1) 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 you 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 Coffeehouse, and take a stroll with some friends!
2) 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 splendor! 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!
4) 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.
5) 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!