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Hamilton, Ontario skyline at dusk with Lake Ontario in the background.  Learn more about living in Hamilton, Ontario

Are you planning to move to Canada? The city you choose to call home is a very important decision. It will play a key role in your career opportunities and financial success going forward. Living in Hamilton, Ontario is one of many cities in Canada new immigrants consider. 

Researching a potential landing spot will help you understand the local job market and your housing options. Recently Hamilton has seen a large increase in the number of immigrants coming to the city. So, it is a location worth considering. 

Prepare for Canada can guide you with helpful information about living in Hamilton. 

About Living in Hamilton, Ontario

Hamilton is a medium-sized city in southwest Ontario, located about 75 kilometres from Toronto. The City of Hamilton includes the former municipalities of Ancaster, Dundas, Flamborough, Glanbrook, and Stoney Creek. The southern part of the city includes the Niagara Escarpment, which Hamiltonians call “the mountain.”

The City of Hamilton is the centre of the Golden Horseshoe — a densely populated region at the west end of Lake Ontario. 

Affectionately known as “The Hammer”, it was named after George Hamilton, the man who established the town in 1815. With the opening of the Burlington Canal in 1830, the city became a vital port and railway centre. Over time, the region has evolved to be one of Canada’s top industrial sectors. 

Job prospects when living in Hamilton, especially in manufacturing, are promising in the region. If you are looking for a lower-cost place to live, Hamilton is a safe and healthy place to raise your children. It has beautiful parks, trees and waterfalls, and several world-class schools.

How Many People Live in Hamilton, Ontario?

Hamilton has the tenth highest population in Canada with a population of 569,355 according to the 2021 Statistics Canada census. It is the fifth most populated city in Ontario. In many other regions, it is experiencing growth which is largely due to newcomers moving to the region. The city itself had 536,920 people as of the 2016 census. The census metropolitan areas have about 770,000 residents. According to Statistics Canada, 24% of those residents come from other countries.

A male and female employee looking at a document on the shop floor of a manufacturing business.

How to Find a Job & Build a Career in Hamilton

Hamilton’s Local Economy

Hamilton is well known for producing steel for other kinds of heavy manufacturing. This is why it has earned the nickname “Steeltown.” The Hamilton area is the most industrialized section of Canada. It is known as the steel capital of the country for a reason. Hamilton produces 60% of Canada’s steel through two main companies – Stelco and Dofasco.

The job market in Hamilton is evolving. Hamilton’s major industries today include:

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Top Employers in Hamilton

The city offers a diverse range of career paths. Here are the 2021 winners of the Hamilton-Niagara’s Top Employers competition:

  • ArcelorMittal Dofasco G.P.
  • Brock University
  • Burlington Hydro Inc.
  • Hamilton, City of
  • IKEA Canada Limited Partnership
  • InvestorCOM Inc.
  • Joseph Brant Hospital
  • L3HARRIS
  • McMaster University
  • Mohawk College
  • National Tire Distributors, Inc.
  • Niagara Health
  • Sodexo Canada Ltd.
  • Stryker Canada ULC
  • Tim Horton Children’s Foundation, Inc.

Career Pathways in Hamilton

Hamilton is one of the fastest-growing and most diverse economies. This growth is supported by gains in retail, utilities, wholesale, arts, entertainment, and recreation. 

The city traditionally has a lower employment rate compared to the provincial and national average. Some of the top industries experiencing job growth currently include:

You can look for jobs through the Employment Services section of the City of Hamilton website. You can also use local recruitment agencies such as Randstad Canada, Robert Half, Biznets Professional Recruitment, KAS Staffing and online job boards.

For information, tools, free webinars, and more visit our Finding a Job in Canada resource page. Get the help you need to achieve your career goals in Canada!

The Hamilton Housing Market

A picture of townhouses in Hamilton

While finding a job is an important first step for newcomers. Another vital step is choosing where you will live. It’s common for new immigrants to opt for short-term rentals or to rent an apartment before buying a home. 

Is Housing Expensive in Hamilton, Ontario?

Hamilton has more than 200 neighbourhoods to choose from, from central Hamilton (the downtown core) to Chinatown to Balfour. Where you choose to rent or buy will have a large impact on the cost of housing. 

Comparatively speaking, Hamilton is much more affordable than large cities close by like Toronto, Mississauga, or Brampton. This is a reason why Toronto residents are choosing to move to the Hamilton area. 

Some of the most affordable neighbourhoods to consider include Glanbrook, Hamilton East and West, and Dundas. The most expensive areas to live in include Ancaster, Waterdown, Flamborough, and parts of Hamilton Centre. 

