Hamilton, Ontario

For Hamilton Township in Northumberland County, see Hamilton, Ontario (township).
City (single-tier)
City of Hamilton
Counter Clockwise from the Top: View of Downtown Hamilton from Sam Lawrence Park, Hamilton City Hall, Bayfront Park Harbour Front Trail, Historic Art Deco and Gothic Revival Pigott Building complex, Webster's Falls, Dundurn Castle


Coat of arms

Nickname(s): "The Ambitious City", "The Electric City", "The Hammer", "Steeltown"[1][2][3]
Motto: Together Aspire – Together Achieve

Location in the province of Ontario, Canada

Location of Hamilton in southern Ontario

Coordinates: 43°15′N 79°52′W / 43.250°N 79.867°W / 43.250; -79.867Coordinates: 43°15′N 79°52′W / 43.250°N 79.867°W / 43.250; -79.867
Country Canada
Province Ontario
Incorporated June 9, 1846[4]
  Mayor Fred Eisenberger
  City Council Hamilton, Ontario City Council
  City (single-tier) 1,138.11 km2 (439.43 sq mi)
  Land 1,117.11 km2 (431.32 sq mi)
  Water 21 km2 (8 sq mi)
  Urban 227.70 km2 (87.92 sq mi)
  Metro 1,371.76 km2 (529.64 sq mi)
Highest elevation 324 m (1,063 ft)
Lowest elevation 75 m (246 ft)
Population (2011)[5][6]
  City (single-tier) 519,949 (10th)
  Density 465.4/km2 (1,205/sq mi)
  Metro 721,053 (9th)
  Demonym Hamiltonian
Time zone EST (UTC−5)
  Summer (DST) EDT (UTC−4)
Postal code span L0R, L8E to L8W, L9A to L9C, L9G to L9H, L9K
Area code(s) 226, 289, 519 and 905
Highways  Queen Elizabeth Way
 Highway 6
 Highway 20
 Highway 403
Website www.hamilton.ca

Hamilton (/ˈhæməltən/; 2011 population 519,949; UA population 670,580; CMA population 721,053)[lower-alpha 1] is a port city in the Canadian province of Ontario. Conceived by George Hamilton when he purchased the Durand farm shortly after the War of 1812,[9] Hamilton has become the centre of a densely populated and industrialized region at the west end of Lake Ontario known as the Golden Horseshoe. On January 1, 2001, the new City of Hamilton was formed through the amalgamation of the former city and the other constituent lower-tier municipalities of the Regional Municipality of Hamilton-Wentworth with the upper-tier regional government.[10] Residents of the old city are known as Hamiltonians.[11] Since 1981, the metropolitan area has been listed as the ninth largest in Canada and the third largest in Ontario.

Hamilton is home to the Royal Botanical Gardens, the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, the Bruce Trail, McMaster University and Mohawk College. McMaster University is ranked 4th in Canada and 94th in the world by Times Higher Education Rankings 2015-16 and has a well-known medical school.[12] The Canadian Football Hall of Fame can be found downtown right beside Hamilton City Hall and across town to the east, the Canadian Football League's Hamilton Tiger-Cats began playing at the new Tim Hortons Field in 2014, which was built as part of the 2015 Pan American Games.

Possibly because of its diverse environment, numerous TV and film productions have been filmed in Hamilton, regulated by the Hamilton Film and Television Office.[13] A growing arts and culture community garnered media attention in 2006 when the Globe and Mail published an article called "Go West, Young Artist" about Hamilton's growing art scene. The article highlighted local art galleries, recording studios and independent film production.[14]


In pre-colonial times, the Neutral Indians used much of the land but were gradually driven out by the Five (later Six) Nations (Iroquois) who were allied with the British against the Huron and their French allies. A member of the Iroquois Confederacy provided the route and name for Mohawk Road, which originally included King Street in the lower city. In 1784, about 10,000 United Empire Loyalists settled in Upper Canada (what is now southern Ontario), chiefly in Niagara, around the Bay of Quinte, and along the St. Lawrence River between Lake Ontario and Montreal. They were soon followed by many more Americans, some of them not so much ardent loyalists but attracted nonetheless by the availability of inexpensive, arable land. At the same time, large numbers of Iroquois loyal to Britain arrived from the United States and were settled on reserves west of Lake Ontario.[15]

