Longstanding residents of the Stoney Creek and east Hamilton community, the Goemans, have made a generous donation to improve the Devil’s Punchbowl Conservation Area, in honour of the late Tony Goemans. The donation will enable the Conservation Authority to replace the existing cross structure with a brighter, more efficient, structurally sound model. The funding will also enable additional improvements to the surrounding landscaping and existing amenities.
“All three generations of us Goemans boys enjoyed exploring this wonderful hidden gem that’s right in our backyard” says Jason Goemans, eldest son of his late father.” Growing up as kids we played, hiked, made forts & fires around the Punchbowl area and Bruce trail… as we got older and had our own kids we re-experienced the same fun and added great memories all over again. My dad and I would walk our dogs every morning for nearly 15 years, rain or shine, discussing every topic of life. Precious time I now cherish even more. My late son, Hunter too loved to go up with his papa and throw sticks in the creek and look out over the city spotting landmarks he recognized. We have a deep connection with that place and hope that other families get to appreciate what we’ve known our whole lives. It’s truly a remarkable green space that offers breathtaking views of the city. It is also in our opinion underutilized and hopefully this donation will spark some more interest”
Goemans family patriarch, Tony Goemans, founded Goemans Appliances in 1978. The addition of his three sons Brad, Jeff and Jason provided an appetite for growth and it wasn’t long before the company capitalized on opportunities within the industry and expanded from one location to six locations. Goemans is now recognized as one of the largest leading independent appliance retailers in Ontario with more growth on the horizon. Tony passed away from cancer this past August. He was survived by his wife Donna, his three sons, his daughter Tasha, four grandchildren, two sisters, a brother and several nieces and nephews. Tony was the ultimate family man who was respected by his peers, staff, friends, family and acquaintances for being a genuinely kind and gentle soul. The family are active volunteers within the community, having raised money to establish the Hunter Goemans fund in support of Ronald McDonald House, the Catholic Youth Organization’s Camp Marydale and the CommonSenseFence campaign. The public-information campaign highlights the need for proper markings on chains across roads.
Devil’s Punchbowl History:
In the 1930s, local residents began decorating a large Christmas tree off Ridge Road at the top of the Devil’s Punchbowl with red and green lights. The tree’s position at the edge of the escarpment face made decorating the tree more precarious each year until, in 1961, the dying tree was replaced by a wooden cross structure by Ontario Hydro workers William Sinclair, Murray Hyslop and Bert Tyman. After 5 years, the wooden structure had succumbed to the elements and was replaced by a former hydro tower from Birch Avenue in Hamilton. The new structure would be lit each year to send a message of goodwill during Christmas and Easter. Starting in 1991, the Stoney Creek branch of the Knights of Columbus began raising funds to have the cross lit year-round.
Tony Goemans (image courtesy Goemans Family)