The west end of the city has neighbourhoods that are heavily populated with the teaching and student community around McMaster such as Ainslie Wood (North, South, East, West), and the Village of Westdale (North and South) This area has recently had a couple of very popular additions with the opening of Fairweather Brewing and Grain & Grit Brew Co.
When you cross the 403 heading East you run into the areas such as Chedoke Park which features the Chedoke Public Golf Course, Kirkendall (North and South) which is home to the sought after Locke Street Neighbourhood. Kirkendall and Durand are very popular areas which feature a strong walkability factor to downtown and to Locke Street, easy access to the trails at the base of the escarpment, and you’ll find some of the most extravagant homes along the base of the escarpment before you head up the “Mountain”. Strathcona is an area that is getting more attention as these neighbourhoods are increasing in price, but also due to its proximity to the new West Harbour GO Station that opened for business in July 2015.
Downtown Hamilton could be seen as undergoing some of the biggest changes as its density is increasing with the recent introduction of completed condo projects as well as the announcement of many more to come right in the core. In 2013 City Council introduced a pilot project to introduce a Transit Only Bus Lane on one of the downtown corridors heading West on King and it was open for a lot of debate, but it is also pointing towards many changes to come as Hamilton’s population grows and it’s population demands more Transit options. In the Winter of 2015, with new council members and a new Mayor, this discussion is only just beginning and won’t have any quick answers. In January of 2015 the new council voted to dismantle the Bus Lane which had pro-transit folks concerned about the future plans, but May brought the announcement from the provincial government that Hamilton would be receiving $1 Billion (yep, that’s a”B”) in transit funding, specifically introducing LRT and additional GO stations. VERY exciting times. Still a ways from confirming what it will look like, lots of meeting, assessments, discussions, battles etc…2018 update. Oh LRT, how we love to debate you. The municipal elections this year have been a total back and forth between the #yesLRT side and the “stop the train” baloney (did i say that? yes i did) we will see what happens and hope that regardless what the election outcome is, that there will be less battling between the “sides” and more focus on growing and building a fantastic city with transit options for all!
Corktown has a bustling restaurant and pub neighbourhood along Augusta and on James and John Streets South – Mezcal, and Uno Mas opening on James saw the restaurants of Augusta start to spread out. In 2018 Nick and Max of the Arkell’s paired up with The Other Bird and opened up a sports bar, Odds there as well. It’s also home to the Hunter GO Station that was once the TH&B Train Station, and St. Joe’s Hospital. In 2018 the city held a competition for a mural to replace the old one on James south that was wasting away and the winner was “Gateway” it looks amazing and has totally brightened up that stretch!
Central features the rejuvenated Gore Park area, with the Royal Connaught being redone offering condo living. The guys behind Sonic Unyon have opened up an arts and event space at 95 King East, Mills Hardware. But we’re also seeing some great new living options popping up in downtown like the Theatre Lofts, and new businesses that already seem like long time neighbourhood staples like Red Church, Thuya Floral Arts , 193 Bench and super popular chain Kenzo Ramen (this was a big deal…).
The downtown mall is Jackson Square which connects some of the downtown business towers to the Central Library location and to the Hamilton Farmer’s Market – one of the oldest markets in Canada! Recent years have seen the resurgence of attention to the market which has struggled with renovated spaces and temporary locations – the traditional favourite vendors have been joined by a group of independent food stalls that are introducing great new foods on the small scale – like Slurp Ramen, Mexican Kitchen, Nam Nom Banh Mi, Sensational Samosa, The Flying G’nosh, and Pokeh which serves a take on the traditional Hawaiian dish – fun fact Pokeh was Canada’s first Poké bar. The International Village BIA is active it changing the face of King East – as is evidenced in this Vignette video series produced by Double Barrel Studios – great spots there include True Hamiltonian, Vintagesoulgeek, Studio205, Circle Studios, and there is a lot of attention being paid due the the LRT route which will greatly affect the businesses in this strip during construction – but I’m a firm believe the long term gain will be overwhelming! #YesLRT
James Street North which is probably the main area that gets all the attention in recent years with the Art Crawl and is an area that has seen a real strong group of small business owners coming in and filling up the empty storefronts. Some old and new faves include iFiori, Mixed Media,(I would be remiss to not mention that as of late 2018 Mixed Media has relocated to westdale! Dave is now closer to his home and can spend more time with his wife and son – can’t fault a guy for that! but man will I miss them on that corner) White Elephant, Pretty Grit, Chocolat, Of course, once progress is seen as sustainable, you do start to see rents increasing and some of the smallest are being forced to look elsewhere, but there is lots of room to grow in Hamilton and this positive progress is starting to spread East along Barton and in the downtown core towards Beasley. You only have to check out the page of independent restaurants to see how much eating is going on down here! This strip of stores, coffee shops, galleries, and old school veggie markets are walkable to so many lovely classic brick homes both detached and semi which are in high demand especially for those that are moving here for the first time. This area is also super connected to the music scene in Hamilton with This Ain’t Hollywood, Dr. Disc and Sonic Unyon all right there. Big news announced initially in 2017 for Beasley residents was the purchase of the Cannon Knitting Mills by developer / investor Harry Stinson – can’t wait to see what happens with it.
