Signs of Life

Making Hamilton the Best Place In Canada To Raise a Child

Parents may be enticed by a slogan, but until the City and the Jobs Prosperity Collaborative substantially improve the regional employment market, they will be disappointed by reality.

By Keanin Loomis
Published January 28, 2010

The City of Hamilton strives to be the best place in Canada to raise a child. The Jobs Prosperity Collaborative was apparently so inspired that it adopted the same vision. It is a laudable effort, and this goal resonates with me as a parent of two young children looking for a community in which to put down roots. (Wouldn't it be irresponsible to settle my family in the second-best - or worse - place to raise a child?)

It takes effort to penetrate Hamilton's dismal image and discover that it really is a fine place to live and has many assets that appeal to parents (or anyone else, for that matter).

Based on what I've experienced and the people I have met, I don't need much convincing that Hamilton would be a great place to raise my family, which is not immediately apparent to anyone who hasn't spent some time here (or even many who have).

It's necessary to mobilize an effort around this vision and promote Hamilton's many appealing assets. But from my perspective, to be the best place to raise a child, you must have three things: jobs, jobs and jobs. And they must be quality jobs.

Hard to Choose Hamilton

Richard Florida posits that the creative class evaluates where to live first and then searches for employment. If that's true, my experience, albeit anecdotal, is that it is difficult for professionals to choose to settle in Hamilton. I assume that the same goes for any other person, regardless of level of education.

So far, my wife and I have been here five months and, given our qualifications and efforts, our quest to settle in Hamilton has been much more difficult than it should be. I have met many other talented people in similar predicaments.

As such, the City and the JPC have yet to prove to me that Hamilton is the best place to raise my children.

Over the last few months, I have learned a lot about Hamilton's history and its present. I know that there are significant structural obstacles and decades of economic decline to surmount, as Hamilton's Rust Belt cousins can attest.

Lots of Committed Resources

I also know that there are significant resources invested and scores of people devoted to the effort of creating jobs in this city.

Hamilton's current political and economic leadership, in an effort to bring progress, have developed lofty goals and generated great visions of a transformed city that will be even more enticing to families. Thus, they have created a yardstick against which they must be measured.

As a lawyer (and a concerned citizen), I like to be presented with evidence that the considerable human effort and taxpayer dollars are not being wasted. Maybe it is too soon, but thus far, the only successes the JPC can tout are working groups and that it presented Hamilton with one remarkable speaker (I was there and he was remarkable).

I can't find any claims of success from the City, which would make sense if there are none to make.

Measuring Success of Current Efforts

I'm sure that as they emptied City Hall for renovations, mounds of dusty ten-year plans, consultant reports and other grand designs from decades past were found in a dark corner.

For some reason or another, the goals went unfulfilled, elected officials invented excuses and citizens shrugged (or moved).

But today, as politicians and business leaders in this city draw inspiration from and repeatedly invoke the successes of other cities like Pittsburgh, Edinburgh, Austin, Seattle, Portland, et al., they are acknowledging that there are proven formulas for urban renewal.

Leaders in those cities succeeded in creating vibrant communities and a thriving job market. That is the statistic against which the political and economic leaders of Hamilton ought to be held accountable.

The Cusp of Revival?

It is fair to say that though Hamilton has seen better days, it has also seen worse. Almost every person I've met in this city, from the homeless to the Mayor, believes that Hamilton is on the cusp of revival. With its assets and attributes, if Hamilton continues to languish it will clearly be due to a failure of leadership.

Thus, the citizens of Hamilton must demand results and refuse to listen to excuses. If the JPC fails to prove that it is more than just an opportunity for the privileged to gather for cocktails and hors d'ouvres, I assume it will lose credibility and relevance.

To the extent that our elected officials are failing us, the October 2010 elections (and all subsequent ones) should be their moment of accountability.

In the meantime, my family and many other talented people will continue to try to make Hamilton their home.

Just last week, however, my wife asked me if we have a Plan B. It is something we are starting to formulate.

Keanin is the President and CEO of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce.


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By Tammany (anonymous) | Posted January 28, 2010 at 12:18:16

"Just last week, however, my wife asked me if we have a Plan B. It is something we are starting to formulate."

