Priority Projects

Our Future Hamilton - Our Residents

A collection of Hamilton residents providing feedback to Our Future Hamilton

Everyone has a role to play to move our city forward. What are you doing to make Our Future Hamilton a reality?

Community Champion of the month!

Share your story with us and you could win a gift bag! We will select one resident as the Community Champion of the month. 

If you are selected, you will receive an official Our Future Hamilton gift bag full of amazing prizes, including:

  • passes to Hamilton Civic Museums
  • tickets to sporting events in Hamilton
  • a True Hamiltonian t-shirt
  • other cool Hamilton gear

Tell us your story

Tell us your story and become an Our Future Hamilton Champion and we might feature your story on our website.

Our Future Hamilton survey icon

Share your story


Community Champions

Vandana Verma

Vandama Verma

Vandana is passionate about spreading kindness across Hamilton. As a local elementary teacher, Vanada created the Just One Wish project six years ago to engage students at Hamilton’s Prince of Wales School in acts of kindness in their communities. Through the project, students create community wishes that support kindness and civic responsibility.

The 5th annual Just One Wish Kindness Awards were recently celebrated at Hamilton’s It’s Your Festival. As part of the event’s celebrations, 50 children between the ages of 4 to 18 from across the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board were recognized for their kindness to themselves, others, and the environment.

The Just One Wish Kindness Awards are all about honouring kindness. The 50 award recipients for 2019 all demonstrate kindness every day at their school and wherever they go. They participate in various clubs, help clean their communities, give their time, support their fellow classmates, and organize spirit and fundraiser events. They also do it with a smile and a positive attitude.

For more information on the Just One Wish project and to view videos of this year’s Just One Wish Kindness Award recipients, please visit


John Howard Society - Volunteers

Image of JHS Volunteers

The John Howard Society of Hamilton, Burlington & Area celebrated their 70th birthday in Hamilton by honouring all of the volunteers that have contributed countless hours in support of their work in the community. Congratulations to the 100+ volunteers at the John Howard Society for devoting over 5,000 hours of volunteer time this year.

The John Howard Society of Hamilton, Burlington & Area would like to celebrate its 70th birthday in Hamilton by honouring all of the volunteers that have put in countless hours in support of our work in the community.

Thank you to our Board of Directors, who spend early mornings and late nights meeting with community members and securing funding for future projects, and to our volunteers in the transportation program for providing safe transportation for family members to visit those living outside of their region. 

Special thanks to the Hamilton Youth Justice Committee, the Seniors Restorative Justice Committee and the youth mentors that provide ongoing support to the younger and older generations in the community who are often the most vulnerable. 

It is volunteers like you that have built and held up this community for the past 70 years. The 100 plus volunteers at the John Howard Society put in over 5,000 hours a year in volunteer time. Over 70 years, that is 350,000 hours! We could not exist without you. We thank you and the clients of this agency thank you.

Ruth Greenspan, Executive Director
John Howard Society of Hamilton, Burlington, and Area


Anthony Frisina

Headshot of Anthony Frisina

Anthony Frisina is a passionate member of the Hamilton community. A born and raised Hamiltonian, he is driven by a passion for accessibility and inclusion. Born with Spina Bifida, Anthony was privileged to adapt a “person first” mentality in his early years and has carried this positive mindset throughout his entire life. “Adversity not only builds character, it reveals it” is one of Anthony’s favourite quotes that helps inspire the man he is today.

Anthony works at Mohawk College as a Student Services Representative where he volunteers his time with numerous committees including the Accessibility Advisory Committee, Accessibility Feedback Committee and Built Environment Committee. In 2014, Anthony was inducted into the prestigious group of Mohawk Alumni of Distinction.

When he’s not working or volunteering his time at Mohawk College, Anthony can be found in the broader community advocating, educating, inspiring and motivating others. He is a regular volunteer with the Catholic Youth Organization and participant in Accessibility Awareness Days. He is also involved in The Forward Movement - an awareness campaign to change the universal symbol of access to the dynamic symbol of accessibility in wheelchair parking lot spots. 