The town of Hamilton was conceived by George Hamilton (a son of a Queenston entrepreneur and founder, Robert Hamilton), when he purchased farm holdings of James Durand, the local Member of the British Legislative Assembly, shortly after the War of 1812.[9] Nathaniel Hughson, a property owner to the north, cooperated with George Hamilton to prepare a proposal for a courthouse and jail on Hamilton's property. Hamilton offered the land to the crown for the future site. Durand was empowered by Hughson and Hamilton to sell property holdings which later became the site of the town. As he had been instructed, Durand circulated the offers at York during a session of the Legislative Assembly and a new Gore District was established of which the Hamilton townsite was a member.[9]

Initially, this town was not the most important centre of the Gore District. A permanent jail was not constructed until 1832 when a cut-stone design was completed on one of the two squares created in 1816, Prince's Square.[9] Subsequently, the first police board and the town limits were defined by statute on February 13, 1833.[16] Official City status was achieved on June 9, 1846, by an act of Parliament, 9 Victoria Chapter 73.[4]

As the city grew, several prominent buildings were constructed in the late 19th century, including the Grand Lodge of Canada in 1855,[17] West Flamboro Methodist Church in 1879 (later purchased by Dufferin Masonic Lodge in 1893[18]), a public library in 1890, and the Right House department store in 1893. The first commercial telephone service in Canada, the first telephone exchange in the British Empire, and the second telephone exchange in all of North America all were established in the city between 1877–78.[19] The city had several interurban electric street railways and two inclines, all powered by the Cataract Power Co.[20]

Scottish Rite Castle

Though suffering through the Hamilton Street Railway strike of 1906, with industrial businesses expanding, Hamilton's population doubled between 1900 and 1914. Two steel manufacturing companies, Stelco and Dofasco, were formed in 1910 and 1912, respectively, and Procter & Gamble and the Beech-Nut Packing Company opened manufacturing plants in 1914 and 1922, respectively, their first outside the US.[21] Population and economic growth continued until the 1960s, with the 1929 construction of the city's first high-rise building, the Pigott Building, the move of McMaster University from Toronto to Hamilton, the opening of the second Canadian Tire store in Canada in 1934, an airport in 1940, a Studebaker assembly line in 1948,[22] the Burlington Bay James N. Allan Skyway in 1958, and the first Tim Hortons store in 1964. Since then, many of the large industries have moved or shut down operations[21] and the economy has shifted more toward the service sector, such as transportation, education, and health services.

On January 1, 2001, the new city of Hamilton was formed from the amalgamation of Hamilton and its five neighbouring municipalities: Ancaster, Dundas, Flamborough, Glanbrook, and Stoney Creek.[10] Before amalgamation, the "old" City of Hamilton had 331,121 Hamiltonians divided into 100 neighbourhoods. The former region of Hamilton-Wentworth had a population of 490,268. The amalgamation created a single-tier municipal government ending subsidization of its suburbs. The new amalgamated city has 519,949 people in over 100 old neighbourhoods, and surrounding communities.[23]

The city experienced a devastating fire at the Plastimet plastics plant in 1997.[24] Approximately 300 firefighters battled the blaze, and many sustained severe chemical burns and inhaled volatile organic compounds when at least 400 tonnes of PVC plastic were consumed in the fire.[25]


Hamilton is located in Southern Ontario on the western end of the Niagara Peninsula and wraps around the westernmost part of Lake Ontario; most of the city, including the downtown section, is on the south shore. Hamilton is situated in the geographic centre of the Golden Horseshoe and is roughly the midway point between Toronto and Buffalo, New York, although slightly closer to the former. Its major physical features are Hamilton Harbour, marking the northern limit of the city, and the Niagara Escarpment running through the middle of the city across its entire breadth, bisecting the city into "upper" and "lower" parts. The maximum high point is 250m (820') above the level of Lake Ontario.[26]

