West Hamilton

tight-knit communities with historic charm

The west end of the city stretches from (approximately) Queen Street to the border of Dundas and encompasses the neighbourhoods of Kirkendall, Strathcona, Ainslie Wood and the Village of Westdale. 

 

Kirkendall North is one of the most popular residential areas in the City due to its walkability factor and proximity to both Locke Street and downtown. Here you’ll find tight streets with red brick Victorian homes ranging from 2.5 story single family to row houses to worker’s cottages. Kirkendall South is equally desirable with larger homes, many in the Craftsman style, in a more secluded area nestled north of Aberdeen into the Escarpment and Chedoke area. Just to the South of Kirkendall, is Strathcona which has increased in popularity in recent years. This neighbourhood is centered around Victoria Park and has a diverse mix of housing and communities.

 

Once you are West of the 403, you’ll find 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).

THINGS TO DO

The West End has no shortage of things to do and offers a unique blend of walkable downtown living, low and medium density residential, and proximity to nature. In the Kirkendall and Strathcona area, Locke Street is the the obvious draw – take a stroll down on any weekend and you’ll find it bustling with activity. You’ll find food lovers lined up to pick up or eat in at Bread Bar, Donut Monster, and The Burnt Tongue while beer and cocktail lovers will enjoy Brux House. You’ll also find a number of small shops and retailers here like Citizen Kid, Locke Street Antiques and Lulu & Lavigne.  Head just West of Locke on Aberdeen – you’ll want to check out the Aberdeen Tavern and Dundurn Market.

Westdale Village is a walkable neighbourhood and shopping district centered around McMaster University and popular with the student and academic community. There a lot of shops to choose from, but make sure to check out King West Books & Mixed Media, formerly located on James St North. For something out of the ordinary, visit the Hamilton Aviary – its Canada’s oldest public aviary and a rescue sanctuary for exotic birds. Adjacent to Westdale, is Ainslie Wood. While mostly residential, this area has recently had a couple of very popular additions with the opening of Fairweather Brewing and Grain & Grit Brew Co.

FOOD & DRINK

Tomah
Incredible spot opened by a Syrian family who have three decades of cheesemaking experience.

Delirious Burger
There second location (original is Westdale) is now on Locke St. Great burgers every time.

The Burnt Tongue
Rotating menu of homemade soups and Belgian fries on Locke.

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Locke Street

One of Hamilton’s most popular destinations, Locke Street is in the heart of Kirkendall and lined with independent shops and restaurants. 

Westdale Theatre

Recently renovated 1935 theatre in the Westdale community. Check out their show schedule for art and independent films, as well as cultural events, performances and exhibitions. 

People Under The Stairs (Formerly The Staircase)

New ownership has taken over this Hamilton institution and are bringing a full-service restaurant alongside the same great theatre to this intimate venue on Dundurn.

NATURE

Princess Point

Princess Point is one of the main accesses to Cootes Paradise. In the summer, you can launch a canoe into the calm waters and, in the winter months, go ice skating.

Cootes Paradise

Managed by the Royal Botanical Gardens, Cootes Paradise has over 6km of trails surrounding the natural marsh. This area is protected as it is a stopover point for many migratory birds. 

Chedoke Radial Trail

The Radial Trail can be accessed off of Hillcrest Ave in Kirkendall South and runs up the escarpment to a lookout on Scenic Drive. You can also connect to the Bruce Trail at various points.  

THE ARKELLS

MADE IN WESTDALE

There is no doubt that you have heard of celebrated Canadian band The Arkells, but did you know that all five members met at McMaster University? In fact, their name originated from the location of their student housing and practice space on Arkell Street in Westdale. We love the Arkells here – their summer Rally concert at Ivor Wynne essentially drew the entire city into the Tim Hortons Field stadium. Lead singer Max Kerman is also co-owner of The Odds bar on James St S with The Other Bird restaurant group.

 

Check out The Arkells

A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY

Cathedral Basilica of Christ the King

As you enter Hamilton from the West, it’s impossible to miss the towering gothic church perched above the City off of King St W and Dundurn. Although it looks to be from the Middle Ages, the Cathedral was actually built between 1930 – 33 and was designed by Hamilton architect William Russell Souter with construction by the Pigott Construction Company. Unsurprisingly, this impressive basilica is the seat of the Bishop of the Diocese of Hamilton.

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

Dundurn castle

So it’s not technically a castle, but this 40-room Italianate-style villa built in the 1830’s does tell a story of life and class in the 1800s. This home was home to Sir Allan MacNab and, for the time, featured many unheard of modern conveniences like indoor plumbing and gas lighting. In true Downton Abbey fashion, you’ll find servants quarters on the lower floors. Now operating as a museum, you can visit Dundurn Castle for guided tours as well as events held throughout the year.

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

THE PLAYER'S GUILD

Standing on the West side of Queen St, the Players’ Guild of Hamilton has been around since 1875, making it North America’s oldest community theatre group. The theatre is located in a historic home with an intriguing history of murder, a hanging, and rumours of a ghost. No, this is not a game of Clue, but it is a great spot to catch some great theatre and soak up some local history. Check it out here. 

Image courtesy of Vintage Hamilton