Good thinking.

I have met members of the JPC. I think they're nice people and their intentions -- whilst self-promotion and self-congragulation are certainly in there amongst them -- are generally good. What they (along with most of Hamilton's other "leaders) lack, however, is talent -- genuine, unmistakeable, natural talent. I'm coming to realize that that is what this city is really, tragically short on.

There are no brilliant people in city staff or on council. At best, we have competence (and not much of it, to be honest). But you can't (re)build a great city on that alone.

What can we do to attract talented people to this city or to incentivize the talented people who already live here stay and take an actual interest in the place?

The people who rule us now are stuck in the past, devoid of imagination, and utterly lacking in vision. They are hostile to anything which even remotely challenges their firmly entrenched status quo way of thinking. How can we get rid of them? How can we convince the vast majority of Hamiltonians, who are infamously apathetic about the state of their city, that the place can be better and that their lives can improve?

You asked in an earlier article if Hamilton is still a place of opportunity? It is. But the opportunity here is profoundly latent and is diminishing day by day.

I could not blame you if you and your family make the decision to move on ...

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By Jonathan Dalton (registered) | Posted January 28, 2010 at 13:03:57

I don't know about you, but when I search for jobs in my field in Hamilton I get tons of jobs

(sarcasm intentional)

Comment edited by Jonathan Dalton on 2010-01-28 12:05:45

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted January 28, 2010 at 13:11:27

Maybe part of the problem is some of the groups that are involved with JPC. This would be to follow Tammanys thoughts

The people who rule us now are stuck in the past, devoid of imagination, and utterly lacking in vision. They are hostile to anything which even remotely challenges their firmly entrenched status quo way of thinking

How can the city move forward, when some of these groups are the problem that thwart peoples ability from moving forward. Instead of listening to same old voices, maybe it is time for the people speak. I mean let us be realistic, it is all about funding, if they move away from the rigors and structures that would actually help people, their funding would be cut. They live in fear, that they will have no jobs and to be standing in the unemployment line.

Maybe if the those who can have the ability to create jobs, actually heard from the voices of those that struggle and how they are held behind, maybe there could be a joining, a collaberation.

The peoples stories must be heard.

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By MarkWhittle (registered) - website | Posted January 28, 2010 at 13:12:32

I completely agree that in order for Hamilton to be the best place to raise a child, you must have three things: jobs, jobs and jobs. So the next logical question is, how many new ones were created last year by local elected leadership, and the year before that? Funny how these groups never quite get around to stating this fact unequivocally, one way or the other, but they produce miles and miles of spin in the process. Like trying to make a silk purse from a Sow's ear, over and over again.

Thank goodness it's an election year.

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By d.knox (registered) | Posted January 28, 2010 at 13:14:42

You didn't mention it specifically in your article, but I think we all understand that the "best place to raise a child" ballyhoo is just another outcome of the poverty industry in Hamilton and really applies more to people who barely eke out a living et still decide to have children. I recognize that you are using it as a rhetorical seque into a question about employment, so I'll respond to that point instead.

Asking if there are any opportunities in Hamilton versus asking if there any good jobs are somewhat different questions.

Opportunities implies a lack of impediment. I think we have that. God, if anyone actually shows up with a great idea, we are pretty quick to line up in support. Opportunities imply that you've got an idea you'd like to develop and wonder if we have the resources as a city to support you. Yup.

Jobs imply that you've got some credentials and you'd like some money for them. A fair enough expectation, but not an opportunity. Jobs imply that someone else had the idea and took a risk and developed it and are now able to expand and provide employment (or we just got another social services transfer and need some administrative staff).

If you are just looking for a job, Hamilton might not be the best place for you right now, even though it's a great place to live and raise kids. It seems to me that the legal profession almost requires other people to seize the opportunities and create the jobs. Are you different?

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By Tammany (anonymous) | Posted January 28, 2010 at 14:01:02

"Maybe it is too soon, but thus far, the only successes the JPC can tout are working groups and that it presented Hamilton with one remarkable speaker (I was there and he was remarkable)."

The JPC does not have a single concrete accomplishment to its name. Thus far, it has made absolutely no improvement to the lives of Hamiltonians.

