Hamilton -


City Hall

Get in

A few buses serve the Hamilton bus depot - Greyhound runs service from the west, travelling from the Kitchener and London area, while GO Transit offers frequent travel from Toronto and the GTA. The bus depot, a handsome art deco structure, is located in the heart of downtown, at Jackson and Hughson. Main throughoughfares into Hamilton include the Queen Elizabeth Way/403, and Highway 6. Hamilton is ideally situated for tourists, being roughly 1 hour from both Toronto and Niagara Falls.
 • Hamilton International Airport ("HI")  accommodates major air carriers and tour operators, offering frequent flights to Canadian, American and Caribbean destinations.

Get around

Hamilton is divided into two main sections - "The Mountain" and downtown. The mountain refers to anything on the escarpment - access to the mountain is limited to a few roads, which often arrive on a different street than when you started. If you're going up the mountain, take a second to learn which access you need to take.

Hamilton is infamous for having mainly one-way streets throughout its downtown core. Be aware of what intersection you're heading for, and what streets precede it, or you may overshoot. Conversion back to two way streets began in 2004. In the fall of 2005, John and James Streets, main North/South arteries, were converted back to two way traffic. Most of the locals preferred the one way system, but visitors will find it easier to get around.

The transit system is sub-par, but serviceable. Downtown service is quite good, but the neighbouring suburbs suffer from infrequent buses, primarily due to high levels of car ownership. HSR fares are $2.10.

Attractions

 • Princess Point - Situated at the very end of Lake Ontario, Princess Point is one of the truly beautiful sections of Hamilton. Bike or rollerblade along excellently maintained paths encircling the lake, or relax at the adjacent park. Harbour cruises  are also available.
 • Parks and trails - Despite its commonly-held "industrial apocalypse" image, Hamilton has some 2662 acres of parkland, 1356 acres of natural areas and 137 kilometres of trails. The Bruce Trail runs right through the city. Bayfront, Pier 4 Park, and the Waterfront Trail offer panoramic views of the Hamilton Harbour  and northwest shoreline. There are sixty-six waterfalls within its limits and the idea of Hamilton as The City of Waterfalls  is being promoted recently.


Dundurn Castle

 

Hamilton, Ontario is the fourth largest city in Ontario, the 9th largest city in Canada and the largest Hamilton in the world. It is situated at the westernmost end of Lake Ontario - the city wraps around the lake and continues towards the Niagara Escarpment, referred to by locals as "the mountain".

"Steel Town" remains the province's major industrial area despite the loss of thousands of factory jobs over the last twenty years. It is a favourite with movie location scouts for its gritty, ungentrified industrial landscape. Hamilton could be compared with Detroit in the USA as a once rich and proud city, at it's peak the fifth biggest city in the country, now fallen on hard times. The health industry is now the area's largest employer, with McMaster hospital and university dominating the city's SW. The downtown core of Hamilton has struggled lately, and some of the districts still suffer from high unemployment, crime, and homelessness. The city west of John St has not declined as much as the east end of the city.

