Hamilton, Ontario

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City of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
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Motto: Together Aspire - Together Achieve
Area: 1,117.11 sq. km.
Population

 - City (2001)
 - Canadian CD Rank
 - Canadian Municipal Rank
 - Density


490,268
Ranked 12th
Ranked 10th
438.9/km²

Time zone Eastern: UTC-5
Latitude
Longitude
43°16' N
79°54' W
MPs
Dean Allison, David Christopherson, Beth Phinney, Russ Powers, Tony Valeri
MPPs
Marie Bountrogianni, Andrea Horwath, Judy Marsales, Ted McMeekin, Jennifer Mossop
Mayor Larry Di Ianni
Governing body Hamilton City Council
City of Hamilton (http://www.city.hamilton.on.ca/)

Hamilton is a city with half a million inhabitants located in the Canadian province of Ontario. It is the 10th largest city in Canada.

Its nicknames -- all relating to its waning days as a major industrial centre -- include the Ambitious City, Steel City, the Hammer, Lunchbucket City and Scumilton. However, health care has outstripped heavy industry -- exemplified by the twin steel giants of Stelco and Dofasco -- as the largest employer. Moreover, the education, government, services and technology sectors have all dramatically developed as heavy industry has declined.

Also belying its unfounded reputation as cultural wasteland, Hamilton has built on its historical and social background. Unusual and interesting attractions include a flying museum (Canadian Warplane Heritage (http://www.warplane.com)), a stately residence of a premier of the Province of Canada (Dundurn Castle), a functioning nuclear reactor at McMaster University, a horticultural haven (Royal Botanical Gardens) and the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.

Contents

Geography and Population

New Hamilton

Hamilton is located on the western end of the Niagara Peninsula and Lake Ontario, and as such is sometimes known as Head of the Lake (not to be confused with Lakehead). The two major physical features are Burlington Bay marking the northern limit of the city and the Niagara Escarpment running through the middle of the city.

Burlington Bay, part of Lake Ontario, is locally known as Hamilton Harbour, the Bay or the Harbour. Many creeks -- including Stoney Creek, Redhill Creek, Grindstone Creek and Chedoke Creek -- flow over the Escarpment and into the Harbour or Lake Ontario. The portion of the Niagara Escarpment inside the city is more commonly known as Hamilton Mountain, the Mountain or the Hill.

In 2001, the former Regional Municipality of Hamilton-Wentworth and its six constituent municiaplities were folded into the new city of Hamilton, or Megacity. The Canada-wide census the same year found 662,401 residents were in newly amalgamated city. The Census Metropolitan Area -- does not include Burlington and Grimsby.

Demographics

Racial Composition

Religious Make Up:

Age Structure

  • 0-14 years: 19%
  • 15-64 years: 66.9%
  • 65 years and over: 14.1%

Old Hamilton

The term old city of Hamilton is used throughout this article to describe the city before amalgamation in 2001, which then had 331,100 residents.

Downtown began and remains around Gore Park and the intersection of King and James Streets. Central Hamilton extends from the base of the Mountain north to Barton Street, west to Chedoke Creek or Dundurn Street, and east to approximately Wentworth Street or Sherman Avenues. West Hamilton or the west end begins at Dundurn Street or Chedoke Creek. East Hamilton or the east end begins at approximately Ottawa Street or Kenilworth Avenue. North Hamilton or the north end begins at Barton Street or the CN tracks.

As city limits expanded to include the Mountain, the retronym for the city below the Escarpment became the Lower City. The west Mountain starts at either Upper James Street or approximately Garth Street; the east Mountain starts at either Upper James or approximately Upper Wellington Street. The south Mountain begins at approximately Limeridge Road or the Lincoln M. Alexander Expressway.

For other former municipalities of Hamilton-Wentworth Region, before amalgamation, please consult: City of Stoney Creek, Town of Dundas, Town of Flamborough, Town of Ancaster and Township of Glanbrook. They have all maintained their identies as neighbourhoods and municipal government wards in new Hamilton.

Attractions

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Copps Coliseum

Despite its reputation as a blue-collar, lunch-bucket town, Hamilton has a large variety of historical, cultural and educational attractions in addition to more conventional or lowbrow ones.

