Hamilton is located in southern Ontario, Canada. It lies on the south-western corner of Lake Ontario. Fondly referred to as "the Hammer" to some residents, and those enlightened by said residents. Otherwise referred to as "the armpit of Canada" due to the view of the fabulously ominous steel factories from the Skyway bridge crossing Hamilton Harbour, which, unfortunately, is the only part of Hamilton most people see when driving between the Niagara/St. Catharines area up to the Greater Toronto Area(GTA).

In the fall of 2000 the towns of Ancaster, Dundas, Flamborough, Glanbrook, and Stony Creek were amalgamated into the new City of Hamilton.

Hamilton Harbour was "discovered" by La Salle in 1669, but there were Iroquoian native tribes such as the Huron, Tobacco, Neutral, and Iroquois present in the area before Europeans arrived. Hamilton became a town on March 22, 1816, and was incorporated as a city on June 6, 1846. Another notable date was the very first British Empire Games, now referred to as the Commonwealth Games held in Hamilton and opened August 16, 1930. For a more thorough history of Hamilton, visit www.city.hamilton.on.ca(where information from this paragraph was gathered).

Hamilton is beautiful; you just have to look at it the right way.

Entering Hamilton from the south, one is rewarded with many opportunities for spectacular views of the city from the mountain's brow(really an ancient glacial formation known as the Niagara escarpment). The starting point of the following portrait is just off a trail on the escarpment brow directly above the picturesque south-west end of the city with its elegant Victorian style homes, and quaint antique district.

The far left from this vantage point boasts the vast wooded lands of the west end through which the extensive Bruce trail leads on its way ultimately to the Bruce Peninsula. Some gorgeous natural landscapes and nature reserves of this area include the Dundas Valley Conservation Area and Sulphur Springs Conservation Area. Both contain rugged trail systems winding down into lush valleys and climbing back up cozy green hills along sections of sweetly smelling, pine needle softened paths. To lose one's self in the atmosphere in this place is inevitable; to not feel a deep connection with nature here is impossible.

Looking ahead to the north one can see the escarpment(a continuation of the formation we are standing on, remember) make its way back around from the west to complete the cozy nest in which Hamilton quietly rests. From there one can get a different and just as pleasing panoramic of the city from the opposite side.

A little farther east and one is treated to the pristine beauty that is Coote's Paradise, a shallow bay area home to many waterfowl, and a popular rest stop for migrating birds. Coote's Paradise is attached to Hamilton Harbour to the north-east, a popular area for sailing and other watercraft in the summer; in the winter it isn't uncommon to see various wind-powered craft "on skates" cruising around.

Still a little farther east and we run into Pier 4 Park, a fairly recent development in close proximity to the Leander Boat Club. This area contains more parkland, including a bike path tracing the south shore of Hamilton Harbour and connecting it to Princess Point via a surprisingly pleasing section of floating path underneath the York Street high level bridge and highway 403. Here you will find a perfect evening stroll to observe spectacular sunsets. Both sides of Hamilton Harbour and Coote's Paradise contain fascinating hiking paths meandering through the immaculate lands of the Royal Botanical Gardens.

The upper and lower parts of the city(divided by the escarpment) are connected by several roads winding through the wooded face of the escarpment with some covered by a lush green canopy in summer opening up at spots to reveal a snapshot of the city below. For the more adventurous, there are many trail systems making their way up and down the escarpment. Some of these trails boast spectacular views of the many waterfalls spilling over the edge of the escarpment.

Each trail, park, and nature reserve is uniquely beautiful, and this effect is only enhanced by the unique and complementary effects of the changing seasons.

Embrace your surroundings. You might be surprised at what you learn about yourself.

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