Planning a Community

Downtown Hamilton

The Downtown Secondary Plan, “Putting People First: The New Land Use Plan for Downtown Hamilton” was the first formal plan for the Downtown core, approved in 2001. The Secondary Plan contains the goals, actions, policies and implementation of the direction for Downtown Hamilton. In 2011, the City initiated the review and update to the Secondary Plan. On August 14, 2019 the LPAT issued a decision declaring that the new Plan was approved in its entirety except those lands subject to site specific appeals.

Location: The Plan area is bounded by Cannon Street to the north, Victoria Street to the east, Hunter Street to the South and Queen Street to the west and the properties fronting onto James Street North from Cannon Street to the West Harbour GO Station and fronting onto Jame Sreet South from Hunter Street to Charleton Avenue.

Status: On August 14, 2019 the LPAT issued a decision (PDF, ) declaring that the Downtown Hamilton Secondary Plan is approved in its entirety, except those lands subject to site specific appeals as outlined in the decision and identified on the appeals map (PDF, 2 MB).

Map of the Downtown Hamilton Secondary Plan

The Planning Committee held a Public Meeting under the Planning Act to consider changes to the Urban Hamilton Official Plan, City of Hamilton Official Plan and Zoning By-law 05-200 Downtown Zones to implement a new Downtown Hamilton Secondary Plan.

Official Plan Amendment and Zoning By-law Amendment for the Downtown Hamilton Secondary Plan (Wards 2 and 3)
Note: There have been minor revisions to the documents before Planning Committee. The revisions are summarized and highighted in this Summary of Revisions (PDF, 2 MB). Link to Planning Committee Agenda

Following extensive consultation, additional revisions have been made to the Proposed Downtown Hamilton Secondary Plan, Downtown Zones & Utility Zone, and the Tall Buildings Study and Guidelines.

Changes to the Proposed Downtown Hamilton Secondary Plan and Downtown Zoning By-law since the March 19, 2018 release
Changes have been made to the Proposed Downtown Hamilton Secondary Plan policies and Downtown Zones. These changes are administrative in nature and do not change the intent of the proposed policies or zoning.

There has been one housekeeping change to the Secondary Plan document that occurred after the March 19, 2018 release to the public. The text has not changed. A renumbering of policies has been carried out:

Existing Policy Number in March 2018 Renumbered to the Following Policy Number
6.1.4.7 6.1.4.5
6.1.4.8 6.1.4.6
6.1.4.9 6.1.4.7
6.1.4.5 6.1.4.8
6.1.4.6 6.1.4.9

These changes have been made to the amending Zoning By-law:

Section Proposed Change New Wording Rationale
6.0 c) ii) Add the words “except any flankage lot line” after the words “rear lot lines”. “A minimum 3.0 metre stepback shall be required for any portion of a building exceeding 22.0 metres in height from a side or rear lot line except any flankage lot line.” The intent was to apply the stepback to a lot line abutting another property. Where a lot line abuts a street no additional stepback is required.
6.0 c) iii) 2. Delete the words “from all other lot lines” and replace them with “from any side and rear lot line except any flankage lot line”. “Minimum 12.5 metres from all side and rear lot lines except any flankage lot line.” The intent was to apply the stepback to a lot line abutting another property. Where a lot line abuts a street no additional stepback is required.
6.1.1 The following uses have been added, in alphabetical order, to the list of permitted uses:
  • Commercial Parking Facility
  • Microbrewery
n/a The uses were listed in Section 6.1.1.1 Restricted Uses and were not included in the list of Permitted Uses in error.  
6.1.2 The following uses have been added, in alphabetical order, to the list of permitted uses:
  • Commercial Parking Facility
n/a The uses were listed in Section 6.2.1.1 Restricted Uses and were not included in the list of Permitted Uses in error.

Proposed Downtown Hamilton Secondary Plan

Proposed Downtown Zones and Utility (U2) Zone

Other important documents

Public Open House
Held February 13, 2017
Presented and explained the proposed updates to the Downtown Hamilton Secondary Plan and Zoning By-law. Display panels (PDF, 11 MB) | Presentation (PDF, 3 MB) | Secondary Plan map (PDF, 82 KB) | Comment sheet (PDF, 196 KB)

Draft Tall Buildings Study and Guidelines - Community Meeting and Workshop
Held April 27, 2016
Community meeting to present the draft Tall Building Study and Guidelines for public comment. Display Panels (PDF, 26 MB) | Presentation (PDF, 17 MB) | DRAFT Tall Building Study (PDF, 3.1 MB) | DRAFT Tall Building Guidelines (PDF, 3.3 MB)

Tall Buildings Study - Community Meeting and Workshop
Held May 26, 2015
Seeking public input for Tall Building Study about what the public thinks is tall within Hamilton, where the public thinks tall buildings should be located and how tall buildings can compliment the unique aspects of Downtown Hamilton. Display Panels (PDF, 44 MB) Presentation (PDF, 76 MB)

Public Information Centre #1
Held June 2011
Introduced the review of the Secondary Plan and gathered background information. Display Panels (PDF, 9.7 MB)

The Downtown Secondary Plan, “Putting People First: The New Land Use Plan for Downtown Hamilton” was the first formal plan for the Downtown core, approved in 2001. Prior to the Secondary Plan, the last plan for the downtown area was completed in 1988. The intent of the 1988 plan was to foster a dynamic mix of urban residential, commercial and institutional activities across the Downtown.

In 2011 the City initiated the review and update to the Secondary Plan. On August 14, 2019 the LPAT issued a decision declaring that the new Plan was approved in its entirety except those lands subject to site specific appeals.

  • December 2014:  Phase 5 - Tall Building Study
  • January 2013: Phase 4 - Policy review
  • January 2012: Phase 3 - Issue identification and visioning
  • October 2011: Phase 2 - Urban Growth Centre and Secondary Plan boundary expansion
  • August 2011: Phase 1 - Background review

Contact us

Alissa Mahood
Senior Project Manager
71 Main Street West, 5th Floor
Phone: 905-546-2424 ext. 1250
Email: [email protected]

Shannon McKie
Senior Planner
71 Main Street West, 5th Floor
Phone: 905-546-2424 ext. 1288
Email: [email protected]