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The City of Hamilton is the 9th largest city in Canada. It is located at the west end of Lake Ontario on Burlington Bay, about 68 km southwest of Toronto, and 66 km west of Niagara Falls and the American border. As part of restructuring the city, the boundaries were extended in 2001 to incorporate a significant part of the surrounding suburban and rural areas, including the former towns of Ancaster, Dundas, Flamborough, Stoney Creek and Glanbrook. The City of Hamilton is the focal point of a densely populated region at the west end of Lake Ontario known as the Golden Horseshoe. The southern end of the city incorporates the Niagara Escarpment, which Hamiltonians call "the mountain." The Escarpment runs through the centre of the city and bisects it into "upper" and "lower" parts.
Following U.S. independence after their Revolutionary War in 1784, around 10,000 Crown Loyalists settled in Upper Canada, known now as southern Ontario. The Crown gave them land in these areas for development and as remuneration for their losses in the U.S. With these arable, inexpensive lands now available, new settlers soon followed as they wanted the same opportunities. The area was first known as The Head-of-the-Lake for its location at the western end of Lake Ontario and came into being by George Hamilton when he obtained farm lands from a local Member of the British Legislative Assembly after the War. Hamilton was officially named a city on June 9, 1846 and is the centre of groundbreaking accomplishments like having the first commercial telephone service in Canada.
Hamilton is a diverse city with a population of more than 500,000 residents. According to Statistics Canada, the population grew by 3.7% between 2011 and 2016, down from 4.1% per cent between 2006 and 2011, bringing it to 536,917 (2016 census). That number puts Hamilton slightly behind the national average of 5% growth. However that is projected to change as by 2036, the city’s population is expected to grow by at least 20%. Children under 14 years represent 17.8% of the population, while those 65 years and older constitute 14.9%. This results in the city having an average age of 39.6 years (2011 census). The 2011 statistics additionally report that 67.6% of the population are Christian by religion, and those with no religious affiliations represents 24.9%. As of 2011, almost 73.8% of Hamilton's residents are English speaking, but the city has a substantial French community. The most recent statistics shows the Francophone community growing by 50% between 2006 and 2011.
The climate is humid-continental, and considered moderate, with average temperatures 21°C during summer time, and -5 °C during the winter. Hamilton city is a part of the Toronto television market and receives most broadcast television from Toronto. However, the city has a number of radio stations, print, online and magazine publications. These include the Hamilton Community News, Gusto Magazine, along with their 10 radio stations.
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The city's economy has experienced major shifts over the past decade or so, especially in the manufacturing sector, where there has been visible declines. In 2003, for example, the manufacturing sector employed almost 80,000 individuals in the Hamilton region (22% of the workforce). Ten years later, in 2013, that number dropped to 46,200 (12%). However, simultaneously, there has been an increase for information and health services, which has also increased demand and employment opportunities in those areas. Currently, the Hamilton Health Sciences Corporation is the city's largest employer, employing roughly 10,000 residents.
Altogether the medical and social services now employ some 12% of Hamilton’s workforce, while information and cultural industries, including software development and TV production, account for 13%. Companies like First Ontario Credit Union Hamilton, Horizon Utilities Corporation and St. Joseph's Healthcare are some of the city’s best employers, hiring just about 3,000 residents combined. The total median income in Hamilton is 87,590 (2015 Statistics Canada).
Hamilton prides itself for being one of the top shopping destinations in Ontario. From a range of boutiques, malls, markets and shops, there is something to suit everyone's taste, style and personality. Major shopping centres, offering brand name department and chain stores include the Hamilton City Centre, Eastgate Square and Lime Ridge Mall. Eastgate Square is a shopping centre with more than 100 shops and services. They can be found at the corner of Centennial and Queenston Road in Stoney Creek/Hamilton. Hamilton City Centre, situated in the core of the city, is a complex with 27 shops, offices and a food court. It is a great place to shop, work and eat. Lime Ridge offers more than 180 of the brand stores and is strategically located on the Hamilton mountain, with access to the Lincoln M. Alexander Parkway.