Finding a Place to Rent in Hamilton 

The cost to rent a home in Hamilton can vary based on your needs. Your location, type of property, unit size and number of bedrooms will affect how much it will cost to rent monthly. You can find bachelor and 1-bedroom apartments for as low as $950. Renting a 4-bedroom home can easily cost over $2,000 per month. 

The average cost to rent an apartment in Hamilton is $1,264 for a Bachelor, $1,403 for a 1 Bedroom, $1,768 for a 2- Bedroom, and $1,998 for a 3- Bedroom.

Use Rentals for Newcomers to search for available rental units in Hamilton. Here you’ll find available rentals with current prices. This is helpful since pricing can change often.

To read more about different neighbourhoods and what makes them unique check out Best Hamilton Neighbourhoods for Renting.

When renting, it’s vital to protect your family, personal belongings, and finances with renter's insurance. It is common for landlords and property management companies to require proof of insurance as terms of your rental agreement. Get more information about renting a home:

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Buying a Home in Hamilton 

Average home prices are on the rise in Hamilton. This is a common trend that is true across the province. According to Royal LePage, the average home price in Hamilton is $772,500 in 2021. This is a year-over-year increase of 19%, and slightly less than the national average cost in Canada ($790,000). 

The median price for a single-family detached home is $806,200. The median price to buy a condo is $485,000. 

Even with prices on the rise, buying a home in Hamilton is more affordable than living in Toronto. It is one of the many reasons new immigrants choose to move to Hamilton. To purchase a home, contact a realtor in the area, who will guide you through the home-buying process. Find out more about buying your first home in Canada: First Time Home Buyer: Newcomer Tips

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Driving & Transportation in Hamilton

Driving in Hamilton, Ontario

The city is situated in a cluster of highways that service southern Ontario. This makes it easy to reach by many different means. The main highways that pass through the city are Highway 403, QEW, Lincoln Alexander Parkway (The Linc), and Red Hill Valley Parkway. 

Commuting is the norm in the city. For example, many residents commute from Hamilton to other cities. Many drivers commute to the city for work each day. All drivers must have a valid Ontario driver’s licence to operate a vehicle.

To get a commercial driver’s licence in Ontario you will need a Class A or Class D licence. The class type will depend on your occupation. For example, you will need a Class A licence to drive a truck. 

For information on driving in Hamilton and how to get a licence, see Driving in Canada: 10 Essential Facts to Know

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Hamilton Public Transportation

A woman is looking at her mobile phone while riding public transit in Hamilton.

The public transportation system within Hamilton relies on the Hamilton Street Railway bus system. 

The cost of public transit varies depending on the route and distance. See here for fare prices. GO Transit – an inter-regional public transit system in Southern Ontario – offers frequent and reliable express bus service to Toronto.

Community Support for Newcomers

Hamilton is a diverse city that is home to newcomers from around the globe. The city supports new immigrants through a variety of services and programs. 

New immigrants, refugees, and temporary residents can contact organizations that are part of the Settlement Services for Newcomers. They include the Immigrants Working Centre, Wesley – Resettlement Services for Government Assisted Refugees, YMCA – Immigrant Settlement Services, YWCA – Newcomer Settlement Program, and Centre de Sante Communautaire.

Language Support in Hamilton

Newcomers can improve their English language skills through free Government-funded programs. They include English as a Second Language, or ESL, classes and Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada, or LINC.

Some of the organizations offering classes are the Immigrants Working Centre, St. Charles Adult Education Centre, The Learning Centre and LINC Program, Mohawk College, College Boreal, and Circle of Friends for Newcomers. 

Personal Finance & Banking

All local banks in Hamilton have programs to help newcomers open a bank account and get a credit card. Visit a local bank branch to start the process. 

Get more banking tips for newcomers:

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Hamilton’s Education System

Hamilton boasts a robust school system with a university, several colleges, and many elementary and secondary schools.

Elementary and High School Education

Four school boards offer schooling in English and French. In total there are close to 200 schools, including over 30 high schools. Parents who choose to home-school their children must follow the School Board guidelines.

Private Schools

There are 29 private schools in the Hamilton region including 15 elementary schools and 14 secondary schools. 

Post Secondary Institutions

Hamilton offers many higher education options that provide academic, practical, and hands-on training. 

Schools include McMaster University, Mohawk College, Redeemer University College, McMaster Divinity College, College Boreal, and the Hamilton Literacy Council. 

Hamilton’s McMaster University was named Canada’s most innovative ‘medical doctoral’ university eight times in the last 11 years in Maclean’s annual ranking of universities. The university’s student-centred, problem-based, interdisciplinary approach to learning has been adopted by many universities around the world. Established in 1887, the university offers programs in health care, engineering, business, social sciences, science, and humanities research and education.

