Archive for the ‘Heritage’ Category

UpRoot Hamilton – Green Venture’s 20th Anniversary Celebration

uproot1Every now and again we need to be challenged and motivated to get out of our routines and try out new ideas and experiences, finding ourselves UpRooted! On October 3rd Green Venture hosted it’s first ever fundraiser, pulling up its own roots and trying new things to grow as an organization. What a success it was! Despite the strong winds, rain and unseasonably cool temperatures, people came out to help  celebrate 20 years of environmental outreach and education in the Hamilton community and donate  to help keep Green Venture going strong for the next 20 years!

It was a lively event with local food from Eat Industries Inc, Wild Thyme Catering, Ya Man Carribean Cuisine and Ramped Up Catering – all selected for their passion for local ingredients and the community. Conversations were buzzing amongst the selection of local wine and craft beer as uproot2Hamiltonians chatted with friends, old and new. Of course we couldn’t resist the urge to teach something, we are Green Venture after all! Patrons engaged in educational (and fun!) games on waste, water and living sustainably with our Education Coordinator Virginia. The heritage tour was extremely popular!  Attendee’s had the chance to learn what makes Ecohouse such a unique location for Green Venture, with stories of the building’s rich history and behind the scenes historical tidbits.

A HUGE thank you to all who attended UpRoot Hamilton on October 3rd!uproot3 The support from volunteers, staff, board members, and the community truly demonstrates what can be done when people come together. I am new to Hamilton myself and am constantly inspired by the engagement, energy and connectedness of this dynamic community. For those of you who missed it don’t worry, there are already plans in motion for our next fundraising event!

Cheers Green Venture; here’s to 20 more fantastic years!


Celebrating 20 Years: A Look Back

Green Venture officially began operating in 1995, making 2015 our 20th anniversary. Although we’ll be marking this special occasion with an amazing event called UpRoot Hamilton (which you can read more about), we’ve also taken the time to think about our past 20 years, and the amazing journey we’ve been on as we try to make Hamilton and area the most environmentally friendly place to live, one day, and one action, at a time.

Here are some of our highlights.

1994- Green Venture is founded as part of a provincial “Green Communities Program” under the direction of the Region of Hamilton-Wentworth.

1995- Jackson square GV office

Green Venture’s Jackson Square Storefront location. Yes, we do still have that neon sign!

1995- A Jackson Square storefront becomes Green Venture’s first office space.

1996- Following the cancellation of the “Green Communities” program, Green Venture becomes an independent not-for-profit organization, hiring Heather Donison as its new Executive Director.

2000- In partnership with the Hamilton Air Quality Improvement Committee, Green Venture launches the Region’s first annual Commuter Challenge.

2003- Green Venture secures the use of the Veevers Estate in Hamilton’s East End and begins renovations to transform the space into an environmental education and demonstration centre.

The first welcome sign to the EcoHouse Community Garden.

The first welcome sign to the EcoHouse Community Garden.

2005- The EcoHouse Community Garden is established as a prototype garden for the region. Its popularity encourages over 70 other community gardens to be created city-wide over the next several years.

2007- After six years as a staff member, Pete Wobschall becomes Green Venture’s Executive Director. During his tenure, he guides the organization through the development of a revised mission, vision and values.

2008- Solar panels and a wind turbine are installed onsite at EcoHouse, allowing visitors to explore the pros and cons of installing alternative energy at their own home.

2009- The Enbridge Home Weatherization Retrofit Program is launched. With a goal of assisting residents in reducing their energy bills while improving the efficiency of their home, it quickly becomes one of Green Venture’s most in-demand programs.

2010- The first Seedy Saturday event is launched. Today, the event, co-hosted by Green Venture and the Hamilton Community Garden Network, attracts hundreds of eager gardeners each winter.

2011- With assistance from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the Bay Area Restoration Council and Green Venture create an easy-to-access education centre focusing on Hamilton Harbour Watershed issues.

Kathryn Enders, Green Venture's current Executive Director, with one of our newest displays- an electric CarShare car!