Activities

 •  The Art Gallery of Hamilton  - Founded in 1914, AGH is Ontario's third largest public art gallery, and boasts one of the country's finest collections. Its emphasis is on 19th-century European, Historical Canadian, and Contemporary Canadian art. In 2003, the AGH began a major renovation project, designed by Hamilton-born and raised architect Bruce Kuwabara. The revamped gallery opened in 2005 and includes a new, 2500 square foot glass pavilion and Sculpture Atrium.
 •  McMaster Museum of Art - houses a nationally significant collection of more than 6,000 works of art, featuring a permanent collection and contemporary exhibitions, lectures and events.
 • Royal Botanical Gardens  - Vast horticultural collection spread over five specialist gardens and four nature sanctuaries. Most notable of the latter is Cootes Paradise, a 840-hectare wildlife sanctuary containing a 250-hectare coastal wetland located at the west end of Hamilton Harbour.
 • Dundurn Castle  - One of Hamilton's most-recognized landmarks, Dundurn Castle is a National Historic site, illustrating the life and times of Sir Allan Napier MacNab (1798 - 1862). More stately home than "castle", the still impressive structure was completed in 1835. Features year-round programming, tours, restaurant and an onsite Military Museum.
 • Hamilton Museum of Steam and Technology  - A fine example of 19th century public works architecture, and the only surviving facility of its time in North America, this National Historic Site houses the two 45-foot high, 70-ton steam engines which pumped the first clean water to the city over 140 years ago. Features various exhibits and events, including daily engine demonstrations.
 • Westfield Heritage Village  Surrounded by 324 acres of unspoiled woods and meadows, this living history museum spans various time periods in 35+ historic buildings, plus a steam locomotive. Much of the T.V. series Anne of Green Gables  was filmed here.
 • Battlefield House and Museum in  Stoney Creek is a rural Upper Canada home dating from around 1796 and featuring staff in period costume, demonstrating the lifestyle of day. Every June a military re-enactment of the War of 1812/Battle of Stoney Creek is held.
 • Golf  at one of Hamilton's 18-hole public courses: Chedoke  or King's Forest . There are numerous private courses  including the 2003 home to the Canadian Open, the top rated Hamilton Golf and Country Club , in Ancaster. The Hamilton Golf and Country Club is an exclusive club that dates back to Hamilton's industrial glory days. Unless you know a member, or someone that knows a member, forget playing here.
 • The Movie Palace  offers first run movies and revue programming in a restored 1920's theatre complete with a kitcshy Imperial Rome motif and booths.
 • Canada Marine Discovery Cent relocated  at Pier 8 houses state-of-the-art interactive exhibits in three galleries, a lobby and a 65 seat theatre, allowing visitors a virtual glimpse of Canada's national parks, historic sites and marine conservation areas. Adjacent is HMCS Haida offering  self-guided tours of Canada's 'fightingest ship'.
 • Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum is  a living museum featuring the aircraft used by Canadians or Canada's Military from the beginning of World War II to the present. Home of one of the worlds two remaining flying Lancaster bombers. Those who dare can experience an open cockpit ride in a bi-plane through the Legends Flight program .
 • Canadian Football Hall of Fame  has interactive programs, displays, a library, archives and is home to the Grey Cup.
 • Confederation Park/Wild Waterworks offers  lakefront camping, a waterpark  with wave pool and tube rides, and Adventure Village  with go-karts, batting cages, mini golf, etc.
 •  Hamilton Undiscovered  is the city's  official tourism website and offers a free "Experience Hamilton" Visitor’s Guide and current info on local events and attractions.

Shopping

Hamilton has a few main shopping districts. While less is available in Hamilton than in neighboring Toronto, a few good areas remain specializing in antiques or specialty boutiques.
 • Locke Street South/LoSo . Located just west of downtown, Locke Street is home to a large number of antique shops. Prices tend to be lower than in Toronto.
 • Ottawa Streets  home to innumerable fabric, home decor and furnishings stores. The street has fallen on hard times lately but is still a fabric shoppers destination.
 • Ancaster. Located up the mountain, at the westmost section of the city, Ancaster has several specialty boutiques. While not much is available in the historic village, Ancaster's shopping is now focused on big box retailers called the Meadowlands Power Centre. There you will find typical stores found in any Ontario suburb.
 • Dundas. As west as Ancaster, but down the mountain, Dundas is a small heritage town that offers most of the good shopping opportunities in Hamilton.
 • The Hamilton Farmers Market , originally founded in 1837, this now indoors market is located downtown at 55 York Blvd. and features the usual mix of local farm produce and ethnic specialties. Older than the city and one of the best farmers markets in Ontario. One of the good things about living in Hamilton.
 • Concession Street  Concession Street is originally a turn of the century African American neighbourhood. Many slaves escaping the U.S. via the Underground Railway settled in this urban neighbourhood at the edge of the escarpment. It boasts the best views of the lower city with many parks, some with fantastic vistas overlooking the downtown and hearvy industrial areas. The neighbourhood offers many shopping, eating and entertainment opportunities. The housing is an eclectic mix of million dollar estates and 1920s cottages. Stairs to the lower city are available on Mountain Avenue to traverse the 300 foot escapment. Many busses travel along Concession making it one of the most public transit accessible areas of the city. Once considered run-down, it may be one of the most underrated areas of the city. A recent 1920s movie house has been renovated and is showing first run and art films.
 • Westdale  Adjacent McMaster University keeps this neighbourhood healthy. With many boutiques, grocerteria, eateries, pubs and bakeries and a movie cinema specializing in foreign and art films. Westdale Village is accessible by bus and walking distance to McMaster University and Hospital. It was Hamilton's first master-planned community in the 1920s.

