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Hamilton City Guide

Updated: December 4th, 2023

Hamilton’s profile among international immigrants is on the rise, boosted by its location in Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, and its proximity to Toronto. This is reflected in the increasingly diverse demography of the city, with over 20% of the approximately 561,606 residents being foreign-born, according to the World Population Review. This includes significant populations of Italians, Polish, Indians, Portuguese, Filipino, Croatian, Chinese, and German immigrants.

Wondering what it would be like to live in Hamilton? From its location on the map to the vibrant neighborhoods, from the cost of living to the exciting things to do, and from the immigration opportunities to the educational institutions, we have got you covered.

Establish yourself in claiming a spot as a permanent resident in Hamilton by examining our city guide!

About Hamilton

About Hamilton

The city was first founded by a French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, in 1669. However, the city derived its name from George Hamilton, who planned the original town in 1815 between the waterfront (North) and the Niagara Escarpment (Lake Ridge).

During 1830, the Burlington Canal was linking Hamilton Harbour to Lake Ontario, serving as a vital port and rail center. This development resulted in the amalgamation of other neighboring communities - which to this day, largely contributes to the increased population of the city.

Today, Hamilton takes the forefront in the industrial centers, with the iron and steel industry being the lifeblood of the city economy. The diverse industry further branches out to manufacturing railroad equipment, clothing, appliances, turbines, automotive parts, wire, nails, and candy.

Where is Hamilton on the Map?

Hamilton is situated in the southern part of Ontario, Canada. It is approximately 68 kilometers southwest of Toronto and 386 kilometers northwest of Ottawa. The city borders Lake Ontario to the north and is surrounded by the municipalities of Burlington, Stoney Creek, Ancaster, and Dundas.

Climate in Hamilton

Hamilton experiences a humid continental climate, characterized by warm summers and cold winters according to the Koppen Classification system. The average temperature in the summer months ranges from 20°C to 30°C (68°F to 86°F), while in the winter, temperatures can drop below freezing, averaging around -10°C to 0°C (14°F to 32°F), according to Weather Spark.

The city receives moderate rainfall throughout the year, with the wettest months being June and July. If you're planning a visit to Hamilton, pack accordingly and check the weather forecast to make the most of your trip.

Map of Hamilton

Work and Jobs in Hamilton

Hamilton is home to a diverse range of industries, offering numerous employment opportunities for residents and newcomers alike. The city has a strong manufacturing sector, with companies specializing in steel production, automotive manufacturing, and advanced manufacturing technologies. Other prominent industries in the city include:

  • Education,
  • Information technology (IT),
  • Finance, and
  • Tourism.

At present, there are approximately 11,471 job vacancies in Hamilton, according to Canada’s Job Bank. The unemployment rate in Hamilton is 5.4%, according to data from Statistics Canada. These figures illustrate that you will have a high chance of finding secure, permanent employment in Hamilton. Prominent occupations in Hamilton within the same salary range include:

Occupations in Hamilton, Ontario Average Annual Salary NOC Code
Tour Operator 92,445.31 64320
Waste Collection Operator (City of Ottawa) 89,385.37 92101
Recruitment Consultant 88,883.50 12101
Land Survey Technician 77,880.51 22213
Heavy Equipment Operator 76,577.18 73400
Administrative Assistant 66,045.28 13110
Community and Social Services Workers 66,003.84 42201
Truck Driver 66,000.43 73300
Computer Service Technician 63,451.72 22311
Transit Operator 57,516.84 73301

Cost of Living in Hamilton

cost of living in hamilton

Compared to other major cities in Ontario, Hamilton offers a relatively affordable cost of living. Rent an apartment in Hamilton is lower than in Toronto or Ottawa, making it an attractive option for individuals and families looking to settle down. This is reflected below, with figures from

Apartment Types Cost in Hamilton (CAD) Cost in Ottawa (CAD) Cost in Toronto (CAD)
One bedroom apartment in the city 1,724.17 1,958.59 2,616.98
Three bedroom apartment in the city 2,746.15 3,081.36 4,309.43

The overall average monthly Cost of living in Hamilton is cheaper than in Ottawa and Toronto as reflected below with figures from