Anthony is also the creator and producer of the Cable14 show “Above and Beyond” where he is sometimes featured as a guest panellist. A pilot aired in January and the show is awaiting its go ahead.

Anthony is a true testament of character. Overcoming many obstacles and barriers along the way, he is creating positive change in the community by ensuring a more inclusive and accessible Hamilton for all.

View Anthony’s Profile Video


Hamilton Junior Bulldogs

A group photo of the Hamilton Junior Bulldogs

Since 2015, the Hamilton Junior Bulldogs Minor Bantam AAA hockey team has organized a fundraising tournament to raise money for the Oncology Department at the McMaster Children’s Hospital. The team raises funds by selling yellow laces and "Hockey Fights Cancer" t-shirts and hats to other players that participate in their organization's annual hockey tournament. This is the third year that the team has held the fundraising initiative. Since 2015, they have raised approximately $15,000 for the McMaster Children’s Hospital.

All of the money raised at their tournament goes towards preparing gift bags that are donated to every family that is admitted to the oncology ward at the McMaster Children’s Hospital. Each bag is filled with gift cards, toys and a signed card from the team.

The Hamilton Junior Bulldogs Minor Bantam AAA hockey team was inspired to raise awareness about childhood cancer after the brothers of two of their own players battled and beat the disease.  Both boys are now cancer free. The Junior Bulldogs have also taken part in other initiatives to raise awareness about childhood cancer such as the Neon Night Hamilton 5k Fun Run and Chase’s Gift.

Learn more about the team’s story.


Suad Badri

Profile picture of Suad Badri

Suad came to Canada in 2014 as a government protected refugee from Sudan. She holds a PhD in Geography of Energy, an MSc in Environmental Studies and a BSc in Electrical Engineering. Currently, Suad is working as a self-employed ESL instructor and a community research partner with a McMaster Health Sciences research team. She recently received a McMaster Digital Literacy Grant to lead a project exploring "e-Culturally-Based ESL for Marginalized Communities.”

Aside from her work with Hamilton Health Sciences, Suad is an actively engaged Community Champion. She has been appointed to the board of Hamilton Urban Core Community Health Centre and sits on the City of Hamilton Advisory Committee for Immigrants and Refugees.

Suad is also an ambassador for the #HamiltonForAll campaign where she plays a pivotal role in celebrating and encouraging a more inclusive and diverse Hamilton.

Learn more about Suad, and her role as a #HamiltonForAll Ambassador.


Laura Furster

Image of Laura Furster

Laura Furster is a passionate and engaged Hamiltonian who is dedicated to improving the local arts scene by establishing a thriving and progressive writing and publishing culture in the city. Laura is on the executive board of the Canadian Authors Association’s Hamilton Twig. This organization brings many valuable resources to writers in various strains, with a focus on professional development and peer support.

In partnership with L'etranger on James, Laura and her colleagues present monthly speaker meetings on various topics in writing, editing, and publishing, and monthly open mic evenings for local writers to share their work and connect with their peers. Laura’s intention is to create a network of writers in Hamilton who are contributing to a vibrant literary scene. Laura is a writer and artist as well as a columnist for the Hamilton Spectator. You can read her articles here.


Beatrice Vickerd

Image of Beatrice Vickerd

Beatrice is a kind and generous young Hamiltonian who cares very deeply for animals. This past summer she channeled this passion for animals into a unique fundraiser for the Hamilton-Burlington SPCA. After a visit to the local adoption centre where her family took home their newest member, a cat named Purrkins, she decided that she had to help the other animals there too.

One day, Beatrice brought her mother some colouring book pages she had finished and explained that she wanted them to be made into books that could be sold to raise money for the Hamilton-Burlington SPCA. With the help of her mother, Beatrice’s vision became a reality.

