Signs of Life

Searching for Signs of Life

I want to tap into what is good in Hamilton and thus I begin my search for signs of life by engaging you, the Raise the Hammer Community.

By Keanin Loomis
Published December 15, 2009

Hi. I'm new to Hamilton and I'm searching for signs of life.

Only a short time ago, I moved my family from Washington, DC, which though only nine hours away by car, is an entirely different world. In my previous life, I was a lawyer in a high-powered law firm, rubbing elbows with some of America's best attorneys and doing work that paid very well but was not particularly fulfilling.

The end of that life was precipitated by George Bush (I'm stridently non-partisan, but I can think of no other person who deserves more blame).

As with millions of other people who got caught up in the collapse of the house of cards that was the American economy, 2009 has been a year of tumult for me and my family.

Since February, we have had our second child, experienced job and home loss, and hauled all of our possessions back to Hamilton to begin a new existence.

In our new life, I live on the Mountain, in the basement of my in-laws' post-war bungalow, trying to reinvent myself in a city that is renowned for having seen better days.

How I got here and where I am going are stories for other times. For now, I'm just trying to learn everything I can about my new location, casting about for relevance and reward-for-effort.

Many people who are familiar with the Story of Hamilton see this as a daunting challenge. First, I don't care. Second, I don't agree. Not yet anyway.

My wife is from Hamilton, so I have been visiting this city since we met at the University of Waterloo over ten years ago. I've always liked Hamilton for some reason, perhaps owing to its people and its spirit, but my wife and I never envisioned it as a place to make a living and raise a family. Now, in the "spot" we find ourselves, we have little choice.

Since moving here, I have ventured off the Mountain and traveled to virtually every corner of this huge city. I have discovered a Hamilton (or many "Hamiltons," depending on your POV) that I never knew existed.

I've found that Hamilton is beautiful in late summer and that it is a city of tremendous views, regardless of the season.

I've discovered a lot of creative people in this city, finding inspiration in its topography, buildings, grittiness and low rents.

I've found its people tremendously approachable and that there is a strong commitment by many to revive this community and revise its image.

I've also found that Hamilton doesn't get the recognition it deserves, even from many of its own citizens.

I look forward to discovering more and, I hope, having an opportunity to help Hamilton craft a new image.

The very first inkling I had that I might like exploring Hamilton as a community, rather than looking immediately to Toronto to put down roots, is when I discovered Raise the Hammer.

That investigation precipitated others and, thus far, I have found Hamilton to be a particularly appealing city in which to spend time.

Now, if only the job picture were a little rosier...

I want to tap into what is good in Hamilton and thus I begin my search for signs of life by engaging you, the Raise the Hammer Community. I assume many of us have a lot in common. What signs of life would you introduce a newcomer to?

Keanin is the President and CEO of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce.

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted December 15, 2009 at 13:34:14

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

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By Jonathan Dalton (registered) | Posted December 15, 2009 at 13:41:36

Jesus, do we have to turn this into cheap shots and accusations in the very first friggin comment? I upvoted that by the way, on the merits of the first 3 paragraphs, because I respect what you have to say most of the time and I think you bring something to the discussion. But maybe since we have editing now you could return the favour and remove the last one?

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By birdie (registered) | Posted December 15, 2009 at 13:45:48

^^Boy, talk about starting off on the right foot and then veering hard into the crazy. :P

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By UrbanRenaissance (registered) | Posted December 15, 2009 at 13:50:59

Keanin,

There are several law firms in the Hamilton/Burlington area so assuming you want to stay in that field, you might be able to avoid the daily commute to the GTA.

As for "signs of life", I second all of the above suggestions, in fact I actually find Hess St. more enjoyable in winter since the crowds are thinned out.

I'd also add the Farmer's Market and Bayfront Park, and if you like fish and chips then while at Bayfront you should give Hutch's a try.

[Comment edited by UrbanRenaissance on 2009-12-15 12:53:10]

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By billybob (anonymous) | Posted December 15, 2009 at 13:52:58

Hey Keanin,

Yes, welcome to the Hammer! As you will note from our friend Captitalists remark, some Hamiltonians tend to try and polorize every debate :) (Why have a civilized discussion when you can have an argument - right?)

