For my swan song Hamilton Ten List for urbanicity, I thought it fitting to highlight the things I love the most about this fine city. I’ve lived in a few other places and may one day move away again, but Hamilton will always have my heart, especially the new Hamilton of the last several years. I’m so proud of this city and our progress and I will never tire of tell- ing people they should give Hamilton a second look. Some of the reasons I love Hamilton are tried and true fixtures and others are brand new discoveries – they all come together to make this city amazing. Here are a few reasons why I love Hamilton:

The (Donut) Monster Within
This is one of my more recent discoveries, and in a donut city already, Donut Monster really rises above all the rest – yeast joke intended. I love the limited days of supply (Thursday – Saturday), the creative weekly flavour variations, their event collaborations, and, of course, the incredible taste. They can’t be beat, although the Orange Twist at Grandad’s is a very close second.

Dodgeball Forever
This sport is the first and only athletic thing I have ever participated in with any reliability in my adult life. The amount of joy and frustration I get from my weekly game with Daj Mahballs is the best combination and I can coast on the high of a win for days. I look forward to one day making it to A division and learning not to shriek when I throw. I fear it’s not as intimidating as I think.

The Daily Grind
As someone who “works from home,” I actu- ally spend so much of my work days at the plethora of coffee shops in Hamilton. Each one is distinct and welcoming and I am so grateful for the variety, delicious coffee and treats, and strong wifi these cafés feature. My favourites include: Café Oranje, Pinecone, Durand, Johnny’s, and Cannon. Thank you all for being amazing at what you do and for making me feel welcome.

Art Gallery of Hamilton
An institution since 1914, the AGH has an es- teemed history, but it’s the events they’ve been hosting recently that make me love it so much. From the young professional CLiC events and the BMO World Film Festival to the annual gala and, of course, the art exhibitions, the AGH is the backdrop to so many of my favourite Hamil- ton activities. Its contribution to the cultural and social landscape of Hamilton makes me proud.

The Gage Age
Growing up near Gage Park, a lot of my forma- tive experiences of youth were set to the back- drop of the fountain and rose garden. Now that I’m an adult still living nearby, the park is my favourite place to walk, picnic, and even host elegant dinners as we did last year at the band shell. Gage Park is an impressive feature of Hamilton of which we can all be proud. Green space for the win!

Get Up and Go Go
I’m sure that my decades of familiarity contribute in large part to the city feeling so accessible and easy to navigate, but I think, objectively, the layout of Hamilton is also stellar. While I am in full favour of complete streets and reversing some of our one-ways, the current set up and my knowledge of shortcuts makes getting from A to B so convenient. Coupled with my knowledge of so many free parking spots and a kick-ass bike, traveling around is a breeze.

Hometown Pride
I didn’t really realize how strong the Hamilton pride is here until my boyfriend mentioned it with envy, as he lives in another city. There are so many amazing brands, sites, activities, and products that showcase the love for the Hammer so well … and people get into it! We know what kind of city we are and what kind of city we can be and we’re proud of both parts. “Love where you live” is a concept proudly embraced by Hamiltonians.

The Random Quirk
Every city has its own oddities that lend it charm and originality and Hamilton is no exception. Some of the peculiar or different things I like include the old fashioned Kentucky Fried Chicken at Sherman and Main that has avoided updates for decades; the Canadian Tire gas bar at Victoria and Main that reminds me of the Flintstones, and those top heavy bus shelters on York near Dundurn. This list is just the tip of the iceberg.

Don't Pokeh the Bear
I am absolutely gaga for Pokeh – I can’t get enough. Like when I first discovered shellac manicures, Instagram, or silicone baking sheets, I wonder where this has been all my life. It can be found in the Hamilton Farmers’ Market and is loaded with a ton of optional toppings including kimchi and edamame. Shell out the extra $1 for avocado – of course, that should be a life rule, not just for Pokeh.

Two Out of Three
Since I met my aforementioned boyfriend, I have been introducing him to the wonders of Hamilton and not-so-secretly plotting to get him to move here one day. I’m sure he has been doing the same for Waterloo, but Hamilton is giving me a leg up by having two of his three city requirements. One, proximity to water (check! And it’s getting more beautiful each day). Two, sports team (check! The TiCats play just down the street). Alas, Hamilton is not yet an overwhelming tech hub – but let’s see what we can do about that, people.