Vision for the Waterfront

The City of Hamilton is seeking to develop a world-class waterfront. As part of that initiative, we have established a set of guidelines to ensure quality building standards with greater public-access to the water's edge through the use of trails, boardwalks, and a naturalized shoreline.

Quality design standards have been a key principle embedded in the City's key planning documents:

A mature residential neighbourhood surrounding the waterfront is a huge benefit to the City's overall waterfront plan. This enables planners and the community to build a plan that is human in scale, allowing for an increase in density, and development opportunities which can co-exist with the neighbourhood. The City looked at the entire area and put in place measures that minimize the impact on the North End neighbourhood.

Major projects

The implementation of capital works over the next four years focuses on projects that will get lands on Piers, 6, 7 and 8 development-ready and planned infrastructure upgrades to the marina between Pier 4 and Pier 8.

Pier 7 & 8 Draft Plan of Subdivision and Zoning Application

The City of Hamilton’s Waterfront Development Office has applied to amend a zoning by-law and submitted a draft plan of subdivision for city-owned lands located at Piers 6, 7 and 8 - 65 Guise Street East in Hamilton (Ward 2).

Application documents

  • Location map (PDF, 544 KB) - Location of the land that will be impacted by this application.
  • Circulation letter (PDF, 35 KB) - Sent to residents living within 120 metres of the affected area to notify them of the proposal and give them an opportunity to provide feedback.
  • Proposed Draft Plan of Subdivision (PDF, 4 MB) - A simplified version showing the proposed land uses for each area of the new community.
  • Detailed Proposed Draft Plan of Subdivision (PDF, 3 MB) - A detailed version showing the proposed land uses for each area of the new community.
  • Application for Draft Plan of Subdivision (PDF, 764 KB) - Prepared by the Waterfront Development Office’s independent consultant, WEBB Planning Consultants, to outline details of the proposed plan.
  • Application for zoning by-law amendment (PDF, 509 KB) - Prepared by WEBB Planning Consultants, to change the zoning of the land to allow for new residential, commercial and community uses.

Technical reports

These studies were completed to help City staff understand the unique features of Pier 7 & 8 and determine what work will need to be done to make sure the land is suitable for residential use:

Public consultation

Urban Design Study

Urban Design Plan for Pier 7 & 8

Concept Plan for Pier 7 Shoreline & Pier 8 Park

  • Infrastructure upgrades to the marina between Pier 4 and Pier 8 (the main basin) include:
    • the replacement of marina docks
    • reconstruction of pier walls along Discovery Drive
    • construction of new docks to provide space for visiting boaters

Existing condition

Conceptual layout

Conceptual Layout for Marini Rebuild - Main Basin

The Bayfront Park beach was originally intended as a place for Hamiltonians to enjoy water-based activities. The beach was closed for the 2016 swimming season. Recent studies have shown that the poor water quality at the Bayfront Park beach is a result of high levels of bacteria introduced to both the water and the sand from waterfowl droppings.

The City of Hamilton and the Hamilton Waterfront Trust are completing a study about water quality issues and concerns at Bayfront Park beach in order to identify options for improving the beach area. The study began in summer 2016 and results and recommendations are expected in early 2017. 

Phase 1 - Public Consultation

To better understand how the public feel about the beach, the City of Hamilton conducted a survey in September 2016 to ask members of the public how they use the beach today and how they would like to use it in the future. Over 400 people completed the survey and the responses indicated that many community members hope to be able to swim at the beach in the future. The survey results will be used to help determine the community’s preferred alternative for the future of the beach and build community support for the project.

View the Phase 1 Public Consultation survey results (PDF, 802 KB).

View the West Harbour Waterfront Projects Update (PDF, 2 MB) presentation or the complete Capital Works Information Update (PDF, 3 MB).

Public space

Hamilton's waterfront currently hosts two major parks, a decorated warship and a trackless trolley:

The Park boasts a number of features perfectly suited to a waterfront setting:

  • A six metre wide asphalt pathway provides wonderful opportunities to engage in a variety of leisure activities while enjoying views of the surrounding harbour area, making it a popular spot for walkers.
  • Gravel and crushed stone pathways located along the lower shoreline offer visitors a quieter, more restful waterfront journey, as well as close proximity to fish and waterfowl.

Bayfront Park

One of the most striking features of Pier 4 Park is the popular Bayport tugboat (c. 1945):

  • The Bayport provides children with a full view of the water and forms the centrepiece of an interactive play area including a water spray pad. A curved boardwalk with a pavilion and benches offers spectacular, panoramic views of the surrounding marinas and parkland, and a shoreline promenade allows access to the water's edge. The site is also a vantage point to enjoy water activities such as boating, windsurfing, and sailing

 Bayport tugboat (c. 1945)

Hamilton's waterfront is also home to the H.M.C.S. Haida - a WWII Tribal Class Destroyer, and Canada's most decorated warship.

You can walk the decks of the pride of the Royal Canadian Navy. H.M.C.S. Haida saw service in WWII and the Korean War and is the last Tribal Class destroyer in the world!

 H.M.C.S. Haida - a WWII Tribal Class Destroyer, and Canada's most decorated warship

Residents and visitors can see the shoreline via 37 passenger trackless trolleys which allow both young and old the opportunity to travel along the Hamilton Waterfront Trail.

The 12 km trail follows the shoreline of the western portion of the harbour which features nature, marinas and on-site attractions.