Photo Credit: Ontario Culture Days

Day in the Life is sponsored by OLG. Check them out on social @OLGToday or visit their website here.

Welcome to Hamilton, the heart of the golden horseshoe, and a nexus for travellers on the western edge of Lake Ontario. Most importantly for us, it’s a hub of arts & culture programming, especially with Ontario Culture Days and SHIFT Festival both kicking off this week.

So, what exactly is there to do in Hamilton? A lot!  We’ve put together a handy guide to enjoying Hamilton like a Hamiltonian. Trust us, between Ontario Culture Days and SHIFT, there won’t be a dull moment.

Hamilton’s downtown core is a growing metropolis, with no shortage of indie galleries, locally-owned cafes, and a number of other small businesses which leave Hamiltonians spoiled for choice when they want to explore their city.

If downtown is your first port of call, then you can start with a strong cup of joe courtesy of Café Oranje. This Dutch-inspired coffeehouse is a snug and delightful place to enjoy a cup of espresso or one of their many delicious cookies and sandwiches. It’s also a great place to read a book, precisely because it’s right next door to J.H. Gordon Books.

While exploring Hamilton’s inner core, there are plenty of galleries and museums, big and small, to peruse. The most obvious choice is the Art Gallery of Hamilton with its collection of Canadian contemporary art and an international collection spanning several countries and five centuries worth of work.

Anyone looking for Canadian art of a more independent streak should visit the Assembly, which represents a large roster of Canadian contemporary artists and their work in a variety of styles and media. There’s also the Westdale Gallery, which also features works by a number of local artists, mostly contemporary.

There are fascinating attractions beyond the downtown core, too. You can visit the Hamilton Military Museum to learn more about the War of 1812, or you can visit the luxurious neoclassical mansion known as Dundurn Castle. Or, you could hike up to Sam Lawrence Park to enjoy a sweeping view of Hamilton and the bay.

And don’t forget the sprawling McMaster Campus. You can admire the architecture of the various faculty buildings, walk the gardens, or stop by the McMaster Museum of Art. The Museum has an expansive collection of Canadian, international, and antique works of art.

While you’re on the McMaster campus, look to attend one of the many thought-provoking programs taking place during the SHIFT Festival. There’s a film festival, a concert, and discussions with great thinkers like Diana Beresford-Kroeger and Naomi Klein.

Culture Days Programming

There’s a lot more going on in, and coming to you online from, Hamilton! You can find all of the Culture Days activities and events happening in Hamilton and being presented online by Hamilton presenters here. In the meantime, here are some highlights!

  • Hamilton Reads is a literary program that encourages everyone in the community to read the same title, in order to have a shared conversation. Hamilton Reads 2020 is Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice. This YouTube playlist features a video of Waubgeshig introducing the program, a series of virtual studio tours from Canadian artists, and book recommendations from Hamilton Public Library staff. For more information about this program click here.
  • LUNAFEST Film Festival is a long-running celebration of female film makers. The 2020 lineup includes seven short films with a running time of 96 minutes. HPL will send a link to the event to you after you register. For more information about this program click here.
  • Explore narrative ideas about Canada’s past, present & future through #spoken word & #garageband album – CANADADA: TAKE TWO – by canajun artist, MLHolton. – Listen in for free x3. For more information about this program click here.

And for more information on what’s going on during the SHIFT Festival, you can check out their program schedule here.

Throughout the entire Culture Days festival, we’ll be dropping in on many different communities across the province. Hit the button below to check out the growing roster of these featured communities.