The best part about Hamilton are Hamiltonians. Hamilton has a real sense of pride and, despite the mistakes of the past and listeless direction provided by the current politicos, it has many gems to discover. Take a tour of the waterfalls. Hike the escarpment rail trail. Run the Around the Bay race in March. Go to Cootes Paradise and walk around the Bay. Go shopping on James St or Locke.

Whatever you do and wherever your journey takes you don't let the Hammer get you down! And I wish you the best of luck.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted December 15, 2009 at 13:54:06

Keanin, I really like the downtown - James North and James South especially. Sure it's got problems but things are moving in the right direction. You arrive in Hamilton at a time of real promise for the city, great news to hear you want to get involved!

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By z jones (registered) | Posted December 15, 2009 at 13:58:59

Here here billybob.

Locke Street South is a real treasure, maybe the best combination of a healthy business district and a solid middle class urban community in the city. There's still lots of (relatively) affordable housing around there for when you're ready to move out on you're own, also you could move to Strathcona (North of King, West of Queen), it's walking distance to downtown, to Fortinos, to Westdale, to Locke Street and still very affordable to get into a solid Victorian house. Strathcona today is like Kirkendall (south of Strathcona) 5-10 years ago, definitely a neighborhood on the rise.

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By UrbanRenaissance (registered) | Posted December 15, 2009 at 14:01:02

Also if you're looking for something for your kids, there's the Christmas displays at Gore Park with a carousel and a mini-train. There's also the Children's Museum by Gage Park.

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted December 15, 2009 at 14:40:52

When Keanin said he lived on the mountain I just couldn't resist that one :)

Let me add a few of more nice places to visit in this city.

1. The public libraries are excellant
2. Although dt Hamilton has its issues (I speak lightly) the downtowns of Stoney Creek, Dundas, Ancaster, and Waterdown are definately worth the visit.
3. Dundern Castle and Park
4. Hamilton Tiger Cats and Bulldogs
5. McMaster Univ and Mohawk College

Don't ignore some of Hamilton's surrounding areas such as Burlington and Caledonia (esp Grand River) both very nice places to visit.




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By jason (registered) | Posted December 15, 2009 at 15:12:09

Welcome Keanin, great piece and great idea to tap into your new community for advice and tips.

Many people have offered great suggestions on here already, and I don't know your tastes or style, but a few of my faves:

Augusta St pub district is really neat.
Definitely James St South and North, Hess Village in the summer and Locke South are great areas to hang out. The west harbour, Cootes Paradise, Dundas Valley, RBG and Lake Ontario shoreline are great spots in the city.

Tapestry Bistro and The Staircase on Dundurn, Hamilton Theatre on McNab North

Kids love Dundurn Park and Castle, Gage Park, Pier 4-8, Dundas Driving Park and Niagara Escarpment trails

Rebels Rock is another great pub located on King St near Wentworth, right near the Pearl Company which is a great venue on Steven St. Anything that has to do with the Imperial Cotton Centre for the Arts is also excellent and full of creativity.

Farmers Market downtown, organic farmers market at Bread and Roses on King William and Ottawa St Farmers Market are also great. I've heard that there is a new farmers market on Concession but I haven't been yet - it would be close to you. by the way, I grew up on the Mountain - just ignore the 'easy to ignore' stuff from Capitalist. LOL. His/her ideas and suggestions regarding the Hammer are excellent though, just like everyone who has commented so far.

Cheers

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By Locke and King (anonymous) | Posted December 15, 2009 at 16:15:44

Welcome Keanin! I have lived in Hamilton my entire life and there are some amazing places to go to. May I suggest a few culinary delights?
1. B&T Vietnamese at McNab and Cannon (Healthy food, good prices)
2. Zum Linzer on Main Street East (Great German food, tiny restaurant, make reservations, but don't worry definitely not expensive)
3. Cafe Limoncello on Ottawa Street (Italian food on a great street that is in the process of reinventing itself)
4. Queen's Sub (Queen and Main. It has the best homemade subs - chicken tzatziki is the best, and the owner knows everyone by name)

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By Billybob (anonymous) | Posted December 15, 2009 at 16:46:08

I also really like the movie theatre at Jackson Square. (Not sure if it's still there? Haven't been there in a while...)