"Breaking down barriers between both the staff and developer groups"? This is vacuous BS management speak. How stupid do you think we are?

Making presentations to council, holding a "position" on what the city needs and "assisting the City in ensuring that the new zoning by-law will contain the flexibility needed to attract commercial and industrial developments."? Again, nothing to show, absolutely nothing.

Paying Bill Strickland to deliver a canned speech to self-satisfied do-nothings? Nice event. Too bad I already heard the same speech on TED Talks, virtually word for word. I came away feeling Strickland had very little to offer the city. I was sitting with the "VIPs" and I couldn't believe these people had actually convinced themselves that this was the beginning of a new age for Hamilton.

Pardon my pessimism, but I think the JPC is a complete fail.

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted January 28, 2010 at 14:42:31

Here is an 10 Tough Questions with Tim Dobbie:

Comment edited by grassroots are the way forward on 2010-01-28 13:42:49

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By Jonathan Dalton (registered) | Posted January 28, 2010 at 15:55:19

At least one member of the JPC seems to getting somewhere:

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted January 28, 2010 at 16:21:42

Keanin >> I also know that there are significant resources invested and scores of people devoted to the effort of creating jobs in this city.

In 2008, the City of Hamilton spent 12.5X more money on programs aimed at poverty than it did on creating jobs ($200M vs $16.5M). If you asked anyone in this city what the biggest problem is, most likely they would answer a lack of good jobs. This being the case, why do we focus so little of our resources (2.3%) on filling Hamilton with jobs, yet so much (28.2%) on keeping people on welfare and subsidized transit and housing. It's almost as if the city wants people to remain unemployed.

The absolute minimum this city needs to spend on creating good jobs and economic growth is 10% of the overall budget. Even that number may be too low considering how many jobs we have lost over the past few decades.

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By Tim Dobbie (anonymous) | Posted January 29, 2010 at 13:46:44

I want you to know that we are listening. We hear your frustrations and are working towards getting you the results you demand. However, since the JPC is working towards long-term solutions,these “results” will take time. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that we have accomplished a lot in the past year; however, judging by your comments I can see that not everyone feels the same. Nevertheless, the JPC will continue to push forward, listening to what you have to say and working towards a shared goal - jobs, jobs and jobs.

Secondly, I believe that communication within a community is most effective when it is sided with positive efforts. No one direction is going to hold all of the answers, but the JPC is working to find a successful solution that will benefit Hamilton for now, and the future. It is one result to create jobs, but another to have sustainability.

@Keanin – You’ve made some very good points. We knew that this was going to be an uphill battle when we started.

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By kevin (registered) | Posted January 29, 2010 at 16:42:23

Keanin: Your sincerity and decency jumps from the screen when I read your work. Best of luck to you and the family.


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By rusty (registered) - website | Posted January 29, 2010 at 17:17:18

I have to admit I don't quite understand the purpose of 'the best place to raise a child' objective. Shouldn't Hamilton want to be the best place for everyone? I wouldn't move somewhere if it was the best place to raise a child but the worst place for Mum and Dad...

Obviously so much of what makes a town 'liveable' is interlinked. Jobs relate to everyone and everything. You can't live somewhere if you're not in close proximity to a job (sort of goes without saying doesn't it?).

To grassroot's comment, here's one 'story':

I lived in the Hammer for 6 years, with my 4 young kids. As with all towns there were good and bad things about the place.

Good Schools Park Space (I lived nr Gage Park, had I lived in the lower east end this would have gone in the other column (along with a lot of other aspects)) People Local road network (no traffic jams in the Hammer!) Cheap/beautiful housing Safe

Bad No streetlife in my hood Transit Lack of things to do Downtown (no downtown = no identity) Busy roads, one way streets (there's a price to pay for those unclogged local streets...) Lack of local jobs in my field (IT)

In the end we moved away because Dad (me) was away too much (commuting) and it was very hard to put down roots. The lack of decent planning and transit was a big factor, as was the lack of a downtown and things to do.

