Hamilton gets a “Bus Barn”? Why not “Garage Mahal”?

Transit Windsor (Jon Liedtke)

Hamilton’s “Bus Barn” is Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens’ nightmare “Garage Mahal”, and while Hamilton is going to see a new transit garage sooner than later, Windsorites are left wondering when we’ll get ours and if more cohesive political support could help…


The City of Hamilton posted bids for a new transit service garage, or “Bus Barn” recently.

According to Joey Coleman of The Public Record, the proposed $300-million bus storage and maintenance facility is to be built and open by the end of 2024 and is referred to as the “Bus Barn”.

Why would Hamiltonians refer to their proposed bus garage as a “Bus Barn” and not a “Garage Mahal”?I

You may recall in the 2022 City of Windsor Election Mayoral Debate put on by the Windsor Essex Chamber of Commerce that Mayor Dilkens disparagingly referred to the a proposed new Transit Windsor garage by his opponent Chris Holt as a “Garage Mahal”, emphasis in bold added:

“My opponent said one of the first things he’d do if elected mayor was fully implement the Transit Master Plan, which included the construction of a brand new garage, and he was asked what’s the cost of that garage? And he said I don’t know, but I’m committed to delivering it. Well folks, the Garage Mahal is three hundred million dollars, three thousand dollars per household, to build a garage that will not improve service for one single resident in the city of Windsor. We are the Automobility capital of Canada. I am proud of that and I thought that a fourth generation auto worker would be proud of our auto roots as well. As long as we make great cars, I will continue to make sure you can drive on these roads.”

Mayor Dilkens at The Windsor Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce 2022 Windsor Mayoral Debate.

Setting aside the fact that the price tag for both facilities are the same at $300 million, and that Hamilton’s “Bus Barn” will be largely funded by the provincial and federal governments (Windsor’s could have been too, but our new city council decided on… different non-priority upgrades), Mayor Dilkens’ comments after “Garage Mahal” are what stand out to me.

In Hamilton, the city is fully on the side of leveraging federal and provincial dollars to expand their transit system through the construction of the “Bus Barn”, whereas in Windsor we have a mayor who ran for re-election saying that building a new garage in Windsor – the “Garage Mahal” – will not “improve service for one single resident in the City of Windsor”, even though it is a major component of the City of Windsor’s official Transit Master Plan (which was unanimously endorsed by Windsor City Council, including Mayor Dilkens).

Hamiltonians should be happy knowing they’re getting improved transit service through the construction of a “Bus Barn”, while Windsorites can rest soundly knowing we don’t have to worry about the negative consequences of a similar “Garage Mahal”.

If only Windsorites could get our own “Bus Barn” though…