Lat: 43° 16.566 Long: 079° 51.874
Hamilton ON is the 3rd largest city in Ontario and the 5th largest city on the Great Lakes. The city was established by George Hamilton following the War of 1812. The settlement grew steadily throughout the 19th century. It led in early technology, having the first telephone exchange in the British Empire and the first commercial telephone service. With the arrival of the steel industry at the turn of the century, Hamilton entered a sustained period of growth. The port is a major Great Lakes harbour and the city is an integral part of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Hamilton ON is home to a major university, a large college and a teaching hospital. As well, there are numerous service industries in addition to the heavy manufacturing sector. Hamilton ON has over 300 city parks and a very active recreational waterfront.
The entrance to Hamilton Harbour is through the Burlington Ship Canal. This canal is very easily seen in the distance and is crossed by the Burlington Skyway, a high, multi-lane expressway. The entrance to the canal is marked with twin lift towers for the lift bridge. There is a Fl RED light on the outer tip of the northern breakwater and an ISO YELLOW on the end of the southern breakwater.
The canal lies on a line of approxiamtely 235°T and is about .5 nm in length. The bridge opens on demand for commercial vessels and on the hour and half hour for recreational vessels. The Bridgemaster monitors VHF 16 and works on VHF 12. Bridge openings are at the discretion of the Bridgemaster as he is responsible for monitoring vehicular traffic as well. Vertical clearance is 10 ft/3 m closed and 130 ft/40 meters open. It is important to note that you must be under power as you transit the canal. Vessels may not sail or tack when in the canal. maximum speed is 7kts.
Once you clear the canal, you enter Hamilton Harbour. Its shoreline has many faces reflecting the different uses - from heavy industrial to recreational, residential and wetland preservation. The harbour is approximately 4 mi/6 km long and 2 mi/3km wide. Once you clear the concrete breakwater on your starboard, set a course of approximately 248°T for 2.9 nm to arrive at Harbour West Marina park and complex. This is the centre of the recreational boating area in Hamilton ON, especially on the south side of the harbour. There is also a marine park on the north side of the harbour as well (see below).
MARINAS, YACHT CLUBS, MOORINGS, ANCHORAGES
Hamilton Harbour - South Side
The principal facilities for pleasure craft in Hamilton ON are located in a basin to the SW of Centennial Dock. A course of approximately 248°T for 2.9 nm once you clear the Ship Canal will bring you to the SW end of the harbour wall in front of Centennial Dock. This is marked with a F GREEN light. Altering course to 198°T will bring you into the basin between Fl GREEN and Fl RED lights. The basin itself is bounded on the north by a floating breakwater marked with flashing lights. Once inside the basin, Harbour West Marina is to your port. Off your starboard bow, across the basin, is Royal Hamilton Yacht Club.
Harbour West Marina (905) 525-3622 VHF 16, 68
Harbour West Marina is the principal marina in Hamilton ON. They have 300 slips with a number set aside for transient sailors. There is a fuel dock (diesel and gasoline) and a pumpout station. Water and power are available dockside. There are washrooms, showers and laundry facilities. There is a very good chandlery adjacent to the marina. There are picnic areas and BBQ grills. The marina is close to public transit and you can walk into downtown Hamilton ON - about 1.6 mi/2/2.6 km away.
Royal Hamilton Yacht Club (905) 528-8464 VHF 68
RHYC has approximately 260 slips with about a dozen set aside for transient sailors. There is no fuel dock or pumpout station. [These can be found at Harbour West Marina, immediately to the NE.] There is water and power available at each slip. There are washrooms and shower facilities in the clubhouse. The club has a bar and a very well-ragarded dining room. There is a swimming pool on the grounds as well as picnic areas and BBQ grills. There is internet access.
Macassa Bay Yacht Club (905) 529-9205 VHF 68
MBYC is located on the SW shore of Hamilton Harbour, in a deep, well-protected basin, west of RHYC. The club has over 100 slips and transient sailors can be accommodated in vacant member's slips. There is no fuel dock or pumpout facility (available at Harbour West Marina).There is water and power at each slip. There are washrooms and shower facilities. The clubhouse has a bar and its 2nd storey balcony is a favourite place to enjoy sunsets over the bay. There are picnic areas with BBQ grills. Most Saturdays, the club holds a barbecue for members and visiting sailors. WIFI is available.
