2020 has been quite a year in the world of news and Hamilton has seen its fair share of interesting headlines.
So what were the biggest stories in Hamilton in 2020?
Here’s five that are among In The Hammer’s most read:
IntheHammer broke the news to Hamiltonians that there was a growing faction of residents referring to The Mountain as ‘Uptown Hamilton’ and it created quite a stir and quite a bit of backlash. Do you think we should start calling the Mountain ‘uptown’?
- McMaster Engineering launches Fellowships with partnering universities to increase diversity in engineering and technology
- Second COVID outbreak declared at Hamilton Health Sciences facility
- City of Hamilton launches second COVID-19 business impact survey
In mid-July, after months of debates and presentations, Hamilton’s City Council voted to move forward with a plan presented by the Hamilton Urban Precinct Entertainment Group (aka The Precinct Group) for the transformation of Downtown Hamilton. The $400 million project includes plans a modernized arena, a newly renovated convention centre and concert hall, significant investment in the Art Gallery of Hamilton, as well as new residential, affordable housing, office and retail space development.
This year saw a large number of homeless encampments pop up throughout the city, mostly in the downtown core. City Hall has been widely criticized for its handling of the situation and its lack of understanding the social issues that have played a hand in creating these encampments. Eventually, after months of court battles and injunctions, some residents of the ‘tent cities’ found housing and most of the tents have been taken down, but the issue of affordability in Hamilton is one still dominating local headlines.
With the brutal killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May under the knee of a police officer, the Black Lives Matter movement was reignited internationally. In Hamilton, hundreds marched in solidarity with BLM advocates in the U.S. and beyond. The call to Defund the Police became part of the conversation into how to tackle systemic racism and its effect on black and racialized communities as well as our Indigenous populations. In Hamilton, advocates associated with BLM staged a days-long protest outside City Hall in late November, calling for police funding to slashed and reallocated to housing initiatives in the city to help address its housing issues which many feel plays a role in perpetuating systemic racism. The camp outside City Hall was disbanded after more than a week in sub-zero temperatures but protestors vowed the battle will continue.
This is obviously the biggest news story of 2020 across the globe. Here in Hamilton, our first case was confirmed in a doctor who worked out of Juravinski on March 11. Since then, thousands of residents have come down with the virus and our death toll continues to climb into the hundreds. This nefarious virus has reshaped the world we live in and the very face of the city we call home. It’s forced businesses to shutter, it’s kept us apart from our loved ones, it’s ravaged our health-care system, long-term care facilities and economy, and it’s completely altered the way we go about our lives.
While the negative impacts of coronavirus are too numerous to list here, there has been some positive to come out of our altered circumstances: it’s held up our health-care workers as the heroes they’ve always been and has also highlighted the sacrifices of those considered to be essential workers make on a daily basis. So many people have risen above the pandemic and its restrictions to bring joy to others or offer support when it’s needed most.
Even as we head into a new year in lockdown, one of the things that have united all of us in this time apart is the knowledge that we’re all doing the best we can together.