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My Diamond & Coal Awards for October 2011


It’s been far too long since the last Diamond and Coal Awards. I hope it won’t be nearly so long until you see them again.

Diamond Award Winners:

University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy

& Satellite Medical School

These two buildings at King and Victoria have been nothing short of transformational. They transformed an intersection that had hit rock bottom and made it the the centre of a new generation of economic activity. The Breithaupt Block, the Tannery including the Communitech Hub and even the new Shoppers Drugmart all became possible when the Province of Ontario, the City of Kitchener supported financially and otherwise the University of Waterloo’s desire to establish its Health Sciences campus in downtown Kitchener. As a result, the whole downtown core is being transformed by the presence of these buildings and the professionals working and being trained in them. Without any exaggeration, these buildings have transformed the heart of the city and resuscitated it. Our heart had been a murmur and now is beating loudly. They are truly deserving of my Diamond Award.

The satellite medical school is also important because for the first time doctors are being trained in Waterloo Region. Since they already know our community, attracting them to stay and help meet our demand for family doctors has become much easier than it was between 1990 and 2006. There’s lots of credit to be spread around. Kitchener Mayor Carl Zehr and the council that established the Economic Development Fund that helped pay for this transformation deserve congratulations.

But without John Milloy and his knowledge of how government operates, his hard work and dedication to making Kitchener better, I am convinced we would not have these two professional schools in Waterloo Region let alone downtown Kitchener. If you care about Kitchener, you should vote for Milloy for helping to secure this transformative project and all the other results he has delivered.

No matter what you think of the parties vying for you vote, their leaders or platforms, you should vote for John Milloy to say thank you for his impact on Kitchener and Waterloo Region. And by sending him back to Queen’s Park, we can be sure he’ll continue to make our lives here better.

King and Victoria is the centre of the new Kitchener. I can only hope that a similar transformation can occur at King and Ottawa to spur a transformation in east downtown Kitchener.

Coal Award:

The Circus Room

At the beginning of the week, the end appeared near for the Boathouse. But people rallied and by the week ended on a high for its supporters.

At one time, the possibility of losing the Circus Room would also have caused a fuss. When it opened, it was the hottest, hippest bar in Kitchener. A funky place to see and be seen. After the initial buzz settled down, the Circus Room found its groove as a venue for local, independent musicians. Sound familiar?

Somewhere along the line, the Circus Room and its clientele changed. At first I was excited when I moved to within walking distance but I realized that I wasn’t part of the crowd it served. I’m sure it has been a good place to gather for the folks who went there but those who frequent the Boathouse or the younger set looking for an indie music scene.

So I find it sad that at the same time as the Boathouse was being saved, the Circus Room quietly closed its doors. Few outside of its regulars probably even noticed. In fact, if it wasn’t for people searching this blog for “Circus Room closed” or “Circus Room for sale,” I may not have noticed myself.

Now I have no idea about what exactly is happening with the place. There was a tragic incident there not long ago but I don’t know what if any connection that may have to its current situation. I don’t even know if it is closed for good, just temporarily or is in the process of being sold.

In its prime, the Circus Room would have been a Diamond Award winner so this coal award is given with great regret. I do so in the hope that there is good news in its future too and that before long it’s a place that we can meet over a beer. Perhaps with Danny Michel singing again on the stage.

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2 comments on “My Diamond & Coal Awards for October 2011

  1. I didn’t realize the Circus Room had closed. Thanks for the great blog post.

    • As I say, I’m not sure exactly what is happening but I know it has been closed when I’ve been by it this week when it normally would have been open. The boarded up door certainly doesn’t make the situation look too good in the short term.

      Glad you liked this post. My Diamond and Coal awards have been a favourite of this blog’s readers. I didn’t realize just how long it had been since I posted a set. I really do hope to do so regularly again.

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