For sure the effect on my kids was a factor also. It's important to me for my kids to have Mum and Dad around as much as possible and, living in Hamilton where no work was available, did not meet that requirement. We also had one too many incidents with traffic in Hamilton (my daughter ran onto King Street and was almost knocked down, I caught my babysitter crossing between the lights because they were so far apart). Beyond that most of the reasons we moved away were personal - nothing to do with the kids.

In the end Hamilton needs to address the needs of all it's citizens. You can't really state job creation as a solution. You have to understand what it takes to attract employers. This is the essence of what Florida is saying - attract creative growth industry employees and the bosses will follow.

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By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted January 29, 2010 at 17:59:56

Hello Tim,

I admire your tenacity! Some things however need to said.

This can only help you in redirecting or even possibly redefining the efforts of the JPC:

  • The HCC (Hamilton Civic Coalition) did not have to die for JPC to have been born. This has more to do with the politics of power than the focus needed for community re-building. HCC represented a non-cost approach of community leaders who spent their own time to find solutions to our self-made problems. JPC needed public-money to pay its consultant from day one to find solutions that don't require to be found. JPC's need for public funds will continue to grow as seen over the last three years.

  • The manner in which the JPC Board came to be constituted will continue to haunt its search for solutions. There are some on the JPC board that simple should not be there. They are part of the problems created in our community and they cannot be the ones searching for solutions - least of all attempting to discover a new language!!

  • It is becoming increasingly apparent that this search-platform is being used as a time-lapse political process to keep people who are facing the brunt of failed economic policies - appeased. The ice-cream truck will never show up, I can assure you!

  • Will Mark Chamberlain's venture company give me half a million dollars - because I claim that we have a discovery-process by which we can find the cure for cancer? I can assure you that we have over a 150 unemployed Hamiltonians with the best minds and most extraordinary credentials, who are willing to create a new Board to collaborate on innovative solutions over the next four years to find this elusive answer - in case that is all that is required to qualify for funding.

  • While the long-term process unfolds, can you give the People of Hamilton the assurance that Mayor Fred Eisenberger, nor Mark Chamberlain will use the JPC as an example of success achieved in the last three years -- during the run up to the coming election?

If your answer is a resounding yes - then maybe the heat that you are experiencing lately may dissipate - and then maybe we do not have to hear about the JPC's time-lapse process - until you have actually found the JOBS that bring prosperity to this community. If not the People of Hamilton will have to assume that this is the cost of doing business with consultants and write this expense off.

Do you realize that in the last three years, while this unnecessary political play was unfolding, Hamilton missed out on attracting and nurturing businesses such as these: Clean-Tech sector.

From the 30 odd companies featured in this report, only two are local - one from Ancaster and one from Stoney Creek. From the 50 odd technologies listed here, only a dozen if aggressively pursued could have helped lay the foundation of our Next Economy. Are we to believe that you are working on asking these companies to relocate to Hamilton - or are we to believe that you are helping our unemployed talent to develop such companies locally?

So when you say the Jobs will come to Hamilton, I ask you - from WHERE?

If you wait long enough - like Burlington did, the growth ooze from Toronto will eventually slither into Hamilton - with its resulting job growth. If that is the strategy behind the time-lapse approach of the JPC, please do accept my apologies for the questions raised.

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted January 29, 2010 at 19:09:10

Rusty: The Best Place to Raise a Child, is really a marketing ploy. With focus on the children, it negates that parents that are struggling, if you do not help the parents, then no matter what the children still live in poverty.

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By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted January 30, 2010 at 01:24:32


In continuation to the above - to emphasis Hamilton's on-going loss of opportunities, on account of its failure to capitalize on current industry trends - here is an observation from a report called: Clean Tech Job Trends by Clean Edge Inc:

"The clean-tech revolution is a highly dispersed phenomenon – unlike the earlier high-tech revolution with its epicenter of Silicon Valley. No one place or region will control any one clean-tech sector. Clusters of clean-tech activity,supported by local technology development, capital flows, and supportive public policies, are springing up across the U.S. and around the world."

This report goes on to further provides a table titled: A Highly Dispersed Revolution - Clean-Tech Activities Emerging in Cities Around the Globe - which clearly establishes that we can also be a significant player in this market - given the strengths of our PEOPLE and our HISTORY.

