AN OVERVIEW OF HAMILTON CENTRE
EXPLORE OUR CITY
Hamilton, Ontario has become a regular conversation among Ontarians for its relatively affordable housing stock, unique restaurants, and breathtaking geography (not to mention its proximity to Toronto). The City of Waterfalls, as it has come to be known, is now considered to be one of the most desirable places to live in all the province.
In this second edition of our series examining the neighbourhoods that make up the city and guiding the reader through them, we will be surveying Hamilton Centre. Central Hamilton is a broad classification, applicable as the name of a specific neighbourhood in the city or generally to refer to the downtown core. For the purposes of this overview, we will be using the classification and borders laid out by the Real Estate Association of Hamilton Burlington. Because these overviews are designed to give you, the reader, a chance to get acquainted with the city, we will be offering both general and real-estate oriented information, such as average house prices, vacancy rates, and average rents, but also population and employment figures, anchor businesses, events, and institutions.
Hamilton Centre, as designated by the Realtors Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) is bounded to the west by James Street. Readers familiar with the city will note that we discussed business along James Street South in our examination of West Hamilton. For the purposes of simplicity as to not overwhelm the reader with information, solely James Street South was discussed in the last portion. In this overview, we will be looking at James Street North. To the east, the district is bounded by Kenilworth Avenue, to the north by Hamilton Harbour, and to the south by the Niagara Escarpment.
Hamilton Centre, like West Hamilton, is divided into several neighbourhoods, such as Beasley, Corktown, Stinson, Landsdale, Delta, St. Clair, and Crown Point. As with our last feature, before we get into our discussion of the history and notable landmarks of the area and each neighbourhood, we’ll begin by looking at some of the stats that describe the area. As previously mentioned, population and employment figures originate from the 2011 Canadian Census, meaning of course these stats are five or six years out of date. Unlike the real estate market, such a timeframe is unlikely to have a consequential effect on demographics.
HAMILTON CENTRE NEIGHBOURHOODS
BLAKELY / ST. CLAIR
Blakely and St. Clair lie at the lower city’s southern edge, running from Main Street East to the north and the escarpment to the south, from Wentworth Street to the west and Gage Avenue to the east. Arguably two of the most historical neighbourhoods in the city, with large, often-untouched century homes and wooded yards and avenues, these neighbourhoods have proven exceptionally popular with Toronto transplants.
Stinson is a residential neighbourhood in Hamilton that borders Main Street East to the north, the Niagara escarpment to the south, Wellington Street South to the west and Wentworth Street South to the east. It is a vibrant, history-rich neighbourhood that features many heritage homes and lots of cozy charming streets. It feels like an entirely downtown neighbourhood, but is isolated from the furious activity of the core. With the Central Memorial Rec Centre and access to the escarpment and a variety of lifestyle activities, Stinson is a community unto itself.
Bounded by James Street to the west, Main Street to the north, Wellington Street to the east and the Niagara Escarpment to the south, Corktown is one of the original four Hamilton neighbourhoods. Home to the Hamilton GO Station, St. Joseph’s Hospital, and the pub district of Augusta and Young Streets, Corktown is a true downtown community.
Like Gibson and Landsdale to the west, Stipley is a neighbourhood of traditionally working-class citizens. A tight-knit community, the neighbourhood is home to the former Ivor Wynne Stadium, now rebranded as Tim Hortons Field. The neighbourhood will also be home to the recently-begun Bernie Morelli Recreation Centre, due to be completed in 2018.
GIBSON / LANDSDALE
Running from Wellington to Sherman and the CN railway to Main Street, Gibson/Landsdale are predominantly residential neighbourhoods, sites of a recent flurry of investment on the part of the City of Hamilton and private developers. Home to such landmarks as Gibson School Lofts, the former Westinghouse Building, and Powell Park, Gibson/Landsdale are two neighbourhoods entrenched in Hamilton history.
One of Hamilton’s first neighbourhoods, Beasley, long one of the poorest neighbourhoods in the city, has recently witnessed a massive resurgence in interest, due in no small part to its proximity to neighbouring James Street North, arguably the most popular destination district in the city. Named for Richard Beasley, soldier, political figure, and businessman, Beasley was one of Hamilton’s first settlers. The Beasley neighbourhood is a tight-knit community of volunteers, business owners, artists, and activists.
Similar to the Industrial Sector Neighbourhoods, Keith is home to many of Hamilton’s working class citizens. During the Second World War, the neighbourhood was where you live and then walk to work in one of the then-booming factories, such as Studebaker, Stelco, or Dofasco. Since then, residents of the neighbourhood are working hard to remake Keith into a close community, one where Hamiltonians want to live and play.
