With the seasons changing, I thought it’d make a nice departure to blog about something other than personal injury law here in Hamilton. After all, even the busiest personal injury lawyers have to get out sometimes too!
One of the reasons I decided to practice here in Hamilton is because, quite simply, I love this town. I know we get a lot of flak, but it’s not warranted. When the weekend comes and we can get away from our desks, there is so much to enjoy in Hamilton, so I thought I’d list some of my favourite things to do in and around the city.
And because I work with accident victims, I made sure that each of these locations is wheelchair accessible/stroller accessible/walker accessible.
1. The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum
I’m the father of two boys so, needless to say, the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum is one of my all-time favourite places in Hamilton.
Anyone with interest in aviation, recent history, and air combat will enjoy it. Located near Hamilton’s airport, the museum is run off the generosity of volunteers and donations.
One of the best things is that, if you go early on the weekends, you can often watch the vintage planes as they take off and land. They do offer vintage flights although I’ve yet to talk my wife into that.
As for the collection itself, we’re talking WW2 bombers, gunners and also modern warplanes and bombers. The volunteer guides are incredibly friendly, knowledgeable and patient to those visitors who have lots of questions.
As a personal injury lawyer, I can’t help but think of my clients’ accessibility needs. All areas of the museum are fully accessible to wheelchairs. There is also a small restaurant on the site. Perfect for a cup of coffee and quick lunch for the kids.
A small warning: I find it hard to leave the gift shop with my wallet intact. I pretend that everything we buy is for the kids, but we know who it’s really for…
2. Hamilton’s Amazing Waterfall Trails
This is, in my humble opinion, the very best thing to do in Hamilton.
It is a little known fact that Hamilton Ontario is the waterfall capital of…well, I’ve seen it claimed that we are the waterfall capital of the world. Being the conservative personal injury lawyer that I am, I’m going to go with Canada. Either way, our waterfalls are impressive.
Even though I love hiking in waterfall country, I was hesitant to include these trails in this list because, clearly, not every waterfall is wheelchair accessible and, if you’re reading this blog, it’s probably because you’re one of my clients, you’re an accident victim or someone you know is an accident victim.
That’s why I’ve listed three of the more easily accessible waterfalls here. If you do have the range of motion to hike in and out of certain sites, do check out this locally maintained City of Waterfalls website. I find it an even better resource that the official site (which you can access right here.)
Accessible waterfalls to visit:
- Albion Falls
- 21-metre complex cascade waterfall located at the south end of Kings Forest Park
- It is possible to view the falls from a wheelchair via the north parking lot just off Mountain Brow Blvd
- This waterfall was once considered as a possible water supply source for the City of Hamilton which is impressive in itself
- Felker’s Falls at Felker’s Falls Conservation Area (Stoney Creek)
- 22-metre ribbon waterfall located in the Felker’s Falls Conservation Area,
- Although the waterfall is located in a residential subdivision, the area itself features trails, scenic points and the Peter Street Trail (which is wheelchair accessible)
- Tews Falls [UPDATE June 6, 2016 : A RECENT READER INFORMED ME THAT TEWS IS ONLY ACCESSBILE FOR 100 METRES, BUT YOU CAN’T GET TO THE ACTUAL FALLS. If you are familiar with Hamilton’s accessible activities & places, please comment so that we can keep this list up to date!)
- 41-metres tall and 10-metres wide at its peak in early spring (the flow decreases a lot come summer and autumn), located just off Harvest Road
- Expect to pay an entrance fee in summer
- The 100 metre walk from the parking lot to the falls is completely wheelchair accessible
3. The Royal Botanical Gardens
I’m a big fan of the outdoors and one of my favourite places in Hamilton is the Royal Botanical Gardens.
The indoor displays are open all winter (I really enjoy wandering around the Mediterranean garden and the water features – it’s a tropical break in the middle of winter.)
There are also lots of educational program indoors for the kids that most adults will find interesting too (last winter, we took in their frog display and my oldest son loved it.)
The outside portion opens around late April early May depending on the weather. Personally I think this the most beautifully landscaped property in Canada yet it’s rarely as busy as Edward’s Gardens in Toronto.
Once the growing season is in full swing, the kids will really enjoy both the scented garden and veggie village. There’s even a little restaurant for tea, coffee or wine if you need refreshment or a pit-stop.
Both the grounds and indoor areas are wheelchair accessible (in fact they have wheelchairs on loan if you find you underestimated the amount of walking and need a little help.)
4. Food and Drinkfest
One of the best things about Hamilton Ontario is that it’s located right in the middle of one of the best food and wine regions of North America.
From Burlington up to Niagara, there is a burgeoning culture of locally cultivated fine food and wine, and every April, the Food & Drink Fest here in Hamilton celebrates the bounty.
I never miss it.
The event is attended by the region’s best restaurants (this includes all those fantastic food trucks manned by gourmet chefs we keep reading about), specialty tea and coffee companies, spice and sauce manufacturers and of course, VQA and International wines. The last few years have seen a surge in craft beers too – something I really appreciate.
I had no idea how many artisanal food and drink companies we had in Hamilton and the surrounding areas until I attended. As a result, I now try to shop locally as much as possible and I even discovered a few favourite go-to establishments for when my wife and I don’t feel like cooking.
The Festival takes place at the Hamilton Convention Centre (fully accessible). Tickets are sold at the door on first serve basis, so make sure you arrange for your designated driver and save room in your stomach for lots of samples.
There are so many fantastic wheelchair accessible things to do in Hamilton. What activities would you add to the list? Let me know in the comments below….