Hamilton Mountain, Ontario, Canada Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

Hamilton Mountain, Ontario, Canada

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Hamilton, Ontario, Canada is a city of 320,000 at the west end of Lake Ontario.

It is a steel town like Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. But whereas Pittsburgh approaches the maximum limit of a sane person's endurance of hills, Hamilton fails to meet the minimum daily recommended dosage.

To say that Hamilton is as flat as a pancake is an understatement. It is actually as flat as two pancakes, which is to say that Hamilton is a split level city.

As if to refute accusations of flatness, Hamilton has a cliff running its entire length (or width, as one is inevitably disposed to face the lake) dividing the city in two.

The business district, the seat of government, and the older residential neighbourhoods are squeezed between the limestone cliff and the shore of Lake Ontario. Meanwhile the newest suburbs, replete with monster shopping malls and resplendent with the sparkling new Alexander Parkway, occupy the highground, known locally as 'The Mountain'.

Mountain dwellers have the smug satisfaction of being capable of ignoring the lower city, if they choose, and casting an unobstructed, if somewhat wistful, gaze at distant, shimmering Toronto, the self-described 'Mega-City'.

The disparate altitudes of the two halves of Hamilton are the product of glaciation and erosion caused by the retreating shoreline of Lake Ontario. Therefore there is a strong case for describing Hamilton's great divide not so much as a 'mountain' than as the side of a hole. This raises interesting psychological questions about the people who live in a hole and call the sides a mountain.

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