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 15, 2009 at 17:18:23

I second B&T on Cannon. WOW! A great restaurant.

Yes, JS movie theatre is great as is Westdale Theatre and the Movie Palace on Concession.

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted December 15, 2009 at 17:19:53

Welcome Keanin:

I see that your previous life was not so rewarding, so I guess I would ask, what are you looking for?

I feel for your family for the hardships you have endured, it is difficult to adjust to losing your job, home and friends.

There are many good people in Hamilton, and many are those that struggle, despite the "Capitalist", sometimes all it takes is to say HI.

Check out Skydragon, they have many things going on there and there are lots of engaged people to sit and have coffee with.

Since you do not specify which type of law you are skilled in, I took a course while back in which the teacher was a former Bay Street lawyer. His words were the he had moved away from the 'DARK SIDE" toward the light, in educating others about the labour laws.

While big bucks are the driving force and most important to some, there are many other things to think about!

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By Andyk (anonymous) | Posted December 15, 2009 at 18:57:26

I'm like you, newly moved here after years abroad and a few in Toronto. I haven't done much exploring on the mountain yet, but I love the downtown, from gritty to fancy, it's got an awesome character and people are real.

Denningers is so far my favorite thing about this city.

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 15, 2009 at 19:52:29

geez. How could I forget Denningers? I'm there weekly. It's so easy to take things for granted in Hamilton, but my wife and I had a day in Buffalo yesterday and when we came back home by early evening we were both so struck at the amount of people walking downtown and general hustle and bustle and walkability of downtown Hamilton compared to downtown Buffalo. It was a nice day yesterday yet as usual, there wasn't a soul in their downtown - Elmwood Ave is great, but the heart of downtown is really hurting. Coming back here by evening to a steady rain we felt like we'd just come through a time warp and into some booming downtown compared to what we'd just experienced for a day.
It's not as bad here as we think sometimes. Just the simple fact that we have great streetwalls along James and King was a huge difference I noticed compared to Buff. They seem to have MORE surface lots than us downtown. LOL.

I don't mean to pick on Buffalo. I love that city. But the fact is, things here are pretty good. It could be a lot better and it IS getting better, but let's all be thankful that we didn't sink as low as some of our US counterparts.

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By Michelle Martin (registered) - website | Posted December 15, 2009 at 20:29:27

Also for the kids:

The Aviary and The Gage Park Greenhouse

and for an inexpensive date for you and your sweetie in the summertime: pick up a latte at the Williams down by the lake and catch the last trolley ride to Coote's Paradise, as the sun sets.

Don't forget the AGH lets you visit special exhibits for free in the evening on the first Friday of every month.

[Comment edited by Michelle Martin on 2009-12-15 19:29:45]

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By Henry and Joe (anonymous) | Posted December 15, 2009 at 22:10:43

Welcome to the city, Keanin. I hope you find what you're looking for. Thanks Captitalist for making me laugh right off the bat. Clearly, that original comment was meant as a joke, no?

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By geoff's two cents (registered) | Posted December 15, 2009 at 22:48:35

For whatever reason, RTH won't log me in (wait a second, it's ok, I can take the hint!).

Keanin, it's nice for a change, given Hamilton's obvious difficulties, to actually talk about the things we like about this city. Thanks for giving us the opportunity!

As an expat, I have to say that the things I miss the most about the city are: Corktown, Pheasant Plucker, Rebel's Rock, and the Coach and Lantern (Ancaster) pubs, Denninger's (also a weekly haunt of mine), and the Schwartzwaldhaus on King. I'm afraid they just don't do German cuisine like that on the west coast. I also have very fond memories of the waterfront, especially that wonderful area near the hatchery where the path goes underneath the bridge. Probably one of the most interesting spaces in the city for me.

