Hamilton Port is on the west end of Lake Ontario on the southern shores of Burlington Bay about 70 kilometers southwest of Toronto. Located near several major cities (Toronto, Buffalo, and New York), it is well positioned as an important trade hub for cargoes like coal, steel, grain, and petroleum products. A six-kilometer sandbar protects the harbor from Lake Ontario. In addition to its port, Hamilton is one of Canada’s major industrial centers, with the country’s biggest iron and steel industries, and the site of a huge open-air market. In 2006, the Port of Hamilton was home to almost 650 thousand people.
In 1669, French explorer Rene-Robert Cavelier, sieur de La Salle first visited the site that is now Port Hamilton, but the area was not settled until 1778 when Loyalists left the rebelling 13 colonies in America. The town’s namesake, George Hamilton, laid its original site in 1815 when he purchased the Durand farm after the War of 1812. Port Hamilton soon became a highly-populated industrial area called the “Golden Horseshoe.”
Until the opening of the Burlington Canal in 1830, Port Hamilton was eclipsed by Dundas. The Canal opened passage to Lake Ontario for the landlocked Burlington Bay and started a period of rapid growth for Port Hamilton as a rail center and port.
Ninth biggest city in Canada since 1981, it is Ontario’s third biggest city. Today’s Port Hamilton was formed when it was consolidated in 2001 with towns that had formerly been part of the metropolitan area.