In the aftermath of the fire that destroyed their studio, Grey Harbour Tattoo is back and better than ever

C/O @greyharbourtattoo

Located in Hamilton’s art district on James Street North, Grey Harbour Tattoo is a semi-private tattoo studio that has been offering client-centred service to customers since April 2015. The studio was opened by tattoo artists and owners Tom Penny and Ron Vino and formerly, Sherlane White.

Penny was born and raised in Hamilton. After several years working in the automobile industry, he changed direction to study visual arts at Sheridan College, where he learned to tattoo at a local studio. After returning to Hamilton, Penny approached fellow tattoo artist and current business partner, Vino, with the idea of opening up his very own studio.

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Penny himself tattoos primarily nature-based and traditional tattoos, drawing on flora and fauna as his subject matter. Meanwhile, Vino’s tattoos are very saturated and characterized by bold lines and bright colours.

“What I strive for is just to constantly progress. It's a very competitive industry, and there's people constantly coming up. Even just in our shop, we have a few new artists and working alongside them pushes us to constantly get better,” said Penny.

On April 21, 2020, about one month after the first business closures due to COVID-19, Grey Harbour Tattoo was caught in an arson attack on James Street North that destroyed it as well as La Bichette boutique and Born & Raised restaurant.

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“[The fire] was something obviously that we didn't expect. How do you explain something that was just so shocking? I came in [so distraught] that it was almost hard to believe that we went through it,” said Penny.

“[The fire] was something obviously that we didn't expect. How do you explain something that was just so shocking? I came in [so distraught] that it was almost hard to believe that we went through it,” said Penny.

Penny was first alerted to the fire by Vino, who rushed to the scene when the building owner initially realized that Born & Raised had caught fire.

“I just remember we were all sitting at home doing our own things, and I got a message from Rob saying, “[the] building's on fire.” Thankfully, it didn't get out of hand and someone was present there to put the fire out. At first I just couldn't believe it—within 10 minutes [of receiving a phone call] I was there, seeing what I didn't ever expect to see. Obviously I've seen fires in my time, but to see your own space just demolished was pretty shocking,” said Penny.

In the aftermath of the fire, they set up a GoFundMe campaign with the help of fellow local tattoo artist Brock Ryan, which hit its $25,000 fundraising goal in order to cover expenses outside of the studio’s insurance coverage. Through collaboration with local artists to raise awareness, the studio received immense support from the local community.

“Word spreads. Even overseas I was getting messages from people and so just seeing that kept us positive. Knowing that we were going to be okay, we were going to get through it and we had support,” said Penny.

In a stroke of good luck, the owners of a space across the street reached out to Penny, so the studio transitioned from a second and third storey location to a spot opening straight onto James Street North. They are now located at 172 James Street North.

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“No one was hurt and the building was vacant because of COVID, so there were so many things to be thankful for rather than [focusing] on the negative,” said Penny.

Although they are currently closed due to COVID-19 lockdown procedures, Grey Harbour was open from August to December 2020. They have changed the way they operate due to COVID-19. Now clients contact the artist they’d like to tattoo them directly in order to book an online consultation.

From there, the artist will discuss design ideas, placement and determine if tracings or pictures are necessary. Depending on the artist, wait times range anywhere from a couple of weeks to months due to limited client capacity and enhanced sanitation procedures.

Grey Harbour Tattoo takes a special pride in tailoring to the interests of each individual that comes to their studio, with a very client-centered approach to tattooing.

“The way we run the studio is you choose the artists you want to work with, you look at the work, you check out their social media page. If someone came to me with an idea that I felt another artist at another studio is better for . . . I'll refer them to another artist. We just want our clients to get the best possible tattoo,” said Penny.

After a difficult year, Grey Harbour Tattoo is happy to be back from the face of hardship and delivering the best possible service to their clients once again. Their experience is a testament to the resounding support of the local Hamilton community.

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By: Rafik El Werfalli

Mostacci suggests that any general message for students is to, “Be responsible and never disable the smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms.” According to new legislation that came into effect in 2013, Bill 77, the Hawkins-Gignac Act, it is mandatory that all homes with fuel burning appliances be equipped with carbon monoxide alarms.

