Living in Hamilton

For the last few years, I have been a mentor for medical students trying to decide which speciality to apply to when they graduate. This means talking about pros/cons different programs, schools and cities including a memorable incident calming a panic attack about applying to Ob/Gyn at Starbucks. I get asked to meet with visiting medical students from other schools as well and the most common question I get asked is “What do you think about living in Hamilton?”. 5 years is a long time to commit to one place and it makes sense to think things through. I think Hamilton is pretty freaking great. I feel like I sound like a bit of a cult recruiter when I start talking about my love of living in Hamilton, but it really is such a cool place.

When I first moved to Hamilton 10 (oh god…) years ago, I HATED it. I had moved from the GTA and went home every single weekend. That was sort of the problem, I never got to know the city. When I finally got my own place and started to explore, I fell completely head over heels. The most important things to me in the city I live in are:

1) Do I have the option to walk/bike safely to work, but also drive in non-insane traffic if I need to?
With the installation of the new bike lanes and the Sobi stations installed around the city, I am loving the accessibility we now have. I live fairly centrally in between the three major hospitals I work at and can walk or bike to any of them which is awesome. I do appreciate having the option to drive without getting stuck in horrendous traffic though.

Photo credit: Sobi Hamilton

2) Is there a decent food scene?
Food scene: It’s enough of a scene to convince me to write a food blog, ’nuff said. Check out my reviews to get to know some of my favourite restaurants.

Photo Credit: Supercrawl Website 2014

3) Do I have access to trails and hiking paths?
THIS IS THE BEST PART! I cannot control my exclamation marks around the Hamilton Conservation Authority and the bajillion amazing trails we have. Buy a pass (, change your life. Your summers will be exponentially better. Even with the pass, the Rail Trail running through the city makes it so that you are only ever a few minutes away from getting into nature. We also have over 100 waterfalls (full disclosure: some of them are tiny, but there are also beautiful full on TLC waterfalls!).

Webster’s Falls Photo credit: Hamilton Conservation Authority

4) Does parking make me suicidal or homicidal?
Nope. Even at peak hour downtown on a Friday, I can get parking. Admittedly, I used to be able to get free parking, but I am willing to pay the price of $1/hour if it means more growth in the city.

5) Is the housing affordable?
Definitely. Residents are on a limited income, don’t even get me started on that topic. We all get paid the exact same, no matter where in the province we work. Even with the increasing costs of housing in Hamilton, they don’t come near Toronto.

And finally, is there somewhere to get my eyebrows done because let’s get real, I cannot wait more than 2 weeks between my threading sessions.

If you are thinking about living in Hamilton and unsure if it’s for you, come visit! I promise you will find something for you.

1 comment on “Living in Hamilton

  1. I felt the same way about Hamilton when I first moved there. All I knew of it were my briefs visits to the sketchy downtown core, which coloured my perception of the place. But after about 12 months, Hamilton had really grown on me. The social bike program combined with adequate bike lanes was a big feature, particularly since rental/housing prices are low enough that you can live within biking distance of work. The food scene is amazing and would be the envy of cities twice Hamilton’s size. I definitely preferred living in Hamilton than Toronto. That said, I wouldn’t move to Hamilton if I were still working in Toronto, the commute is life sucking. But if you can make the move, Hamilton’s got a better quality of life overall.

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