According to all records from local historians, this district was called Attiwandaronia by the native Neutral people.[27] The first aboriginals to settle in the Hamilton area called the bay Macassa, meaning "beautiful waters".[23] Hamilton is one of 11 cities showcased in the book, Green City: People, Nature & Urban Places by Quebec author Mary Soderstrom, which examines the city as an example of an industrial powerhouse co-existing with nature.[28] Soderstrom credits Thomas McQuesten and family in the 1930s who "became champions of parks, greenspace and roads" in Hamilton.[29]

Hamilton Harbour is a natural harbour with a large sandbar called the Beachstrip. This sandbar was deposited during a period of higher lake levels during the last ice age, and extends southeast through the central lower city to the escarpment. Hamilton's deep sea port is accessed by ship canal through the beach strip into the harbour and is traversed by two bridges, the QEW's Burlington Bay James N. Allan Skyway and the lower Canal Lift Bridge.[30]

Panoramic view of Hamilton Harbour from T.B. McQuesten High Level Bridge on York Boulevard, near Harvey Park.

Between 1788 and 1793, the townships at the Head-of-the-Lake were surveyed and named. The area was first known as The Head-of-the-Lake for its location at the western end of Lake Ontario.[19] John Ryckman, born in Barton township (where present day downtown Hamilton is), described the area in 1803 as he remembered it: "The city in 1803 was all forest. The shores of the bay were difficult to reach or see because they were hidden by a thick, almost impenetrable mass of trees and undergrowth ... Bears ate pigs, so settlers warred on bears. Wolves gobbled sheep and geese, so they hunted and trapped wolves. They also held organized raids on rattlesnakes on the mountainside. There was plenty of game. Many a time have I seen (sic) a deer jump the fence into my back yard, and there were millions of pigeons which we clubbed as they flew low."[31]

George Hamilton, a settler and local politician, established a town site in the northern portion of Barton Township in 1815. He kept several east–west roads which were originally Indian trails, but the north–south streets were on a regular grid pattern. Streets were designated "East" or "West" if they crossed James Street or Highway 6. Streets were designated "North" or "South" if they crossed King Street or Highway 8.[32] The overall design of the townsite, likely conceived in 1816, was commonplace. George Hamilton employed a grid street pattern used in most towns in Upper Canada and throughout the American frontier. The eighty original lots had frontages of fifty feet; each lot faced a broad street and backed onto a twelve-foot lane. It took at least a decade for all of the original lots to be sold, but the construction of the Burlington Canal in 1823, and a new court-house in 1827, encouraged Hamilton to add more blocks around 1828–9. At this time, he included a market square in an effort to draw commercial activity onto his lands, but the natural growth of the town was to the north of Hamilton's plot.[33]

The Hamilton Conservation Authority owns, leases or manages about 4,500 hectares (11,100 acres) of land with the city operating 1,077 hectares (2,661 acres) of parkland at 310 locations.[34][35] Many of the parks are located along the Niagara Escarpment, which runs from Tobermory at the tip of the Bruce Peninsula in the north, to Queenston at the Niagara River in the south, and provides views of the cities and towns at the western end of Lake Ontario. The hiking path Bruce Trail runs the length of the escarpment.[36] Hamilton is home to more than 100 waterfalls and cascades, most of which are on or near the Bruce Trail as it winds through the Niagara Escarpment.[37]

Panoramic view of lower Hamilton from Sam Lawrence Park near Concession Street on the Niagara Escarpment (Hamilton Mountain).


Hamilton's climate is humid-continental, characterized by changeable weather patterns. However, its climate is moderate compared with most of Canada. Hamilton's location on an embayment at the southwestern corner of Lake Ontario with an escarpment dividing upper and lower parts of the city results in noticeable disparities in weather over short distances. This is also the case with pollution levels, which depending on localized winds patterns or low clouds can be high in certain areas mostly originating from the city's steel industry mixed with regional vehicle pollution. With a July average of exactly 22.0 °C (71.6 °F),[38] the lower city is located in a pocket of the Dfa climate zone found at the southwestern end of Lake Ontario (between Hamilton and Toronto and eastward into the Niagara Peninsula), while the upper reaches of the city fall into the Dfb climate zone.