The North End – this neighbourhood has long had the reputation of needing to be avoided. Oooooh, the north end!! But in recent years, with the redevelopment of James Street North and the Waterfront, this community has once again become known as a trendy and upcoming place to be. It is a family friendly community that features a mix of styles of homes, as well as many long term residents who were born and raised and have remained loyal to their community. It gives you easy access to many of the access points into and out of the city via Burlington heading East and Cannon heading West to the 403.
The Collective Arts brewery on Burlington is home to delicious beer but also hosts amazing shows like Lowest of The Low (!!), pop up food events, outdoor events in the beer garden and even a now annual music festival. The amazing artwork on the outside of the brewery is such a bright beacon on the sometimes grey industrial strip. It is also home to Grandad’s Donuts – don’t ask, just go and get them you won’t be disappointed!
Some much needed and welcome redevelopment is happening in The North end specifically with affordable housing in mind. On James North right now, Indwell is working on a new project which will provide 45 units. Gentrification is a big topic in the city right now, so it’s important that developers and planners keep in mind that we have a great mix of people here to incorporate into all plans.
Stinson is home to the development of the old Stinson School into lofts by Toronto and now Hamilton based developer, Harry Stinson. Harry took on this project, he of course also purchased the Cannon Knitting Mills, as well as others in the area such as the Gibson School on Barton – originally slated to be condos, this project now looks like it will be lofts for rent. This neighbourhood is one of those famous for being nestled up against the base of the escarpment – lots of big character homes, many having been converted to multi family homes, and making their way back to single family.
The Stipley/Gibson Neighbourhood is home to the CFL team, the Hamilton Tiger Cats. Ivor Wynne Stadium was torn down and rebuilt as Tim Horton’s Field in 2014, was host to the soccer games for the 2015 Pan Am Games – June 2018 you’ll find us at The Rally for the Arkells kicking off the summer! The stadium is smack dab in the centre of the residential neighbourhood so you want to make sure you know what you’re getting into when you look at homes in the immediate area cause the TiCats fans come out in force on game days! My husband and I moved to this neighbourhood in late 2016 and we absolutely love it, with walkable destinations like The Capitol Bar, and Vintage Coffee Roasters, and the new Bernie Morelli Rec Centre . The revived Playhouse Theatre at Sherman and Barton is up and running, looks AH-mazing. On the Gibson side of Sherman, things are happening as well with the already mentioned lofts, but also with Hendry’s Barbershop and a soon to be opened new project from us! My husband is working hard on getting his latest venture open and becoming part of the street scape – stay tuned in late summer of 2019 for a brand new Tiki Bar serving up Detroit style pizza!
St Clair is one of my personal favourite residential areas of the city, featuring gorgeous tree lined boulevards, and huge old homes many that are being restored to a new version of old mixed with new. These homes don’t come up often and when they do, you can be sure you’re not the only one wanting to get in on them. They can often involve a lot of work from replacing old plumbing and wiring to converting them back to single family homes – so they are popular with the high end renovators, or home owners wanting to take on a large project.
The Delta and Crown Point areas are developing their own identity as you have the proximity of the city’s Gage Park which is home to the Hamilton Children’s Museum, the George R Robinson Bandshell and hosts many festivals throughout the year. You’ll also find Ottawa Street running north and south through this area – it is fast becoming a destination location for small businesses, and is host to the Sew Hungry Food Truck Rally and the Ottawa Street Farmer’s Market. Ottawa street is home to many antique and fabric stores, great coffee shops and restaurants and is the location of the first Tim Horton’s which was just turned into a Museum with a new 2 level store having been built in 2014. The north end of Ottawa at Barton is also where you’ll find one of the Power Centre mall set up known as Centre Mall. These areas are attracting the folks that like the walkability of areas like James North, but are still lower priced – so lots of young couples and families moving into the area which is great for the businesses, as well as the different events and community groups.
Where King and Main separate, and Queenston Road begins, when you pass the Red Hill Valley Parkway you enter the area known as Hamilton East. Barton continues well into the East into Stoney Creek as a matter of fact, appearing very different from the Barton Street of Central Hamilton. Queenston is home to a more suburban feel with many strip malls of varying sizes, and East Gate Square at the corner of Nash. The LRT announcement in May 2015 affected this end of the city significantly, as the councillor for Ward 4 has opposed it vocally out of concern for the businesses along Queenston. The first proposal had the route ending at the Queenston circle, but it was pushed to include the route all the way to Eastgate Square which makes way more sense to add a fully complete path.
In 2014 there was a new addition to the Hamilton Victory Garden project, with the introduction of the McQueston Urban Farm at 785 Britannia – this continues with 112 Garden Beds for the local food banks, with another 30 beds for the McQueston neighbourhood.
Rosedale is a popular residential neighbourhood because of its affordable homes and the pocket of homes tucked up against the Red Hill Valley, as well as its’ easy access to the expressway and the Linc. There is easy access to the King’s Forest Public Golf Course, and an active arena with ice hockey, and a great outdoor pool..
Another thing people forget about the East end with all the focus on new build expansion in the city’s mountain areas, and the regeneration of the downtown core, is that we have a beach! Yes, East Hamilton is home to Confederation Hamilton Beach where there is a water park, go karting, restaurants and an actual beach.
Parkview East is home to the Hamilton Museum of Steam and Technology – I’ve been there several times for different events like Maker’s markets and pop up dinners – very cool building. And of course Globe Park – that’s right, that big ole Globe Tank that you see from the QEW – it may be bordered by industrial areas, but neighbourhoods like this are full of family friendly streets, and proud east enders.