Map of Downtown Ward Boundaries (1833-2018)
The map below has been designed to give you a fairly accurate sense of how ward boundaries in downtown Hamilton changed from 1833 to 2018. The layers for both 1833 and 2018 have been preselected so you can get a sense of the scale of the changes over that period of time (you can select and deselect the layers you want to view if you visit the full sized map).
For the purposes of making this map legible, we’ve included most of the area for what we call Wards 1, 2, and 3 today. For more about how we’re defining downtown generally, visit our About Us page. Make sure to check out the Summary and Other Resources below the map for more information about how the data for this map was collected and what it means.
Summary of the map
The map has been divided into time periods based on where there were major changes (and based on the the limits around the number of layers allowed in a Google My Map).
Up to and including the layer for 1985, the map is based on pictures of the boundary maps that were copied from those available at the Hamilton Public Library’s Local History & Archives at its Central Branch in downtown Hamilton. These maps are hand drawn and fairly accurate but don’t take a number of modern or historic features into account.
We haven’t spent time analyzing historic maps of Hamilton to get every detail right. It’s important to say this so you don’t take every angle to be completely accurate. That being said, the layer for 2018, and to a lesser extend 1985, is based on the impressive and detailed of that Joey Coleman from The Public Record who published an open map of the City of Hamilton ward boundary changes in 2018. You’ll notice more accuracy in that layer than in any other which is completely due to Joey’s dedication and hard work.
About the data and ways to interpret it
Before Hamilton was an incorporated City in 1846, it was run by a police board as a town as early as 1833. The maps that make up these ward boundaries start in this period and outline major ward boundary changes. These changes do not include those associated with amalgamation (at least not for this map) because most of what’s fondly called “the old City of Hamilton” did not undergo significant changes during that period. The major periods of boundary changes are outlined below.
- 1833 – The period when what is now known as Hamilton was established as a town governed by a police board
- 1846 – The incorporation of the City of Hamilton
- 1875-89; 1901-19; 1920-30; 1931-49; 1950-59; 1960-71; 1985 – More research is required to determine why changes were made during these periods. We’ll update this section when that work has been completed. If you’re interested in helping with this work or already have this information, please get in touch with us.
- 2018 – Changes made in advance of the 2018 municipal election as the result of a legal challenge by citizens against the proposed changes by the City of Hamilton. For more information about this, read the article by Joey Coleman (search The Public Record for more stories and background on this).
Last updated – January 10, 2021