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By Mr. Meister (anonymous) | Posted December 15, 2009 at 23:26:07

Welcome to our fine city.

With two little ones I suspect you will come to appreciate the vast number of parks in the city. On the mountain in the middle of every major block is a school/park/playground. Of course some are better than others but they are all readily accessible. In the summer a number of them have Soupies. This typically a university or college student paid by the city to do activities and crafts with the kids. Again this is totally free for you though any donation of craft supplies or other useful stuff is always welcome. Gage park is special treat for city dwellers. A little further removed is a series of conservation areas Christies, Valens and Fifty Point spring to mind. Westfield Heritage Village is worth a few visits every year. They should be all geared up for Christmas. My personal favorite is maple syrup time.

If your oldest plays soccer there are several soccer organizations around. If money is really tight if you approach them about it several will give your kids the membership to play very discretely. I know the club our kids played with did on quite a few occasions. I believe there are in the neighbourhood of 35 waterfalls in and around the city none of which are all that difficult to get to.

The warplane heritage Museum at the airport is great way to spend an afternoon, as is the H.M.C.S. Haida on the waterfront. While your close by check out the Parks Canada Discovery Centre just a few blocks from the ship.

Black Forest Inn downtown on King is a reasonably priced German restaurant. Kustra's on Barton near Sherman makes great kielbasa and there sandwiches are a deal. Less than $5 and I doubt that you can eat it all. Beach road also makes a good kielbasa. Try them both and decide which one you like better. Duarte's on Barton near Wentworth is another terrific place for lunch. Try a Hefty Hoagie or some of there warm food, it's all a great deal.

There is so much so if you expand a little bit about what your looking for I'm sure we can give you more info.

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By geoff's two cents (registered) | Posted December 16, 2009 at 00:47:05

Thanks, Ryan. It's fixed - I just had to change my p-word in the process Did the required number of p-word characters change? It seems my previous one wasn't long enough.

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By shaddupsevenup (registered) | Posted December 16, 2009 at 06:53:32

Hi Keanin. Welcome to Hamilton. I'm an expat Torontonian who was barfed out of the corporatocracy. I've been here for a few years, and have found Hamilton to be a great place to live, but with a collective and odd lack of self esteem.

I learned a lot about Hamilton by geocaching around it. I found out about tons of cool spots in town and just outside of it. If you have a gps, it might be worth considering.

The Harbour Diner is one of my favourite restaurants. They have good, hearty, and affordable food and it's very unpretentious. The Bread and Roses Cafe in the Skydragon makes the best veggie burger in town. Possibly in Ontario. If you ever go out to Waterdown, the Jitterbug Cafe on Main St offers a nice place to chill out and grab a decent salad or sandwich. There is a killer burrito place on Locke Street that is about the size of a walk in closet. For strolling around, window browsing, Locke Street or Ottawa Street or James Street are where its at.

Speaking of James St N, there is an Art Crawl on the second Friday of every month. It's always different, and it's very unpretentious and amusing. It starts at 7pm and it's free.

I'm sorry, I don't know where anything cool is on the Mountain. I don't go up there much.

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By WRCU2 (registered) - website | Posted December 16, 2009 at 07:31:36

Welcome to Hamilton Mr. Keanin Loomis. I see lots of folks are suggesting their favourite eateries and shopping meccas and why not? I too would encourage you to get out and experience the city we call home. Naturally I am going to show some favoritism to the Ottawa Street North BIA since that is in my ward 4 neighborhood and a popular destination for me.

I will also alert you to the fact that as a blogger, who apparently realizes the intrinsic value of social networking, there are a few other Internet destinations where you may search for signs of life.

Have Your Say is the Hamilton Spectator polling station where subjects are about anything except Hamilton. Then there's Hall Marks where the substitute reporter/moderator is struggling to keep her posts related to Hamilton City Hall. And last but not least is Cal DiFalco's The Hamiltonian. This new city blog is perhaps nearly an equal to RTH in terms of intelligent subject matter and material relevant to Hamiltonian's quest for greater things. My own introduction will appear in The Hamiltonian later this week and our beloved Ryan made his appearance not too long ago.

