Downtown Hamilton: a welcoming, inclusive and incredible place


I grew up in Mexico City and then moved to Burlington Ontario. Compared to a city of more than 8.9 million people, Burlington was a speck. It was quiet, safe, and everything my parents wanted for raising a large family.  I spent my childhood at the Central library and local parks close to downtown. When I moved to the suburbs of Waterdown, my days were long and I took up crafts to fill my time. I remember being bored frequently and needed to change this!

I went to McMaster University, traveled around the world, lived in downtown Vancouver and came back to live in downtown Hamilton.  I knew I had found my place. I was meant to live in a downtown core. Perhaps my early years of living in the largest metropolitan area of the Western Hemisphere conditioned me to live in a place where cars honked, bicycles whipped passed you and there was activity everywhere.

When I moved to Hamilton, the streets were full of energy; there was always something to do and people to watch.  An urban renewal was well under way, and millennials surpassed the number of baby boomers living in Hamilton. Within 3 years, I lived in the tallest building in the city, then by the waterfront and currently, I own a house a block away from the bustling James St N. My life revolves around downtown, even more so because I do not have a car. My 8-minute walk to work is so rewarding and satisfying and I have absolutely no desire to be a commuter.  I buy my groceries and everything I need from the farmers’ market and local shops nearby. I wave to the store owners that I pass every day and stop by for a drink or two at the restaurants and patios that keep the area lively.

Though it is going through many changes, Downtown Hamilton is a welcoming, inclusive and incredible place. In a 5-block radius, there are high-end restaurants, fashion boutiques, parks, small Italian and Portuguese shops, mechanics, a drive-through beer store, small and large homes, a hospital, a jail, and a strip club. It’s eclectic, but it’s home!

By: Liz Enriquez