There many fantastic areas of Hamilton; however, the city like many, has its share of issues. As the steel city and industrial capital that it is, many of the factories have shut down, leading to higher unemployment. These photos are mostly taken from blue collar areas in the east end, surrounding the mills and factories.
Check out this comprehensive photo thread on some beautiful areas of Hamilton:
This is just one aspect of Hamilton, but it is a real aspect of the city.
The decline is due to the loss of industry over the years, very much the rust belt pattern.
Yes, Toronto is just a bit further up the lake, but I think Toronto has basically choked Hamilton off over the years. Hamilton was never able to diversify its economy beyond manufacturing because of Toronto's pull. Toronto came to overshadow Hamilton, with success after success compared to Hamilton's defeat after defeat, leading Hamiltonians to develop an inferiority complex that mires the city in a self fulfilling prophecy, an infinite loop of defeatism.
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