Donna Reid is passionately positive about Hamilton
– so much so that in 2013 she created The
Hamilton Store on James Street North in the former HIStory + HERitage gallery space. She lives in the neighbourhood – north of Barton

by Donna Reid

Mother Nature continues to toy with us.  She can’t decide whether it’s spring or winter or some other post climate change mélange.  But we know by the calendar we are headed in the right direction.   Yesterday I walked to work with scarf, mittens and winter coat – with running shoes.  At the end of the day mitts and scarf were tucked away in my bag, coat slung over my shoulder and dreams of sandals in my future.  7 PM and 15 degrees!

Now this morning a whole different story – whoa!   Thinking about turning the furnace on – and about all those energetic souls preparing to walk and run this weekend in the Around the Bay Race.  Did you know that this race is the oldest in North America and began in 1894 in Hamilton?

April is National Volunteer Month, Earth Day is Saturday April 22 and it’s time to clean up our neighbourhoods after winter and all of these offer opportunities.  Most neighbourhood initiatives in Hamilton are created and driven by volunteers.  Volunteering is a great way to learn more about your city, meet new friends and make your neighbourhood a better place for everyone to enjoy.

Neighbourhood Associations: For me –nineteen years ago – a neighbourhood association was my first “engagement” with the community.   I was brand new to Hamilton, had purchased my home and arrived armed with a lot of information about my new city, but I really didn’t know much about the neighbourhood where I was living or how residents could get things done through City Hall.   Fortunately – Jane and Paul – the couple who sold me their home – were very involved in the neighbourhood.  They took me to my first neighbourhood association meeting and next thing I knew I was on its board!

In 1998 when I joined the north/central neighbourhood group the area was beginning a major transition.  Bayfront Park opened and the Waterfront Trail was being planned.  The city had concepts for Central Park that included a multicultural garden but also residential disruption.  Pier 8 was not developed – there was no Williams Coffee but we were soon to learn of the creation of the Marine Discovery Centre.   And there was no talk – yet – of waterfront stadiums.

Hamilton has many diverse neighbourhoods.  In the catchment area for the North End Breezes here are three to look into:

North End Neighbours:

Beasley :


Check out their websites – and the North End Neighbours column in this issue of The Breezes.   Contact them and ask what activities they have planned and how you can help.  Everyone has skills to share and it’s a really good way to have a say in how your neighbourhood will evolve.

Most neighbourhood groups hold meetings on a semi regular basis with topics such as beautification, safety, proposed development and other issues unique to them.  It’s also a way to have a conduit to your local elected officials’ office and learn about municipal government.

A 2014 list of most of Hamilton’s neighbourhood associations may be found at this link.  Cannot attest to its accuracy:

Spring Cleaning:   When the days get longer we spend more time outdoors.  April is a great time to volunteer to help clean up our outdoor “living rooms” and public spaces.  In 2016 over 25,000 volunteers collected over 6500 bags of garbage and over 2500 bags of recyclables during just the City organized events (City of Hamilton Team up to Clean Up).

Here are a few local groups who organize cleanups and need volunteers this year:

Sunset Cultural Garden Spring Clean Up – this unique garden initiated and created- just a few years ago- Bay Street N and Strachan – a pollinator garden gateway to Bayfront Park.  Sadly City Council has recently decided to sell the land it is on to a developer.  But spring is here and the dedicated volunteers need help getting the garden cleaned up and ready for the season.    @sunsetculturalgarden or on Facebook Dates TBA

The Escarpment Project Clean up Day is Sunday April 30
details here:

Create Your Own Spring Clean Up event – “Team up to Clean Up” is a free program to create your own clean up event.   You pick a date, sign up online, the City of Hamilton will provide gloves / bags etc.  and arrange for the collected garbage and recyclables to be picked up for disposal after the event.  Interested?

April Free Event: 

GritLit – an annual event all about books and reading runs from April 6 to 9 at various locations around Hamilton.  Grit (LIT) Live kicks off with a FREE event Sunday April 2, 7:30 PM at The Staircase Theatre – 27 Dundurn Street North.  Authors participating are:  Andrew Baulcomb (Evenings and Weekends), Graham Jackson (The Jane Loop), Joe Ollmann (The Abominable Mr. Seabrook), Molly Peacock (The Analyst), Phoebe Wang (Admission Requirements) and Sarah Raughley (Fate of Flames).  Visit for event listings + to purchase tickets.