Hamilton needs to take advantage of the momentum in this market sector -(which is a DISPERSED PHENOMENON), by developing a rapid strategy to position itself as a city of choice for various sub-sectors in this market.

The global demand of this sector will create and sustain the JOBS for products and services in Hamilton, if we are ready for it - just as the global inflow of capital that will arrive to Hamilton to lift this sector - if we are ready for it.

Many cities and regions have already staked their claim in this new market sector - It is still not too late for Hamilton to tap into the enormous opportunities that are emerging.

Given our background in manufacturing, engineering and the sciences, we already have an edge that many cities do not.

Hamilton can usher in real job growth - if we can begin to develop a concise approach to job creation, and not get lost in reports and round-tables, or wait for our Educational institutions to define our markets of tomorrow.

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 31, 2010 at 19:20:59

IMO quality of life is what it's all about these days. Richard Florida is one of many who realize that modern cities are built on quality of life more than anything else. whether it's arts, nightlife, parks, clean environment, healthy amenities etc.... it's why cities as diverse as Vancouver and Pittsburgh continue to win awards as best places to live. Apparently Hamilton's favourite pastimes of patronizing tim hortons drive thrus and rolling out the red carpet for transport trucks through the majority of our urban residential neighbourhoods aren't winning us many awards in the quality of life department. for kids, adults, pets and anyone with a living, breathing pulse. Why would company 'x' locate at Main and Catharine when they could locate somewhere in a 'real' city bustling and vibrant with great housing options, retail options, nightlife options and recreational options for the employees AND management??

This city has gotten so used to low end retail and low quality of life that our daily paper is now publishing incoherent letters from owners of a tanning salon in a strip mall in the east end railing away at all the damage LRT will do to downtown. This is two weeks after interviewing a King St pawnshop owner to get his reasons for opposing LRT. Heaven forbid we ever get more retail options than tanning, pawn shops and money marts.

I can't figure out why companies aren't flocking to locate here.......

Comment edited by jason on 2010-01-31 18:24:00

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted February 01, 2010 at 09:51:50

I'll be telling my children when it's time to put down roots to get the heck out of Hamilton. I won't even suggest McMaster. I'll be persuading my children to go to a university in a city that has a future. A city that aspires to be the best place to raise a child? Until that child reaches adulthood, then what? At this rate we'll be following Buffalo, Detroit and Cleveland with population decreases soon. Actually Hamilton is the best place to retire. It's cheap to live, lots of public housing, lots of hospitals, and you don't need a (real) job.

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By michaelcumming (registered) - website | Posted February 01, 2010 at 10:58:20

Hamilton definitely has a future and the main reason is because of where it is located: it is down the road from Toronto and close to the US border and Buffalo. Plus it is situated on a spectacular great lake. These advantages are substantial.

Hamilton eclipses the geographical advantages of, say, Pittsburgh, which although a wonderful place to live has the disadvantage of geographical isolation. It is not in a well-established crescent of dynamic cities like Hamilton. Pittsburgh's closest major city is Cleveland, whereas Hamilton has Waterloo, Toronto, Oakville, etc. Hamilton's neighbourhood is overall more attractive and much more likely to produce jobs in future.

So even if Hamilton is poorly run in the short term, eventually, its natural geographical advantages will help it develop in interesting ways.

Comment edited by michaelcumming on 2010-02-01 09:58:53

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By rusty (registered) - website | Posted February 01, 2010 at 11:00:37

Sad that's Hamilton's potential is based on the success for the cities around it. Does anyone else see the irony? :)

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted February 01, 2010 at 12:36:06

Hamilton does enjoy a fantastic geographic location. sadly Hamilton is a void in the center of one of the most prosperous geographic regions on the continent.

Rusty is correct, it's a sad commentary that Hamilton's success is dependent on the surrounding cities. However the void has been growing for 30 years.

I'm suggesting to council and staff to try anything different, it can't get any worse. Be creative, take a risk, what's there to lose? another 30 years.

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By A sign of the times ... (anonymous) | Posted February 01, 2010 at 15:09:26


I strongly disagree with your comparision of Hamilton to Buffalo, Detroit and Cleveland. The difference with Hamilton is we have almost fully transitioned from a labour based economy to health care and research/education based. Things are happening in the West-end, East Mountain and the Ancaster Industrial Park. I would love to see the same progress downtown, but it won't happen until the hippie attitude changes.