In 2000, St. Catharines’ Brock University opened a satellite Teachers College in Hamilton. The on-campus Faculty of Education encompasses a pre-service department, graduate studies in education and continuing education.

Hamilton also has many private colleges where residents can learn a new trade or skill to better prepare to enter the workforce. Examples of schools are Trios CollegeCDI CollegeNational Academy of Health & Business, and Academy of Learning College.

Read more about education in Canada:

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Where To Get Medical Care in Hamilton, Ontario

A male doctor discussing health care with a male patient.

In case of an emergency call 9-1-1. This number is the same no matter where you live in Canada. 

There are six hospitals in Hamilton. Each hospital is a centre of excellence for a particular specialty, providing a state-of-the-art healthcare system to those who live in Hamilton. The hospitals are teaching hospitals. The internationally acclaimed healthcare research conducted at McMaster University ensures that the very best in patient care is available to Hamilton and the region.

Find hospitals in Hamilton here. For prescription drugs and some services not offered through Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP), you can pay for additional health insurance plans. Some people have third-party health insurance through their employer benefits packages.

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How to Find a Family Doctor In Hamilton

All newcomers should find a family doctor once they arrive in Hamilton. The Hamilton Family Health Team maintains a list of doctors who are accepting new patients. 

If you can’t find a family doctor, you can use walk-in clinics. Check here to find a walk-in clinic.

Learn more about health care in Canada: Steps to Access Free Health Care in Canada

What is Day-to-Day Life Like in Hamilton?

Things To Do in Hamilton

Hamilton has no shortage of things to do. It is a great location to keep the family entertained. From local festivals, great restaurants, and beautiful natural spaces, it has a little bit of everything. Hamilton is also a big sports city, therefore its residents are famous for their love of professional and amateur sports.

Public Spaces & Attractions 

Hamilton is home to many unique attractions such as Dundurn CastleRoyal Botanical Gardens, and African Lion Safari. As well, Supercrawl is large art and music festival that attracts more than 200,000 visitors each September. 

Restaurants & Nightlife

The city is known for its local restaurants. Local eateries downtown and on James Street North, King William, and Locke Street have become the place to go out for dinner. Hess Village is a prime location for dining out and nightlife.

Nature & Natural Landscapes

Hamilton is home to some of the most unique and beautiful landscapes and nature. It is located on the west end of the Niagara Peninsula. It features the Hamilton Harbour with the Niagara escarpment running through the city. The area is home to over 100 waterfalls and the Bruce Trail for hiking. 

Sporting Events & Concerts

Hamilton is home to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League (CFL). In 2021, they are the host to the Grey Cup in which the hometown Tiger-Cats will play the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The city is also home to the Hamilton Bulldogs of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). 

With many hockey arenas, pools, soccer fields, baseball diamonds, and even cricket pitches throughout the city, it’s proof that the city promotes sports. Hamilton offers other pastimes as well, including golfing, fencing, mountain biking, swimming, mountaineering, curling and martial arts. The city is also home to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame. 

With large venues such as FirstOntario Centre, Tim Hortons Field, and many local venues throughout the city, Hamilton attracts top interactional concerts. 

Culture & Diversity In Hamilton

Hamilton Culture

Diversity

Hamilton is a diverse city. About one in four residents in Hamilton were born outside of Canada. About 3,000 to 4,000 new immigrants arrive in the city each year. The city is also home to over 5,000 international students. The most prominent minority groups are South Asian, Black, Arab, Chinese, Black, and Latin American.

Places of Worship

Hamilton is a diverse city and home to many different places of worship. The main religions followed in the city include Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Sikhism. See here for places of worship in Hamilton.

The Weather in Hamilton

Hamilton’s climate is humid continental. The city experiences just about every type of weather throughout the year – humidity, hot sunny days, rain, snow, sleet, and a mixture. The climate is moderate compared to the rest of Canada. The temperature averages about 22 degrees Celsius in July and August, and dips to as low as -4 degrees in January and February. 

Common Questions Immigrants Ask About Living in Hamilton

Is Hamilton A Good Place to Live?

Yes, Hamilton is considered by most to be a good place to live in Ontario. It has a diverse population, a growing culinary culture, access to affordable housing, and world-class health care. The economy is growing, providing lots of career paths for new immigrants who want to live in Hamilton.  

Is Hamilton a Cheap Place to Live?

Hamilton can be more expensive than other cities in Canada. But it is more affordable than Toronto and other larger cities within close proximity in Ontario. 

Is Hamilton Good for Immigrants?

Absolutely. Thousands of new immigrants move to Hamilton each year. The city embraces its diverse population and provides many support programs to help newcomers adapt to the city. 

For more information, tools, and free webinars about living in Canada visit our Settling in Canada resource page. We’ll help you to settle successfully!