I hope I pass the audition. Looking forward to meeting you again around town. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours.

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By JonC (registered) | Posted December 16, 2009 at 08:12:08

McMaster Museum of Art runs on a pay what you can basis.

Right now the entire 2nd floor is a map collection which is either incredibly boring or awesome if you are me or the two other women that were up there last time I was in. I'll go with leave the kids home for that one.

A little broader, the trails all over the escarpment and lake. Nothing blows the minds of kids raised a city like wild deer.

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By UrbanRenaissance (registered) | Posted December 16, 2009 at 09:30:03

shaddupsevenup wrote:

I'm sorry, I don't know where anything cool is on the Mountain. I don't go up there much.

I don't know how "cool" this is but there is a fantastic little Italian restaurant on Upper James called La Spaghett, best pasta in the city and the prices are more than reasonable. It is kind of small though so you'll definitely need to make a reservation.

[Comment edited by UrbanRenaissance on 2009-12-16 08:30:20]

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By highwater (registered) | Posted December 16, 2009 at 09:46:41

re the mountain, there's a great little Indian resto on Wilson in Ancaster. Can't recall the name, but it's in the strip mall where Sfoozi's used to be. (Thank God that's gone. :P)

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By Tecumseh (registered) | Posted December 16, 2009 at 21:24:13

Since we're on the topic of restaurants on the mountain, my personal favourite is Chicago Style Pizza, on Upper Sherman at Brucedale. It's just about the only restaurant that will get me to go up to the mountain. The place is legendary, I think it's been there since the forties. Try the "Stuffed Pizza", real deep dish, just amazing. It takes half an hour to make, but it is worth the wait.

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 16, 2009 at 21:48:05

yup, the Stuffed Pizza is probably the only thing that gets me to eat up on the Mountain as well. It's amazing. If you like chicken wings, 5 Alarm Wings on Upp Wentworth at Brucedale might have the best wings in the city.

If you don't want to venture downtown, LaLuna has a Concession St location and it's awesome like the others. Sam Lawrence Park and all of the walkways along the Mountain brow from the Jolley Cut east to Mountain Park at Upper Gage are awesome for strolling, jogging and taking in views of the city.

[Comment edited by jason on 2009-12-16 20:48:19]

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By Henry and Joe (anonymous) | Posted December 16, 2009 at 23:12:07

Here are some of my faves:

Breakfast: Harbour Diner on James N., The Village in S.Creek, Jet Diner @King and Walnut, Grandad's if you are a fan of doughnuts - these are the best in Hamilton, which makes them the best in the World.

Pizza: Capri on John N. or Valentino's Wesdale, Roma Bakery, Miceli Bros, or the Attic in S.Creek (there used to be a place called Gianna's in Winona that was unbelievable!)

Dinner: Thai Memory - best Thai around, plus the 'bring your own wine' licence makes it an unbeatable value

Italian Deli - Nardini (S.Creek) and Pane Del Sol (Downtown)

Pubs - too many good ones to mention, but One Duke and the Ship on Augusta are pretty sweet.

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By Tammany (anonymous) | Posted December 17, 2009 at 11:25:19

Keanin,

Don't despair of finding a job in Hamilton. The Hamilton legal community is larger and more sophisticated than you might think, and, contrary to popular opinion, does consist of more than just insurance defence and personal injury firms.

There are a handful of (large by Hamilton standards, midsize by Toronto standards)firms which do a fair bit of high quality work for major corporate and institutional clients.

Hamilton is still seen as a major centre for legal work related to the manufacturing sector, so if you're at all interested in that, you might consider applying locally before making a play at Toronto.

I'm thinking in particular of firms like: Evans Philp, Ross & McBride, Simpson Wigle, and of course Gowlings. I know that these firms would be intrigued at the prospect of recruiting someone with an international background like yours. There are others too, but these are where I would look first. The good thing is that Hamilton firms generally fared better through the recession than Bay Street, so your prospects might be better than you'd think.

Send your resume around or, better yet, make some calls to partners. Hamilton is still very much a handshake and face-to-face sort of town, and direct contact is often the best approach.