Hamilton does have a future. Have you driven by the Innovation Park on Longwood/Aberdeen lately? According to my inside connection, the Park couldn't be built fast enough.

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted February 02, 2010 at 15:12:16

It's interesting you mention healthcare /education as our largest employers. I was waiting for someone to say that. Do you also know what the largest employers are in Detroit and Cleveland.? Healthcare and Education. Why? it's because those sectors CAN'T leave. A city always needs schools and hospitals even if the entire population is on social assistance. These sectors have risen to the top because the former top private employers have shrunk or disappeared.

Poorest big cities in the US

  1. Detroit (top employers: healthcare and education)
  2. Cleveland (top employers: healthcare and education)
  3. Buffalo

19% of our population lives in poverty. That's 117,000 persons

A fine city to raise a child (in poverty)

You mean the Innovation Park that has taken 5 years so far and has done very little more then steal downtown tenants?

Comment edited by administrator TreyS on 2010-02-02 14:29:14

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted February 02, 2010 at 16:13:51

Trey S: It was reported in the SPRCès report income and poverty 2009, that estimates were that the poverty rate would climb to as high as 25% due to the economic crisis.

So with the number of EI claims that jumped last year 150% and the fact the welfare claims have made a considerable jump as well, it is feasible that is higher then 19%, since it has been reported in the spec, that many more of the working poor and those who have lost jobs are accessing food banks, soup kitchens and the food vans, what does that tell ya.

Comment edited by grassroots are the way forward on 2010-02-02 15:18:59

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted February 02, 2010 at 16:22:39

I just did some research from Statscan (2004). Just using the city proper (old City of Hamilton) and not the CMAs.

Poverty rates Hamilton - 27%, London - 19%, St. Catharines - 18%, Niagara Falls - 18%, Kitchener - 17%, Mississauga - 16%, Brampton - 14%, Cambridge - 14%, Waterloo - 14%, Oakville - 10%, Burlington - 10%

Comment edited by TreyS on 2010-02-02 15:23:31

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By A sign of the times ... (anonymous) | Posted February 02, 2010 at 20:11:27


I can't believe I have to explain this to you. Hamilton is not only a University and Health Sciences town, it is a leader in research and development. Because of this, we are able to attract world-renowned researchers, professors and doctors. People follow. Business follows. The spin off jobs are endless.

No, I would say the meth clinics and endless parade of folks with drool dripping down their faces is the reason businesses are relocating. Better that than loosing them to Burlington, eh.

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted February 02, 2010 at 22:02:31

'University' and 'Health Sciences' sounds much better then hospitals and schools. You're not explaining anything to me. Except that you ignored the fact the poorest cities seem to always have public hospitals and public schools as their number one employer. And the reason ..... because the private sector has left the building.

I get it the spin offs and research jobs. They probably commute from Halton/Peel then get the hell out of dodge when their shift is over. And there is a good reason why a spin-off company .. I don't know, let's take Gennum for example (founded by McMaster grads) chose to put their head office and research offices in Burlington. After milking our publicly subsidized Flamborough (Hamilton) innovation/incubation park for all its worth. Gennum is not about to locate in the Stelco Tower, I can say that.

McMaster Innovation Park... the jargon has changed from 'incubator' to 'innovation'.... all the same. I think Wescam did the same thing as Gennum. AIC started downtown too, now where are they? Heck even when the media reports where Michael Lee Chin lives they say he lives in Burlington. Last time I checked he lived in Flamborough which is Hamilton, but no one would ever say the fifth richest person in Canada lives in 'Hamilton'. No he is a Burlington Billionaire but pays his residential property taxes to Hamilton.

We can be great at starting them, but can't keep them once they become successful. Bottom line, once they leave our subsidized incubator (slash Innovation bs) they move ops and pay taxes to another municipality.

The new McMaster DeGroote business school... currently being built in Burlington... hmm.. Is that a spin-off? It certainly is, but it's not benefitting Hamilton's tax assessment. But we created it. "Sorry we're not going to locate downtown, because of the".... what did you call them.... "endless parade of drooling meth clinic clients"... exactly.

