With over 3,400 acres of parkland, 137 kilometres of hiking trails, and more than 120 waterfalls, Hamilton has a diverse and unique natural environment. Hamilton is becoming increasingly known for its fascinating environmental features; however, it wasn't long ago that the city was considered the ‘industrial armpit of Canada’. This series highlights the new, sometimes unexpected environmentally-driven initiatives taking place in this former 'Steeltown'.
Although industry brought prominence and wealth to the city in the early 1900's, economic, social, and cultural difficulties were the norm by the 1960's. This continued for many years, bringing a negative light on the city. The city of waterfalls was forgotten by the public, while the armpit of Canada reigned in national public opinion. But, like all things, this started to change.
Our own beginnings mirror the change in the city. As McMaster students, our early contributors interacted with the Hamiltonians who saw beyond the smoke stacks and believed in a sustainable city. Some were (and still are) personally involved in the change. We began to notice that the issues important to us were being addressed in many sectors of the city. From business, politics, the arts, and academia, people were shaping a Hamilton renaissance that had a sustainable edge to it .
This isn’t a new or unique story. Many industrial cities have been revitalized in the last 20 years. The transition to a sustainable city is rooted in local efforts and initiatives. Over the last few months, we have been reaching out into the community for stories on how Hamilton is going green. We asked, ‘Is Hamilton going green, and what are you doing to make it so?” We have received responses from businesses, engaged citizens, non-profits, academia, and local artists. They’ve shared their work and experiences in the city with us for a project we’re calling #GreenHamOnt. For the rest of this week, we will be publishing these stories to show that, even though Hamiltonians may be saying it or doing it differently, they care about their community’s environment and are taking action in their own way for a common goal, a sustainable city.