The airport's open, rural location and higher altitude (240m vs. 85m ASL downtown) results in lower temperatures, generally windier conditions and higher snowfall amounts than lower, built-up areas of the city. One exception is on early spring afternoons; when colder than air lake temperatures keep shoreline areas significantly cooler, under the presence of an east or north-east onshore flow.

The highest temperature ever recorded in Hamilton was 41.1 °C (106 °F) on 14 July 1868.[39] The coldest temperature ever recorded was -30.6 °C (-23 °F) on 25 January 1884.[40]


City population (1816–2006)[43][44][45]

According to the 2006 Canadian Census, more than 20 percent of the local population was not born in Canada. This is the third highest such proportion in Canada after Toronto at 49%, and Vancouver at 39%. Between 2001 and 2006, the foreign-born population increased by 7.7% while the total population of the Hamilton census metropolitan area (CMA) grew by 4.3%. The share of Canada's recent immigrants who settle in Hamilton has remained unchanged since 2001 at 1.9%. Hamilton was home to 20,800 immigrants who arrived in Canada between 2001 and 2006, half of whom were born in Asia and the Middle East, while nearly one-quarter (23%) were from Europe. Hamilton also had a high proportion of people with Italian, English, Scottish, German and Irish ancestry. Nearly three in ten residents reported English as their sole ethnic origin or as one of their ancestral origins. As well, nearly one in five reported Scottish ancestry either alone or in combination with another ethnic origin.[46]

The Canada 2011 Census short form did not include questions on ethnic background or national origin. However, the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS) (a voluntary survey that accompanied the census) produced the following data:[47]

In February 2014, the city's council voted to declare Hamilton a sanctuary city, offering municipal services to undocumented immigrants at risk of deportation.[48][49]

Hamilton also has a large French community for which provincial services are offered in French. In Ontario, urban centres where there are at least 5000 Francophones or where at least 10% of the population is francophone are designated areas where bilingual provincial services have to be offered. According to the latest statistics, the Francophone community grew by 50% between 2006 and 2011 in Hamilton, and in the city, 45,000 citizens claim to have knowledge of both official languages, amongst which 13,000 have French as a mother tongue. The Franco-Ontarian community of Hamilton boasts two schoolboards (Conseil scolaire Viamonde and Conseil scolaire de district catholique Centre-Sud) five schools (2 secondary and 3 elementary), a community health centre that is part of the LHIN (Centre de santé communautaire Hamilton/Niagara), a cultural centre (Centre français Hamilton), three daycare centres, a provincially funded employment centre (Options Emploi), a community college site (Collège Boréal) and a community organization that supports the development of the francophone community in Hamilton (ACFO Régionale Hamilton).

Downtown Hamilton view from Sam Lawrence Park

The top countries of birth for the newcomers living in Hamilton in the 1990s were: former Yugoslavia, Poland, India, China, the Philippines, and Iraq.[50]

Children aged 14 years and under accounted for 17.8% of the population while those 65 years of age and older constituted 14.9%, resulting in an average age of 39.6 years.[51]

The most described religion in Hamilton is Christianity although other religions brought by immigrants are also growing. The 2011 census indicates that 67.6% of the population adheres to a Christian denomination, with Catholics being the largest at 34.3% of the city's population. The Christ the King Cathedral is the seat of the Diocese of Hamilton. Other denominations include the United Church (6.5%), Anglican (6.4%), Presbyterian (3.1%), Christian Orthodox (2.9%), and other denominations (9.8%). Other religions with significant populations include Islam (3.7%), Buddhist (0.9%), Sikh (0.8%), Hindu (0.8%), and Jewish (0.7%). Those with no religious affiliation accounted for 24.9% of the population.[52]

Environics Analytics, a geodemographic marketing firm that created 66 different "clusters" of people complete with profiles of how they live, what they think and what they consume, sees a future Hamilton with younger upscale Hamiltonians—who are tech savvy and university educated—choosing to live in the downtown and surrounding areas rather than just visiting intermittently. More two and three-storey townhouses and apartments will be built on downtown lots; small condos will be built on vacant spaces in areas such as Dundas, Ainslie Wood and Westdale to accommodate newly retired seniors; and more retail and commercial zones will be created. The city is also expected to grow by more than 28,000 people and 18,000 households by the year 2012.[53]

