The Mountain

don't call it uptown

When you leave the lower city and head south up the mountain (never get used to that – the water being north, and the mountain being south) you encounter a whole new set of neighbourhoods with their own personalities.

 

The Mountain is definitely home to far more retail and “big box” environments, with Lime Ridge Mall and the car dealerships along Upper James. But it is not all suburban sprawl up here. The homes along the top of the escarpment boast the most sought after views of the city. Scenic Drive and Mountain Brow in particular – the area is affectionately referred to as “The Brow”, there are many lookout points where you can park and enjoy the view below.

 

You can access the mountain via the highways – 403 in the west or the Red Hill in the West – and you can get from one end to the other via the Lincoln Alexander Parkway, more commonly referred to as the Linc. But of course you have the various Mountain Access roads from West to East:

 

 

And the upper city is not only accessible by car or bus, many people use the escarpment stairs not just for exercise, but actually for getting to and from locations up and down the mountain.


Mohawk College on the West Mountain brings a lot of students to the area so there is a walkability factor to the restaurants and malls at Upper James and Fennell that appeals to that community, much like the area surrounding McMaster in lower Hamilton.

THINGS TO DO

As an agricultural area, Ancaster is home to the Ancaster FairGrounds which of course hosts the annual Ancaster Fair in September, but is also used for all sorts of events and fests throughout the year. You’ll also find the prestigious Hamilton Golf and Country Club, which has hosted the Canadian Open 5 times so far, the last being in 2012. Established in 1894, it is considered one of the top courses in Canada, and among the top 100 courses world wide.

 

When the food truck scene first started to take off in 2012, the folks at Bethesda United Church on Garner Rd saw an opportunity to raise money for their church which was facing closure. And a gathering known as Holy Food Truck was born! The weekly event draws hundreds of people to set up chairs, throw down blankets, and spend time with their neighbours while enjoying food from many of Hamilton’s finest street food purveyors!

FOOD & DRINK

Papa Leo’s 

Famous for their tasty and well portioned brunch fare

Jonny Blonde
Farm-to-table burgers on Concession St. Also a great caterer for private events!

Cowabunga Pizza

Deadly pizza on Upper Wellington. Don’t miss this place and make sure you order in advance (24+hours) as they sell out quick. 

The Dirty South
Southern BBQ at its best – all things fried, pulled, smoked, and slow-cooked.

ARTS & CULTURE

Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum
Cool museum dedicated to Canadian military aircraft from World War II onward. Climb into a cockpit or even take a flight. 

The Zoetic

A rare gem on the mountain. Enjoy live performances, screenings and social events at this restored 1920s theatre on Concession Street.

NATURE

Rail Trail

If you catch the Upper Portion of the Rail Trail at Bernie Arbour Park and you can walk all the way downtown.

Albion Falls & Upper King’s Forest

Explore the area at the top of the Red Hill Valley. Home to the popular and photogenic Albion Falls, as well as trails in Upper King’s Forest. 

Sam Lawrence Park

Arguably the City’s most beautiful park! Located off Concession Street with beautiful gardens, walking paths and sweeping views of the entire lower city.

TOM WILSON

Raised on Hamilton Mountain

Canadian musician and local icon Tom Wilson grew up on the East mountain and has woven stories of his 1970s upbringing into his music and, more recently, his fantastic memoir Beautiful Scars. On his 2005 album in a song called “Fennell Square” (Fennell and Gage Ave), he sings “Fennell Square shines all night, and I’m from Thirty Sixth Street, not Sherwood Heights. I left the hill behind me, it was going … nowhere”. It’s hard to not see that strip mall a little differently after hearing this track.

 

Check it out here.

A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY

BELLEVUE MANSION

The Mountain Brow has some of Hamilton’s most sought-after properties. Just West of Concession St, on Belvidere Ave there is a large empty lot at number 14 that was the former place of Bellevue Mansion, demolished in 2000. Local legends say that there were a series of murders at this home and it is haunted. 

Image courtesy of Vintage Hamilton

AUCHMAR HOUSE

Located on Fennell Ave W, this sprawling estate was once the home of Sir Isaac Buchanan and is a rare example of a mid-Victorian Gothic Revival Home. Debates over what to do with this property have gone on for years and a local group, Friends of Auchmar, have fought to preserve the mountain landmark.

Image courtesy of the Hamilton Public Library, Local History & Archives

BARTON STONE CHURCH

Okay, so Upper James St might not scream history to you, but don’t blink or you might miss this 19th Century Church on the intersection of its namesake Stone Church Rd. Another example of Gothic Revival on Hamilton Mountain.

Image courtesy of the Hamilton Public Library, Local History & Archives