The west end of the city has neighourhoods 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)
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…
Corktown has a bustling restaurant and pub neighbourhood along Augusta and on James and John Streets South – in 2015 alone we saw Mezcal and Nellie James Too open, and in 2016 Mezcal expanded to its lower level with a 2nd spot Uno Mas. It’s also home to the Hunter GO Station that was once the TH&B Train Station, and St. Joe’s Hospital. 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. 2015 we saw some awesome new spots open that are drawing people there to work and to play – Co/Motion is a co-working enviro, and Serve Ping Pong, is well, a Ping Pong bar and it is always busy! But we’re also seeing some great new living options popping up in downtown like the Theatre Lofts.
The only 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! Late 2015 has seen the resurgence of attention to the market which has struggled with renovated spaces and temporary locations over the last few years – 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 small batch ice cream, Ramen, Mexican Kitchen, Nam Nom Banh Mi, The Good Leaf Company, Sensational Samosa, Herb and Ladle 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 new Vignette video series produced by Double Barrel Studios – great spots there include True Hamiltonian, Vintagesoulgeek, and Studio205
James Street North which is probably the main area that gets all the attention as of late 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, Shine, 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. Big news this year 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.
An exciting project taking place in this area of the city is the redevelopment of the former Lakeport brewery which was purchased in 2014 by NickelBrook and Collective Arts to be renovated and turned back into a brewery as well as a live entertainment space. Demolition began in late 2014 and the brewery is open for business – so great to see events, concerts, fundraising and of course great beer! It is also home to Grandad’s Donuts – don’t ask, just go and get them you won’t be disappointed!
Stinson has been getting some attention of late due to the development of the old Stinson School into lofts by Toronto and now Hamilton based developer, Harry Stinson. Harry has taken on this project, as well as others in the area such as the newly announced Gibson Schools on Barton which will hopefully bring some much needed attention to this area of the city. We’re not sure what the progress on this particular project is now that he has also purchased the Cannon Knitting Mills in Beasley.
The Stipley Neighbourhood has been getting a lot of attention as of late as it houses the often argued Stadium home to the CFL team, the Hamilton Tiger Cats. Ivor Wynne Stadium was torn down and rebuilt as Tim Horton’s Field in 2014 and was host to the soccer games for the 2015 Pan Am Games. It 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!
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 renovators.
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 affects 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 has the route ending at the Queenston circle, with it eventually extending to Eastgate Square.
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 that opened in 2012.
Parkdale was home to NHL Coach Pat Quinn! There is a street named after him, as well as an arena and pool, he was not only a Hamiltonian, but an East Ender through and through.