Since his first visit (to play a gig) in Hamilton in 1958, he has considered Canada his home. He became a permanent resident in 1964. “Canada has more super talent per capita than anywhere in the world.” Hawkins knows what he is talking about. He is responsible for “discovering” and then grooming talent in the school of rock ‘n roll including: David Clayton Thomas, Levon Helm, Rick Danko, Garth Hudson, Richard Manuel and Robbie Robertson.
“I’d watch so many wonderful acts develop like Gordon Lightfoot and talk about them all over town. My goal has always been to find great talent and keep entertaining people.”
Music has also allowed him to visit and delight audiences around the world. If he had to pick three highlights of his extraordinary ride they would include the 1989 performance with The Band at the tearing down of the Berlin Wall. “Playing for presidents including Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter are special moments I will always remember. I flew in a month early to watch The Band and other amazing acts rehearse for the concert. Appearing in the film The Last Waltz was big time for me.”
Hawkins is, as he puts it, “still rockin.” In 2007, he became a brand advocate for Cambria. He performs at company events.
Ronnie Hawkins, and Wanda, his wife of 50 years, recently invited Star Spaces into their home.
Q: How would you describe your home in a few words?
Ronnie Hawkins: A museum. I named it HAWKSTONE MANOR.
Q: Tell us about your home.
Wanda Hawkins: It is a 200-acre farm. The house is ranch style. We have lived here for 41 years. It is located in a very pretty area on the lake. Ronnie loves to take walks around the property. Ronnie collects antique cars, tractors and has a ’56 Scenic Cruiser Bus, which they used for touring.
Q: What attracted you to this space?
Ronnie: Its size was the first thing that caught our eyes. The house is big enough for everybody — and my cars. I love to drive my little silver/grey Porsche 959. I’ve collected toy cars since I was 12-years-old.
Q: Who shares your home?
Wanda: Myself and Ronnie, our daughter Leah and our eldest son Ronnie.
Ronnie: And there is a bunch of animals — cats and dogs.
Q: What is your favourite room and why?
Wanda: I’d say the living room area. So many people like John Lennon, and Gordon Lightfoot (to name a few) have come through to visit and reminisce.
Ronnie: My bedroom has the most unbelievable view. I see deer, birds and the lake.
Wanda: Ronnie loves the relaxed life.
Q: How would you describe your decorating style?
Wanda: The mood of the house is calming and relaxing. The living room is terra cotta colour. The walls are covered with photos and memories — a lifetime of history. Ronnie has mementoes from his world-wide travels throughout the house. His custom-made black mahogany desk and chair are in the living room with the big, comfy couches. I love my white French Provincial style dining room with my crystal and china.
The water-blue toned kitchen has a big island, tabletop and countertops with beautiful Cambria quartz (mined in Canada, www.cambriacanada.com). There are Cambria floors throughout the first level rooms such as the kitchen, bathroom, laundry rooms, bedroom, and office. There is ivy growing around the kitchen windows and the floors are heated. The couch and fireplace make the kitchen a lovely spot to look out the windows.
Q: What is your fondest memory in this home?
Ronnie: Anytime old and new friends drop in is a great time.
Wanda: I’ve met so many people. I remember John Lennon coming with his entourage. It was really neat to meet him. I loved the Beatles.
I enjoy having early morning coffee with Ronnie everyday.
Q: What’s the one item in this house you can’t live without?
Wanda: My television and the remote.
Q: Weekends at home, what are we most likely to find you doing?
Wanda: We have no schedule or preference.
Ronnie: We enjoy everyday!
Q: If your walls could talk, what would they say?
Ronnie: “What a blast we’ve had.”
Wanda: “Thanks for the ride Ronnie.”