Hamilton is located at the western end of Lake Ontario. The Niagara Escarpment runs through the city creating an upper and lower section. Hamilton Harbour or Burlington Bay is a natural port. A large sandbar known as the beach strip protects the harbour.
Ship traffic passes into the harbour from Lake Ontario via a channel along the sandbar. Many of Hamilton's main buildings and factories in the north end were built on reclaimed or in-filled land, which damaged the water ecology of Hamilton Harbour. The Burlington Bay James N. Allan Skyway on the QEW spans the channel from above while a lift bridge allows for the movement of traffic on the ground.
In 1669 LaSalle sailed into Burlington Bay and came ashore and made his way up Burlington Heights. He was most likely the very first white man to gaze upon the waters of Lake Ontario.
The very first white settler to the area was Robert Land, a United Empire Loyalist. He built a log cabin at the western end of Lake Ontario in 1778 which is now the corner of Barton and Leeming Streets. Robert Land would farm 300 acres that was bounded by the bay on the north, Wellington Street on the west, main Street on the south and Wentworth Street on the east. Richard Beasley was another early settler to Burlington Heights, as the city of Hamilton had yet to be laid out. By 1791 a census by Augustus Jones showed there were thirty-one families settled at Burlington Heights.
George Hamilton was the son of the Hon. Robert Hamilton who resided at Newark (Niagara-on-the-Lake). In 1812 war broke out between Britain and the United States and George Hamilton moved his young family from harms way at Newark, where most of the fighting was taking place. He purchased a property that was bounded by James and Wellington Streets on one side and the mountain and King Street on the other from a settler named Durand. Here he built a grand estate which he named Bellevue. Bellevue mansion was a historical landmark in the city until it fell into disrepair and was demolished.
In 1813 George Hamilton divided his farm into village lots. The following year William Sheldon opened a general store at the corner of King and John Streets and a wagon repair shop operated by John Aikman was situated on the south side of King Street opposite Gore Park. The tiny community began to be called Hamilton after it's founder George Hamilton.
Hamilton's location along the escarpment provides for great hiking, sightseeing and exploring. Hamilton has over 100 waterfalls and is known as the Waterfall Capital of the World. The Royal Botanical Gardens are a major tourist attraction in the area and have over 25 kilometres of well groomed trails and floral displays.
Region 1: Southwest Ontario • Region 2: Niagara Canada • Region 3: Hamilton, Halton and Brant • Region 4: Huron, Perth, Waterloo and Wellington • Region 5: Greater Toronto Area • Region 6: York, Durham and the Hills of Headwaters • Region 7: Bruce Peninsula, Southern Georgian Bay and Lake Simcoe • Region 8: Kawarthas and Northumberland • Region 9: South Eastern Ontario • Region 10: Ottawa and Countryside • Region 11: Haliburton Highlands to the Ottawa Valley • Region 12: Muskoka, Parry Sound and Algonquin Park • Region 13a: North Eastern Ontario • Region 13b: Sault Ste. Marie – Algoma • Region 13c: Northwest Ontario