Photostory #493: Hamilton, Ontario: Canada's Steel City
National Film Board of Canada
Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography fonds, National Gallery of Canada Library and Archive
Set strategically midway along the bustling St. Lawrence Seaway-Great Lakes oceanic transportation artery, Hamilton - Canada's steel-producing city - is astir with vigor. As downtown areas come alive with bold renewal programs, big business buildings arise, large scientific and industrial parks are developed and the city's cultural life invigorated, more and more diversified commercial enterprises are added to Hamilton's industrial might. Here, at the extreme western end of lake Ontario, where two thirds of the nation's $1,350,000,000 worth of primary iron and steel is produced, vessels from around the globe can berth alongside miles of fine port facilities situated in one of the world's finest natural harbors. Behind the busy city is a scenic mountain escarpment and for miles on either side stretches a rich and fertile vista of dairy farms, fruit orchards and vineyards, famed for their beauty and lush harvests. Apart from the massive steel producing plants - ever growing in modernity and capacity as large capital investment is made by the companies - Hamilton is renowned for its fine university, McMaster, home of Canada's first privately-owned nuclear reactor and one of the country's foremost halls of learning. Hamilton Market, 133 years old, but housed in a modern building with three raised parking lots, is the colorful scene of wholesale and retail trade in cheeses, sausages, fish, vegetables, eggs, fruits, meat, poultry and bread which are brought in by farmers from as far as 50 miles away. In contrast to this traditional market place is the Centre - a 72-acre, 40-block modern shopping centre with covered sidewalks built 15 years ago. Metropolitan Hamilton's half million population has a variety of sports and pastimes within its reach. Among the 240 acres of city parks is downtown Gore Park where on sunny days passing spectators give advice and a running commentary on the outsize checker games. In winter ice-yachting across the harbor competes with skiing on the nearby slopes and in summer golf vies with the busy activities of the Hamilton Yacht Club. The Royal Botanical Gardens - 1,820 acres of natural trails, flowers and rock gardens - and nearly 2,000 other acres of parkland managed by the city give other Hamiltonians pleasant grounds for idling away their leisure moments. Hamilton, Ontario - Canada's steel city - situated in the very middle of the emerging megalopolis, which experts predict will stretch from Chicago in the west to Quebec City in the east, will lie in the very hub of tomorrow's North American cultural and industrial development.