Living in Hamilton, Ontario

Want to live in a big city with a hometown feel that’s close to nature with a growing but still affordable housing market? Our ‘Find a City’ series explores the ‘Manufacturing Metropolis’. Hamilton is the ninth largest city in the province of Ontario and is located approximately at the mid-point between Toronto and Buffalo, NY. It is part of what is referred to as The Golden Horseshoe, an area of industrial development spanning Oshawa and the Niagara River and is also known as Canada’s “Manufacturing Metropolis”.  Most of the city lies on the south shore of Lake Ontario and the downtown harbour features a large sandbar called the Beach Strip.
The city has a large French community served by the Centre français Hamilton, which assists francophone newcomers with integrating in the community. In addition to French speaking newcomers, a high proportion of immigrants settle in Hamilton from Italy, Poland, India, Portugal, and the Phillipines. The 2006 census indicated that roughly 20% of Hamiltonians were born elsewhere.

In 2014, Hamilton’s city council voted to declare Hamilton a sanctuary city for undocumented immigrants at risk of deportation. Hamilton’s sister cities include Fukuyama, Japan, Mangalore, India, and Racalmuto, Italy.
Hamilton was host of the first Commonwealth Games in 1930, Canada’s first major international athletic event, originally called the British Empire Games.

City of Hamilton population statistics
Incorporated as a city: 1999
Population: 536,917 (2016 Census), a rise of 3.3% from 2011
Average age: 41.3
Number of citizens: 497,485
Number of non-immigrants: 391,335
Number of immigrants: 130,365
Number of non-permanent residents: 6,225
Number of immigrants from:
U.S.: 3,900
Americas (other than U.S.): 17,010
Europe: 63,400
Africa: 7,495
India: 6,585
Philippines: 5,890
Korea: 1,095
Mother tongue:
English: 389,870
French: 6,670
Non-official languages: 122,535
Total visible minority population: 100,055
Chinese: 10,075
South Asian: 22,105
Filipino: 8,145
Black: 20,245
Southeast Asian: 6,500
Latin American: 8,420
Arab: 10,330

Neighbourhoods in Hamilton
Hamilton is home to more than 200 neighbourhoods with many heritage homes built in the Victorian era still intact. Dundas is located in the Dundas Valley, close to McMaster University, with quiet streets and a range of single family homes from apartments built in the 1960s to student housing and modern condos. Residents enjoy the charm of its quiet streets, 19th century architecture, and the area’s trendy shopping, food scene, and opportunities to enjoy local arts, culture and recreation.

Durand is a prestigious historic neighbourhood where housing prices have recently increased by roughly 70 per cent. Located near the downtown core, residents can choose from new luxury condos or the neighbourhood’s stately historic mansions. The neighbourhood is walking distance to shops, restaurants, shops, parks, golf courses, and the Bruce Trail.

Kirkendall is growing neighbourhood in close proximity to Highway 403, McMaster University and the Locke Street area. The neighbourhood has a vibrant shopping district and an active neighbourhood association dedicated to improvement initiatives in Hamilton. The association was the lead organization behind transforming downtown James Street into a car-free park for cyclists and pedestrians.

Housing in Hamilton
Things slowed down in the real estate market in 2018, the Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation says. From January to October, there was a 15 per cent drop in sales compared to 2017 but things are expected to pick up again 2019. Buying a home in Hamilton is still quite affordable, with single family homes priced around $320,000. The average cost of rental housing is quite affordable, too. Expect to pay between $750 and $850 per month for a one bedroom apartment, and between $1100 and $1400 for a three bedroom apartment in or around the city. For more info on rental and housing options, visit: Hamilton RentSeeker ApartmentsRent Ontario

Economy in Hamilton
As with other cities in highly industrialized southern Ontario, manufacturing is a key industry. Historically Hamilton’s is a steel-based industry, but over the years manufacturing has decreased in importance while areas of economic growth include construction, education, professional, scientific and technical industries.

Top industries
Biotechnology is a mammoth industry in the city, trailed by health care, finance, real estate and insurance.

Cost of living in Hamilton
On the whole the cost of living in Hamilton is quite good. A growing population, new development and investment in the region bring the promise of job growth and increased opportunity in the coming years. With a growing but still affordable housing market and a low unemployment rate of 4.6%, Hamilton is a city with growing appeal for newcomers looking to build a new life in Canada.

Transportation in Hamilton
Hamilton’s John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport is currently the busiest air cargo hub in Canada and the country’s fastest growing airport.
To get around via public transport in Hamilton an integrated bus and train system is operated by the Hamilton Street Railway Company. For schedules, visit, where you can also find information on methods of payment and fares. Taxi fares in Hamilton start at $3.20. For an hour long ride around the city expect to pay about $50 or more.

Climate/weather in Hamilton
Hamilton’s climate is best described as moderate and changeable. July tends to be the warmest month with temperatures averaging a mild 22.0 °C. In winter the temperatures stay mild, dropping in December and January to about -5 °C. However temperatures can change dramatically depending on location. The John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport sits at a higher altitude than the rest of the city, resulting in higher winds, lower temperatures, and great amounts of snowfall.

Things to do in Hamilton
One of Hamilton’s charms is its scenic beauty. More than 100 waterfalls and cascades exist in the city, most of which are near the Bruce Trail on its windy path through the Niagara Escarpment. The Bruce Trail is a popular place for hikers and cyclists to explore, with more than 800 km of main trails between Niagara Falls and Tobermory. Historical sites include the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, the Royal Botanical Gardens, the HMCS Haida National Historic Site, and Dundurn Castle. Art lovers won’t want to miss the Art Gallery of Hamilton, Ontario’s third largest public art gallery with over 9,000 works in its permanent collection. The McMaster Museum of Art (MMA) includes works of historical, modern and contemporary art and an impressive collection of over German Expressionist prints. Hamiltonians also love to cheer on their sports team. Be sure to check out a Hamilton Tiger-Cats football game at Tim Horton’s Field Stadium during the annual Canadian Football League June to November season.


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