Our Future Hamilton is the city’s new 25-year community vision.  It builds on the legacy of Vision 2020, Hamilton’s first community vision that was initiated in 1992.  Over the span of one year, Our Future Hamilton engaged with nearly 55,000 residents and community partners to create a shared community vision, including 6 community priorities, 88 key directions, and 57 signs of success to guide long-term planning.

The six community priorities for Hamilton’s 25-year vision include:

  1. Community Engagement and Participation
  2. Economic Growth and Prosperity
  3. Healthy and Safe Communities
  4. Clean and Green
  5. Built Environment and Infrastructure
  6. Culture and Diversity

In 2016, Council incorporated the community vision priorities into a new 10-year Strategic Plan for the City of Hamilton.  The City, along with over 100 community organizations, has committed to implementing the community vision.  Many community partners are using the vision to guide their strategic priorities and focus their work on making progress towards achieving Our Future Hamilton.

Based on resident and community feedback, the City hosted the first annual Our Future Hamilton Summit on November 14, 2017 at Liuna Station.  Over 430 residents, community partners, civic advocates and other major stakeholders from across Hamilton and surrounding areas attended the 2017 Summit.

Each year, the Summit will examine current issues that our community prioritized through the visioning process and share our collective progress in moving the vision forward.  In addition to highlighting key partnerships and local initiatives, the annual Summit provides an opportunity for continued public engagement, community partnership, and collective action-taking involving government, community partners, and residents.

The theme for the first annual Summit was Shaping Democracy through Civic Engagement and featured keynotes from Greg Essensa, Chief Electoral Officer for Elections Ontario, Dr. Chelsea Gabel, Assistant Professor of Indigenous Studies at McMaster University and Nicole Goodman, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Brock University.

Through facilitated table discussions, summit participants came together to explore barriers to democratic engagement and identify areas for improvement.  The conversation also took Twitter by storm, trending number 1 in Hamilton and number 2 in all of Canada (#OFHSummit2017).

As a result of the 2017 Summit, a number of strategic alliances and community partnerships emerged to improve democratic and civic engagement in Hamilton, including the Conversations that Matter Speakers Series. A full 2017 Summit Summary Report can be found online at: hamilton.ca/ourfuturehamilton.

Plans are currently underway for hosting the 2018 Summit.  This year’s Summit will take place on Tuesday, November 13, 2018 and will focus on “Public Safety in a Connected World.”  The Summit is expected to bring over 450 community partners and residents together to discuss some of the most challenging aspects of public safety in today’s increasingly connected world and identify local solutions.

In addition to featuring keynote speakers and presentations by leading subject matter experts, the Summit will also highlight local partnership initiatives and shared progress in making Hamilton’s community vision a reality.  The event is free and will include light refreshments.  Registration will open in early October.  For more details contact Greg Iarusso at (905) 546-2424 ext. 1286 or email: ourfuturehamilton@hamilton.ca

To stay informed on our collaborative efforts in moving the vision forward, visit our website and join our mailing list.  Members of our mailing list receive quarterly newsletters as well as advanced registration notice of the 2018 Summit.  To join our mailing list visit: Hamilton.ca/ourfuturehamilton

Residents can also participate in the Community Champion Program.  Everyone has a role to play in making our city even better.  Share how you are making Our Future Hamilton a reality and win great prizes.  Visit “Our Residents” section of the Our Future Hamilton webpage for more details.

Community partners can also join our growing membership of over 100 local organizations, associations, and networks that have committed to making Hamilton’s 25-year vision a reality.  Benefits of becoming a community partner include recognition in newsletters, annual reports, and at the annual Summit.  Visit “Our Community Partners” section of the webpage to learn more about the benefits of becoming a community partner.

Together, we can make Our Future Hamilton a reality.

Cindy Mutch is with Community Initiatives at the City of Hamilton