The Hammer by Alex Gorodskoy in Downtown Hamilton

I’ve lived in Hamilton (aka “the Hammer”) for the past 14 years. Visually, it’s hard to ignore the sheer amount of burly construction workers that crowd our streets. In their neon orange uniforms they look like fluorescent Santas. Sometimes they fill your heart with a feeling of promise, progress and renewal; other times, it’s a sinking feeling of frustration, confusion and apathy. With Hamilton’s steel-manufacturing heyday well in the past, the city is hard at work trying to reshape itself and forge a new identity.

Name:Alex Gorodskoy

Illustrator, orthotics-maker


Skateboarding, photography, collecting cavities, and blowing my nose.

Tell us about Hamilton:

Hamilton is historically known as an industrial town. Located 40 miles southwest of Toronto, it’s an affordable option for many immigrant families and students. On the surface it’s all grit and rust, but beneath it is a well-kept Canadian secret. With an amazing trail system, a beautiful waterfront, a booming arts and music scene, and a fast-growing downtown core, there’s plenty to do here.

A perfect day in Hamilton?

A giant Tim Horton’s double-double coffee, then a long aimless skate around town. If I’m feeling social and want to gawk at girls I may head west. If I feel adventurous and brave, I head east. Grab a burrito. Make some instant coffee at home and record a goofy song. Maybe have a late night beer somewhere low-key.

What is the best thing about Hamilton?

The bus drivers, our library system, the arts scene, cheap rent, diversity, a sense of pride living in an underdog city.

What is the worst?

No jobs, demolition-happy councilmen, the streets look deserted at night-time, the smell.

What would be surprising about Hamilton to an outsider?

Countless major films have been shot here. And we have tasty tap water.

If Hamilton was a person who would it be?

Neil Young driving a motorized scooter into the side of a bus.

Who are three of your favorite artists?

Peter Sutherland, Michael DeForge, White Fence


Name:Alex Gorodskoy


Favorite place to eat:

Burrito Boyz

Favorite place to drink:

Mulberry Street Coffee House

Favorite shop:

Mixed Media

Local tip:

Look out for the maze of one-way streets.

Must do:

Walk down James, King or Locke Streets. Bike along the waterfront. Hit up the Westdale village with your mom. Leave your valuables at home and go explore the old industrial part of the city.