Sunday, March 13, 2011

Experience Hamilton

We had a friend visiting from out of town on a recent weekend. After giving him a brief tour around The Hammer (which basically consisted of a quick spin in the car and a trip to Rolly Rockets), we headed to Niagara.

Our decision to get out of town for a day or two wasn't a slight against Hamilton - far from it. We just had plans to pay a visit to a few wineries :) And yes, even though Niagara is 30 minutes from our place (a definite perk of Hamilton!), we decided to take a mini vacation and stay over.

Anyway, nestled in between the usual "go behind the Falls" and "visit the house of Frankenstein" brochures in our hotel, I came across "Experience Hamilton" - a tourist booklet/brochure I was excited (and more than a little surprised) to see.

I've been outlining some of my finds over the last few weeks, and many people who live here don't need to be schooled on the benefits/gems of The Hammer. But somehow I feel tourists are a different story.

Before we moved here from Toronto, I would have been hard pressed to point anyone towards a Hamilton tourist attraction. I wonder what types of tourist attractions someone from Halifax, Montreal, or Vancouver expect to find in our fair city.

Looking at this particular brochure, I was initially a little worried - African Lion Safari was pictured on the cover. I too have fond memories of family trips through there as a child, but am I wrong in saying its actually outside of Hamilton itself?

Once you get past that sticking point, there actually is a wealth of info inside this particular brochure, detailing all the best parts of Hamilton.

Things I was excited to see in this brochure included:

- More info on Locke Street (we've paid many visits to Locke Street over the last six weeks, but before we moved here, we had no idea it existed (we found it randomly). I think this great street definitely needs to be pointed out to tourists.

- The brochure also talks about James St. N as being like Toronto's Queen West 35 years ago - we visited James St. N for the first time on Friday night (for the art crawl) and thought it had such a great vibe (I'll write more about the art crawl later!)

- Details on the Hamilton music scene

- Festivals like Festival of Friends, It's Your Festival (can't wait to check some of these out)

- How to use Hamilton as a "vacation-base" for trips around the Golden Horseshoe (I didn't know people did this, but it makes sense...)

Tourists aside, as a new Hamiltonian, I'm keeping this book handy so I can find my way around!


  1. You mention James St. North and the art crawl. It was the good folks at the Pearl Company who first introduced me to the crawl - have you found the Pearl Company yet? Check them out and sign up for their newsletter - you'll never run out of things to do in Hamilton!

  2. Hi Laurie, Thanks for the link - I hadn't heard of the Pearl Company, but the website looks really interesting....will sign up for the newsletter!