Hotels in Hamilton (Ontario, Canada)
Hotels in Hamilton
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Hamilton, Ontario: city on the mountain
An historic port city in Southern Ontario, Hamilton is a magnet for outdoor adventurers due to its enviable setting between sparkling Lake Ontario and the Niagara Escarpment, one of Canada’s most unique and ecologically significant landmarks. However, top-notch hiking and romantic sunset sails are just a few reasons to visit “the Hammer”: the city offers more than a dozen fascinating National Historic sites, an eclectic and growing arts scene, a village that loves the nightlife, and the biggest botanical garden in the country. Accommodations in Hamilton range from international chain hotels to boutique inns and campgrounds.
Put the ‘art’ in party…
One of the oldest public gallery in southwestern Ontario, the Art Gallery of Hamilton, houses one of the finest permanent collections in Canada, including iconic pieces by famous Canadian painters Alex Colville and A.J. Casson. The McMaster Museum of Art is also well worth a visit; located on the handsome McMaster University campus, it is home to over 6000 works of art, ranging from ancient to contemporary. And no art lover should leave Hamilton without cruising James Street North; once known as Little Portugal, the street now features seven blocks of independent art galleries, bakeries, restaurants, and shops. James Street hosts a popular Art Crawl monthly, and come September, it is transformed by Supercrawl, a three-day celebration of music, food, fashion, and yes, more art—exhibitions, installations, and workshops galore. Travellers who visit during “Hamilton’s Christmas” likely won’t need a map to find the party, but should reserve a place to crash well in advance; hotels in nearby Hess Village, the city’s lively entertainment district, are sure to be packed.
Turn back time…
History buffs will feel right at home in Hamilton, which offers 15 National Historic Sites and several top-notch civic museums. Among the highlights is Dundurn Castle, an awe-inspiring Italianate-style villa built in the 1830’s for Sir Allan Napier MacNab, erstwhile railway magnate and Premier of the United Canadas. Travellers can also explore life (as the McQuesten family once knew it) during the Georgian, Victorian, and Edwardian eras at the Whitehern Historic House and Garden, or experience a thrilling re-enactment of the Battle of Stoney Creek at the Battlefield House Museum and Park. Hamilton is also home to the storied HMCS Haida, “Canada’s most fightingest ship”; this Tribal class destroyer once served in World War II, the Korean Conflict, and the Cold War. And if you’ve ever wanted to take flight in a de Havilland Tiger Moth or an Avro Lancaster, make a bee-line for the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, which offers over 40 vintage and modern aircraft.
Do go chasing waterfalls…
A spectacular Canadian landmark and a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, the Niagara Escarpment is a 450-million-year-old ridge rich with fossils, forests, wetlands, and wildlife. The section which runs through Hamilton is a hiker’s paradise, with hundreds of waterfalls and miles upon miles of walking tracks, including part of the Bruce Trail, Canada’s oldest footpath. However, hiking is just one among many ways to enjoy this beautiful place; swimming, boating, fishing, camping, skiing, and ice climbing are also very popular here. And another top draw along Hamilton’s stretch of the “mountain,” as the locals modestly call it, is the Royal Botanical Gardens. The largest botanical garden in Canada and (yet another!) National Historic Site, the Royal Botanical Gardens feature four distinct formal gardens with an ever-changing array of blooms, over 18 miles of walking trails, and 2,450 acres of nature sanctuaries studded with cobble beaches, caves, swamps, and stunning old growth forest.
Down by the bay…
Lined with parks, playgrounds, beaches, and paved trails, Hamilton’s picturesque waterfront is a popular gathering place in every season, though it is at its most lively in the summer, when the sparkling waters of Lake Ontario are at their most enticing. Travellers who wish to set sail will find a public boat launch and marina along the harbour, as well as sightseeing cruises. Back on shore, young families (and the young at heart) flock to Confederation Park for all kinds of fun in the sun, from water slides and mini golf to go-karts and picnics on the beach. And if you’re travelling with little monkeys who love wild animals, be sure to plan a day at African Lion Safari. This exotic game reserve at the city’s outer limit is home to 1,000 exotic birds and animals, including giraffes, elephants, camels, rhinos, and, of course, lions. Intrepid drivers can take their own vehicles through the park, or sit back and enjoy a ride in a guided tour bus or boat.