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Hamilton (Ontario)

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Introduction

Hamilton may be best known by its Canadian neighbours as simply being the "Steel City", but it holds so much more. It is the eighth largest city in Canada and has the third highest proportion of foreign born citizens of any city in the country. "The Hammer", as it is affectionately known, sits on the mouth of Lake Ontario, halfway between Toronto and Niagara Falls. In 2000, Hamilton amalgamated with five surrounding municipalities (Ancaster, Dundas, Flamborough, Glanbrook and Stoney Creek) to become the new "City of Hamilton". In addition to festivals, cultural events, and sites of tourist interest, Hamilton is also the Waterfall Capital of the World with at least 125 waterfalls - a fact many Hamilton residents don't even realize!

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Neighbourhoods

Downtown/Central

Busy at the intersection of King and James but fading somewhat from its classy old days - Hamilton still has some sub-neighbourhoods worth mentioning:

  • Hess Village - a cobblestoned segment of Hess Street between Main & King and a few cross streets lined with pubs, patios, and clubs - so busy in the summer that the road sometimes gets closed to vehicle traffic.
  • Jamesville/James St. N - an intersection of the old-world Italian and Portugese businesses with new art galleries.

Lower City (Below the Escarpment)

  • Beach Strip - on Lake Ontario, there is no swimming at this beach, but there is a nice walking/rollerblading trail and the famous Hutches for fish and chips shops moving in as well.
  • Dundas - was an independent town pre-amalgamation, Dundas has a charming downtown on King St to walk down and poke into shops and cafes.
  • North End - of note, but not recommended for tourists. The historic 'wrong side of the tracks' area where the steel mills are located. Nowadays filled mainly with blue collar workers and recent immigrants.
  • Stoney Creek - another of the previously separate municipalities, Stoney Creek is on the fringes of the Niagara wine region, and has several sites of tourist interest as well.
  • Westdale - a neighbourhood surrounding McMaster University; a few blocks of King Street includes a couple of restaurants, bars, coffee shops, an independent cinema, and shops.

Mountain (On the Escarpment)

  • Ancaster - a mostly residential & previously independent town - good for big box stores in the Meadowlands section and a several independent businesses in the old centre.
  • Upper James - a street on the 'West Mountain' - now a long stretch of mostly chain businesses and restaurants.
  • Waterdown - a previously independent town (part of Flamborough) with several interesting local businesses; sits on Grindstone Creek and the Bruce Trail system.
  • Mount Hope - a rural community; Hamilton International Airport is located here.

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Sights and Activities

  • African Lion Safari
  • Art Gallery of Hamilton - Visit on the First Friday of each month from 5pm-9pm for free admission to the first floor
  • Royal Botanical Gardens
  • Dundurn Castle
  • Whitehern Museum
  • Hamilton Harbour Tours on the Hamilton Harbour Queen
  • Battlefield House & Museum
  • HMCS Haida
  • Hamilton Museum of Steam & Technology
  • Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum
  • Westfield Heritage Village
  • Flamboro Downs - horse racing & slots
  • Hamilton Children's Museum
  • Canadian Football Hall of Fame
  • Hamilton Farmer's Market
  • Wild Waterworks
  • Hamilton Military Museum
  • Haunted Hamilton Ghost Walks
  • Friends of the Aviary - visit the exotic birds on Sundays from 1-4 for a donation
  • James Street North Art Crawl - stroll the many small art galleries and shops along James Street North between Wilson St & Barton St, 7-11pm, second Friday of each month

Explore the Outdoors

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Events and Festivals

  • Winterfest - assorted family events around the city designed to beat the winter blues -