Kathryn Enders, Green Venture’s current Executive Director, with one of our newest displays- a plug-in hybrid CarShare car!

2013- Kathryn Enders is hired as Green Venture’s Executive Director. In the same year, she travels to Mexico on behalf of Green Communities Canada to present at the Commission for Environmental Co-operation about the success of the Depave program.

2014- EcoHouse Educational Tours increase by 19% from the previous year, solidifying Green Venture’s place as the region’s premiere environmental demonstration and education facility.

2015- Green Venture completes their participation in the Good To Great program, leading to a renewed emphasis on revenue diversification, including the launch of special fundraising events and donor campaigns.

Doors Open Hamilton

Doors Open Hamilton 2013 is Green Venture’s annual opportunity to celebrate the heritage of the EcoHouse site. The site is open for the May 4-5 2013 weekend (10-4 on Saturday and 12-4 on Sunday), providing our neighbours an opportunity to get to know us better, and to learn what is new.

Because Doors Open Hamilton is about architecturally interesting buildings and their community connections, this event is one in which the heritage of Glen Manor, the traditional name for the site, comes to the foreground.

Glen Manor may have been named by the Veevers family, or may have already been called that going back into the late 19th century. The name is first referenced in 1930 in a shot of the entire farm from the Niagara Escarpment, although the name “Glendale”, for the surrounding roads and lands, appears to have existed back to before 1900.

Green Venture takes great pride in maintaining the heritage building, and indeed is determined to showcase EcoHouse as an example of adaptive reuse: the repurposing of existing facilities and “invested energy” rather than destroying said facilities and expending more energy and materials in creating something new. In 2012, Green Venture received a Benjamin Moore paint grant to enable us to repaint the front façade in more appropriate heritage palette colours.

new paint job EcoHouse 2012

new paint colours for EcoHouse 2012

Please help us get a better historical picture of the families who lived not only at our site, but also in the surrounding neighbourhoods. Green Venture welcomes any historical information or pictures of the Davis Creek neighbourhood (roughly from the Red Hill Valley to Centennial Parkway, and from King Street to the escarpment) to better help us present a good narrative of the land and its people.

In 2011, Green Venture was very glad to receive from a Veevers descendant a series of photos of the farm in 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, as well as invaluable information, helping us to get a better idea of the dimensions of the Glen Manor farm and what sort of crops they were producing. The complex, and occasionally painful, story of how the farm was eventually subsumed into the modern City of Hamilton provides an illuminating example of the nature of technological change and the effects of urban sprawl

Glen Manor farm sketch

sketch of Glen Manor farm in 1940s

Glendale Dairy barn

old Glendale Dairy barn, c1940

Davis Creek 1953

Davis Creek in 1953

Green Venture has aspirations to one day return the front façade of the building to its pre 1970 look, removing the front dormers and recreating the clean lines of a mid 19th century pre-Confederation stone farmhouse. Such a project is, of course, well beyond our current means, and would have to be taken in partnership with the City of Hamilton, owners of the heritage property. Doors Open Hamilton however, is a good annual opportunity to keep the dream alive and to remember the rich story of the Green Venture education centre.

During Doors Open Hamilton 2013, Green Venture will be conducting a Garlic Mustard Pull on Sat M<ay 4, between 1-3 pm. This volunteer event is part of our commitments to maintain the site and a heritage and horticultural centre. Help us eliminate this aggressive invasive species on the site. If time and manpower permits, we will expand the effort into the neighbouring Veevers Park.

Green Venture will also be hosting a vermicomposting workshop on Sat May 4, from 1030 am – noon. Learn about worm composting from an expert, David Pitt of Vermisprout, and make your own starter kit to take home. Get a jump-start on producing superior organic compost and liquid fertilizer for your gardens. There is a $30 charge for this workshop to cover materials, a great value for an item that regularly costs double that to buy. Pre-registration is required. Please give Green Venture a call at 905-540-8787, ext 115 to register, or email contact

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