The city has a range of districts under their Business Improvement Area (BIA) initiative dedicated to curating and supporting homegrown businesses and collaborative efforts in the various communities. These districts add to the textured shopping and dining experience in Hamilton. BIAs like Barton Village Shopping District features award-winning Portuguese restaurants, along with new businesses, galleries and restaurants and Ottawa Street Shopping District with over 100 shops, featuring great food and fashion. From fine to casual dining to everything in between, Hamilton offers up a plethora of dining options. Indulge in fine dining at one of Hamilton’s premier restaurants like Lo Presti’s, which offers traditional Continental and Italian cuisine. If you’re on the go, try Cafe Troy on 2290 Highway or Ark + Anchor Espresso Bar off 300 King West Hamilton. To satisfy the international tastebuds, The Ya Man! Caribbean Cuisine and Culantro serves up excellent Caribbean and Peruvian dishes. Hamilton’s Farmers market also offers farm fresh produce each market day and attracts regular customers from the local community and tourists from all over the world.
Hamilton is situated in the cluster of highways, train lines and airports that service southern Ontario, allowing easy and convenient access to the city. By car, Hamiltonians can access the city by highway including the Queen Elizabeth Way, Highway 403, 407, 5, 6, 8 and 20. If you are utilizing public transport, one of the main ways residents get around is by the Hamilton Street Railway which covers 34 routes all around the city. By rail, GO Transit provides rail service from Hamilton, eastbound towards Toronto and runs weekdays during peak times. Taxi cabs are a convenient way to get around the city as well. Service companies like Blue Line Taxi and Hamilton Cab provides taxi services 24 hours a day.
In addition to public transportation, the city provides a combination of off-road multi-use paths, on-street dedicated bike lanes and on-street signed bike routes. Cycling, as a means of transportation, helps address environmental issues such as pollution and is highly promoted as a means for residents to get around. A third of all Hamilton commuter trips are within 5 km of work which is about 25 minutes cycling at an easy pace. This initiative is a part of the Smart Commute program that works with local businesses and community organizations to encourage the use of active and sustainable transportation. This also includes carpooling. The John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport is the city’s own air service offering frequent and competitively priced flights to more than 30 Canadian, American and Caribbean destinations. Outside the city, Hamilton is only 45 minutes away from the Pearson International Airport in Toronto.
The city offers a wide variety of secondary and post-secondary schools to choose from. The Hamilton community has access to the following four school boards: The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board which oversees 114 neighbourhood schools and a number of alternative programs focusing on sports, academics, science and arts; The Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board, serving 55 schools, and another 10,000 individuals through four adult and continuing education centres; the French-language Catholic school board which serves 45 elementary and 10 secondary schools; and the Conseil scolaire Viamonde, that oversees the French-language public schools and operates two schools in Hamilton.
It is also home to a number of outstanding, globally recognized post-secondary institutions. Many of them have an international student office to help students adjust to living in Hamilton and help build connections. These include McMaster University, Redeemer University College and Collège Boréal. McMaster University has a student population of 30,000 and focuses on research, while engaging the wider community. Redeemer University College is a Christian liberal arts university, and offers Bachelor degrees with majors in over 30 disciplines. Collège Boréal offers continuing education and employability and immigrant integration services, and it's the only French-language college. Hamilton is also served by a number of private career colleges, including Bronston Canadian Academy and Christadelphian Heritage College. Several other post-secondary institutions are within a one-hour drive of the city.
Developments in arts and culture has garnered much attention for the city. Hamilton Artists Inc., established in1975, is one of the most established artist-run centres in Canada. The Community Centre for Media Arts (CCMA) in Downtown Hamilton works with marginalized groups, and empowers them with a combination of new media services and arts education, and skills development programming. The McMaster Museum of Art (MMA), founded at McMaster University in 1967, houses and displays the University's art collection of more than 7,000 pieces, including historical, modern and contemporary art, and a collection of more than 300 German Expressionist prints. For the performing arts, the Hammer Theatre Company hosts plays dealing with issues of sex and sexuality. The theatre is in the James Street North neighbourhood, where Hamilton's art scene continues to grow. The Staircase Cafe Theatre on Dundurn Street North is home to a variety of cultural activities, which include an artist's gallery, a cafe and a theatre for film and live acts.