Historical attractions

Cultural attractions

Outdoor attractions

Educational attractions

Popular attractions

(see also Sports below)

Economy and Environment

Industrial economy and environment

By the 1940s, the ecological cost of pollution had taken its toll on Hamilton: heavy metals made fish from the Bay inedible, air pollution made breathing difficult and industrial dumps (notably the Lax lands) contaminated land. People recognized there was a problem, but two decades of economic depression and war left them with no stomach to face the costly investments and social changes to fix it.

Veterans returned to the factories just in time to see the founding strike of Local 1005 of the United Steelworkers of America at Stelco, one of four major ones in 1946. Labour peace ensured by the Rand formula, established by Mr. Justice Ivan Rand when he settled the Ford strike in Windsor, allowed the industrial economy to grow. Studebaker set up shop in Hamilton, shutting down in 1966 as its last car factory.

Despite the promise shown in the booming '60s, signs of trouble were beginning to show. The Harbour dredging scheme (including its associated political scandal) and reports by the International Joint Commission revealed that a few more decades of pollution had all but destroyed the marine environment.

In the early 1980s. Hamilton had entered the economic downturn common to most steel towns in the developed world, such as Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, but survived relatively well. But a couple of bitter strikes at Stelco did not help matters. The days of heavy industry were numbered.

In the last decade, Hamilton's heavy industry continued to decline -- a fact highlighted when Stelco recently filed for bankruptcy protection, though Stelco has returned to profitability in more recent quarters. Non-unionized Dofasco is doing only somewhat better. However, decreased industrial activity and increased pollution control measures have combined to dramatically increase water and air quality, and to allow Hamilton to showcase its fine natural attributes in a better light. For those employed in or relying on the industrial sector, it is grim news indeed.

Cultural economy

As the industrial economy has faltered, the local economy by necessity became much more diversified. However, this process was made possible by decisions taken as early as the 1930s as discussed above.

Attempts at nourishing and spreading cultural economic activities paid off. Dundurn Castle was refurbished as Centennial project. Local TV station CHCH introduced Canadians to Smith & Smith, which featured Steve and Morag Smith (the former better known from his stint as Red Green). Hamilton became a moderately important film and television adjunct of the Toronto film market.

Although never entirely out of the music eye, Hamilton gave birth or havens to a number of successful musicians of various genres over the years. Jazz-blues musicians The Washingtons were popular in the 1940s, and brother Jackie Washington continues to perform. Folksinger Stan Rogers was born in Dundas, where he lived until his death in 1982. The Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra under Boris Brott, although often troubled financially, achieved wide renown.

Among the rock-pop acts formed in Hamilton or by Hamiltonians were: Teenage Head, Forgotten Rebels, Junkhouse, Open Mind (with Chantal Chamberlain) and Appleton. Furthermore, Daniel Lanois, a solo artist in his own right and producer for U2, lived in Hamilton and recorded at Grant Avenue Studios. The Sonic Unyon (http://www.sonicunyon.com/indexok) label started fostered the Hamilton sound in the early 1990s.

Hamilton hosted several cultural and craft fairs since the 1970s, notably Festival of Friends and Earthsong, which made it a major tourist destination. Unfortunately, these fair trade venues and celebrators of world music declined in quality and ultimately disappeared, and their replacements have yet to find their niches.

Other economy

The growth of post-secondary education -- heralded by the arrival of McMaster University from Toronto in 1930 and the foundation of Mohawk College in 1967 -- led to numerous direct and indirect jobs in education and research. The addition of a medical school at McMaster in the late 1960s built upon local health care strengths to such an extent that health care has outstripped industry as the region's primary employer.

A business collaboration between a Canadian hockey player and a retired Hamilton policeman began quietly in 1965 at 64 Ottawa Street North. After the player's untimely death, an ambitious expansion scheme of the retiree's led Tim Hortons Donuts to become an enormously successful food retailer selling doughnuts, coffee and light snacks. Founder Ron Joyce sold the business to the Wendys fast food empire, but not before bestowing his name on Hamilton Place.

Hamilton's current City Hall
Enlarge
Hamilton's current City Hall

An enthusiasm for urban renewal gripped Hamilton, as it did most other cities in North America, in the 1960s and early 1970s. Historic buildings, including Old City Hall and the original farmers market, were destroyed to make way for wider streets, more parking and large shopping centres. Hamilton's penchant for one-way streets and synchronized traffic lights, only recently reconsidered and slightly modified, date from just before this period.

