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Hamilton Information

A major Great Lakes seaport, Hamilton sprawls along the western tip of Lake Ontario. It was settled more than 200 years ago and expanded steadily as an agricultural and manufacturing center. Today, it has a population of more than a half million.

The Iroquois were dominant in the region in the 1600s, when French explorers, trappers and traders ventured westward around the Great Lakes. During the American Revolution, British loyalists settled the area, known as Upper Canada. In 1813, the town was organized by its namesake, George Hamilton, a prominent landowner.

Today, Hamilton has a diverse economy and flourishing cultural and entertainment scenes. Hundreds of attractions draw worldwide visitors.

Much of the activity is along the lake. The Hamilton Harbour Waterfront Trail takes strollers and picnickers to the beach, local landmarks and picturesque vistas. Two trackless trolley cars provide rides along the trail system. Especially popular among pedestrians are the gravel, crushed-stone and asphalt paths of Bayfront Park. At Pier 4 Park, children delight in the water spray and visitors get striking views of the surroundings from aboard the Bayport, a tugboat built during World War II. Elsewhere on the waterfront, the moored HMCS Haida, a World War II destroyer, interests nautical history buffs.

The Harbour Queen, a 200-passenger tour boat, takes guests on cruises. Scheduled excursions in summer feature dinner and dancing. A smaller boat, the Hamiltonian, provides narrated, hour-long harbor tours.

Sports attractions include Canadian football, hockey, baseball, and stock-car and go-cart racing. Hamilton is home of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame. Golfers find more than 20 courses in the vicinity. The Pier 8 Outdoor Recreational Skating Rink is open to the public at no charge in winter. Outdoor enthusiasts also enjoy boating, gliding, biking and hiking through numerous preserves.

Favorite children’s destinations are Adventure Village (bumper cars, rock climbing, miniature golf, gem mining, batting cages), Wild Waterworks (tubing, wave pool, body sliding) and the Hamilton Children’s Museum (hands-on learning).

The McMaster University Museum of Art, with some 6,000 collected works, is one of more than 30 arts centers and galleries in Hamilton. The city boasts a busy schedule of theatre, ballet and opera performances as well as chamber and symphony concerts. Special educational attractions include a planetarium and botanical gardens.

Among notable historic and architectural landmarks are the Battlefield House Museum and Park, scene of a major battle during the War of 1812; Dundurn National Historic Site, the elaborate home of a Canadian premier; Christ’s Church Cathedral (1835) and the Cathedral of Christ the King (1933); Hamilton Military Museum; Whitehern Historic House & Garden; and the Hamilton Museum of Steam and Technology.

Several hundred restaurants satisfy every palate. Shopping and antiquing opportunities abound. Many visitors venture out to area wineries, farmers markets and pick-your-own farms and orchards.

For a special form of diversion, those who enjoy a gambling flutter shuttle to the Slots at Flamboro Downs with its more than 700 gaming machines.

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