So let's turn the Royal Connaught and into public housing, let's keep the halfway house downtown (next to a high school), let's expand social services and social housing downtown, and ad more homeless beds and meth clinics. Let's turn downtown's retail into government offices, let's subsidize land speculators whom buy significant buildings downtown and then threaten our City Hall for subsidies or else... the wrecking ball. Heck let's just keep on the same track we've been on for 30 years.... that's seems to be working well.

Further, McMaster has one of the worst rates of Ph.D. grads leaving the city once they've graduated. O we'll educate them, until they graduate, see ya. Why is that? If you graduate with a M.A./Ph.D. in say... medical physics... will he/she find work in Hamilton? ya right. McMaster has one of the best/most difficult to get into Engineering schools in the country, but where are all the engineers working? WE ARE A CITY OF HALF A MILLION> that should be enough. But we operate as if we are a town of 50,000. Burlington, Guelph and Oakville kick our ass and they have nowhere near the amenities that Hamilton offers. What;s the problem?

Back to the spin of saying our economy has changed from manufacturing to health/education. It has, but only by default. Do you not see why? Burlington Street -- that was built for about ten times the amount of traffic it has now, was for local workers to get to local factories -- now its main use is to supply commuters a route to get out of Hamilton. Why? Because the private manufacturing sector has closed down, leaving Health/Ed to rise to the top is not an accomplishment. It's just that Health/Ed -- and probably Government now -- are our top employers by default.

I'll bet even Gary IN and Erie PA have education and healthcare as their biggest employers.

We attract doctors, except family practitioners that do not chose to set up shop in Hamilton, leaving us with one of the biggest family doctor shortages in the country. We'll educate them but when it's time for them to start business, they don't practice here.

One more interesting point .... that I will leave this conversation with is this.... that Hamilton had at one point, not that long ago, maybe 40-50 years ago (that's considered two generations, Baby-boomers mostly, have fucked it all), enjoyed the prestige as having the third most Head Offices in the Country.... they benefited well and could care less about their city now). Ask any senior city staffer where his/her children are now. ??? not here. But they pretend to say that Hamilton is the best place to raise a child?

Stelco, Dofasco, Westinghouse, IBM, Hi Case, Ellis Elevator, Firestone, International Harvester, Pigott Construction, etc. not to mention the dozens of ad agencies, accounting, and legal firms that serviced those companies. Here's a thought.... can you imagine that not that long ago... 80s... all of the advertising for Jaquar Canada (cars) was produced in the Right House>top floor? It's true. Now I think it's a meth clinic that will soon be moved to the Lister... via "Public Health". Replace a national ad agency with a meth clinic to a vacant office.... in no less then 30 years.

Let's keep 'turning that corner'... that corner that is turning into a circle.

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By Cal DiFalco . (anonymous) | Posted February 03, 2010 at 20:53:23

I've had the pleasure of talking to Keanin at length, over coffee, several times. I'm hoping a Plan B isn't required, as Keanin and his family bring a lot to Hamilton.

Hamilton needs exceptional leadership and a corresponding capacity to deliver results.


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By Kiely (registered) | Posted February 10, 2010 at 13:24:16

I know many on here are involved but I'm going to paint with a broad brush anyway...

Sitting back and whinging won't accomplish anything. Waiting for "them" whether it be: councilors, bureaucrats, etc... to do something usually brings the same results, NOTHING. Politicians of all stripes are underwhelming. What is news about that??? And simply complaining about them is not constructive.

I believe in Hamilton and chose to move here for a reason, it is on the cusp and needs active citizens to help push it over into a revival and I am in it for the long haul, moving is not in the plan (I should mention I do not work here however). But one thing is apparent to me, the outlook/mindset of many of its citizens are as much to blame for its problems as the politicians are... What was the voter turnout at the last municipal election?

If >50% of people can't be bothered to walk to their local school or church to cast a ballot and have their voices heard than who is really at fault?

