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Love your City -- Cultural Policy and Plan

Mayor's Poetry Challenge - Results

Earlier this year Mayor Fred Eisenberger took up the Mayor’s Poetry City Challenge issued by Calgary Mayor, Naheed Nenshi. The “Challenge” is to have a local poet read aloud at a council meeting to mark National Poetry Month in April, celebrating poetry, writing, small presses and the contribution of poets and all writers. Hamilton is one of 70 participating municipalities. To select the poet, Mayor Eisenberger invited Hamilton residents to submit works of original poetry through an open competition. Published or unpublished poems submitted could be any style, but had to have a connection to the theme “Hamilton”. The poetry competition received over 40 entries and the jury was composed of poets Amanda Jernigan, Paul Lisson and J.S Porter and Kerry Cranston-Reimer, co-owner of Bryan Prince Bookseller.


"The Highway That Became a Footpath” and “Giants” by John Terpstra.

John Terpstra is the author of many books of poetry. His poem The Highway That Became a Footpath was originally published in his book called Brilliant Falls (Gaspereau Press 2013). Brilliant Falls won the 2014 Hamilton Arts Council Award for Poetry earlier this year. His Poem Giants was originally published in his book about Hamilton, called Falling into Place (Gaspereau 2002, 2012). Giants was also chosen by Bookmarks Project and can be found on a plaque mounted at the edge of the escarpment in Sam Lawrence Park. Mr. Terpstra is also the author of the prose projects: The Boys, or, Waiting for the Electrician’s Daughter (shortlisted for the Charles Taylor Prize) and Skin Boat.

John Terpstra will read his winning poems in Council Chambers:
Date: Wednesday April 22nd starting at approximately 5:00 p.m.
Location: Council Chambers, City Hall, 71 Main Street West, 2nd Floor
Members of the public are welcome to attend this Council meeting.


1) Night Slides" by Chris Pannell originally published by Wolsak and Wynn Publisher.

Chris Pannell’s latest poetry book is A Nervous City (Wolsak and Wynn, 2013). This title recently won the Kerry Schooley Book Award from the Hamilton Arts Council. In 2010, his book Drive won the Acorn-Plantos People’s Poetry Prize and the Arts Hamilton Poetry Book of the Year. From 1993 to 2005 he ran the new writing workshop and published two anthologies of work by that group. He has a book of poetry forthcoming in 2016 called How We Came to Pass. He is a former board member of the gritLIT Writers Festival and a former DARTS bus driver. He hosts and helps organize the monthly Hamilton reading series Lit Live.

2)  "Eight stanzas for Radial Trail" by Ryan Pratt

Ryan Pratt lives in Hamilton. A contributing writer for The Puritan and Ottawa Poetry Newsletter, Ryan's work has appeared or is forthcoming in CV2, Quiddity, Lemon Hound and (parenthetical), among others. Last November he was featured as an "Emerging Writer" at Lit Live Reading Series and one of his poems was nominated for a 2014 Pushcart Prize.

3) Burlington Heights” by Paddy Chitty

Paddy Chitty was born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario. A graduate of McMaster University, she has creative writing certificates from both McMaster University and Mohawk College. Her poetry and short stories have been published in literary journals and anthologies in Canada and the U.S. In 2010, she placed third in Women’s Words, University of Alberta Postcard Story Contest, in 2007 received an honourable mention in the Pearls Fiction - Postcard Writing Contest, and was short listed in 2006 for the gritLIT Short Story Contest. Paddy currently serves on the executive committee of The Hamilton Poetry Centre.

For more information on the nationwide Mayor's Poetry City Challenge:
Mayor’s Poetry City Challenge 2015 – FAQ Sheet 

Or visit

Twitter: Follow @CanadianPoets

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Current Project Status: Announcing Hamilton's Cultural Plan Roundtable

The City of Hamilton is very pleased to announce the inaugural Cultural Plan Roundtable.  The 12 members were selected by a cross-corporate selection committee from a pool of over 60 applicants.

The Cultural Roundtable strives to build community capacity and a shared responsibility for culture. 

The Chair of the Roundtable is Jeremy Freiburger and the Vice-Chair is Jeff Hamblin. 

For all member names and biographies, download “Cultural Roundtable Biographies” (PDF).

For details on the Roundtable’s mandate, download the "Cultural Roundtable: Terms of Reference" (PDF).

The Roundtable will develop a committee work-plan and will advise City staff on upcoming priorities including the Cultural Report Card.

Cultural Plan Approved

The culmination of the Love Your City project is the City of Hamilton’s Cultural Plan, which was presented at the General Issues Committee (GIC) on October 16, 2013 and approved by Council on October 23, 2013.

Focus will now shift to implementation with the preparation of detailed work-plans and the assembly of a Cultural Roundtable to oversee the plan.

What Is Culture - Conversation Starter Video

What is Culture and Why Does it Matter? (Video opens in YouTube) (Transcript pdf) 
This video acts as a conversation starter and raises awareness about the importance of Culture in Hamilton. The video was developed by local animation company, Topic Simple and features local musical talent, The Rest. 

Phase 3 - Draft Cultural Plan

Public Workshop - Transforming our City through CultureThe final Public Workshop was held on Monday, May 13, 2013. More than 130 people attended the two workshops.

Phase 2 - Cultural Policy

Phase 2 resulted in the development of Hamilton’s Cultural Policy. The policy is based on broad community engagement. More than 2,100 citizens were engaged. The vision statement for culture was written, word for word, by the Citizens’ Reference Panel.

Report to Council (PED12117) - June 20, 2012 (pdf)
This document includes:

  • Cultural Policy Report (PED12117)(City Wide)
  • Appendix A –Citizen’s Reference Panel Report
  • Appendix B – Cultural Policy

Citizen's Reference Panel Video (opens in YouTube)
This video explains one key process used in phase 2 to engage citizens as input into the Cultural Policy.

Phase 1 - Community Profile - Cultural Mapping

Phase 1 involved the development of a baseline inventory of Hamilton’s cultural assets using a process called cultural mapping. The cultural mapping work produced a systematic database and spatial mapping of cultural resources in Hamilton using the City’s GIS system, and also provides a tool for continuously updating and expanding this data. The OCC Phase 1 Report makes recommendations on how the City can implement cultural mapping as part of ongoing planning and economic development efforts. 

Report to Council (CS10057) - June 18, 2010 (pdf)
All recommendations were approved by Council (Read minutes)

Appendix A - OCC Phase 1 Report - May 1, 2010
Report produced by AuthentiCity for the Culture Division, Community Services Department, City of Hamilton.

"This report is quite simply the best example of this work that I have seen in any country in the world to date. And, I have seen a great many in 5 continents.
Colin Mercer Internationally respected consultant and cultural planning pioneer.

OCC Phase 1 Report - documents are Adobe Acrobat format (pdf)


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Stay up to date with this and other cultural initiatives by sending an email to with the subject line "Subscribe to receive Culture updates".The City of Hamilton values your privacy and will not share or distribute your personal information without your expressed consent.