By Brian Roulston
Everybody loves a picnic, even the ants and our beloved North End is one of the best areas in the city for one. The month of July is also considered the best month of the year for a picnic. So, grab some sandwiches or get takeout and visit the many great places in the area.
Please keep in mind, some or all the parks and recreation areas may have social distancing and mask policies still in place and some attractions may be still closed or cordoned off.
First, there’s Bay Front Park, it’s spacious with lots of green grass, a naturalized area of wildflowers, shrubs and trees. There are also picnic tables to sit at and enjoy a summer afternoon or evening. Hutch’s on the hill serves some of the best fish and chips around and if you like ice cream cones, it’s a good spot to get one of those too. Hint, it’s a great place to bring a date, what better way to connect with your significant other than with an ice cream cone and a romantic sunset.
Follow the walking trail to Pier 4, sometimes referred to as Tugboat Park. There’s a bit of history here, the old building on the right once stood on the corner of Stewart & Catherine Streets and served as the offices of the Gartshore-Thomson Pipe Company which supplied most of the major cities across Canada, including Hamilton with the equipment and piping to install their initial water works and gas infrastructures. Today, it serves as a public washroom for the park and city offices. There’s an old tugboat on the left, closer to the shore, that too is historical in a sense. It is two ships melded together CAPE TRANSPORT and the BAYPORT. It’s great place for kids to play in and around. It even has a splash pad and what goes better than kids and water on a hot, sticky afternoon. It’s the perfect spot to throw a blanket on the ground and look out over the bay as it glimmers on a bright and sunny summer day.
Finally, we come to Pier 8, which is undergoing major urban renewal. Some projects are underway, creating a new and vibrant community with residential and commercial units as well as institutional spaces. Here you can grab a coffee or lunch at William’s Fresh Cafe or take a stroll or a cruise by the Harbour Queen and the Hamiltonian. There’s a roller-skating pad which is an ice rink in winter. Another great spot for a family a picnic. You could maybe do a little fishing and watch the Canada Geese as they stroll around the park, just don’t get too close. They can be meaner than a junk yard dog. The view here is priceless, lush green trees line the shoreline around the bay, LaSalle Park in Burlington is visible to the right as well. One could spend the afternoon watching the sail boats skim over the water and the pleasure boats leisurely trolling by. Often huge Great Lakes freighters come and go and they are worth watching. In the distance you can see Hamilton’s industrial sector too, the steel mills and the Hamilton Beach Strip.
We hope you have some great picnic memories and have a happy and safe summer.