Type of Household Average Monthly Rent in Hamilton (CAD) Average Monthly Rent in Toronto (CAD) Average Monthly Rent in Ottawa (CAD)
For a Single Person 1,426.2 1,537.7 1,566.4
For a Family of Four 5,066.0 5,569.9 5,601.3

Neighborhoods in Hamilton

Hamilton is a flexible city with many neighborhoods to choose from. Below, we’ve compiled some of the best six neighborhoods in Hamilton:


Found right at the top of Hamilton Mountain, Mount View's neighborhood boasts some of the most accomplished and highly regarded education facilities. Olympic and mountain view parks are also in the vicinity of the neighborhood, offering excellent facilities for the young and old to enjoy their downtime after a long week.

North End

This evergreen neighborhood will be ideal for families that enjoy being around nature - it is home to Pier 4 Park and the immaculate Bayfront Park, North End, split into two neighborhoods, North End West and North East West. The historic neighborhood of North End is between Hamilton Harbour, the CNR railway line, and the famous St. Lawrence Catholic Elementary School.


The neighborhood combines Kirkendall North and Kirkendall South. Kirkendall North is home to St. Joseph Catholic School, a top-rated school that offers the French immersion program from kindergarten students to grade eight. Alternatively, Kirkendall South has the feel of a more relaxed part of the neighborhood, with Highlands Garden Park and the Bruce Trail, also known as the Chedoke Redial Trail.

Delta West

Located right in the middle of the King and Main Street intersection, Delta West is a picturesque neighborhood with a well-kept rose garden and a tropical greenhouse open to the public throughout the year. It is also home to St. Baptist Elementary School.

Transportation in Hamilton

Hamilton's geographical location makes it possible for the city to be well-positioned for the transportation network in Ontario. Hamilton residents, many of whom also work in Toronto, can travel by car when going to work.

Below are some common transportation services in Hamilton:

  • Megabus,
  • Aldershot GO Station,
  • Appleby GO Station,
  • Burlington Bus Terminal,
  • Burlington Transit,
  • West Harbor GO Train Station, and
  • Sharp Bus Lines.

Hamilton has excellent bus connection services, it is a top-rated and reliable source of transportation with frequent bus services available in and around Toronto and surrounding cities.

Things to Do in Hamilton

If you want to visit Ontario or migrate to Canada, here are six reasons you should visit Hamilton soon for the ultimate experience:

African Lion Safari

Visit Canada's African Lion Safari located in Hamilton and get a closer look at the various exotic birds, elephants, giraffes, bison, white lions, and rhinos. Below are the rates:

Visitor Categories Admission Fees (CAD)
Adults 37.92
Seniors 33.85
Children 31.15
Children under the age of 2 Free admission with discounted rates in spring and fall

Royal Botanical Gardens

The Royal Botanical Gardens is a National Historic Site and aims to teach the public and children about the importance of plants and nature. Set out in nature sanctuaries that feature two canoe launch sites. Kids can join day camps where they will be kept busy with educational workshops and fun activities. A few must-visit parks are the Rock Garden, Arboretum, and Laking Garden.

Waterfall City

Hamilton is home to over 100 spectacular waterfalls. Most of the waterfalls wind through the Niagara Escarpment. Explore and collect pictures of the best Waterfalls in Hamilton. Here's a list of some of the waterfalls that are a must-see:

  • Buttermilk Falls,
  • Borer’s Falls,
  • Great Falls,
  • Sherman Falls, and
  • Chedoke Falls.

Education in Hamilton

education in hamilton

If you are an international student wanting to study in Canada, the City of Hamilton should top your options. Hamilton is a city that welcomes students from all parts of the world, offering a wide range of options and opportunities.

The transition in a foreign city can be daunting; a diverse city such as Hamilton exposes students to many ideas and cultures while equipping them with new practical skills in an environment that makes integration easy and conducive to learning.

School Boards

If you're interested in the schooling system, you'd be pleased to know that Ontario has a publicly funded education system. According to the official Ontario Government website, Hamilton has four distinct school boards that are divided into the following sectors:

  • 31 English Publics,
  • 29 English Catholic,
  • 4 French Public, and
  • 8 French Catholic.