The pay scale is high compared to other Ontario cities (although lower than in Toronto, and of course much lower than in major American cities) and the bar is extremely friendly. I wish you the best of luck and hope to see you around.

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By Tammany (anonymous) | Posted December 17, 2009 at 11:56:04

In terms of what's great about this city: it's not the waterfalls or the conservation areas or the waterfront. These are all nice features, but in my view they are peripheral to Hamilton's real identity.

The fact is, Hamilton's most valuable assets are those things most derided by a whole generation of residents, bureaucrats and politicians: its gritty urban aesthetic, its extensive stock of solid 19th and early 20th century Victorian and post-Victorian buildings, its density (in the lower city), its compact footprint (again, only in the lower city).

Some of the finest neighbourhoods in Canada can be found in the lower city. Kirkendall/Locke is the equal of many great Toronto neighbourhoods (e.g. the Annex or the Beaches) whilst the Durand is, without question, one of the finest residential hoods in the entire country, second perhaps only to Montreal's Westmount in terms of consistent architectural grandeur (although probably having more in common with the erstwhile Square Mile).

Hamilton's restaurant scene is, frankly, poor, but there are some gems worth checking out. There are some great sources for high end gourmet food items, particularly in Dundas (which, incidentally, is also a great community, and full of some of the most interesting people in the Hamilton area, probably due to its proximity to McMaster).

With respect to the people, I am a native Hamiltonian and I feel I must be honest and say that Hamiltonians are some of the most frustratingly backwards thinking people you are likely to meet. A friend of mine once rather accurately described Hamiltonians as "yokels who happen to live in a big city". That being said, things are changing fairly rapidly, and people are becoming more acutely aware of the benefits and necessity of thinking of this place as a real city once again. Backwardness aside, Hamiltonians are famously down to earth, friendly, and refreshingly unpretentious.

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By Gadabout (anonymous) | Posted December 18, 2009 at 11:29:18

Seems a lot of people like the many things in this city that I do. In addition:

Cafe Palazzo on Upper James 1 block n. or Fennell

I like the "Neighbour" wraps & grilled sandwiches behind the PetroCanada station on Upper James at Mohawk/

You can stitch a good walk/bike ride going west from Sam Lawrence Park too, through leafy residential neighbourhoods, Southam Park, St. Joe's mountain campus and Scenic Drive.

East or west end of the mountain you can catch rail trails that descend the escarpment face back to the centre of the city: gorgeous views; leafy, natural settings through the heart of urban South Ont. Take the bus back up if you're lazy like me, or head north at Chedoke Golf Course taking Longwood Road through Westdale to pick up the Waterfront Trail at Princess Point. Or use Ferguson Ave. to connect with the Waterfront Trail at its east end. Other backstreets will connect you to Locke St. and, I'm wondering, can you go through the Mac campus to link up to Dundas trails?

Uh, the RBG. The Conservation Authority parks and lands. The Bruce Trail.

Proximity to Niagara. The Vegas-like fantasy. Clifton Hill. The Falls! But also the faux history of Niagara On The Lake, the Shaw Festival, the riverfront parkway and trails, wine country, War of 1812 battlefields (how nice to enjoy war from a distance of time rather than space,) the three Jordans, the Welland Canal (and its history,) Lakes Ontario and Erie shores.

Thirty minutes down Hwy 6 to Pt. Dover perch, Hewitt's ice cream, honkey-tonk beachfront and summer grub but also Lighthouse Theatre, boutiques & bikers.

Mennonite Country about an hour north west.

Toronto towers and nightlife an hour away on public transit (you can get to Union Station on Front St. faster from Hamilton's downtown GO station than riding the TTC from Scarboro!)

Hamilton has three different waterfronts within it's urban borders: Lake Ontario, Burlington Bay and Cootes Paradise. Hamilton has an internationally recognized natural biosphere ribonning through it's heart: the Niagara Escarpment. In your face multi-culturalism, including the Six Nations. And oh, the abundance of locally produced fresh fruit, veg, dairy and meat.

Lemoncello on Ottawa St. N.

That cheese shop in Dundas.

