Dynes neighbours hope heritage study can save it


Staff member
Feb 15, 2004
The Beach Strip
Nicole Macintyre
The Hamilton Spectator
(Jul 19, 2007)
The Dynes is on its deathbed.

The legendary tavern on Hamilton's Beach Strip is set to be demolished by the end of the month to make way for a new housing development.

Its only chance of reprieve is a last-minute heritage assessment that residents desperately hope will show the old landmark still has life left.

"The clock is ticking," said beach resident Jim Howlett, who wants to see the Dynes preserved if possible.

"The place is flooded with memories for beach people."

A real estate deal to sell the property to Branthaven Homes has already been inked, but can only be finalized once the lot is vacant. The current owner, Tony DePasquale, applied to the city to demolish the Dynes back in May, but the permit was delayed because of heritage concerns.

The tavern, which has been operating since 1847, isn't designated as a heritage building -- a glaring oversight in the eyes of residents who have used it as a meeting spot for decades.

"This was the place that was always open," said Howlett.

The owner threatened to tear down the Dynes without a permit after the delay, said Councillor Chad Collins. He arranged a meeting with DePasquale who agreed to hold off until the city could have a third party assess the building's heritage value.

"Legally, the owner is doing us a favour," said Collins, noting the city can only delay the permit for so long.

DePasquale declined to comment yesterday.

The assessment is expected to reveal how much of the original structure is still there and salvageable. Collins acknowledges that from the outside, there doesn't appear to be a lot left.

"It's really not esthetically pleasing. It's hard to say what's worth keeping."

Steve Stipsits, president of Branthaven Homes, has toured the building himself and believes extensive renovations over the years have taken a toll and would make it difficult to move.

"On the physical side, there is virtually nothing to rescue."

But he says he's a fan of old buildings and believes there's still a way to save the cultural heritage of the Dynes. He asked DePasquale for the keepsakes inside the Dynes and hopes to donate them to the city or include the mementoes in his project. Also, he's willing to help fund a tribute to the Dynes on the site as part of his development that will include several dozen homes.

The project must also include a commercial element. While a restaurant isn't likely, the new building could feature the same design as the original Dynes, Stipsits said, noting he wants to work with the community.

The heritage assessment must be back in the next two weeks to meet the deal's tight timeline.


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