If I were to tell you about the city I live in, what would I say?

I'd say it's a town built on work; a town built on industry; a town built on the grit of people who either didn't want to, or couldn't, deal with building the city of Toronto (our neighbour by one hour to the north-westish).

I could mention the mafia, the shipping, the steel industry, and Tim Hortons. I could mention punk rock, jocks, and Hess Village on a summer evening.

I could talk about the east end, the west end, Rosedale, Parkdale, Westdale, Jamesville, and the hundred other little communities that make up any city large enough to have its own university, four major hospitals (with two whole MRI units now, yay them), and home to one of the best airshows this side of... airshows.

I could tell you how there are more doughnut shops per capita, in Hamilton, than any other city in Canada (possibly even North America), and I could tell you about the night I saw a cop run a red to get into one of them. I could even tell you about the all-night euchre parties with friends, and the sing-a-longs that nearly got us booted out of one of them. For good. (Who did let the god-damned pigeons in there, anyhow?)

I could tell you about the escarpment that we all like to call a <i>mountain</i>, or how you don't have to be Jesus to walk on water in Hamilton Harbour (hey, we have t-shirts with that on it!), or I could tell you how the view coming into Hamilton from the Skyway Bridge is so ugly (not because of the industry by the lake) because we want to keep the Torontonians out.

I could tell you what it was like to have my highschool graduation ceremony in the Cathedral Of Christ The King (all Catholic highschools in Hamilton do that), or what it's like to go skulking through the Hunter Street train tunnel (it's really not a task for the faint of heart, trust me; especially not when you hear a train coming and barely make it out before it brushes by, inches from your skin), or what it's like to sit on the mountain brow on a night when the sky is lit by fireworks.

I could even talk about the Festival Of Friends, Earthday, the Winona Peach Festival, the Dundas Cactus Festival, the Strawberry Festival (where they serve ice-cream and strawberries out front of city hall), the festival they have down at the harbourfront every summer, or the Canada Day concerts in Gage Park (they don't call Southern Ontario the "festival region" for nothing!).

I could talk about how we are home to what might possibly be the last surviving decent independant record label and distribution company (that would be Sonic Unyun for those keeping score at home; now home to Frank Black's music, amongst others), or how Bela Lugosi and David Byrne once lived here, or the time we stretched a silver mylar ribbon from Stoney Creek's city hall to Hamilton's city hall.

I could tell you what it was like to hang out with the pseudo-goth punky skinhead downtown street kids in the late 80's, what it was like to be friends with the sort of person who'd walk through the downtown dressed as Jesus during the annual Jehovah Witness convention, or precisely how long it takes to get from the corner of King and Nash to McMaster by city bus (hey, they're going <i>your</i> way).

I could tell you how we're perfectly situated and perfectly sized (not too big and not too small, and smack arse in-between Niagara Falls and Toronto), and how the weather is decent during the winter (we escaped the snow-belt by half an hour, yay us), or even the fact that our one peep-show offers a seniors discount.

I could tell you a lot of things, but I think what I'd tell you first and foremost, is that it has become my home. I am a part of it, and it is a part of me; and if I never make that move to England, I can see myself spending the rest of my life here, contently.

2001 07 19 - 12:53