The following data are recorded by the 2011 NHS survey:

Reported ethnic origins, 2011
Ethnic origin Number of respondents[note 1][54] Percent of respondents[note 2]
English 134,925 26.5
Canadian 122,150 24.0
Scottish 98,955 19.4
Irish 85,650 16.8
Italian 60,535 11.9
German 46,905 9.2
Reported ethnic origins, 2011
Ethnic origin Number of respondents Percent of respondents
French 42,740 8.4
Polish 27,465 5.4
Dutch 26,370 5.2
Ukrainian 17,770 3.5
Portuguese 14,610 2.9
North American Indian 13,720 2.7
  1. Total number of respondents was 509,635.
  2. Note that a person may report more than one ethnic origin.


Lloyd D. Jackson Square (Mall), Commerce Place Complex

The most important economic activity in Ontario is manufacturing, and the Toronto–Hamilton region is the most highly industrialized section of the country. The area from Oshawa, Ontario around the west end of Lake Ontario to Niagara Falls, with Hamilton at its centre, is known as the Golden Horseshoe and had a population of approximately 8.1 million people in 2006.[55] The phrase was first used by Westinghouse President Herbert H. Rogge in a speech to the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, on January 12, 1954. "Hamilton in 50 years will be the forward cleat in a golden horseshoe of industrial development from Oshawa to the Niagara River ... 150 miles long and 50 miles (80 km) wide...It will run from Niagara Falls on the south to about Oshawa on the north and take in numerous cities and towns already there, including Hamilton and Toronto."[56]

With sixty percent of Canada's steel being produced in Hamilton by Stelco and Dofasco, the city has become known as the Steel Capital of Canada.[57] After nearly declaring bankruptcy, Stelco returned to profitability in 2004.[58] On August 26, 2007 United States Steel Corporation acquired Stelco for C$38.50 in cash per share, owning more than 76 percent of Stelco's outstanding shares.[59] On September 17, 2014 US Steel Canada announced that it was applying for bankruptcy protection and that it would be closing down its Hamilton operations.[60]

Construction of the new "Bella Towers" on 150 Main Street West. A part of the string of new private development and investment currently happening in the downtown core.

Dofasco, in 1999, was the most profitable steel producer in North America and in 2000, the most profitable in Canada. It currently has approximately 7,300 employees at its Hamilton plant and produces over four million tons of steel annually, representing about 30% of Canada's flat rolled sheet steel shipments. Dofasco is one of North America's most profitable steel companies, and Dofasco was named to the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index in 2006 for the seventh year in a row. Dofasco produces steel products for the automotive, construction, energy, manufacturing, pipe and tube, appliance, packaging and steel distribution industries.[61] Dofasco is currently a stand alone subsidiary of Arcelor Mittal, the world's largest steel producer. Previously ordered by the U.S. Department of Justice to divest itself of the Canadian company, Arcelor Mittal has now been allowed to retain Dofasco provided it sells several of its American assets instead.[62]

Originally, in the 1940s, the John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport was used as a wartime air force training station. Today TradePort International Corporation manages and operates the John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport. Under TradePort management, passenger traffic at the Hamilton terminal has increased from 90,000 in 1996 to approximately 900,000 in 2002. The airport's mid-term target for growth in its passenger service is five million air travelers annually. The air cargo sector of the airport has 24–7 operational capability and strategic geographic location, allowing its capacity to increase by 50% since 1996; 91,000 metric tonnes (100,000 tons) of cargo passed through the airport in 2002. Courier companies with operations at the airport include United Parcel Service and Cargojet Canada.[63] In 2003, the city began developing a 30-year growth management strategy which called, in part, for a massive aerotropolis industrial park centred on Hamilton Airport. The aerotropolis proposal, now known as the Airport Employment Growth District, is touted as a solution to the city's shortage of employment lands.[64] Hamilton turned over operation of the airport to TradePort International Corp. in 1996. In 2007, YVR Airport Services (YVRAS), which runs the Vancouver International Airport, took over 100 percent ownership of TradePort in a $13-million deal. The airport is also home to the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum.

