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 (click on the image to go to a live Google map that will allow you to toggle layers based on time period and see how things overlap with one another).
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.
Fun with the Map
The map is divided into layered sections representing when significant changes to the boundaries took place. For all intents and purposes, what you see in 1833 as Wards 1 through 4 makes up almost all of what Ward 2 looks like in 2018. To see this for yourself, follow the steps below.
Compare layers of the map
- Step 1 – Click on the image of the map above and go to the full interactive version (both the 1833 and 2018 layers should be selected by default)
- Step 2 – Click on the individual area called Ward 2 in the 1833 layer to see the area it originally occupied
- Step 3 – Scroll down through the layers on the left hand side and click on Ward 2 in the 2018 layer to see the area it occupies now
- Step 4 – For more fun, try selecting other layers to see how the boundaries have changed; for example, try deselecting 2018 and starting up at 1833 and clicking on the layers in succession (you’ll get interesting results)
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).