French Immersion Schools

French immersion is a school system that offers an opportunity to students who speak little or no French but wish to learn both official languages of Canada. The French immersion program enables students to enroll in English-language schools and simultaneously learn French as a second language. The program has proved to be highly successful in Hamilton and is very popular among international students.

Post Secondary Education in Hamilton

Hamilton has several Universities and colleges that are internationally recognized with well-renowned educators equipped to teach a range of fields and industries. Below are some highly regarded institutions you should consider if you want to live in Hamilton:

  • McMaster University,
  • Mohawk College,
  • Redeemer University College, and
  • Columbia International College.

Find out more about Canada’s Education system.

Immigrate to Hamilton

If you're considering immigrating to Hamilton, there are several immigration programs available to help you make the transition.

Express Entry System

The Express Entry System is a popular pathway for skilled workers to obtain permanent residency (PR) in Canada. It provides an expedited pathway for foreign skilled workers to earn Canadian PR, with application processing times as fast as six months. Under the Express Entry system, foreign eligible immigrants can apply for the:

Find out more about the Express Entry system.

Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program

The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) is another option, allowing the province of Ontario to nominate individuals with the skills and experience needed in the local labor market. Whether you are an entrepreneur, skilled worker, or international student, the OINP provides a pathway for you to obtain Canadian PR in the province.

Learn more about Canada’s Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP).

Agri-Food Immigration Pilot

If you have a passion for agriculture, Canada's Agri-food Immigration Pilot is a golden ticket. This program addresses the labor shortages in the agricultural sector by welcoming experienced workers.

From farmworkers to butchers, the Agri-food Pilot cultivates a pathway for individuals to sow their dreams and reap the rewards of Canadian agricultural prosperity.

Find out more about the Canada’s Agri-food pilot.

Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP)

The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) aims to address the demographic and economic challenges faced by Canada’s remote and rural communities by providing a streamlined pathway for foreign immigrants who want to settle in select rural Canadian regions permanently.

Find out more about the RNIP.

Homecare Provider Pilot (HCPP)

As Canada recognizes the growing need for homecare professionals, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) instituted the Homecare Provider Pilots to pave a path for experienced foreign caregivers to permanently immigrate to Canada and contribute to the well-being of Canadians. If your heart beats for caregiving, this program opens doors to a fulfilling career while making a meaningful impact on lives.

Learn more about Canada’s Homecare Provider Pilots.

Business Immigration (Self-employed, Start-up Visa)

For entrepreneurs and self-employed individuals looking to establish a business in Hamilton, Canada offers various business immigration programs.

Self-Employed Program

The Self-Employed Program allows individuals who have relevant experience in cultural or athletic activities to immigrate and contribute to the Canadian arts and sports scene.

Learn more about the Self-employed program.

Start-up Visa Program

The Start-up Visa Program, on the other hand, targets innovative entrepreneurs with a viable business idea and the potential for growth in Canada. These programs provide opportunities for individuals to contribute to the local economy and create jobs in Hamilton.

Find out more about the Start-up Visa program.


What is the Housing Market Like in Hamilton, Ontario?

The housing market in Hamilton, Ontario, is known for its affordability compared to other major cities in the province. The city offers a range of housing options, from apartments and condominiums to detached houses and townhomes, catering to different budgets and preferences.

While housing prices have risen in recent years, Hamilton still offers more affordable options compared to neighboring cities like Toronto. It is recommended that you work with a local real estate agent who can provide up-to-date information on the housing market and assist you in finding a suitable property.

What are Some Notable Institutions in Hamilton?

Hamilton is home to several notable institutions that contribute to the city's cultural and educational landscape. The Art Gallery of Hamilton showcases a diverse collection of Canadian and international art, while the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum houses a collection of historic aircraft. Other notable institutions in Hamilton include the Hamilton Health Sciences Hospital network, the Hamilton Public Library, and the Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts.

How do I Register for the Hamilton Special Supports Benefits Application Website?

To register for the Hamilton Special Supports Benefits Application Website, you will need to visit the official website and follow the registration process outlined on the platform. The website provides information and resources for individuals and families in Hamilton who may be eligible for various social support programs.

It is recommended to review the eligibility criteria and gather the necessary documents before starting the registration process. If you have any specific questions or require assistance, the website should provide contact information for further guidance.

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