While in Toronto on Saturday night I was having a conversation with a lady I have known for a few years and she, knowing I reside in "The Hammer," stated that "Hamilton is the new place to move." My reply was simple "It always has been,"
Stereotypes aside, there are few cities in the province that can match Hamilton's Victorian, Edwardian and 'Arts and Crafts' architecture...save Toronto and possibly, Ottawa. Albeit, there are genuinely beautiful homes in most cities and especially Burlington and Oakville but they do not have the multitude of creative masonry, carved fascias, stained glass, slate shingles, turrets, loft third floors and hand crafted plaster found in Hamilton. There are downsides as well, little or no driveways, old plumbing, electrics, little insulation, smaller rooms and aged sewers. There are obviously concessions to be made either way. Many of the homes have been upgraded in terms of wiring, roofs, windows and plumbing with modern kitchens, baths and basements. But, Hamilton's new found renaissance is price. As four hundred thousand are starting points(if at all) for a detached home in Oakville, Burlington, Mississauga(and almost not at all in Toronto), Hamilton has many fantastic homes in great neighbourhoods from all eras and well under four hundred thousand and even three and two hundred thousand. Imagine having mortgage payments less than rent...and you own the house...you are building equity and your investment is increasing by almost eight recent per year...while you live in the home.
The City of Hamilton is actively promoting new growth and business and there are great plans for the future. The West Harbour and James Street North is alive again with new actvity and with a great influx of artists and those artists are transforming a once bleak area into one of the hippest places to live with homes selling for well over list price. New shops, art galleries, restaurants, the CBC, have all come to call Downtown Hamilton home and possibly, one of the best places to buy a pair of shoes, Miller Shoes has never swayed from the strip.
Topographically, as being bult on two elevations, with trails, waterfalls and one of the most arboristic cities in North America, it is an outdoors persons playground. Even for the most ardent and urban of the concrete Environmentalists, it is only an hour transit ride from the media soap box. Living in the city, a fifteen minute drive and one can be in a number of different conservation areas, the Royal Botanical Gardens or into farm country. Fresh air, rolling hills, farmer's fields await and it is just not about propagating the green belts, emissions and the environment, this is about living in the environment in the rural Hamilton of Ancaster, Flamborough, Glanbrook and Fruitland.
Hamilton has produced for E.D. Smith, Levis, Firestone Tires, Proctor and Gamble products, Studabakers, a plethora of different ales and beers, Steel, bricks, appliances and much more. Although, many of the traditional manufacturers have left or gone extinct but such history still exists within the retired for whom made a living and raised a family in this proud community. The city keeps reinventing itself with new and cleaner industry and great advances in medicine and engineering research at McMaster University and Mohawk College. Streets such as James, Ottawa, Concession, Locke and King are offering unique products and entertainment while being safe and walkable with the warmth of a 'cupa' from a local coffee shop regadless if you pay $1.80 for a large or six bucks for what I understand, is a medium.