McMaster University

McMaster University

The Hamilton Series

The Hamilton Series is a collection of topic presentations focused on the City of Hamilton, led by community or campus leaders, paired with experiential excursions off-campus. The series provides international students with the opportunity to explore Hamilton from various historic, social and economic perspectives.

Why Participate?

  • Discover the city beyond traditional tourism
  • Connect with like-minded peers on campus
  • Learn from recognized campus and community leaders
  • Receive follow-up resources for self-directed learning and volunteer opportunities
  • Receive a certificate of completion when you attend a minimum of four Hamilton Series events over the academic year
“The Hamilton series gave me a unique opportunity to see the sides of Hamilton that I would have never ever thought of discovering myself. The lectures and the tours were the highlights of Friday mornings/afternoons. Every lecture brought an insight into what Hamilton is like outside of the campus: its art, history, ecology, community and economy. It made the image of the city and people living there vivid and alive. As the series went on I’ve learned more and more new arguments to counteract those, who would say that Hamilton is just a steel town. I’ve discovered to my own amazement that Hamilton is much more than that. It is a vibrant and developing city.”
Elena Dukhnitckaia, Trento University, Italy, Exchange 2013-2014
“I loved the Hamilton series. It was a really easy way to get involved, learn a lot of great stuff about our new town, and meet friends. Keep it all up, from experience I can certainly attest to its significance in the life of an exchange student. Thank you for such a wonderful experience at MAC!”
Elle Rasmussen, University of Sydney, Australia, Exchange 2014-2015

After attending the Hamilton Series students will be able to:

  • Understand Hamilton beyond stereotypes and personal assumptions
  • Link in-class teaching to current realities
  • Demonstrate sensitivity to highlighted issues
  • Connect local issues and solutions with those taking place within their home/host communities
  • Develop the skills and critical thinking necessary to recognize concerns and effect change

Event information is available on OscarPlus


Past Events


Creative Cities [Arts & Culture]

Guest Speaker: Alice Sabourin, Tourism & Cultural Division, City of Hamilton

Ninety two per cent of Hamiltonians believe that culture adds to quality of life. But what is culture? And who (or what) contributes to the culture of a city? How do cities like Hamilton use cultural planning as a means to support economic and community development? Join us as we explore the cultural drivers behind Hamilton’s development into a creative, cultural landscape.

This session will then be followed with a trip to the Art Gallery of Hamilton and the annual James St. North SUPERCRAWL, a massive street festival dedicated to music, art, dance and theatre from Hamilton and around the world.


Paradise and the Harbourfront [Natural Environment]

Guest Speaker: Ilona Feldmann, Bay Area Restoration Council (BARC)


Water, water, everywhere and not a drop to drink? Hamilton borders many kilometers of beautiful waterfront property and yet the health of this sensitive ecosystem is at risk. Hamilton’s iconic Steeltown image may be fading, but many of the industrial pollutants that found their home in our harbour are still present, with the addition of new pollutants deposited every day from individuals like you and me. Join us as we take a closer look at the health of Cootes Paradise, the Hamilton Harbour, and the various watersheds of Hamilton, and what efforts are in place today to delist the Hamilton Harbour as one of 43 Areas of Concern (AOC).

Join us after the presentation for a trail hike to Princess Point and a canoe trip through Cootes Paradise!


Red, Green, Orange and Blue [Politics and Government]

Canadian Senate Chamber

Guest Speaker: Ata-ul Munim, PhD Candidate, Department of Political Science, McMaster University

Politics in Canada are dynamic and always interesting. Holding to our British beginnings, Canada looks to our elected Prime Minister to represent the values and interests of Canadians and be our voice on the international stage. This session will explore current and historical governance in Canada, reviewing power at the federal, provincial, and municipal levels, with a special focus on Hamilton’s political leanings. We will also take a look ahead to the upcoming Hamilton Municipal election taking place on Oct. 27, 2014.

Join us after the presentation for a tour of Hamilton City Hall!


Cycle City [ People & Community ]

Bike lane

Guest Speaker: Jamie Stuckless, Youth and Education Coordinator, Share the Road/Ucycle

Cycling in Hamilton is expanding at a rapid pace. New bike lanes are popping up around the city and Hamilton is about to welcome a new bike-share program to its streets. It’s a great time to be a cyclist in Hamilton! This event will welcome Ucycle (Share the Road) as our guest speaker. After this event, we will be taking a group cycling ride to Hamilton’s Bayfront park to enjoy the waterfront trails. All participants will need a bike and helmet to participate. The program has a few bikes available to borrow. Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to request a bike.


Food for Thought [People & Community]

Tractor plowing fields

Guest Speaker: Clare Wagner, Manager of Community Food, Neighbour to Neighbour Centre

The ‘Green Revolution’ has led to increased food production in countries worldwide, and yet, people in our own community remain food insecure. Food security is more than just the availability of food, it refers to the availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods that can be acquired in socially acceptable ways. This presentation will discuss food security and the impacts of poverty on the health of households in our city.

Join us after the presentation for a cooking demonstration at the Hamilton’s Farmers’ Market community kitchen, led by McMaster’s Food for Thought (OPIRG).


Indigenous Peoples of Canada [People & Community]

Indigenous dancer

Guest Speaker: Christa Jonathan, Mohawk, bear clan. Final year Honours Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences, McMaster University

Canada as a nation is relatively young, and in many minds and history books, begins to have its story unfold with the arrival of the first explorers. But the French and British were not the first people to call Canada home. Canada is a country built on a history of broken promises and mistreatment between European colonizers and North American Indigenous Peoples, a rocky relationship which continues even today. This session will take a look at the history and current realities of Indigenous peoples in Hamilton and Canada, as well as take a first-person perspective through the experiences of our guest speaker.

After this session we will join the Indigenous Studies Program in an end of term celebration with traditional drumming, dancing and food!


A Town Called Hamilton [History]

Dundurn Castle

Guest Speaker: Margaret Houghton, Archivist, Local History & Archives, Hamilton Public Library

Hamilton has a rich and diverse history, from its early settlement days to the creation of the 'Town of Hamilton'. In less than 200 years, Hamilton has grown from a population of only 1,000 people to upwards of 500,000 in 2013. Discover the who, the how, and the why of Hamilton's beginnings in this topic presentation on the history of Hamilton.

Join us after the presentation for an excursion to Dundurn Castle Historic Site!


Youth, Poverty and Homelessness [People & Community]

One-third of Canada's homeless population is between the ages of 16-24

According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, physiological needs reign supreme. This includes our access to food, water, and shelter. So what happens to individuals struggling with these basic needs in our own Hamilton community? How did they fall into these circumstances and could it have happened to you? This presentation will invite individuals from Speak Now Hamilton to share their lived experience with poverty through the telling of their personal stories. After this session, we will participate in Living Rock’s Meet the Streets program to learn more about youth poverty and homelessness.


Girl Smiling. Student Picture. Students Waiting. House Front. Students Canoe. Student Meetup. Student Picture 2.