I want to tap into what is good in Hamilton and thus I begin my search for signs of life by engaging you, the Raise the Hammer Community.
By Keanin Loomis
Published December 15, 2009
Hi. I'm new to Hamilton and I'm searching for signs of life.
Only a short time ago, I moved my family from Washington, DC, which though only nine hours away by car, is an entirely different world. In my previous life, I was a lawyer in a high-powered law firm, rubbing elbows with some of America's best attorneys and doing work that paid very well but was not particularly fulfilling.
The end of that life was precipitated by George Bush (I'm stridently non-partisan, but I can think of no other person who deserves more blame).
As with millions of other people who got caught up in the collapse of the house of cards that was the American economy, 2009 has been a year of tumult for me and my family.
Since February, we have had our second child, experienced job and home loss, and hauled all of our possessions back to Hamilton to begin a new existence.
In our new life, I live on the Mountain, in the basement of my in-laws' post-war bungalow, trying to reinvent myself in a city that is renowned for having seen better days.
How I got here and where I am going are stories for other times. For now, I'm just trying to learn everything I can about my new location, casting about for relevance and reward-for-effort.
Many people who are familiar with the Story of Hamilton see this as a daunting challenge. First, I don't care. Second, I don't agree. Not yet anyway.
My wife is from Hamilton, so I have been visiting this city since we met at the University of Waterloo over ten years ago. I've always liked Hamilton for some reason, perhaps owing to its people and its spirit, but my wife and I never envisioned it as a place to make a living and raise a family. Now, in the "spot" we find ourselves, we have little choice.
Since moving here, I have ventured off the Mountain and traveled to virtually every corner of this huge city. I have discovered a Hamilton (or many "Hamiltons," depending on your POV) that I never knew existed.
I've found that Hamilton is beautiful in late summer and that it is a city of tremendous views, regardless of the season.
I've discovered a lot of creative people in this city, finding inspiration in its topography, buildings, grittiness and low rents.
I've found its people tremendously approachable and that there is a strong commitment by many to revive this community and revise its image.
I've also found that Hamilton doesn't get the recognition it deserves, even from many of its own citizens.
I look forward to discovering more and, I hope, having an opportunity to help Hamilton craft a new image.
The very first inkling I had that I might like exploring Hamilton as a community, rather than looking immediately to Toronto to put down roots, is when I discovered Raise the Hammer.
That investigation precipitated others and, thus far, I have found Hamilton to be a particularly appealing city in which to spend time.
Now, if only the job picture were a little rosier...
I want to tap into what is good in Hamilton and thus I begin my search for signs of life by engaging you, the Raise the Hammer Community. I assume many of us have a lot in common. What signs of life would you introduce a newcomer to?