What constitutes the East End is hard to pin down. For older Hamiltonians, East End connotes the typically working class areas around Kenilworth North and Parkdale Ave. Newer and younger Hamiltonians tend to refer to anything East of Wentworth as East End. The area defined as the East End also spans through more residential neighbourhoods like Rosedale, McQueston and Homeside and on past the Red Hill Valley to the border of Stoney Creek. With that being said, I have never heard of people living in the Centennial and Queenston area refer to themselves as East Enders, but have heard it called Hamilton East. We might also include the tight-knit Hamilton Beach Community, running from Confederation Park toward Burlington beneath the skyway in this area. However you define it, the neighbourhoods in this area are probably some of the most up-and-coming in the City and for good reason.
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. 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 because 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 high end renovators, or homeowners wanting to take on a large project. The adjacent neighbourhood of Blakeley is a little more affordable, but features some of the same styles of historic homes.
The Delta and Crown Point areas are developing their own identity as you have the proximity of the city’s Gage Park and Ottawa Street. These areas have seen an influx of young couples and families moving in due to being more affordable than the West End, for a similar feel and walkability to the neighbourhoods, which has provided a big boost to businesses in the area. Homes here are predominantly single family, ranging from bungalows to 2.5 story foursquares.
Rosedale is a popular residential neighbourhood because of its affordability 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 also easy access to the King’s Forest Public Golf Course, and an active arena with ice hockey, and a great outdoor pool..
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 Eastgate Square at the corner of Nash.The area defined as the East End also
The East End, while still overall more residential than the West or Central areas, still boasts plenty of places to eat, be entertained and enjoy nature.
My husband and I moved to the Gibson 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 and looks AH-mazing. My husband also opened up Mai Pai on Barton Street – a Tiki Bar serving up Detroit style pizza!
Many of the neighbourhoods are in close proximity to 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 like The Cannon and restaurants like Caro and Merk Snack Bar. It is also the location of the first Tim Horton’s which was just turned into a Museum with a two level store. At the north end of Ottawa you’ll find one of the Power Centre malls known as Centre Mall.
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.
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.
Another thing some people might 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 swimmable beach.
Mai Pai Tiki Bar
My husband, Salar’s, newest place! Detroit style-pizza and killer cocktails on Barton St. I might be bias, but this is one of the East End’s best.
Italian spot, is bright, airy, awesome service, killer brunch and a great wine and cocktail list.
The Capitol Bar
Fantastic cocktails and wine list, great food and even hosts a weekly Sunday Roast Dinner. It’s become a neighbourhood favourite on King East.
Former cotton mill built in 1900 that has been transformed into a multi-use creative space with art studios, co-working space for creatives, and film and production space. Check out their events calendar for art experiences, open studio days, and markets.
An independent arthouse cinema and cultural hub in a restored 1914 theatre. Located on Sherman Ave N near Barton St.
Nothing beats the energy of a hometown game at Tim Horton’s Field. An essential Hamilton experience.
A gorgeous urban park off of Main Street with the escarpment as a natural backdrop. The park is a full city block and has a newly renovated greenhouse, children’s museum, playgrounds, a rose garden, walking paths and sports facilities.
The Red Hill Trail runs the entire length of the valley and can be accessed through all the adjacent neighbourhoods. As you get further South, the area widens and you can follow the creek all the way up the mountain. In the fall, you can watch the Salmon Run as they make their way against the stream.
Along the Hamilton Beach strip you’ll find Confederation Park. There’s a lot to do here: the Hamilton Waterfront Trail, a swimmable beach, Wild Water Works, a pool and splash pad, go karts, mini golf and more.
Many Hamiltonians have memories of going to Hutch’s and strolling the path at Confederation Park on summer weekends. This spot, now a conservation area with a handful of businesses spotting the shores, has had many lives in the last century! In the late 1800s, it was home to the Ocean House – a luxury resort frequented by wealthy people of the Victorian age. Later, from the early 1900s to the late 1970s it was the Canal Amusement Park, which was essentially a permanent version of The Ex complete with carnival rides, games, food stalls, and even a lift rail (The Skyliner Ride). Walking through Confederation Park now, which has been ‘rewilded’ to a degree, it is hard to imagine that it was once a bustling destination for tourists from across Ontario.
Photo from the Vintage Hamilton’s Facebook Page. Check out their album for more pictures of Hamilton Beach.
It may be just another power centre now, but Centre Mall has had quite the history in Hamilton. At one time, it was the Hamilton Jockey Club – a popular horse racing track. In the 1950s, it became the Greater Hamilton Shopping Centre and was Canada’s first year-round indoor mall. It doesn’t sound like a big deal now, but this development was so huge for the City that it was a stop for The Queen’s visit to Canada. It also had big urban planning consequences elsewhere in the City – its success at that time is arguably why Jackson Square was built.
Most Hamiltonians have had the experience of being amongst rowdy Ticats fans flooding the Stipley neighbourhood on game night. Putting a stadium smack dab in the middle of a residential area might seem very ‘Hamilton’, but it’s actually been there for almost a century. What’s now the Tim Horton’s Field (formerly Ivor Wynne) was originally called the Civic Stadium and was built for the first ever British Empire Games, which was held in Hamilton in 1930.
Image courtesy of the Hamilton Public Library, Local History & Archives
You don’t need to explain the significance of Tim Horton’s to any Canadian, but many may not know that this huge chain had its start on Ottawa St N. It opened in 1964 and offered only two types of products: coffee and a small selection donuts, including the Dutchie and the Apple Fritter, their own creation. Today you can visit the original site and take a tour of the second floor museum (or just have a Dutchie and call it a day).
Image courtesy of the Hamilton Public Library, Local History & Archives