Hamilton is a community of rich cultural heritage, home to both natural and man-made wonders. Although its history goes back much further, the city was founded shortly after the war of 1812 by George Hamilton, a merchant, soldier and politician. It has a long history of hard work and ingenuity, and while it has changed and grown significantly over the past few centuries, the city has not lost its down-to-earth and spirited attitude towards life.
The city is bisected into the upper and lower city by a ribbon of wild, green space known as Niagara Escarpment. The escarpment is a 90-metre cliff, which was recently named a World Biosphere Reserve. In the area, more than 80 waterfalls have been identified, plunging over the edge of this natural wonder, which led to the city being nicknamed “The City of Waterfalls”. While the escarpment runs from New York to Owen Sound and beyond, no one is more proud of this geological feature than Hamiltonians, who lovingly refer to it as “the Mountain.” No one can resist the breathtaking view of the lower city and Lake Ontario from the edge. It’s probably this feature that has inspired the city to preserve even more green space. Despite being known as an industrial town, the city also has hundreds of parks and conservation areas for residents to enjoy. In addition to natural attractions, the city is home to a wide variety of activities truly encompassing its multicultural roots. From the Art Gallery of Hamilton and the city’s five museums to Hamilton Place, FirstOntario Centre (formerly Copps Coliseum) and hundreds of festivals and local events, there’s always something going on.
Within the core of Hamilton, there are several distinct communities: Firstly, Central/North Hamilton, which is part of the city’s living history. Travel down any road in the core and you’ll find evidence of our past in the architecture of homes and businesses alike. The East End growth in this area began after Stelco and Dofasco came to town in the early 1900s. It expanded significantly after the Second World War, creating a community built around families. It’s home to dozens of parks, schools recreation facilities, as well as a wide variety of businesses. Secondly, there is Westdale, which centres around McMaster University. This area is widely known as home to the city’s future, as hundreds of university students flood its ranks in September. But it’s also home to Cootes Paradise, a large wetland at the west end of the Hamilton Harbour and the trendy shopping district of Westdale Village. Westdale was one of Canada’s first planned communities, with work beginning in the 1920s. Hamilton Mountain Living “on the Mountain” has always given residents a feeling of distinction. That’s probably because some of Hamilton’s most prestigious families built their manors on the top of the escarpment, overlooking the city. In the present day, it’s a sprawling community with a balanced mix of residential, commercial and light industrial.