A report by Hemson Consulting identified an opportunity to develop 1,000 hectares (2,500 acres) of greenfields (the size of the Royal Botanical Gardens) that could generate an estimated 90,000 jobs by 2031. A proposed aerotropolis industrial park at Highway 6 and 403, has been debated at City Hall for years. Opponents feel the city needs to do more investigation about the cost to taxpayers before embarking on the project.[65]


When ranked on a "total crime severity index", Hamilton was 21st in Canada in 2011 for a metropolitan area. This was an eight percent decrease from 2010.[66] Of note was Hamilton's second place rank for police-reported hate crimes in 2011.[67]


See also: Hamilton, Ontario City Council and Category:Mayors of Hamilton, Ontario
Bay Street Federal Building

Citizens of Hamilton are represented at all three levels of Canadian government. Following the 2015 Federal Election, representation in the Parliament of Canada will consist of five Members of Parliament representing the federal ridings of Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas, Hamilton Centre, Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, Hamilton Mountain, and Flamborough—Glanbrook. This election will mark the first occasion in which Hamilton will have five Members of Parliament representing areas wholly within Hamilton's city boundaries, with previous boundaries situating rural ridings across municipal lines.[68]

Provincially, there are five elected Members of Provincial Parliament who serve in the Legislature of Ontario. Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs, Ted McMeekin (Liberal), represents Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale. Leader of the Ontario New Democratic Party, Andrea Horwath, represents Hamilton Centre, Paul Miller (NDP) represents Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, and Monique Taylor (NDP) represents Hamilton Mountain. Former leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, Tim Hudak, serves as MPP for Niagara West—Glanbrook.[69]

Hamilton's municipal government consists of one mayor, elected city wide, and 15 city councillors, elected individually by each of the city's wards, to serve on the Hamilton City Council. Presently, Hamilton's mayor is Fred Eisenberger, elected on October 27, 2014 to a second, non-consecutive term.[70] Additionally, both Public and Catholic school board trustees are elected for defined areas ranging from two trustees for multiple wards to a single trustee for an individual ward.

Municipal elections in Hamilton occur every four years, the last one occurring on October 27, 2014. The next scheduled municipal election will occur in October 2018.

The Hamilton City Council is granted authority to govern by the province through the Municipal Act of Ontario.[71] As with all municipalities, the Province of Ontario has supervisory privilege over the municipality and the power to redefine, restrict or expand the powers of all municipalities in Ontario.

The Criminal Code of Canada is the chief piece of legislation defining criminal conduct and penalty. The Hamilton Police Service is chiefly responsible for the enforcement of federal and provincial law. Although the Hamilton Police Service has authority to enforce, bylaws passed by the Hamilton City Council are mainly enforced by Provincial Offences Officers employed by the City of Hamilton.[72]

The Canadian Military maintains a presence in Hamilton, with the John Weir Foote Armoury located in the downtown core on James Street North, housing the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry as well as the 11th Field Hamilton-Wentworth Battery and the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada. The Hamilton Reserve Barracks, located on Pier Nine, houses the naval reserve division HMCS Star, 23 Service Battalion and the 23 Field Ambulance.


Hamilton is home to several post-secondary institutions that have created numerous direct and indirect jobs in education and research. McMaster University moved to the city in 1930 and today has around 30,000 enrolled students, of whom almost two-thirds come from outside the immediate Hamilton region.[73][74] Brock University of St. Catharines, Ontario has a satellite campus used primarily for teacher education located in Hamilton.[75] Colleges in Hamilton include:

McMaster University Medical Centre

Public education for students from kindergarten through high school is administered by three school boards. The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board manages 114 public schools,[80] while the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board operates 55 schools in the greater Hamilton area.[81] The Conseil scolaire de district du Centre-Sud-Ouest operates one elementary and one secondary school (École secondaire Georges-P.-Vanier), and the Conseil scolaire de district catholique Centre-Sud operates two elementary schools and one secondary school. Calvin Christian School, Providence Christian School and Timothy Christian School are independent Christian elementary schools. Hamilton District Christian High School, Rehoboth Christian High School and Guido de Bres Christian High School are independent Christian high schools in the area. Both HDCH and Guido de Brès participate in the city's interscholastic athletics. Hillfield Strathallan College is located on the West Hamilton mountain and is a CAIS member, non-profit school for children from early Montessori ages through grade twelve.

