John C. Weaver
HA&L Biographical Sketch and Introduction for contributor John C. Weaver

        There should annually and ever be in Hamilton a Fête de John Weaver for the simple reason that he wrote the book.

On us.

When Weaver showed up as professor of history at McMaster University in 1974, the incredulity meter hit 10. Students, faculty, parking lot attendants –all were asking: “… is this guy old enough to drive?” We, his earliest students, remark on his continuing boyish good looks, while we meld with the Dorian Gray canvas.

Graduating from Queen's University in 1969, Weaver studied at Duke University as a James B. Duke Commonwealth Scholar, and completed his Ph.D. in 1973. Doctor Weaver was made an Associate Member of the McMaster Geography Department in 1988, in addition to his posting to the Department of History where he served terms as chair of the department, and Dean of Graduate Studies from 1994 to 1999.

His book, The Great Land Rush and the Making of the Modern World, 1650-1900, received the Albion Award of the North American Conference on British Studies, and the Ferguson Prize from the Canadian Historical Association. A French edition was published in 2006. A prior book, Crimes, Constables and Courts, deals with the Ontario criminal justice system from the early 1800s to the 1970s. With Michael Doucet, he wrote Housing the North American City (1991).

From 1987 to 1993, he edited the Urban History Review. He and his colleagues, Will Coleman and Steve Streeter, all members of the Globalization Institute, are jointly editing a collection of essays on globalization and history. As well, he is working on a study of suicide from 1800 to 2000. *

But Fête de John Weaver will forever be celebrated for his book, Hamilton: An Illustrated History. Academically grounded, but eminently readable – local in scope, but continental in context; this work was part of the History of Canadian Cities series, a project of the National Museum of Man in cooperation with James Lorimer and Company publishers, copyright 1982.

[For those with a need to know, on April 1st 1968, the National Museum was transferred to the National Museums of Canada Corporation. The National's Human History Branch became the National Museum of Man; the Natural History Branch became the National Museum of Natural Sciences, and the Science and Technology Branch became the National Museum of Science and Technology. In 1986 The National Museum of Man was renamed the Canadian Museum of Civilization (CMC) which opened to the public in its new building in 1989.]

Hamilton: An Illustrated History may be the most widely read book about Hamilton -- EVER. More than a decade after publication, Margaret Conrad, now Canada Research Chair in Atlantic Canada at the University of New Brunswick, stated: “the best treatment of Hamilton is John C. Weaver, Hamilton An Illustrated History.” (Margaret Conrad, Journal of Canadian Studies, Summer 1996) In the 25 years since it was published, countless university and high school students have relied on this workhorse of a resource, AND referred to it. The number of footnotes alone must be staggering. You can actually find topics in this book, because it has an index. It is shocking the number of non-fiction books there are about Hamilton that lack an index; even books that call themselves histories. Fête! Fête! Fête de John Weaver!! As for those others, Dante may find a circle for them.

General readers welcomed this well-rounded history; even grade school students use it. There continue to be copies in the Children’s department of the Hamilton Public Library as well as most branches, (9 copies at the Central library alone). Multiple copies are available at McMaster’s Mills Library. Further endorsement finds copies at:

Library and Archives Canada
Laurier University
Ryerson University
University of Toronto
University of Ottawa
University of Western Ontario
University of Guelph.

This list probably just scratches the surface. More than half of the out of print copies of this book for sale on the Internet are located outside of Canada.

Hamilton Arts & Letters is pleased to reprint with the author’s permission, John C. Weaver’s article, “Gore Park as Urban Artifact.” This article first appeared in the McMaster University Faculty Association’s quarterly Ta Panta (Volume Two, Number One) in 1985. Ta Panta was a beautiful, and beautifully ambitious, publication edited by the esteemed W. G. Roebuck, under the art direction of Shannon Kyles.

Among the many attributes that commend “Gore Park as Urban Artifact” is the reader’s sense of a freewheeling
author; there’s passion, as if Doctor Weaver’s dander is up. Can anyone find exclamation marks in his other writings? Or double exclamations marks (!!)?

To set the stage, Gore Park had been ravaged within the year previous to Ta Panta v.2 n.1. First there was the cold butchering of the warm trees, followed by the pouring of the concrete, and the raising of a cinder block mausoleum. This was a generation ago, and one wonders how many even remember – but it is a lesson worth learning over and over until we get it right. (Conspiracy theorists may count the odds against, and point to intermediary arboreal events.) Yes, the writing is animated, but the scholar remains a gentleman.

A final accolade: John Weaver was and is more than a researcher and writer. Students know he was and is a teacher in the best sense of the word.

Now enjoy John C. Weaver's Gore Park as Urban Artifact.  °

[This HA&L biographical sketch and introduction © 2008 Vikram Bondai, Université Nouvelle - Paris 3; with the acknowledgement of material {*} from Dr. Weaver’s profile on the McMaster University website.]



Editorial Corruption - APA  Weaver, J. C. (1982). Hamilton: an illustrated history. The History of Canadian cities. Toronto: J. Lorimer.  Chicago (Author-Date) Weaver, John C. 1982. Hamilton: an illustrated history. The History of Canadian cities. Toronto: J. Lorimer. Harvard WEAVER, J. C. (1982). Hamilton: an illustrated history. The History of Canadian cities. Toronto, J. Lorimer.  MLA Weaver, John C. Hamilton: An Illustrated History. The History of Canadian cities. Toronto: J. Lorimer, 1982.Turabian Weaver, John C. Hamilton: An Illustrated History. The History of Canadian cities. Toronto: J. Lorimer, 1982.