Outside the industrial sector, a brutal recession from the late 1980s to the mid-1990s, combined with the accelerated tendency to relocate commercial activity in the cheaper suburbs, devastated the downtown core. Qualified or failed attempts at reviving the central business district included the restoration of the Gore Park fountain, the proposed conversion of vacant office space into condominium apartments and allowing two-way traffic on certain downtown streets for the first time in half a century.

More dramatic and successful have been the greening projects of Hamilton undertaken since the 1990s: The Lax lands on Bay Street North were capped with clay and landscaped into a beautiful park, remediation began at Cootes Paradise in west Hamilton, a waterfront trail linking these two places was built, abandoned railway right-of-ways in both the east end and west end were converted to multi-use paths.

Politics

Politically, Hamilton is known for producing groundbreaking, colourful and left-wing politicians -- illustrated by the polarizing and erratic career of Sheila Copps. Locally, though, the big political story is the controversial amalgamation of Hamilton with its suburbs in 2001.

Municipal politics

Hamilton has had a city charter since 1846. In 1974, it combined with the Wentworth County and the latter's other towns and townships to form the two-tier municipal federation of Regional Municipality of Hamilton-Wentworth. Portions of the former county became part of Burlington and Cambridge.

The old city of Hamilton was represented at regional council by one councillor each from its two-councillor wards; the other municipalities by their mayors and an additional regional councillor each. The regional chair was appointed by the Ontario government rather than by the residents or the regional councillors. After a successful drive to make the office elective, the point became moot in 2001.

Municipal powers were divided or shared in turn by the city and the county (or its constituent parts besides Hamilton). For instance, the city and county continued their separate boards of education, while the police service and social services became regional responsibilities, and fire service and business licensing remained second-tier responsibilities.

In 2001, over the vociferous but hitherto futile objections of rural and suburban voters, the former two-tier Hamilton-Wentworth region was amalgamated into a one-tier city called Hamilton like one of its predecessor governments. New ward boundaries coincided substantially or exactly with old Hamilton's wards and the former municipal boundaries of its suburbs.

As in most Ontario cities, incumbent councillors and mayors tend to be re-elected in municipal elections marked by low turnout. However, in the 1940s, Hamilton City Council was presided over by Sam Lawrence, a unionized worker called the Labour Mayor. However, for most of the time, moderates of the centre-right or centre-left -- such as Lloyd D. Jackson in the 1960s and Robert Morrow in the 1980s -- presided over council.

Victor "Vic" Copps (http://www.hpl.ca/Local/SPCOLL/mayor48.shtml) was a popular centre-left mayor in the 1970s. While taking part in the Around the Bay Race (http://www.aroundthebayroadrace.com) in 1976, he suffered a stroke which incapacitated him. His wife Geraldine Copps served as a city councillor after that unfortunate event. Copps Coliseum is named after him rather than his daughter, Sheila Copps.

Provincial politics

New Hamilton has historically been represented by four to six MPPs or MLAs in the Ontario legislature. Old Hamilton was always suspicious of its larger neighbour and provincial capital, Toronto and had a reputation for being highly unionized. These factors combined to electing working class and left wing MPPs, often from the New Democratic and Liberal parties, who frequently achieved notoriety if not power outside Hamilton.

Liberal MPP Lily Munro was caught in the Patti Starr scandal which contributed to Premier David Peterson’s electoral defeat in 1990. So often under- or unrepresented in at Queen's Park, the old city of Hamilton boasted that each of its three MPPs were ministers in the NDP government of Bob Rae in the 1990s.

In contrast, the former suburbs and rural precincts of old Hamilton voted for less radical and less noteworthy Conservative representatives, including government backbenchers for Rae's successor, Mike Harris. The Harris government's forced amalgamation of Hamilton was highly controversial among suburban and urban Hamilton voters. It also made provincial riding boundaries and names automatically coincide with those at the federal level, reducing new Hamilton's representation in Toronto by one member.

Federal politics

Progressive Conservative Prime Minister John Diefenbaker appointed the late Ellen Fairclough as Secretary of State, making her Canada's first female cabinet minister, in 1957. A downtown provincial office building is named in her honour.

