Hamilton is the place to be

By Ingrid Coifman

2-Dundas-valley-fall By Tourism and Culture, City of Hamilton

Enjoy the fall colours by exploring Dundas Valley. Photo by Tourism & Culture, City of Hamilton

A city where arts and culture are booming and history is celebrated through architecture, historic sites and museums. Its vibrant urban life includes trendy spots and events all year-round. We are talking about Hamilton, a place many Torontonians are now calling home and millions of tourists want to visit.

Hamilton’s arts community has been a strong driving force in the city. The presence of influential artists has boosted the sector and engaged new audiences with cultural spaces. The city has one of the oldest artist-run-centres, the Art Gallery of Hamilton, a growing theatre scene and a high number of playwrights living and producing locally.

According to Anna Bradford, director of Tourism & Culture for the city of Hamilton, there has been increased funding to the arts sector through an additional $1 million investment. “Hamilton draws on its industrial past, not just by re-using and adapting old buildings, but by embracing a ‘can do, make it happen’ attitude that built the city in the first place,” says Bradford.

James North Art Crawl

James North Art Crawl. Photo by Tourism & Culture, City of Hamilton

James Street, one of the oldest streets in Canada, dating back to the early 1800’s, has become trendy James Street North, welcoming indie artists and hip cafes and restaurants. Hamilton’s good infrastructure and affordable property prices, compared to cities such as Toronto, have attracted young families who are looking for more space and stability, without giving up big city amenities.

4- Nelz Tabcharani316 SHUTTERSTOCK

Beautiful waterfall in Hamilton, Ontario, in fall colors. Photo by Nelz Tabcharani316, Shutterstok

Outdoor life style and location are other strong selling points. Hamilton lies halfway between Toronto and Niagara Falls, less than an hour from each. Bounded by Lake Ontario and the Niagara Escarpment, the city offers access to conservation areas, with a wide range of outdoor adventures, including cycling, hiking and boating. More than 100 waterfalls can be found along several trails.

Technology, Health and Education

5-McMasterUniversity By Tourism and Culture, City of Hamilton McMaster University ranks as one of Canada’s top three most research-intensive

Hamilton welcomes over 4.5 million visitors annually, with individual spending reaching an estimated $360 million per year, according to data from the Tourism & Culture office.
Approximately 2,300 residents are employed in the hospitality sector. The city has left behind its status as a “steel town”, expecting to generate 2,600 new jobs in 2017 in the areas of technology, health, and education.

Hamilton boasts a robust education sector, featuring local universities and colleges. McMaster University consistently ranks as one of Canada’s top three most research-intensive (number of research dollars per faculty member) universities and is home to Canada’s first human embryonic stem cell library. The university currently enrolls around 30,000 students.

The growth rate for people aged 25-35 is almost two times higher in Hamilton than it is for the province as a whole. It’s an exciting time for Hamilton as the city’s growth rate has rebounded after stagnating during the preceding decade, according to Global Hamilton.
One of Canada’s premier art galleries

6- Art Gallery By Tourism and Culture, City of Hamilton


AGH: the third largest public art gallery with a collection of over 10,000 artworks
Founded in 1914, the Art Gallery of Hamilton (AGH) is Ontario’s third largest public art gallery. AGH features over 10,000 works of art, including historical European and Canadian, as well as contemporary art.

Founded in 1914, the Art Gallery of Hamilton (AGH) is Ontario’s third largest public art gallery. AGH features over 10,000 works of art, including historical European and Canadian, as well as contemporary art.

The AGH Design Annex offers a creativity lab where experimental exhibitions and intimate performances are staged, and a retail space for home and office, the Art + Design Store.

Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday: 11am. to 6pm. Thursday: 11am. to 8pm. Saturday & Sunday: 12pm. to 5 pm.

Historic sites to visit:

7-by Jeffrey Frank M
Whitehern Historic House and Garden. Photo by Jeffrey M. Frank, Shutterstock

Whitehern Historic House and Garden
• Home to multiple generations of the McQuesten family, the house is restored to 1938
• Features a restored walled urban garden
• The site is furnished only with possessions of the family; a rarity in Ontario

Dundurn National Historic Site (Dundurn Castle)
• 9,000 years of history
• Contains a big restored manor house, coach house, dovecote, cockpit plus extensive grounds and a 2-acre Victorian kitchen garden and historic working kitchen
• Hamilton Military Museum is also located on the property

Hamilton Museum of Steam and Technology
• Located in the first waterworks in Hamilton, opened in 1859
• The most completely preserved waterworks in North America
• Contains the original steam powered engine and pumps (5 stories tall and 70 tons)
• Waterworks ran for 51 years and saved many thousands of lives by providing clean drinking water to Hamiltonians

Battlefield House Museum and Park
• Possibly the oldest historic house museum in Canada (opened in 1899)
• Site of pivotal battle in the War of 1812, now restored as a Georgian era residence.
• Includes monuments to the battle erected in 1913 and memorials developed in 2013 to acknowledge the dead on all sides of the conflict and the contribution of First Nations

Griffin House National Historic Site
• Home of Enerals Griffin and his family who settled in the Ancaster area in the 1830’s
• Now part of a conservation area, the site was once a very prosperous farm
• One of the very few Black History National Historic Sites in Canada


Hamilton has hosted major national and international events like the Junos; Grey Cup; Canadian Open; Pan Am Soccer; American Public Gardens Association Conference; and Heritage Trust National Conference. The city is scheduled to welcome the North American Indigenous Games in 2017 and Canadian Country Music Week in 2018.

Ingrid Coifman

Ingrid is a journalist and Public Relations officer, who specializes in technology, economics, and tourism, having in her portfolio Culture TV, CBC Radio, MacDonalds and Microsoft.

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