Keeping Up Ap-Pier-ances. Life’s good on the waterfront

47 Discovery Drive is an address that probably couldn’t have a better name. The area, otherwise known as Pier 8, has practically everything you’d need for an all-ages daycation: sailing, boat tours, and fishing; paths for cycling and walking; and the quintessential component, waterside dining at Sarcoa, Williams’ Fresh Café, the Waterfront Grill, and Scoops Ice Cream Parlour.

The area is managed by the Hamilton Waterfront Trust, a charitable organization that has invested valuable time and resources into turning the area into a gem of a destination. Their mandate is to  “make it possible for everyone to use and enjoy Hamilton’s waterfront.” On any given day you’ll see families, tourists, cyclists, roller bladers and people simply looking for some fresh air.

The Waterfront Trolley

Maybe you’ve got some questions about the surrounding area. What are the two big domes at the Hamilton Waterfront? Or, just what exactly is the Fishway? Did you know that The Hamilton Waterfront Trolley is a fun (and economical) hop on/hop off way to explore the area?

The trolley started in 2006 and is a must do for all ages. There’s room for 37 passengers on this trackless trolley and the tour runs along 12 km of paved shoreline along the western portion of the harbour. Keep the camera ready to snap natural and man-made attractions, the marina, historic bridges and pretty fantastic views. Your friendly conductor will offer a narrated commentary along the route.

Hamiltonian Boat Tour

Once you’ve completed your tour by tires, buy tickets for the Hamiltonian. This tour is great for smaller crowds – kids too – and offers a 50-minute narrated tour of Hamilton Harbour. It’s now in its 14th season. The captain tells some interesting tales about one of North America’s most noteworthy harbours, and shows you some nice views. He’ll even let the kids steer the boat for a bit. They look pretty proud of themselves when they’re at the helm.

Bike rentals

See the area on two wheels of your own control, or maybe you’d like the Surrey with the fringe on top? Waterfront Wheels has bike rentals for all ages, but you must be at least 18 years old to purchase a rental. Prices range by the hour; choose from a regular two-wheeler or the Surrey Deluxe.

HMCS Haida National Historic Site

The large military grey battleship permanently resting in Hamilton Harbour is the HMCS Haida. Our nation’s wartime history of naval service is depicted onboard this legendary Tribal class destroyer. The ship served in World War II, the Korean Conflict and the Cold War. The Royal Canadian Navy’s “most fightingest ship” is open for exploration throughout its historic decks.

Bayfront Park

Less than two kilometres away is Bayfront Park. It’s a beautiful 16-hectare park with a smooth 6 metre-wide asphalt pathway for walking, cycling and blading. There are equal opportunities for photo ops and pretty views. 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.

Upcoming Events

Music on the Waterfront

Free concerts are offered every Thursday night until August 31. The lineup includes: Jack de Keyser (August 3), High Rendition Jazz (August 10), Miles from Nowhere (August 17), Karen Thorton Jazz Trio (August 31). Remember to bring a lawn chair. Donations greatly appreciated to this free event.
7-9 pm (weather permitting)
Waterfront Stage, Pier 8

Hamilton Harbour Fishing Derby

August 12
Bring the kids for a free fun day of fishing. The derby is open to three age categories: 10 and under, 11 to 17, and 18 and over. 1,000 free fishing rods will be available for kids 12 and under! Plus, lots of prizes will be awarded. Call 905-523-4498 for information or go online.
8 am – Noon
Pier 8

The HMCS Haida’s Birthday Party

Help celebrate the Haida’s 74th birthday on August 27 with some family friendly fun. Meet costumed interpreters dressed in wartime uniform. Become an honorary sailor and get your very own anchor tattoo. Take part in special guided tours and enjoy refreshments. Check website for further updates and event information.
Pier 8

by Becky Dumais

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