http://hamiltonwinterfest.ca/ - January 24 - February 8, 2009

  • Maple Syrup Festival - Westfield Heritage Village - Learn how maple sap becomes syrup, and how it was prepared in past times - take a horse & buggy ride, visit the re-enactment village, or have a pancake breakfast - http://www.westfieldheritage.ca/ - March weekends
  • Around the Bay Road Race - 30 kilometre running race that attracts international competitors - http://www.aroundthebayroadrace.com/ - March 28, 2010
  • Food and Drink Festival at Copps Coliseum - sample wine, beer, and great food at this festival - http://www.foodanddrinkfest.com/ - April 9-11, 2010
  • GritLit - Hamilton Writers Festival - Enjoy readings from various authors, and writing workshops and events or enter the annual writing contest - http://www.gritlit.ca - April 2-5, 2009
  • Hamilton ECO Film and Arts Festival - Five day festival with screenings of environmental films and performances by local musicians - http://www.ecofilmartsfestival.com/ April 21-25, 2009
  • Doors Open Hamilton - visit museums, galleries, landmarks and more FOR FREE this weekend annually - http://www.doorsopenhamilton.ca/ - May 1 & 2, 2009
  • Tulip Celebration at the Royal Botanical Gardens - Rock Garden - http://www.rbg.ca - early to mid-May
  • Stoney Creek Flag Day - a celebration of the Canadian flag with a parade and more - http://www.stoneycreekcanadaflagday.com/ - May 29, 2010
  • Lilac Celebration at the Royal Botanical Gardens - Arboretum/Lilac Dell - http://www.rbg.ca - late May
  • Ancaster Heritage Days - Wilson St, the main street of the town closes down for a parade, face painting, vendor booths, and the old town centre comes alive - http://www.ancasterheritagedays.com/ - early June
  • Dundas International Buskerfest - enjoy street performers from all over the world as well as food and vendors - don't miss the Saturday night Fire Show! - http://www.downtowndundas.ca/dundas-international-buskerfest-2009.php - June 5-7, 2009
  • Re-enactment of the Battle of Stoney Creek at Battlefield House - see the re-enactment of this War of 1812 battle and experience the sites and sounds of the encampment - http://www.battlefieldhouse.ca/ - June 5-7, 2009
  • Iris and Peony Celebration at the Royal Botanical Gardens - Laking Garden - http://www.rbg.ca - early to mid-June
  • Canadian Military Tattoo - marching bands, pipes, and drums in the Military tradition perform - http://www.canadianmilitarytattoo.ca/index.html - June 12-13, 2010
  • Hamilton PRIDE Festival - A parade, vendors, food, and a great party celebrating the Hamilton LGBTQ community - http://www.hamiltonpride.com/ - June 13-21, 2009
  • Hamilton Waterfront Wingfest - midway, arts & crafts, entertainment, beer tent, boat rides on the Hamilton Harbour Queen - and, of course, chicken wings - http://www.hamiltonwaterfrontwingfest.com/ - June 12-14, 2009
  • Hamilton Turkish Festival at Gage Park - experience Turkish food, art, & culture -

http://hamiltonturkishfestival.com/website/ - June 14, 2009

  • Rose Celebration at the Royal Botanical Gardens - Hendrie Park - http://www.rbg.ca - late June to early July
  • It's Your Festival - Large festival at Gore Park celebrating Canada Day and Canada's multicultural heritage - Good headlining bands, arts & crafts booth, international food vendors, & a midway - free entrance - http://www.hamiltonfolkarts.org/itsyourfestival.htm - July 1-5, 2009
  • Dragonboat Race at Hamilton Harbour - http://www.dragon-boats.com/hamilton/ - Jule 4, 2009
  • Hamilton Fringe Festival - Independent plays on the 'fringe' of theatre - http://www.hamiltonfringe.ca/ - July 16-26, 2009
  • Y108 Rock and Roll Picnic - See quite popular bands for free at this event at Gage Park - http://www.y108.ca/Rockandrollpicnic.aspx - August 1, 2009
  • Ice Cream Festival at Westfield Heritage Village - Watch ice cream being churned and explore the historical village - Also face painting, hay rides, and more - http://www.westfieldheritage.ca - August 2 & 3, 2009
  • Festival of Friends - international food, arts & crafts booths, and some great bands (headliners around 7-11pm each night) - all free at Gage Park - http://www.creativearts.on.ca/index.html - August 7-9, 2009
  • Dundas Cactus Festival - downtown Dundas (down King St) shuts down for a parade, food, music, and booths of arts, crafts, and other vendors - http://www.dundascactusfest.ca - August 14-16, 2009
  • Winona Peach Festival - find the peaches at the Easternmost section of Hamilton (on the edges of the Niagara growing region) - enjoy peach desserts, arts & crafts & vendor booths, midway, and performers - http://www.winonapeach.com/index.html - August 28-30, 2009
  • Mustard Festival - enjoy jazz and mustard related food in the "International Village" at the core of central Hamilton (Ferguson Street N from Main St E to King St E) - http://www.hamiltoninternationalvillage.ca/MFEntertainment.asp - September 4-6, 2009
  • Locke Street Festival - the street known for antique stores and cafes comes alive with vendors on the street, food, and more - http://www.lockestreetfestival.com/home.html - September 12, 2009
  • Binbrook Fair - A Regular Agricultural Fair experience! - http://www.binbrookagriculturalsociety.org/ - Sept 18-20, 2009
  • Ancaster Fair - Midway, School Fair building, Produce Competitions, Animals at 'Old MacDonald's Farm', Demolition Derby, and more - http://www.ancasterfair.ca/ - September 25-27, 2009
  • Apple Festival at Battlefield House - apple goodies, demonstrations, entertainment, and a pancake breakfast at the historic house - September 26, 2009
  • Rockton World's Fair - agricultural competitions & animals to see, entertainment, demolition derby, food, & more - http://www.rocktonworldsfair.com/index.htm - (Canadian) Thanksgiving Weekend - October 9-12, 2009
  • Haunted Halloween at Westfield Heritage Village - learn about the origins and folklore behind Halloween through reenactments and plays in the village - http://www.westfieldheritage.ca - October 23-24, 2009
  • Chrysanthemum Show at Gage Park - floral display made of chrysanthemums! - - October 23 - November 2, 2009
  • The British Show - celebration of all things British - http://www.britishshow.net/ - Late November (had taken a year off in 2008 - back in November 2009!)
  • Dundas Christmas Tree Lighting - Memorial Square, corner of King & Sydenham - http://www.downtowndundas.ca/christmas-tree-lighting-2009.php - November 27, 2009 @ 7:00pm
  • Victorian Christmas at Dundurn Castle - perhaps the best time to visit; the 19th century manor 'decks the halls' with Victorian Christmas splendour - November 28, 2009 - January 3, 2010
  • Twas the Night Before Christmas at Westfield Heritage Village - Learn about Christmas in the past and around the world, fireworks every evening & a visit from St Nick - http://www.westfieldheritage.ca/ - December 5, 12, & 19, 2009
  • Dickens of a Christmas - Head to downtown Dundas to meet Santa (over breakfast, if you'd like), have horse drawn trolly rides, and free hot cider and gingerbread cookies - http://www.downtowndundas.ca/dickens-of-a-christmas-2009.php - November 28-December 20, 2009 (Saturdays & Sundays only)

