Posted by: hepowers | November 20, 2009

Raise the Hammer

First, an explanation:  Hamilton, Ontario is also known as The Hammer.  And Raise the Hammer is an on-line magazine promoting the city, steadily swimming upstream against the negative image of Hamilton as a dirty old steeltown.  Case in point, when I moved here three years ago my nephew asked, ‘why would you want to move to that armpit of a town?’ Hmmmm.

Hamilton has carried a bad image for a long time and many people think the Burlington Skyway bridge is part of the problem.  Shuttling across Hamilton Harbour you see an unflattering, narrow view that forms a negative image for the whole city: those waterfront industrial lands.  Nobody seems to notice that amazing World Biosphere Reserve known as the Niagara Escarpment forming an end-to-end backdrop to downtown Hamilton.  Or the 126 waterfalls tumbling toward the Lake Ontario beaches or the great lengths of waterfront trails.  Okay, these latter two might be hard to see from the Skyway Bridge but they are there.

As stated on their web site, “Raise the Hammer is a group of Hamilton, Ontario citizens who believe in our city’s potential and are willing to get involved in making the city a more vibrant, livable, and attractive place to live and work.  We are non-partisan and our members come from diverse political backgrounds. Our common interest is revitalizing our city, a goal that benefits everyone.”  Sounds socially responsible to me.

The sections of the on-line magazine’s information are broad, from Accidental Activist to Digital Kayak to Photo Tours and Special Reports. Recent articles discuss two big projects coming to Hamilton:

There are many socially responsible aspects to these two projects and there is no shortage of opinions and strong feelings throughout the city for each.  Raise the Hammer’s contributors provide excellent insight and thoughtful consideration for how these projects can and should maximize their contribution to re-building the city’s vibrancy.

Let’s hope the local council is listening!  Really listening.

And going back to those waterfalls, check out the website of this group: Hamilton, The City of Waterfalls, sponsored by Hamilton community leader and businessman Chris Ecklund. The site “has become a huge portal containing all types of information about these natural wonders and the various ways that they have contributed to the growth and economic development of Hamilton.”  And lastly, the Hamilton Waterfront Trust provides information on features and events for the waterfront’s west end where the waterfront trail is a very popular spot.



  1. Thank you Helen for this post. I did not know there was a web site devoted to the waterfalls and… I did not know there were as many as listed. I live just above the Progreston Falls and often walk the 5 min. trek just to sit below them w. coffee in hand. Near the falls is an old horse watering trough that still collects water from a nearby spring via a plastic pipe. When I first moved here I often saw older people filling water jugs at that spring. Then we were absorbed and became part of the “new city of Hamilton”. A sign was erected prohibiting the filling of water containers.
    See you tomorrow,

  2. This is Great Helen!
    You are right, ALOT of people, including Hamilton Residents, do not know we are the waterfall capital. There are alot of good things happening around here as of late. I think it’s about time. Also, glad you included the Pan Am games conflict. My thoughts on it are split.

    I too hope they are really listening!

  3. Love the blog entry on Raise the Hammer. Have just registered to join. I’m a member of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce Art & Culture Committee and will bring to the attention of my colleagues on the committee as well as colleagues on the Dundas Division of the Chamber of Commerce. Thanks so much for bringing this excellent site to the attention of the class.

  4. Born and raised in Hamilton, I’ve always thought the place has been given a bad rap, especially from people who haven’t spent any time here.
    Yeah, there’s a lot of poverty here, but there’s poverty in many places, even in Toronto, which doesn’t have such a bad rap.
    Yeah, the downtown is kind of rundown and there’s some scary people hanging around. Sounds like a lot of places.
    Yeah, there’s polllution and smog. Sound like a lot of places.
    But its the people that make a city, and there’s many strong, resilient, resourceful and creative people here who care about the community.
    And the waterfalls are beautiful. I recommend Webster’s Falls in Dundas, a shining jewel on the escarpment.

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