Local Focus: Hamilton
by Gale Beeby
Hamilton is no stranger to historic housing or large estates, but also has a large selection of housing at any price, including an influx of new condominiums. There are many new housing developments. Click here to see a full list of homes for sale.
Hamilton is the centre of industry in the Golden Horseshoe. The Hamilton airport has grown to be the leading facility in the country for courier, cargo and freight shipments. The Port of Hamilton is the busiest port on the Canadian side of the Great Lakes.
Hamilton also has a busy agricultural industry, which generates more than $1 billion in trade annually. It is also becoming a leader in brownfield redevelopment and has recently begun an initiative to revitalize its downtown core.
Numerous TV and film productions have been filmed in Hamilton and a growing arts and culture community anchors the many local art galleries, recording studios and independent film production companies.
The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board and the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic School Board administer schools in Hamilton. The Conseil scolaire de district du Centre-Sud-Ouest operates one elementary and one secondary school in Hamilton and there are a number of private schools in the area.
Hamilton is home to several post-secondary institutions, including the renowned McMaster University, which has over 22,000 students. Brock University in St. Catharines has a satellite campus in Hamilton used primarily for teacher education. Other schools include McMaster Divinity College, Mohawk College and Redeemer University College.
The award-winning Royal Botanical Gardens is a 2,422-acre nature sanctuary considered the plant biodiversity hotspot of Canada. It is also a part of the Niagara Escarpment World Biosphere Reserve. The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum houses over 40 historical aircraft and an extensive aviation gift shop and gallery.
Also located in Hamilton is the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, the Hamilton Military Museum, the Museum of Steam and Technology, and the Whitehern Historic House and Gardens. Dundurn Castle is an 18,000-square-foot neoclassical mansion that was completed in 1835 by architect Robert Charles Wetherell. Built for Sir Allan Napier MacNab, the City of Hamilton has carefully restored the rooms to illustrate life in the 1850s.
Hamilton is also home to the Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League and the Bulldogs of the Ontario Hockey League; their main rivals are the Toronto Marlies.
PARKS & REC
If you are an active hiker, this is the area for you. The Bruce Trail, Canada’s oldest and longest marked footpath and a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, runs 890 kilometres along the Escarpment from Tobermory in the north to Niagara in the south. The section of the trail from Milton to Grimsby runs along the ancient shoreline of Lake Iroquois.
The Hamilton Conservation Authority operates several parks, including Westfield Heritage Village, Dundas Valley (home to the Hermitage Ruins), Fifty Point on Lake Ontario, Spencer Gorge/Webster’s Falls, Christie Lake, Confederation Park, Eramosa Karst (filled with underground caves and streams) and Valens Lake campground.
Hamilton has a lively downtown with a large selection of boutiques, restaurants, cafés and salons. Jackson Square is Hamilton’s largest downtown shopping mall, which is also connected to FirstOntario Centre (formerly Copps Coliseum). The City Centre Mall and Lime Ridge Mall, Hamilton’s largest shopping destination with over 200 shops and services, round out the large shopping districts. And, of course, big box outlets are handily located.
Transit is a viable option in Hamilton. The HSR (Hamilton Street Railway) runs throughout the city and connects with Burlington. Its name is a legacy of the days when most of public transit vehicles were streetcars. The area is served well by highways, including the QEW and Highways 403, 6, 8 and 20, the Lincoln M. Alexander Parkway and the Red Hill Valley Parkway, making commutes into the Niagara Region or the GTA simple. GO Transit also goes in and out of Hamilton daily.
BY THE NUMBERS
Known as: The Waterfall Capital of the World