Dining

It's not difficult to find a large variety of foods in Hamilton. Having a large minority and immigrant population, many people in Hamilton often take the opportunity to eat exotic cuisine. Most of the ethinic restaurants are family run; the sometimes slow service is made up for by the quality, quantity and low prices of the cuisine. Not all of the restaurants listed here fall in the ethnic category. Some local eating places:
 • Hutch's, 325 Bay St N, offers what many consider the best fish and chips in town and, like its sister restaurant (a 50's diner  on Van Wagners Beach), offers a scenic location to munch them. Hutch's is a famous local institution which once could vie for having the best hamburgers in Canada. Urban renewal has forced Hutch's beach strip location into a boring government building. Cruise nights often held here in the summer. On the beach trail so you can walk off your Sportsmanburger.
 • Stoney Creek Dairy  -operating at its original site since 1929, is home to the "super duper sundae". Cruise nights often held here in the summer. After Hutch's you drive here for ice cream.
 • Ancaster Old Mill  is, with its historic stone buildings, natural panoramas and waterfall, a picturesque spot for sunday brunch and what it bills as "contemporary Canadian Cuisine". Family run, but not inexpensive.
 • Edgewater Manor  features fine dining in a 1920's-era mansion and a stunning location on the shores of Lake Ontario. Expensive.
 • Karolina's Restaurant. 757 Barton St E, East End. 905 548-0306. Polish. Excellent food at reasonable prices. Small and sometimes hard to get in. Don't let the rundown area prevent you from eating here. Just west of Lottridge. For an after meal adventure you can drive north on Lottridge and check out the Hell's Angels clubhouse. You'll know it when you see it.
 • Capri. 25 John St N, Downtown. 905 525-7811. Italian. First restaurant to serve pizza in Hamilton. Gangster movies filmed here. Real gangsters ate here too. Like the mafia in Hamilton, this restaurant now somewhat faded. Try the pizza blanco.
 • The Black Forest. 255 King St E, Downtown. 905 528-3538. German. Another Hamilton institution. Full of cuckoo clocks, this restaurant and its army of servers in Bavarian costume move the crowds through with germanic precision. Eat there and you'll find out why Hamiltonians keep coming back.

Drink

 • Hess Village A "bar" in the classic sense, Hess is a block or so of pubs and eateries. Highlights include the Gown and Gavel, and the Funky Munky. Located roughly between King and Main Street, on Hess. Typically pub type bars, but it runs the gamut. Hess village is where the patio action is in Hamilton during warm summer nights. Recently dance clubs have opened in neighbourhood, adding to the entertainment mix.
 • Chester's Beers of the World A gem in the heart of downtown, Chester's offers over 250 bottled beers from all over the world. Not the place to party - this place is quiet and often empty, but the staff is friendly and courteous and the selection is unparalleled outside of Toronto.
 • Augusta's Winking Judge Located on Augusta Street right behind the GO Transit station, this is the best place in Hamilton to get a tasty pint. With over 20 taps dedicated to microbreweries, they're sure to have something you like. It's worth noting that this bar does not sell popular beers like Molson, Labatt, or Sleeman products.
 • The Rebels Rock Located on King and Emerald, this Irish pub is the only truly authentic Irish pub in the city. If you want to stay away from the bars and have a pint in a friendly living room sort of setting, this is the place. Live Irish music every wednesday, with some of the cities best celtic and east coast musicians and great homestyle food at a good price.

Adapted from WikiTravel under the Wiki License


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