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Getting There

By Plane

John C Munro International Airport, Hamilton - fly WestJet or Air Canada within Canada or with FlyGlobeSpan to selected cities in the UK.

By Train

Amtrak, VIA Rail, and GO trains arrive at the nearby Aldershot Station - from there, take a quick bus into Hamilton city centre

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Learn

  • McMaster University
  • Mohawk College
  • Redeemer University College

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Sports

  • Hamilton Tiger Cats - CFL Team - play at Ivor Wynne Stadium in the East End
  • Hamilton Bulldogs - AHL Team - play at Copps Coliseum downtown

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet usage is wide-spread in Canada. Wi-fi is available in many locations in larger cities, sometimes free and sometimes at a cost. You will find Wi-Fi in coffee stores, some restaurants and also hotels and motels more and more offer this service for free, but with a code usually. Internet cafes are common along major streets, and and in larger cities, charge between $3 and $4 for an hour, usually in 20-minute increments.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The country calling code to Canada is: 1. To make an international call from Canada, the code is: 011. Emergency services can be reached by dialling 911. This number will give you free access to Police, Fire and Ambulance services and can be used from landlines, phone booths and cell phones.

The populous areas of Canada along the border with the USA have excellent cellular and wired telecommunications, meaning that travellers are never fair from an international phone call home, a WIFI connection or an internet cafe. Depending on the mobile phone provider, coverage could be either CDMA and GSM coverage. Travellers wishing to purchase SIM cards for GSM phones should look for Rogers Wireless, Telus Mobility and Bell Mobility, which all offer nationwide availability.

Post

Postal service is provided by Canada Post, a crown corporation owned by the government but run as an independent business. Most post offices keep hours from 9:00am to 5:00pm though in bigger places longer hourse might be available.

To format the envelope of a letter sent within Canada, put the destination address on the centre of its envelope, with a stamp, postal indicia, meter label, or frank mark on the top-right corner of the envelope to acknowledge payment of postage. A return address, although it is not required, can be put on the top-left corner of the envelope in smaller type than the destination address.

The lettermail service allows the mailing of a letter. The basic rate is currently set at $0.63 for one standard letter (30 grams or less). The rates for lettermail are based or weight and size and determine whether the article falls into the aforementioned standard format, or in the oversize one. The rate is the same for a postcard. Mail sent internationally is known as letterpost. It can only contain paper documents. The rate for a standard letter is of $1.10 if sent to the United States, and $1.85 if sent to any other destination. Oversize or overweight letters may be charged a higher fee. Larger parcels can be shipped via Canada post both domestically and internationally, the rate is dependent on the weight and destination. [1]

Federal Express, TNT, UPS or DHL also provide interntional shipping from Canada and are usually very quick and reliable though might cost a little more compared to Canada Post.

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This is version 12. Last edited at 11:50 on Jul 18, 13 by Utrecht. 4 articles link to this page.

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