Burlington Heights. A spiritual place from which to view the turmoil of the outside world, with Paradise at your back.

An abundance of accomplished local poets. Speaking of local writers, did anyone else read Jeff Mahoney's subtly subversive piece in Thursday's Spec? Makes me want to cacel my subscription then renew it just to read what he writes next.

The ongoing comic genius of the "Community Leadership Show!"

Canada's Basilia: the Jackson Square rooftop.

Hammerheads.

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By mbedek (registered) | Posted December 18, 2009 at 13:01:24

Hi Keanin,

A good place to look at what is going on in terms of employment and economic trends is the Hamilton Training Advisory Board.

http://www.htab.ca/

As well, you should check out the Hamilton Industry Education Council (IEC).

http://www.iechamilton.ca/

I am a regular at the Skydragon at 27 King William Street. The Skydragon is a community cooperative and they are always looking for participation and new ideas.

http://www.skydragon.org/html/about.html

You might want to check out the Bay Area Restoration Council.

http://www.hamiltonharbour.ca/

There is also the Hamilton Naturalists Club.

http://www.hamiltonnature.org/

You might want to check out the Bruce Trail Conservancy.

http://brucetrail.org/

I would also check out Inform Hamilton.

http://www.inform.hamilton.ca/

If I think of anything else, I will post another comment.

There are many organizations and things to do in Hamilton.

Sincerely,

Maria Bedek

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By woody10 (registered) | Posted December 18, 2009 at 13:28:44

You can spend an entire family day in Dundas, winter or summer. The Driving park is probably the top family gathering place in the city now that the renovation has taken place. Ice rink in the winter and splash pad, climbing structures and swingsets in the summer. Bands and plenty of grass space for play etc. Afterwards stroll to downtown with it's excellent shopping and many small but good cafes and eateries. (anyone tried the new Thai place yet?) This time of year there is also the horse and cart rides and Santa walking about. Than depending on what's playing, you can head to Westdale for a movie to finish the day.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted December 18, 2009 at 13:41:30

to mbedek's list of links I would add:

http://www.forum.skyscraperpage.com/foru...

http://www.stillepost.ca/boards/index.ph...

[Comment edited by Ryan on 2009-12-18 16:40:50]

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By highwater (registered) | Posted December 18, 2009 at 13:54:38

Apologies for the poor formatting. It's gonna take a while for this old dog to catch up with the new tricks.

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By Keanin (registered) | Posted December 18, 2009 at 15:00:53

I wish to thank everybody for their suggestions and for being so welcoming. Hopefully this chain will be a resource for other newcomers.

I've been lucky enough to have already discovered Chicago Style Pizza, but I and my family have a lot of exploring ahead of us.

[Comment edited by Keanin on 2009-12-18 14:03:23]

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By moylek (registered) - website | Posted December 30, 2009 at 10:42:15

One of the great things about Hamilton is that you can escape the city while still _in_ the city.

If you have a day and sturdy pair of shoes, you might walk the Bruce Trail from the foot of the Highway 8 hill in Dundas out to Stoney Creek - about eight hours of walking, mostly in wood and meadow, right across the city. It's astonishing.

And if you have a canoe or kayak, you can drop it at the launch at Princess Point (in Westdale) and head West toward Dundas and be in another world: trees and water and rushes and silence and birds (herons, egrets, gulls, eagles, hawks, terns, swans, geese, ducks). Here is a shot taken just below Westdale during a lunch-break paddle ... http://www.flickr.com/photos/moylek/3792...

Not that escape from Hamilton is the only way to enjoy Hamilton, of course :) But it's nice to have the option.

[Comment edited by moylek on 2009-12-30 09:48:55]

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By highwater (registered) | Posted December 30, 2009 at 17:12:57

Great shot, moylek. Every year I swear I'm going to get a kayak. This year for sure.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted December 30, 2009 at 17:14:57

for the awesomest collection of Hamilton photos evah:

http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthre...

featuring kayak porn as only flar can do it:

http://i84.photobucket.com/albums/k28/se...

[Comment edited by highwater on 2009-12-30 16:18:03]

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