Hamilton Harbour - North Side
LaSalle Park Marina (905) 633-9483 VHF 68
LaSalle Park Marina is located on the north side of Hamilton Harbour. Once you clear the Burlington Ship Canal, alter course to approximately 278°T and hold for about 1.8 nm. The marina is formed by a man-made floating breakwater running south into the harbour and then going 90° west. That 90° corner is marked with a Fl YELLOW light. The entrance to the marina is at the western end of the east-west breakwater and lies between the end of the breakwater and a breakwater extending on an east-west line from the point of a rubble-stone breakwater. It is marked with a Fl RED on your starboard and a Fl GREEN on your port. The clubhouse is located in the adjacent park so you will have to contact the Officer Of the Day (OOD) on VHF 68 for a slip allocation. The OOD duty boat flies an orange flag and club burgee. There is no fuel dock but there is a pumpout station. [Fuel is available across Hamilton Harbour at Harbour West Marina, 20 minutes away. See above]. There are washrooms and showers in the clubhouse and there is also a lounge. Internet/WIFI is available. There are lovely walkways and shoreline paths in the immediate vicinity.
There is a protected anchorage ground at the NW corner of Hamilton Harbour, tucked in behind Carrolls Point.
REPAIRS & MAINTENANCE, PROVISIONING, BANKS/ATM's
MacDonald Marine Services can carry out mechanical repairs and maintenance as well as fibreglass and hull work. They have a chandlery and washroom facilities.
Brewers' Marine Supply is a large, well-stocked chandlery. They carry an extensive inventory of parts and equipment and have a broad dealer network. They also carry out some specialized work such as factory-authorized maintenance work on EPIRBS and compass repairs.
Dowsar Marine Supplies is a very large (5,000 sq ft) chandlery located just a few blocks from the marina. They carry an extensive inventory of parts and supplies. They also provide a full rigging service.
The nearest large grocery stores are located some distance from Harbour West Marina. The closest is Metro, about 3.5 mi/6 km away.
The Bank of Nova Scotia is located steps from the waterfront. It has ATM and counter service.
Hamilton General Hospital (905) 521-2100 is a large hospital located about 1.5 mi/2 km from the waterfront.
Marchese Health Care (905) 528-4214 is a large pharmacy located about .5 mi/1 km from the waterfront.
PLACES TO EAT
As with any large city, Hamilton ON has many restaurants and pubs that can suit all tastes and budgets. Many are located in the downtown area, about a 2 mi/3 km walk.
The Royal Hamilton Yacht Club has an excellent dining room and a very attractive bar. Close to the Harbour West Marina is Fisher's Pier 4 Pub and Grub. This popular, nautical-themed restaurant is well-known for their fish and chips. Overlooking the harbour is William's Coffee Pub. It is a popular restaurant serving a health-oriented menu. Also overlooking the harbour is Sarcoa, a more up-scale restaurant. Their 350-seat patio is a perfect spot to enjoy the harbour.
Just down the street from the marina is the Harbour Diner. It is popular for its good comfort food at reasonable prices. Its also a great place for a big, early-morning breakfast.
Downtown Hamilton ON has many options. Jackson Square is an indoor shopping mall and commercial complex located right downtown. Among its many features is an excellent Farmers' Market. The surrounding area has a number good restaurants bringing flavours from Portugal, Lebanon, Asia and much more. Also downtown is Hess Village. This is a small trendy area where many of the older homes have been converted into retaurants and nightclubs. Outdoor patios abound and it can be a great place to sit outdoors, listen to music and people-watch.
THINGS TO DO/SEE/VISIT
There is a wide variety of attractions and events in Hamilton ON. The harbour itself has seen a good deal of redevelopment work. There is a pedestrian walkway that takes you right around the western end of the harbour. Nearby are the Royal Botanical Gardens.
Located adjacent to Harbour West Marina is HMCS Haida. Haida is the last surviving Tribal Class destroyer from WWII. She sank the most tonnage of any Canadian warship in WWII. During service in the Korean War, she joined the famous "Trainbusters Club" - that few group of daring warships who closed close enough to the enemy coastline to shell and destroy individual freight trains. Now a National Historic Site, she is open for tours.
There are a number of good museums including Dundurn Castle, the Hamilton Military Museum, the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, the Museum of Steam and Technology, and, out by the airport, the excellent Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum
As mentioned above, Hamilton ON has over 300 parks ranging from small beautifully manicured green spaces to natural landscapes that offer superb hiking. There are dozens of performing arts venues. Every Sunday evening, there are outdoor concerts. July sees the FOGH Boorman Regatta at RHYC. There are numerous historical re-enactments and historically-themed festivals.
The very thorough Hamilton ON tourism site will give you many more ideas on how you can enjoy your time here.
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