that was one of the last structures razed,

I kept thinking about 'sunflowers'. Now I don't want to encourage anyone into doing anything illegal, this is only for entertainment purposes only, but don't you think a little seed bombing of the slope with sunflower seeds, and zucchini seeds might be a nice thing, come the spring? Imagine a slope of bright sunflowers- it would be perfect, being a south facing slope.

What a lovely sight.

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