5 most popular Hamilton stories of 2021


Published December 23, 2021 at 11:57 am

It's been quite a year in Hamilton.

Well, it’s been some year in Hamilton. The city garnered national attention for not-so-great reasons in 2021 for controversies surrounding encampments, the 14-year debate surrounding light rail transit (LRT) finally reached its conclusion, and a look back at one of the most notorious concerts of all time became a nostalgic lightning rod.

2021 was one of the biggest sports years in Hamilton history, but for the sake of variety, sports stories were omitted for this piece and earned their own feature that can be found here.

Here are intheHammer’s five biggest stories of the year:

No stopping the train now: Hamilton LRT moving forward after council’s binding vote

Hamilton’s light rail transit (LRT) project is kicking into high gear with properties along the planned route set to be demolished in the coming months and shovels are expected to hit the ground next spring.

This is a project that has been 14-years in the making and has received overwhelming support from all sides of the community, but it doesn’t always feel that way. That’s because social media will always skew public opinion towards the perpetually angry.

If you need a final reminder that Hamilton supports LRT, you can find it here.

LRT is part of the top 5 Hamilton stories of 2021

The $3.4 billion project is being funded by the provincial and federal governments. The City of Hamilton is on the hook for operating costs but it receives all of the revenue.

Approximately 7,000 jobs are expected to be created for the construction of the project.

The LRT will stretch 14 kilometres and contain 17 stops, from McMaster University, through downtown, to Eastgate Centennial Park in Stoney Creek.

LRT is part of the top 5 Hamilton stories of 2021

Hamilton’s LRT project is part of the BLAST Network, which would include:

  • B-Line (LRT) from McMaster University to Eastgate Square, with future
    extension to University Plaza to the west and Fifty Road to the east.
  • A-Line: Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) from Waterfront/West Harbour GO to Rymal, and Priority Bus from Rymal to
    Hamilton Munro International Airport
  • L-Line: Priority Bus from Downtown Hamilton to Waterdown.
  • S-Line: Priority Bus from Ancaster Business Park to Confederation GO Station.
  • T-Line: Priority Bus from Centre Mall to Meadowlands Terminal.

1975 Pink Floyd show got concerts at Hamilton’s Ivor Wynne Stadium banned for 30-plus years

It was the concert to end all concerts at the Madhouse on Melrose for decades. 55,000 people came out to see Pink Floyd, camping out on nearby lawns before the show to try to get the $8.50 general admission tickets in the days before TicketMaster and secondary ticketing retailers such as SeatGeek.

That is about $41 in 2021. Compare that to the going rate for tickets to see The Tragically Hip during their farewell tour five years ago, when so many fans wanted to see them before frontman Gord Downie died of brain cancer.

Pink Floyd is part of the top 5 Hamilton stories of 2021

Rampant intoxication and tonnes of pyrotechnics are not an ideal combination inside a football stadium. It resulted in a damaged scoreboard and undocumented injuries.

You can take a trip back to 1975 here.

VIDEO: Explosion causes major power outage in Hamilton

This may not be a story you tell your grandchildren about, but it did generate a lot of traffic in 2021, thanks to one Twitter user who caught the Dec. 4 incident on camera.

3,318 homes and businesses were without power after an explosion in West Hamilton.

VIDEO: Explosion causes major power outage in Hamilton

Alectra Utilities from Main St West to Dow Ave and Highway 403 to Scholars Rd woke up (unless they relied on an electric alarm clock) to a cold home.

They were without power for 6-8 hours.

Hamilton city councillor tells housing advocate, ‘take an addict and put it in your backyard in a tent’

Encampments and affordable housing have been the most contentious issue in Hamilton over the last few years; particularly since the start of the pandemic.

House insecure individuals were evicted from park encampments and advocates clashed with police. Tensions boiled even further at a Dec. 3 meeting after Ward 14 city councillor Terry Whitehead was muted for debating a housing advocate, whom he suggested should “take an addict and put it in your backyard in a tent.”

Councillors heard a delegation from area resident James Lambert, who called on them to halt encampment evictions of unhoused people. Lambert said he had been present on Nov. 24 at J.C. Beemer Park in central Hamilton, when unhoused residents living there were forced by Hamilton police and city workers to leave after a fire.

Hamilton city councillor tells housing advocate, ‘take an addict and put it in your backyard in a tent.’

Housing in Hamilton still less affordable than LA, New York City, Vegas: Oxford Economics

I hope you weren’t hoping to end to 2021 on a positive note.

Hamilton was back on a list of the least affordable housing markets in North America. In fact, housing in the city was even less affordable in the second quarter (Q2) of 2021 than it was in the first quarter (Q1).

Housing in Hamilton still less affordable than LA, New York City, Vegas: Oxford Economics

The report from the Oxford Economics North America Housing Affordability Indices (HAIs) measures home prices relative to a median household income. It assumes a 20 per cent down payment and 25 per cent mortgage-to-income ratio. Anything between 0.90 and 1.1 is considered affordable, according to the index. Hamilton came in at 1.51 — or 51 per cent above affordability in Q2. That’s three points higher than the previous quarter for Hamilton.

By comparison, New York City is at 1.04, Los Angeles 1.45, and Vegas 1.47.

We’ll surely see Hamilton back on the list in 2022. According to the Remax 2022 Canadian Housing Market Outlook, Hamilton will see a jump of 16 per cent over the next several months. The average home is projected to cost $909,502.64, up from $784,054 in 2021 and $622,470 in 2020.


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