Beatrice made and sold over 40 colouring books to friends and family as far away as New Zealand! Nearly $100 was raised from the book sales. However, young Beatrice’s generosity did not end there. Instead of asking for presents at her birthday party this year, she suggested that each of her friends bring an item that could be donated to the Hamilton-Burlington SPCA. The “cat party” was a huge success, with toys, food, and other items donated to the shelter. At only 6 years old, Beatrice demonstrates that Community Champions come in all ages!


Nikola Ristevski

Image of Nikola Ristevski

Nikola Ristevski is helping bring the joy of organized sport to Hamilton youth through Hamilton Ballers, a free basketball league founded in 2016. Nikola was inspired to start the program after he realized that many youth in our community are unable to participate in sports due to financial restraints.

Hamilton Ballers gives kids a complete basketball league experience, including weekly practices and games, jerseys, trophies, medals, photos, tickets to McMaster Marauders games and more. They currently have 96 players, and 8 teams. With the help and support of his wife Nicole, the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board, 8 volunteer coaches, 4 volunteer referees, and donations from various individuals and business in Hamilton, Nikola’s program has gotten off to a fantastic start!


Cyndi Ingle

Cyndi Ingle

Cyndi Ingle is an award-winning photographer who is using her creativity and passion to create inclusive and supportive environments for Hamilton artists. In 2013, she created the Facebook group Hamilton Photographers Rock, which connects nearly 3000 amateur and professional photographers for discussions, photo sharing, and advice.

Under Cyndi’s leadership, this group has raised money for several local charities; including a donation of $10,000 to YWCA’s Walk a Mile in Her Shoes campaign. As a contributor to the Bay Observer, she uses her personal photographic skills to highlight a diverse array of events in her Around Town page.  As volunteer editor for the Hamilton creative website, Cyndi also brings attention to upcoming fundraising events for community members in need.  Cyndi’s goal is to inspire others to create, share, learn and give back to the community. She is the recipient of the 2016 VIEW Gold Award for Photography, as well as the 2016 Absolutely Fabulous Women Award.

Here are some recent images from her show, People of the park: Portraits from Gore.

Photo of women in gore park

Photo of man in Gore Park


James R. Charlton

Photo of James R Charlton

James Charlton, a retired photo engraver, is helping to record the rich architectural heritage of Hamilton through his love of photography.  He has captured many of Hamilton’s historic buildings, and their transformations through his camera lens. James is a firm believer that the built heritage of Hamilton should be preserved and adapted for the enjoyment of future generations. He is using the art of photography to ensure that this happens to buildings such as the Mary St. Mill, his favourite building in Hamilton.


Julia Colantino

Julia Colantino

Julia Colantino loves Hamilton. But as a young resident diagnosed with profound hearing loss early in life, she experiences our city very differently than most residents. After starting with two hearing aids, Julia received a Cochlear Implant, an electronic medical device that replaces the function of the damaged inner ear.

Unlike hearing aids, which make sounds louder, a Cochlear Implant does the work of damaged parts of the inner ear (cochlea) to provide sound signals to the brain. But hearing aids and Cochlear Implants do not provide Julia with perfect hearing and public places with lots of background noise can be challenging.

Julia wants to create more inclusive spaces for residents with hearing loss in Hamilton. With support from Ward 7 Councillor Donna Skelly, Julia is launching an initiative to have Hearing Loop systems installed in all City and publicly owned buildings. A hearing loop is a system used for individuals who suffer from hearing loss and wear a hearing aid(s) or a Cochlear Implant that have a built-in T-Coil. In a looped area, the T-coil is activated by turning on the tele-coil switch on one’s hearing device – it then creates a sharper, clearer and more amplified sound directed to the hearing aid or Cochlear Implant with completely reduced background noise and allows hearing impaired individuals to hear to their fullest potential.

Learn more about Julia’s initiative and hearing loops.