McMaster University Student Centre Plaza

The Dundas Valley School of Art is an independent art school which has serviced the Hamilton region since 1964. Students range in age from 4 years old to senior citizens and enrollment as of February 2007 was close to 4,000. In 1998, a new full time diploma programme was launched as a joint venture with McMaster University. The faculty and staff are highly regarded regional artists.[82]

The Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts is home to many of the area's talented young actors, dancers, musicians, singers and visual artists. The school is equipped with a keyboard studio, spacious dance studios, art and sculpting studios, gallery space and a 300 seat recital hall. HCA offers over 90 programs for ages 3–93, creating a "united nations" of arts under one roof.[83]

The Hamilton Literacy Council is a non-profit organization that provides basic (grades 1–5 equivalent) training in reading, writing, and math to English-speaking adults. The council's service is free, private, and one-to-one. It started to assist adults with their literacy skills in 1973.

Hamilton is home to two think tanks, the Centre for Cultural Renewal and Cardus, which deals with social architecture, culture, urbanology, economics and education and also publishes the LexView Policy Journal and Comment Magazine.[84]


Gore Park Fountain. The Commerce 1 building is in the background.

Hamilton has built on its historical and social background with attractions including the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, the HMCS Haida National Historic Site (Canada's most famous warship and the last remaining Tribal Class in the world),[85] Dundurn Castle (the residence of a Prime Minister of Upper Canada),[86] the Royal Botanical Gardens, the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, the African Lion Safari Park, the Cathedral of Christ the King, and the Workers' Arts and Heritage Centre.[87]

Founded in 1914, the Art Gallery of Hamilton is Ontario's third largest public art gallery. The gallery has over 9,000 works in its permanent collection that focus on three areas: 19th century European, Historical Canadian and Contemporary Canadian.[88]

Historic James Street South commercial art buildings

The McMaster Museum of Art (MMA), founded at McMaster University in 1967, houses and exhibits the university's art collection of more than 7,000 objects,[89] including historical, modern and contemporary art, the Levy Collection of Impressionist and Post Impressionist paintings, and a collection of over 300 German Expressionist prints.

Hamilton has quite an active theatre scene, with the professional company Theatre Aquarius, plus long-time amateur companies, the Players' Guild of Hamilton and Hamilton Theatre Inc.. Many smaller theatre companies have also opened in the past decade, bringing a variety of theatre to the area.

Growth in the arts and culture sector has garnered high level media attention for Hamilton. A Globe and Mail article in 2006, entitled "Go West, Young Artist," focused on the growing art scene in Hamilton.[14] The Factory: Hamilton Media Arts Centre,[90] opened up a new home on James Street North in 2006. Art galleries are springing up on many streets across the city: James Street, King William Street, Locke Street and King Street, to name a few. This, coupled with growth in the downtown condo market which is drawing people back to the core, is affecting the cultural fabric of the city. The opening of the Downtown Arts Centre[91] on Rebecca Street has spurred further creative activities in the core. The Community Centre for Media Arts[92] (CCMA) continues to operate in downtown Hamilton. The CCMA works with marginalized populations and combines new media services such as website development, graphic design, video, and information technology, with arts education and skills development programming.[93]

The 2009 film Defendor, starring Woody Harrelson as a vigilante superhero, is implied to take place in Hamilton, referred to by its nickname of "Hammer Town" several times throughout the film. It was filmed in Hamilton and Toronto.

In March 2015, Hamilton was host to the JUNO Awards,[94] which featured performances by Hedley, Alanis Morissette and Magic!. The award ceremony was held at the FirstOntario Centre in downtown Hamilton. During JUNOfest, hundreds of local acts performed across the city, bringing thousands of tourists.