John Munro, a Trudeau era Liberal cabinet minister and a sometime husband of Lilly Munro, was the subject of political innuendo and criminal allegations dismissed after an RCMP probe. He came in fourth in the first mayoral election for amalgamated Hamilton. The Hamilton International Airport was renamed in his honour.

Progressive Conservative Prime Minister Joe Clark appointed Lincoln ‘Linc’ Alexander, the first Black Canadian MP, as Minister of Labour in his shortlived government. Alexander later became Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, another first for blacks in Ontario and Canada. Ironically for a man who never learned to drive, Linc was honoured by having the long-awaited Mountain east-west expressway named after him.

Sheila Copps, daughter of Victor and Geraldine, was a Liberal candidate, first for the Ontario legislature and then for the House of Commons, where she represented Hamilton East from 1984 until 2000. She was a leading and vociferous member of the Liberal Party of Canada Rat Pack while the Liberals were in opposition until 1993. An early and strong supporter of the leadership of Jean Chrétien, she served in several posts including Deputy Prime Minister. When Paul Martin assumed the prime ministership, Copps’ star waned as she was excluded from cabinet and lost her bitter nomination campaign in her re-districted riding.

History

This section summarizes the full entry found at History of Hamilton, Ontario, and stops in 1945.

History to 1913

The Iroquois Confederacy or Five (later Six) Nations first occupied the land now covered by Hamilton. French explorers made transient visits to the area, but major European settlement did not begin until United Empire Loyalists arrived around the American Revolution and War of 1812. In the latter conflict, Britain defeated American invaders at the Battle of Stoney Creek in what is now Hamilton.

Immediately after the war, in 1815, George Hamilton laid out a townsite in Barton Township which eventually outstripped close rivals like Dundas. Hamilton was incorporated as a police village in 1833 and as a city in 1846.

Hamilton was part of (and served as seat for) Wentworth County since its creation in 1816. By 1851, the county acquired its final composition of townships: Ancaster, Barton, Beverly, Binbrook, East Flamborough, West Flamborough, Glanford and Saltfleet.

In the second half of the 1800s, Hamilton became identified and self-identified with heavy industry (http://collections.ic.gc.ca/industrial/), billing itself as the Ambitious City and the Birmingham of Canada. It became a hotbed of working class activism, and in 1872 the cradle of the Nine Hour Movement which urged the universal limitation of working hours to nine per day.

The easy access to limestone from the Niagara Escarpment, coal mined in Appalachia, iron ore mined from the Canadian Shield and export markets through the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence system made Hamilton an important iron and steel producing city. Diverse steel works combined to form the Steel Company of Canada in 1910 and the Dominion Steel Casting Company in 1912.

History 1914-1945

Hamiltonians participated in the First World War as combatants, but due to Col. Sir Sam Hughes' mobilization plans for the Canadian Expeditionary Force, there were no major battles associated purely with Hamiltonians. Heavy industry boomed as the Canadian and British governments' war driven demands for steel, arms, munitions and textiles increased. War profiteering by manufacturers dampened some of the mood, but generally Hamiltonians pulled together.

After the Great War, the school-building boom continued, including Memorial School, Allenby School and Earl Kitchener School. In the Roaring Twenties, hundreds of low-rise apartment buildings, of three to four stories and six to ten units, grew up across the city, especially in the east end. The Great Depression of the 1930s hit Hamilton hard, with the simultaneous and prolonged decline in domestic consumption and international trade in finished industrial goods and building supplies dried up.

When the Second World War began, Hamiltonians like most Canadians and indeed Terrans welcomed the spike of economic demand but not its cause. In this war, the Canadian Army mobilized its territorially recruited militia units. As a consequence, Hamilton lost hundreds of its young men on a single day in 1942, when the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry [4] (http://www.rhli.ca/) was effectively wiped out at Dieppe. Read more of The Hamilton Spectator’s (http://warmuseum.ca/cwm/newspapers/intro_e.html) coverage of the war. Hamilton also gave the The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada (Princess Louise's)to the cause.

Sports

Over the years and into the present, Hamilton has been prominent in several fields of sporting ventures and venues.

The Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League play at Ivor Wynne Stadium in the east end. Notable residents and former players include Angelo Mosca. The CFL's annual Eastern Division Labour Day classic pits the Hamilton Tiger-Cats against perrennial rivals the Toronto Argonauts. Oddly, for many years before his death, Harold Ballard owned both franchises. The team's prowess has fallen dramatically from its glory days in the 1960s and early '70s, when it was a powerhouse.

In recent decades, Hamilton has yearned and lobbied for a National Hockey League franchise. It has been continually disappointed, despite building Victor K. Copps Coliseum downtown on Bay Street North. The sports and entertainment arena, named for a former mayor and father of Sheila Copps, has hosted the World Junior Championship Games and is home ice for the Hamilton Bulldogs of the American Hockey League. The Hamilton Tigers played in the NHL during the early '20s.

The Around the Bay Race (http://www.aroundthebayroadrace.com/) circumnavigates Hamilton Harbour or Burlington Bay. Although it is not a proper marathon, it is the longest continuously held long distance foot race in North America. The local newspaper also hosts the amateur Spectator Indoor Games.

Hamilton is twinned with Flint, Michigan, and its amateur athletes compete in the Canusa Games (http://www.internationalgames.net/canusa.htm), held alternatively there and here since 1957. Hamilton hosted the very successful World Road Cycling Championship Games in 2003. The Hamilton Golf Club in Ancaster hosted the 2003 Canadian Open golf championship in which Bob Tway won. The traditional course layout, designed by famed course architect Hary Colt, proved very popular with touring pros and will again host the Canadian Open in 2006.

Since 2002 the Hamilton Thunder have played in the Canadian Professional Soccer League (CPSL). They play at the Brian Timmis Stadium right next to the larger Ivor Wynne Stadium. The Hamilton Steelers played in the Canadian Soccer League during the late '80s and early '90s.

The Hamilton Thunderbirds play in the Intercounty Baseball League.

Transportation

Air

John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport is located on the Mountain at Mount Hope in the former Glanbrook Township. Scheduled passenger service is provided by WestJet, who for several years used the airport as their primary point of access to Southern Ontario over the more expensive Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International Airport, CanJet (ends July 2005), and Air Canada Jazz (starting Fall 2005); other airlines also offer vacation charters. The airport is also a major lower-cost alternative to Pearson for cargo air service.

Rail

CN serves Hamilton, but as heavy industry declined and the preferred mode of transportation changed to road, the number of branch lines and feeder tracks has declined dramatically. Until the early 1970s, the Toronto, Hamilton and Buffalo Railway offered passenger service and since the late 1980s GO Transit has offered sporadic passenger train service from its James Street North station. In the late 1990s, GO Transit operations were consolidated at the refurbished Art Deco building on Hunter Street which formerly served as the TH&B station. The nearest VIA Rail Canada station is Aldershot in west Burlington.

Bus

Hamilton has good bus connections with cities in southern Ontario and western New York. GO Transit offers frequent and reliable express bus service to Toronto, now from the TH&B station and formerly from King William Street. Various other companies, such as Greyhound, Trentway Wagar and McCoy offer less frequent service to St. Catharines, Niagara Falls, Dunnville, Buffalo, Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph, Brantford and London.

Within the city, the HSR or Hamilton Street Railway (http://www.city.hamilton.on.ca/Living-Here/Transit/default.asp) offers good service in the lower city (especially on east-west routes), reduced service on the Mountain and skeletal service outside the old city of Hamilton (except for Dundas, which is served about as well as the Mountain).

Highways and expressways

The following controlled access highways and expressways serve Hamilton:

There are several other current or former Ontario highways in Hamilton, but they are not divided, controlled access highways. The controversial Red Hill Creek extension of the LINC is under construction, and will join the existing mountain portion of the LINC with the QEW in east Hamilton.

City streets

All of the old city of Hamilton is on a broken great grid pattern, with major north-south streets spaced approximately one mile apart. Great grid streets on the Mountain bear the name of their lower city counterparts with the prefix “Upper”, except for Garth Street, which would be Upper Dundurn Street if the pattern held.

East-west streets on the Mountain are pretty regular, while those in the lower city (especially major ones) are very irregular. King and Main Streets run approximately parallel to one another though they intersect at the Delta. They are usually one way streets in opposite directions, so they are best conceptualized as a single very wide boulevard.

External links

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