That’s what makes the May 31 and June 1 Hamilton Consulate event at Queen Street’s Burroughes Building such a bold and controversial move. “You just have to be a realist and accept what is looking you square in the face. It just is.” “What we’re finding is there’s still an awareness issue for Hamilton in terms of what it is and what state its economy is in,” says Glen Norton, Hamilton’s head of economic development, whose office is behind the Consulate event.
Billed as “an official delegation from Canada’s biggest urban comeback story,” the two-day pop-up features talks, diplomatic exchanges, a clothing market, live music and “speed dating” – all designed to sell Torontonians on the idea of Hamilton as the next big city in tech, fashion and real estate. “There are a lot of old stereotypes.” Item number one on that agenda is the city’s nickname, Steeltown.
That’s a particularly sensitive subject in Hamilton, which was built on its hardworking industrial legacy.
He recognizes, though, that everyone won’t love the idea.
“Human beings are not fond of change – it’s just innate.
Dated retreat events are listed first, then undated.
If you ever want to make people from Hamilton cringe, try calling their city “Toronto’s Brooklyn.” As high housing prices push artists, musicians and your roommate to the next-biggest urban alternative, some Hamilton natives have become uncomfortable with the two cities’ increasingly interdependent fates.
“The city I know and love has always stood in stark contrast to ‘Toronto the Good,’” he says.
“We aren’t a suburb or a bedroom community.” It’s hard to talk about a rapidly growing city, though, without talking about gentrification.
He wants companies to see the value in moving to the city and expanding the Kitchener-Waterloo/Toronto tech corridor into a tech “cluster.” He’s not interested in people treating Hamilton as a suburb, moving there and driving housing prices up while commuting back to jobs in Toronto. Lamb, a controversial face (sometimes Photoshopped onto a lamb’s body in his marketing materials) of the Toronto condo boom.
The developer is building four “city changer” projects in Hamilton, including Television City in the historic house that formerly housed CHCH.
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“We can’t forget about the struggles of those who contributed to and built that reputation and the rich labour history that’s now part of the collective story of our city.” Tedesco points to local initiatives like the Hamilton Tenants Solidarity Network and the [Dis]placement Project, which helps protect renters’ rights as rising housing costs price out many tenants.