NORTH END EAST
Part of the Jamesville region of neighbourhoods, North End (or Bayfront) East holds some of the city’s most infamous landmarks, such as the HMCS Haida, Pier 8, the Waterfront Trail Lookout Point, and Williams Coffee Pub waterfront location. Due to its proximity to North End West, which holds Pier 4 Park and Bayfront Park, Bayfront East has become a hotspot of activity in the real estate market, with prices increasing by 30% in the neighbourhood in 2016. If you’re looking to purchase a home by the water, now’s the time!
In reality spanning six separate neighbourhoods (Industrial Sectors A – E & K), the Industrial Sector is defined primarily by the over 2000 acres of industrial land. Nonetheless, these neighbourhoods have their own character, shops and services, defined primarily by their proximity to the city’s industrial core. Though much of the activity that pervaded this area of the city has since left, many still live and work in these neighbourhoods, making them no less important than those others mentioned here.
Home to Gage Park, the largest municipal park in the city, and Delta Secondary School, one of the oldest high schools in the city, Delta is a former streetcar neighbourhood in the east-central portion of the city. With the rise in popularity of nearby Ottawa Street and the neighbourhood’s proximity the the escarpment and green space of Gage Park, homes in the Delta neighbourhoods (West, Central, East) have become some of the most sought-after in the city.
Primarily residential in character, Crown Point suffered much during the long recession that claimed Hamilton during the 1980s and 90s, spanning into the early 2000s. Long one of the most desirable neighbourhoods for Hamilton steelworkers, many of the shops and services left along with the industrial economy. Since then, Ottawa Street, the heart of Crown Point, has become one of most popular areas of the city with unique shops and restaurants, such as the first Tim Hortons coffee shop, many holding true to the textile industry history of the area.
TOP 10 LIST
|STELCO / DOFASCO||CBC HAMILTON|
|JACKSON SQUARE||HAMILTON POLICE SERVICES|
|GORE PARK||GAGE PARK|
|HAMILTON TIGER-CATS / TIM HORTONS FIELD||PIER 8 / HMCS HAIDA|
|HAMILTON STREET RAILWAY / GO TRANSIT||THE CENTRE ON BARTON|
STELCO / DOFASCO
1330 BURLINGTON STREET EAST
118 JAMES STREET NORTH
2 KING STREET WEST
HAMILTON POLICE SERVICES
155 KING WILLIAM STREET
2 KING STREET WEST
1000 MAIN STREET EAST
HAMILTON TIGER-CATS/ TIM HORTONS FIELD
64 MELROSE AVENUE NORTH
PIER 8 / HMCS HAIDA
47 DISCOVERY LANE
HAMILTON STREET RAILWAY / GO TRANSIT
36 HUNTER STREET EAST
GO Transit, operating out of its two Hamilton locations, the Hamilton GO Centre at James Street South and Hunter Street East, and the West Harbour GO Station on James Street North, services GO transit out of Hamilton to various destinations across Southern Ontario. The Hamilton GO Centre operations out of what used to the be the head office of the Toronto, Hamilton, and Buffalo Railway Corporation (TH&B), while the West Harbour GO Station is a primarily railway station that completed construction in July 2015.
THE CENTRE ON BARTON
111-1321 BARTON STREET
|MULBERRY STREET COFFEEHOUSE||THE BURNT TONGUE|
|JACK & LOIS||GORILLA CHEESE|
|541 EATERY||LAKE ROAD|
|CANNON COFFEE CO.||LO PRESTI’S AT MAXWELL’S|
|RAPSCALLION||SHAKESPEARE’S STEAK & SEAFOOD|
MULBERRY STREET COFFEEHOUSE
193 JAMES STREET NORTH
THE BURNT TONGUE
10 CANNON STREET EAT
JACK & LOIS
301 JAMES STREET NORTH
131 OTTAWA STREET NORTH & FOOD TRUCK
541 BARTON STREET EAST
229 JAMES STREET NORTH
CANNON COFFEE CO.