Mostacci mentioned that some of the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning are difficult to recognize. Some of these symptoms include feeling lethargic, confused and having flu like symptoms. “It is really important to recognize the symptoms of carbon monoxide” he said. If the carbon monoxide alarm is going off and you are experiencing these symptoms, Mostacci advised students to keep the windows shut, leave the house and to call 911.

Never go back into the house in search for items. “Items can be replaced. Lives cannot,” Mostacci said.



Have a working smoke alarm, and carbon monoxide monitor in your home at all times.

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Keep a fire extinguisher in a convenient location in the house.

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Never leave anything on the stove unattended. If a fire ignites in the pot use a lid to cover it and never carry it outside.

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Do not place extension cables near/under flammable material such as carpets.

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Develop a plan with housemates for an escape route if a fire breaks out.

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A fire consumed a local Crabby Joe’s Restaurant in the early hours of the morning on Nov. 1.

Area residents report hearing what sounded like an explosion around 2 a.m. that morning. Fire-fighting crews were called to the scene, 1705 Main St. W, less than 15 minutes later.

Upon arrival firefighters initially entered the building to work on fighting the blaze. However, once the roof became unsafe, they were forced to pull out of the building and focus on containing the fire.

Shortly after, a large section of the roof over the kitchen collapsed.

Firefighters succeeded in preventing the flames from spreading to the building next door, holding a Baskin Robbins store, a World Gym and other businesses.

No injuries occurred and the building is believed to have been empty when the fire began.

Initial estimates suggest that damage to the property amounts to $500,000.

The Ontario Fire Marshall’s Office are investigating the fire and trying to determine the cause of the blaze.

Ray Pollard, working for the property’s owner Durndurn Property Management, told The Spectator that it is too soon to begin thinking about the future of the viagra canada location.

A local folk-tale suggests that the fire could have been a result of a curse.

According to the legend, a woman who lived in the neighbourhood did not want the property developed and cursed the land where Crabby Joe’s stood. Ever since, no business has been able to last more than a few years-always mysteriously closing up shop.

Michelle Leitch, an Ancaster resident who group up in Dundas heard about it growing up.

“The rumour in high school [graduated in 1992] was that the place was totally jinxed, like nothing would ever survive there and that something was going on,” she said.

The location first housed a Ponderosa restaurant and then a Glider’s Bar and Grill, in the 1980s. After that, Tony Baloney, Dimaggio’s, Players and Crabby Joe’s all opened and then closed soon after.

“You’d figure the location would be good, and everything starts out awesome,” she said, “but nothing survives. I sure wouldn’t put a business in there.”

A small fire in the A.N. Bourns Building that evacuated students, staff and faculty was put out earlier today.

A fire alarm in the building was pulled at 12:21 p.m, causing the building to be evacuated for about 1 hour. The Hamilton Fire Department responded promptly to the alarm and worked with McMaster Security Services to investigate the source.

It was determined that the alarm went off due to smoke from a fan belt motor being seized in a fan on a roof. Friction from the belt caused a small amount of smoke, wafting into the vents and filling parts of the building with a slight burning smell.

Facilities Services repaired the fan and the alarm was cleared at 1:19 p.m.

Students, staff and faculty were able to re-enter the building and it is now fully operational.

Sam Colbert and Dina Fanara

Managing Editor and Assistant News Editor


Construction workers at the site of the to-be Shoppers Drug Mart and Starbucks building on Main Street West and Emerson Street, across the road from McMaster, caused a fire after hitting a gas line on March 15 around 1:40 p.m.

Emergency vehicles surrounded the building as the intersection and surrounding streets were closed off. The eastbound ramp for Highway 403 to Main Street was also temporarily closed. The businesses, some of the homes and the nearby elementary school close to the building were evacuated and without power until the fire was extinguished. Power remained out in the surrounding neighbourhood for a few hours.

Fire fighters, who arrived on the scene almost immediately, did not extinguish the flames until gas could be shut off, as this was deemed to be the safest plan of action. Union Gas did not arrive on the scene until 2:20 p.m., some time after the start of the fire.

Flames could be seen from the south side of the building, reaching up to the top of the two stories. Traffic from Main Street was re-routed to side streets south of Main and through campus.

No major injuries were reported.

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