Author’s Note: This is the introduction to a series of articles that will feature James Street North in Hamilton, Ontario. I'll be interviewing businesses/organizations on James St. N. about their perspective on the area to highlight how community members are contributing to a more sustainable Hamilton.
The city of Hamilton is constantly undergoing societal, structural, and ideological change. As a result, there are unique pockets of the city that are quickly becoming cultural Meccas. James Street North is one of the oldest streets in Canada, with deep roots in Hamilton dating back to the early 1800’s. James St. N. has been home to several important Hamilton achievements, such as the first department store and the first skyscraper. The street eventually grew into a central location for immigrants to take root and pursue new lives.
Today, the Hamilton community is marking a decisive chapter of history on James St. N. The area now features a variety of ambitious, socially minded, and creative thinkers. The street is home to numerous businesses and organizations that desire to make Hamilton a greener, cleaner, and healthier city. It seems that James St. N. has become an agora of sorts, where Hamiltonians can come to talk, shop, and even learn. Having this unique space is essential to cultivate new ideas and develop a desire for progress.
James St. N. is also host to the art crawl, a musical, artistic, delicious, and community-bonding event. This event attracts Hamiltonians from across the city and provides a space for communal enjoyment. Citizens of all walks of life can listen to some fantastic music, make new friends, admire beautiful art, and indulge in mouth watering treats. In part, the art crawls have contributed to the cultural shift on James St. N. and helped propel it into a new era of change. James St. N. has come to represent a shift in Hamiltonian priorities and a pursuit of new ambitions. Hamilton is no longer a “steel city”, but is now an innovative, diverse, and greening city. This ambition to actualize sustainability in creative and convenient ways makes transitioning to a greener city achievable.
The importance of supporting and promoting sustainability is essential to making Hamilton a more vibrant city. The opportunity to find sustainable alternatives is an incredible catalyst to changing societal perceptions of going green. Realizing that behaviour change is not as difficult as it seems can motivate citizens to reconsider priorities. Being able to find local, appealing, and ethical products/services is a valuable asset to the city. James St. N. is proof that taking that “leap of faith” is not always such a leap- change is more attainable than we may think.
I encourage you to take a trip down to James St. N. and find out what it has to offer. It's lined with shops making it easy to find something to do. The grassroots atmosphere and array of entertainment makes the street a trophy for all of Hamilton to hoist. Experience this remarkable neighbourhood for yourself- it is definitely worth the trip!