"If there is something you need, if there is something you want, you gotta raise your hand" - Eddie Floyd

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted February 10, 2010 at 22:17:57

"Do people not vote because they can't be bothered, or because they don't think it will make a difference? I'm not aware of strong empirical evidence either way (and if anyone is, I'd love to see it - I admit I haven't studied this as much as I'd like), and I think it's misleading to draw conclusions from untested a priori assumptions about why people do what they do." - Ryan

I hear ya' Ryan, but it is more than that, it is people's complete removal from the political process. Voter turnout is just the obvious and available statistic that shows this. I don't think you need a statistic to show that the majority of citizens are disconnected from the political process and this is not good.

Some may say "Who cares, I can't do anything about it", but the reality is municipal politics is where the difference can be made. There are no parties, conventions or appointed candidates. So, if there is someone you believe in, encourage them, support them and help get others to support them. You'd be surprised what can get accomplished; after all when voter turnout is low is exactly when a dark horse can win. Simply electing decent people with no vested political interests can make a difference at a municipal level, they need not be any more or less qualified than that. There are obviously other traits that would be of benefit but starting with those two would be a step in the right direction.

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By adam2 (anonymous) | Posted February 10, 2010 at 23:09:35

Let's get real for a second... if a city is on its way up, it doesn't matter what the politicians do, the city will still be on its way up. Of course the reverse is true too. The best they can do is make nice speeches and throw some dollars here and there. But we can't expect the city to rejuvenate based on one or two new projects downtown. It has to be the whole city (politicians are just a small part) working together. Enough with the apathy Hamilton, Stop relying on politicians to magically bring the city up out of the ashes. It has to start with the people. There are far more citizens than politicians.. Unfortunately most of them are watching "The Biggest Loser" right now instead of doing ANYTHING> Here is our problem.

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By Hopeful (registered) | Posted February 11, 2010 at 13:31:38

When our family moved to Hamilton, for a job, in 2005 there seemed to be a lot of optimism on the sites like this, skyscraper, etc. That seems to be waning. Let's all hope that "darkest hour is before the dawn" theory holds true! Anybody wanting to run for city council out there??? It is an election year after all.

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By Bobby (anonymous) | Posted February 18, 2010 at 17:26:34

Hamilton is a wonderful place to raise a child and there are plenty of jobs out there too and this city has really really friendly prostitutes.

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By Weebo (anonymous) | Posted July 19, 2010 at 14:04:41,17729/

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By Infant Isle (anonymous) | Posted October 24, 2011 at 13:50:52

Press release:

Hamilton takes the First Step towards Baby Friendly designation

HAMILTON, ON – October 24, 2011 – At the Board of Health meeting this morning, members approved a report that starts Hamilton on its journey to become a Baby Friendly organization, a global initiative developed by the World Health Organization and UNICEF. Expected to take up to three years for designation, this first step endorses breastfeeding as the optimal infant feeding method and approves Public Health Services to begin the steps towards designation.

“We want Hamilton to be the best place to raise a child and the Baby Friendly Initiative is an internationally recognized evidence-based accreditation program that supports that vision,” said Debbie Sheehan, Director of Family Health with Hamilton Public Health Services. “The Baby Friendly Initiative is a breastfeeding campaign that gives every baby the best start in life by protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding. The Baby Friendly Initiative is proven to increase the number of moms who choose to breastfeed and increase breastfeeding for a longer period of time.”

The initiative ensures that the same breastfeeding information and support is available for all families. It aims for a community that welcomes and supports breastfeeding anytime and anywhere and one that understands why breastfeeding is important. The first step for Hamilton in the ten step process is to develop and implement policies to support a mother’s choice to breast feed.

The Baby Friendly Initiative is a global campaign to promote, protect and support breastfeeding. It is sponsored by the World Health Organization and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

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By Infant Isle (anonymous) | Posted October 24, 2011 at 13:52:36

As always, Hamilton is keeping up with the Joneses:

BURLINGTON – The city motto may be 'Stand By', but Burlington is not content to wait in the wings. The city was given major kudos, being named: (1) the 2nd best city in Canada to raise a family, and (2) named a gold-level, youth-friendly community.

Today’s Parent magazine based their results on the best place to raise kids in 18 categories, including weather, housing, crime rate and household income. Only communities with a population of 10,000 or more were included, with 180 making the list.

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