See also: List of sports venues in Hamilton, Ontario and Category:Sport in Hamilton, Ontario
Copps Coliseum, York Boulevard, looking East
Professional and Semi-Professional teams
Club League Venue Established Championships
Hamilton Tiger-Cats Canadian Football League Tim Hortons Field 1950[95] 15
Amateur and junior clubs
Club League Venue Established Championships
Hamilton Bulldogs Ontario Hockey League FirstOntario Centre
formerly Copps Coliseum
2015 0
Hamilton Hurricanes Canadian Junior Football League Tim Hortons Field 1963 3
Hamilton Croatia Canadian Soccer League Brian Timmis Stadium 1957 1
Hamilton Red Wings Ontario Provincial Junior A Hockey Dave Andreychuk Mountain Arena 1973 1
Hamilton Hornets R.F.C. Niagara Rugby Union Mohawk Sports Park 1954 0
Hamilton Wildcats Australian Rules Football League Mohawk Sports Park 1997 0
Hamilton Cardinals Intercounty Baseball League Bernie Arbour Memorial Stadium 2005 0
Stoney Creek Camels Marshall Rugby Premiership Saltfleet District High School 1964 1

Hamilton was the host of Canada's first major international athletic event, the first Commonwealth Games (then called the British Empire Games) in 1930. Hamilton bid unsuccessfully for the Commonwealth Games in 2010, losing out to New Delhi in India.[96] On November 7, 2009, in Guadalajara, Mexico it was announced that Toronto would host the 2015 Pan Am Games after beating out two rival South American cities, Lima, Peru and Bogota, Colombia. The city of Hamilton co-hosted the Games with Toronto. Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger said, "the Pan Am Games will provide a 'unique opportunity for Hamilton to renew major sport facilities giving Hamiltonians a multi-purpose stadium, a 50-metre swimming pool, and an international-calibre velodrome to enjoy for generations to come.'"[97]

The Around the Bay Road Race circumnavigates Hamilton Harbour. Although it is not a marathon distance, it is the longest continuously held long distance foot race in North America.[98] The local newspaper also hosts the amateur Spectator Indoor Games.[98]

Hamilton has representation in two professional sports leagues, the Canadian Football League and Major League Lacrosse. Its major sports complexes include Ivor Wynne Stadium and Copps Coliseum; Hamilton is also home to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame museum.[99] The museum hosts an annual induction event in a week-long celebration that includes school visits, a golf tournament, a formal induction dinner and concludes with the Hall of Fame game involving the local CFL Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Ivor Wynne Stadium.[100][101]

In addition to team sports, Hamilton is also home to an auto race track, Flamboro Speedway and Canada's fastest half-mile harness horse racing track, Flamboro Downs.[102] Another auto race track, Cayuga International Speedway, is located near Hamilton in the Haldimand County community of Nelles Corners, situated between Hagersville and Cayuga.[103]

Hamilton hosted an NHL team in the 1920s called the Hamilton Tigers. The team folded after a players' strike in 1925.[104] Research in Motion CEO Jim Balsillie has shown interest in bringing another NHL team to southern Ontario. The NHL's Phoenix Coyotes filed for bankruptcy in 2009 and have included within their Chapter 11 reorganization a plan to sell the team to Balsillie and move the team and its operations to Hamilton, Ontario.[105] In late September, however, the bankruptcy judge did not rule in favor of Balsillie. The city plans to continue their fight for an NHL team.

Notable people

Sister cities

Hamilton is a sister city with Flint, Michigan, and its young amateur athletes compete in the CANUSA Games, held alternatively in the two cities since 1958.[96] Flint and Hamilton hold the distinction of having the oldest continuous sister-city relationship between a U.S. and Canadian city, since 1957.[106]

Other sister cities with Hamilton include:[107]

Other city relationships:[107]

Classic direction sign 
St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church 
Downtown Hamilton 
Commerce Place from Downtown Hamilton 
A classical building from Downtown Dundas 

See also


  1. The Census Metropolitan area comprises the cities of Hamilton, Burlington, and Grimsby.[8]
  2. Based on station coordinates provided by Environment Canada, climate data for was recorded near downtown Hamilton from January 1866 to August 1958, and April 1950 to present at the Royal Botanical Gardens.


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