1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Hamilton (Ontario)

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HAMILTON, one of the chief cities of Canada, capital of Wentworth county, Ontario. It occupies a highly picturesque situation upon the shore of a spacious land-locked bay at the western end of Lake Ontario. It covers the plain stretching between the water-front and the escarpment (called “The Mountain”), this latter being a continuation of that over which the Falls of Niagara plunge 40 m. to the west. Founded about 1778 by one Robert Land, the growth of Hamilton has been steady and substantial, and, owing to its remarkable industrial development, it has come to be called “the Birmingham of Canada.” This development is largely due to the use of electrical energy generated by water-power, in regard to which Hamilton stands first among Canadian cities. The electricity has not, however, been obtained from Niagara Falls, but from De Cew Falls, 35 m. S.E. of the city. The entire electrical railway system, the lighting of the city, and the majority of the factories are operated by power obtained from this source. The manufacturing interests of Hamilton are varied, and some of the establishments are of vast size, employing many thousands of hands each, such as the International Harvester Co. and the Canadian Westinghouse Co. In addition Hamilton is the centre of one of the finest fruit-growing districts on the continent, and its open-air market is a remarkable sight. The municipal matters are managed by a mayor and board of aldermen. Six steam railroads and three electric radial roads afford Hamilton ample facilities for transport by land, while during the season of navigation a number of steamboat lines supply daily services to Toronto and other lake ports. Entrance into the broad bay is obtained through a short canal intersecting Burlington Beach, which is crossed by two swing bridges, whereof one—that of the Grand Trunk railway—is among the largest of its kind in the world. Burlington Beach is lined with cottages occupied by the city residents during the hot summer months. Hamilton is rich in public institutions. The educational equipment comprises a normal college, collegiate institute, model school and more than a score of public schools, for the most part housed in handsome stone and brick buildings. There are four hospitals, and the asylum for the insane is the largest in Canada. There is an excellent public library, and in the same building with it a good art school. Hamilton boasts of a number of parks, Dundurn Castle Park, containing several interesting relics of the war of 1812, being the finest, and, as it is practically within the city limits, it is a great boon to the people. Gore Park, in the centre of the city, is used for concerts, given by various bands, one of which has gained an international reputation. Since its incorporation in 1833 the history of Hamilton has shown continuous growth. In 1836 the population was 2846; In 1851, 10,248; in 1861, 19,096; in 1871, 26,880; in 1881, 36,661; in 1891, 48,959; and in 1901, 52,634. The Anglican bishop of Niagara has his seat here, and also a Roman Catholic bishop. Hamilton returns two members to the Provincial parliament and two to the Dominion.