179 OTTAWA STREET NORTH
LO PRESTI’S AT MAXWELL’S
165 JACKSON STREET EAST
61 YONGE STREET
SHAKESPEARE’S STEAK & SEAFOOD
181 MAIN STREET EAST
|THE HAMILTON STORE||CENTRAL CYCLE|
|COLLECTIVE ARTS BREWING||O’S CLOTHES|
|COMOTION GROUP||AGH ANNEX|
THE HAMILTON STORE
165 JAMES STREET NORTH
Donna Reid, a pillar within the Hamilton community, took over HIStory + HERitage, Hamilton’s first privately-run storefront museum, from retired local businessman and activist Graham Crawford in Fall of 2013. At the time, HIStory + HERitage was a kind of love letter to Hamilton’s past – a “salute to the men and women who helped shape Hamilton.” The Hamilton Store is the museum’s natural evolution, a shop where everything has a history and connection within the city
965 KING STREET EAST
COLLECTIVE ARTS BREWING
207 BURLINGTON STREET EAST
150 JAMES STREET NORTH
154 JAMES STREET NORTH
223 KING STREET EAST
284 KING STREET EAST
115 KING STREET EAST
118 JAMES STREET NORTH
|BARTON VILLAGE FESTIVAL||FESTIVAL OF FRIENDS / MIDSUMMER’S DREAM|
|COTTON FACTORY / SHERMAN HUB||MILLS HARDWARE|
|HAMILTON FRINGE FESTIVAL||THIS AIN’T HOLLYWOOD|
|PEARL COMPANY||ART CRAWL / SUPERCRAWL|
PIER 8 – 47 DISCOVERY LANE
121 HUGHSON STREET NORTH
BARTON VILLAGE FESTIVAL
FESTIVAL OF FRIENDS / MIDSUMMER’S DREAM
1000 MAIN STREET
COTTON FACTORY / SHERMAN HUB
270 SHERMAN AVENUE NORTH
95 KING STREET EAST
THIS AIN’T HOLLYWOOD
345 JAMES STREET NORTH
16 STEVEN STREET
ART CRAWL / SUPERCRAWL
STORIES FROM HAMILTON CENTRE
Throughout our features, we will be interviewing prominent business owners, politicians, citizens, and individuals in order to get a deeper and more personal view of what Hamilton represents.
For Hamilton Centre, we have Matthew Green – Hamilton’s Ward 3 Councillor.
HAMILTON CENTRE BY THE NUMBERS
With a total population of over 72,000, Hamilton Centre holds nearly 14% of the total Hamilton population. At the time of the 2011 Census, approximately 12% of the population were over the age of 65. This is down from West Hamilton, where the 65-plus population exceeds 16%. This difference in demographics is further reflected in the median age, with Hamilton Centre having one of 38.1 and West Hamilton a median age of 38.9. While this does not sound like a massive difference, when you consider a sample size of tens of thousands, that size of a difference is indicative of a substantial age difference between areas.
In terms of other stats, Hamilton Centre remains noticeably less affluent than the city average (similar to Hamilton West, where household income sat at around $45,000), but unlike West Hamilton, a small majority of occupied dwellings within the area are single-detached houses. In West Hamilton, this figure was substantially lower, at 34%. There are also a significant number of dwellings in need of major repairs. None of this is likely particularly surprising to our Hamiltonian readers: Hamilton between James and Kenilworth boasts some of the city’s oldest single-family dwellings. In addition, many were traditionally comprised of working-class neighbourhoods, primarily occupied by steel-workers from the Stelco and Dofasco plants. Only recently have many of these homes changed hands toward white-collar professionals within the digital industries looking to purchase their first home. Geographically, the census tracts around Ottawa Street South boast the highest average income at $72,000. Lower incomes are interspersed throughout the area. As with West Hamilton, then, we’re finding that each neighbourhood has its own characteristics, demographics, and sites worth seeing.
THE HAMILTON CENTRE REAL ESTATE MARKET
Like West Hamilton, Hamilton Centre is filled with varied and diverse neighbourhoods, each with their own history, landmarks, business, and institutions that have influenced their development. Turning now to the individual real estate markets, we are going to examine how the markets have progressed in each of these areas over the last few years.
Below, you will find summary tables of the change in average sale price for each of the three districts that make up the Hamilton Centre area. Each will be briefly discussed but the intention is that the tables speak for themselves.
Comprised of neighbourhoods North End East, Industrial Sector A, Keith, and small portions of neighbourhoods Beasley and Landsdale, District 13 falls primarily in the city’s north end. Traditionally perceived as being one of the least desirable areas in the city, these north end neighbourhoods have received a massive upswell in interest over the last 2-3 years. As prices in the rest of the city reach heights that many prospective buyers perceive as beyond their means, they are turning to these more northern neighbourhoods, subsequently driving up prices. While some areas will see increases as large as the 20-25% range from 2015-2016, District 13 is the only district covered here so far (as well as in Hamilton West) with an increase in average sale price of over 30%. This is due in no small part to the previously (arguably) undervalued prices within the area, as well as the proximity of the district’s neighbourhoods to James Street North and the city’s waterfront, which has become the site of much of the city’s future development.
Unlike District 13, Hamilton Centre District 14 has been experiencing a very gradual increase in the growth of its prices. In District 13, growth rates escalated gradually from 7.7% to 12.7% over three years, then shot up sharply over the course of 2016 (34%). District 14 has been experiencing a much more leveled growth in price increases, with 2013-2014 experiencing the largest increase at 22%. This steadier growth can be attributed to the proximity of many of the districts neighbourhoods to high-traffic thoroughfares such as Main, King, Wentworth, Wellington, and Victoria Streets.