Hamilton has facilitated several cultural and craft fairs; notably Festival of Friends. Established in 1975, the festival is the largest free music event in Canada. The Winona Peach Festival, a 4-time winner of the "Top 50 Ontario Festivals", from Festivals and Events Ontario, is a must attend for Hamiltonians. The Great Lakes Expo7 is a 3-day yearly springtime celebration held at Bayfront Park and Pier 4 Park and is free for the entire family. The city hosts a number of other free events, most of which are held in the summer months. Shows are held at Gore Park, Whitehern Museum, International Village, Sam Lawrence Park, Lloyd D. Jackson Square and the Hamilton Farmer's Market. Hamilton Place, a 2,100 seat theatre, is home of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra and boasts one of the leading architectural designs for acoustics in Canada.
Many world class recording studios call Hamilton home. The Hamilton region has produced a number of talented musical artists and bands over the years. In celebration of these talents, The Juno Awards, an award of achievement presented to Canadian musical artists and bands, has been hosted in Hamilton six times since 1995.
Surrounded by natural beauty, finding scenic spaces to explore around the city is easy. The Confederation Park offers adventure on Lake Ontario, with activities like go-karting, mini golf, swimming and volley/basketball. Hamilton has a variety of parks, trails and camping sites to explore. Fifty Point Conservation Area and Campground is a fully serviced site situated near the shores of Lake Ontario, and offers access to the beach, playground and fully-equipped comfort stations. Bayfront Park allows visitors to engage in a variety of leisure activities while enjoying the view of the harbour area. The city offers trails for bikers and walkers alike. Hamilton has grown into a cycling-friendly community and provides a combination of off-road multi-use paths, on-street dedicated bike lanes and on-street signed bike routes for recreational riders and commuters. The Bruce Trail, Canada's oldest and longest marked foot trail is makes for a great hike.
Historic Sites offers a look into the city's past with Museums and National historic sites, like Battlefield House Museum & Park and Dundurn National Historic Site, giving patrons a taste of the city’s history. Notable destinations, like the Hamilton Museum of Steam and Technology, are a trip back to life in the early Industrial Revolution in Canada. Other fascinating recreational activities includes Avro Lancaster Flight, a Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, that offers flights in a rare Fairey Firefly, Westland Lysander or the well known Avro Lancaster.
Hamiltonians love their sports and are fiercely loyal to the Tiger Cats. The team is North America's oldest professional football team, founded in1950 after merging with the Hamilton Tigers and the Hamilton Flying Wildcat. You can watch them play their home games at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton. The Bulldogs are the city’s hockey team of choice, and one of the top teams in their league. Baseball lovers can also enjoy some good baseball action at the Hamilton Cardinals Baseball Club. There are other activities to choose from, like golfing, go karting, skating or bowling. The Beverly Golf and Country Club, with its 18-hole, par 70, 6,507-yard course, is a dream for golfers. Go karting can be enjoyed at Cameron Speedway and Amusement, or bowling at the family-oriented Bowlerama, off 121 Highway.
Surrounded by the beautiful Lake Ontario and the Niagara Escarpment, Hamilton offers access to conservation and recreation lands, with breathtaking views of waterfalls. It's a natural playground for cyclists, hikers, boaters and outdoor adventurers. The city is ranked as Canada's most diverse economy, and in the last 5 years has averaged over $1 billion in building permit values, making it one of Canada's strongest financial urban centres in recent years.
Hamilton offers a range of housing solutions to residents, on any budget; from townhouses to studio flats to extravagant lofts. The demand for new residential properties in the downtown centre has stimulated continual development since 2013. Projects include the Bella Towers at Main and Caroline, completion of the 2nd City Square apartment suite tower and the renewal of the Royal Connaught Hotel. As downtown Hamilton continues to flourish, so will the demand for more residential properties, and further development. These renewal and redevelopment projects are making Hamilton city a preferred place to live, work and invest.
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