To say I was really excited to live in Hamilton when I first came to Redeemer is a bit of an overstatement. I grew up in a town just outside of the city, where most people choose to go in the opposite direction of Steeltown. As I ventured off campus, however, I discovered a city completely opposed to everything I grew up hearing described. I discovered a vibrant and ambitious city with a flourishing arts scene and beautiful natural landscapes. It’s safe to say that I fell head over heels in love with Hamilton throughout my first year at Redeemer – so much so that I now live downtown! As a result, here I am writing a blog post to YOU, the incoming student, about why you should love Hamilton too. So here are my top five reasons why you are bound to fall in love with your new city of residence:
- Art Crawl – If there is one thing you can do at least once during the school year, it is attend one of the monthly Art Crawls on James St. North, which take place every second Friday of each month. After attending my first crawl (which is aptly named, as people slowly ‘crawl’ between art galleries), many of my misconceptions about Hamilton disappeared. I found myself walking along a funky street, looking at the work of some really creative artists and passing by talented buskers. Eat a meal at one of the many nearby restaurants or food trucks, grab a warm drink at the Mulberry Street Coffeehouse, and take a stroll with some friends!
- Waterfalls – When you drive by this sprawling city on the highway, you might discount it completely based on its industrial appearance. You will soon discover, however, that Hamilton is actually a city of natural splendour! Hidden along its tree-covered escarpment are many wonderful trails leading to beautiful waterfalls. These are great places to take photos, and even take a shallow dip (if you’re really adventurous!). Check out www.cityofwaterfalls.ca for a comprehensive list of waterfalls in the area!
- History – Aside from its fantastic culture and beautiful scenery, Hamilton is also deeply rich in history. For those of you who love to understand the past of particular places, the Hammer has plenty to offer you. Experience the re-enactment of the famed Battle of Stoney Creek, explore Dundurn Castle (Sir Allan MacNab’s former mansion), or look at a collection of historical warplanes at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum. Learning about the history of the place you live in can be extremely helpful in helping you feel rooted, which is important as you spend the next four years in this city!
- Food Trucks – This is going to sound wacky, but one of my favourite things about Hamilton is its crazy food truck culture. You might think buying food from a truck isn’t something to write home about, but the food trucks here are definitely noteworthy. Over the past several years, Hamilton has built a reputation for great food trucks thanks to a bunch of crazy entrepreneurs who have decided to serve delicious niche foods through windows placed on custom steel trucks with full-service kitchens inside. Look them up on Facebook or Twitter to find out where they’re dishing out fresh eats! My recommendations: Dirty South, Gorilla Cheese, or Karma ChaMEALeon.
- Opportunities – As a person who loves to get involved and help out, Hamilton fulfilled my needs instantly. I discovered a city filled with innovative activists and dedicated volunteers. Whether it was the tireless members of the Beasley Neighbourhood Association I got involved with or the campaign against a downtown casino that I joined, soon enough I found myself become a contributing citizen of this changing city. As Hamilton transitions from an industrial steel-making city into a hotbed of creativity and innovation, there are endless opportunities to volunteer and be a part of something big. I encourage you to contribute to the grand vision that young people like you and I can help create for Hamilton!
About the author: Amanda is a recent graduate of Redeemer’s Psychology program (Class of 2016). While at Redeemer, she loved to explore downtown Hamilton.