If I were to tell you about the city I live in, what would I say? I’d say it’s a town built on work; a town built on industry; a town built on the grit of people who either didn’t want to, or couldn’t, deal with building the city of Toronto (our neighbour by one hour to the north-westerly direction).
I could mention the Mafia, the shipping, the steel industry, and Tim Horton’s. I could mention punk rock, jocks, and Hess Village on a summer evening.
I could talk about the east end, the west end, Rosedale, Parkdale, Westdale, Jamesville, and the hundred other little communities that make up this city. A city large enough to have its own university, four major hospitals (with two whole MRI units now, yay them), and home to one of the best airshows this side of… well, airshows.
I could tell you how there are more doughnut shops per capita in Hamilton than any other city in Canada (possibly even North America), and I could tell you about the night I saw a cop run a red to get into one of them. I could even tell you about the all-night euchre parties with friends, and the sing-a-longs that nearly got us booted out of one of them: for good.
I could tell you about the escarpment that we all like to call a mountain, or how you don’t have to be Jesus to walk on water in Hamilton Harbour (hey, really – we have t-shirts with that on it!). I could tell you how the view coming into Hamilton from the Skyway Bridge is so ugly, not because of the industry by the lake, but because we want to keep the Torontonians out.
I could tell you what it was like to have my high school graduation ceremony in the Cathedral Of Christ The King (all Catholic high schools in Hamilton do that). I could describe to you what it’s like to go skulking through the Hunter Street train tunnel (it’s really not a task for the faint of heart, trust me; especially not when you hear a train coming and barely make it out before it brushes by only inches from your skin). I could even tell you what it’s like to sit on the mountain brow on a night when the sky is lit by fireworks.
I could talk about the Festival Of Friends, Earthday, the Winona Peach Festival, the Dundas Cactus Festival, the Strawberry Festival (where they serve ice-cream and strawberries out front of city hall), the festival they have down at the harbour front every summer, or the Canada Day concerts in Gage Park. They don’t call Southern Ontario the “festival region” for nothing!
I could talk about how we are home to what might possibly be the last surviving decent independent record label and distribution company (that would be Sonic Unyun, for those keeping score at home; now home to Frank Black’s music, amongst others). I could mention how Bela Lugosi and David Byrne once lived here, or the time we stretched a silver mylar ribbon from Stoney Creek’s city hall to Hamilton’s city hall.
I could tell you what it was like to hang out with the pseudo-goth punky skinhead downtown street kids in the late 80’s, and what it was like to be friends with the sort of person who’d walk through the downtown dressed as Jesus during the annual Jehovah’s Witnesses convention. I can even tell you precisely how long it takes to get from the corner of King and Nash to McMaster by city bus (hey, they’re going your way).
I could tell you how we’re perfectly situated and perfectly sized. We’re not too big and not too small, and smack in-between Niagara Falls and Toronto. The weather is decent during the winter (we escaped the snow belt by half an hour). I can even mention the fact that our one peep show offers a seniors discount.
I could tell you many things, but I think what I’d tell you first and foremost, is that it has become my home. I am a part of it, and it is a part of me; and if I never make that move to England, I can see myself spending the rest of my life here, contentedly.
Lonita has been an AU student since early 2002, and is studying toward a Bachelor of General Studies in Arts & Science. She enjoys writing, creating websites, drinks far too much tea, and lives in hopes of one day owning a plaid Cthulhu doll. The most exciting thing she’s done so far in her lifetime is driven an F2000 racecar, and she’s still trying to figure out how to top that experience. Her personal website can be found at http://www.lonita.net and what you can’t find out about her through that, you can ask her via email: firstname.lastname@example.org