Why write 28 reasons I love Hamilton?
1. Hamilton is a CITY.
2. The Location
3. The size (population)
4. The scale
5. Creativity and the arts
6. The buildings
7. The nature
8. The film industry
9. The markets and restaurants
10. The trails, paths, and running routes
I'm a constant walker, an occasional hiker, and an off-and-on runner. This city has an amazing array of great routes for all three no matter where you are, and many runners realize that.
However, I am no spandex-clad Running Room devotee, so the other 99% of you can relate too, I hope.
First, the trails...
Trails are everywhere, mostly thanks to the escarpment. Thanks to the Escarpment and the Bruce Trail, there's hiking paths directly through the middle of the city, mostly flat and well-traveled enough for a quick jog or leisurely walk, but far-reaching enough that one can go just about anywhere. (I don't even mind the cut through the golf course... I find it kind of funny, actually). It's also really nice to run past a waterfall or two, and there's many more of those around the city.
And you can start hiking right afer stepping right off a paved city street... instead of driving half an hour to the trail, like we used to. The connection of the Bruce trail being right IN Hamilton, running through the city, is enormously advantageous.
Around the Bayfront, a huge paved trail connects the entire Harbour area as well, and there's another trail along the East Hamilton beach... The Bayfront trail's the one I use the most, and I love the views.
Type "running routes Hamilton" into Google and your first result is this: several routes mapped out, with variety in length, difficulty, and geography (west mountain, waterfront, downtown, etc.)
And of course we have Runner's Den and Running Room and more if you're with that set.
I rarely identify myself with that subculture, but to let Stuff White People Like rest easy, let's do the tally. Hmmm.. I do have New Balance Shoes, but not much in the way of "Outdoor Performance Gear" besides a ten-year-old-jacket and even older shorts. I guess that means that as I run through an area, I'm gentrification-neutral.
Even running on the harder surface of sidewalks, there's enough of a variety in streets, whether in residential neighbourhoods on the Mountain or quieter routes in the lower city to take a different route every day and not get bored. (and the fact this city's statistically so safe, and most neighbourhoods are safe, is also a big bonus for that)
I don't do it often, but I really enjoy Stinson from Victoria to Wentworth, then ducking down to Cumberland and going east to Gage Park. It's quiet and bright and full of trees.. and next to no road noise.
And of course, the stairs.
I remember after just moving here and re-certifying my CPR at a lovely lady's house on Auchmar. I ended up walking the Dundurn stairs there and back.... and it didn't hurt to pick up a croissant at Zarky's on the way back. I was amazed at how easy the walk was.
The Spec did a decent summary about them a couple years ago and Jeff Mahoney just wrote another one... Where else do you get that kind of outdoor workout for free - and that type of much-needed connection between upper and lower city?
What we have here is unique. There's a great network of places to walk and run in the city. And the escarpment means that we have great geographical advantages and features for even more of those.
And that's another reason I love Hamilton.