Hamilton has a vibrant Black community contributing to the city’s history, art, fashion, culinary scene, and the city's overall makeup.
Experience the culture of the African and Caribbean Diaspora in Hamilton while supporting Black-owned restaurants, boutiques, and artists on your next visit with our guide to some of Hamilton's most interesting businesses and experiences, as curated by BLK-OWNED Hamont.
Food & Drink
From awarding winning bartenders to innovative vegan experiences, Black chefs and restaurateurs are lighting up the city's food scene.
- Afrolicious is your number #1 go-to restaurant for delicious African cuisine in Hamilton. Must-try menu items at this bright and beautiful downtown eatery include Samosas, Tibs, and Pilau Rice!
- Unruly Smoothie offers well-crafted plant-based smoothies, packed with nutrition and incredible flavour. Some of our faves include Nana’s Love and Energy Smoothie!
- Bring Me Some Vegan is Hamilton's first 100% vegan fast food restaurant. Satisfy your cravings with their "Popcorn Chickun", "Famous Bowl" (heaven in a bowl basically) or the "Big Ma…Nevermind" which will have you rethinking your relationship with Big Macs.
- Bar Sazerac is co-owned by award-winning Bartender Kyle Ferreira. His flair for cocktails is seen throughout the creative drink and snack menu. Pop a few doors down to the Ferreira family-owned Saltlick Smokehouse for quality BBQ.
- Berkeley North highlights sharing plates and consciously sourced ingredients and prioritizes service and guest experience. Find them on local foodie destination, King William Street.
- Merk Snack Bar in the city's east end focuses on making food fun and delicious. Under Chef Mark's direction, they offer a casual tapas rogue menu that rotates seasonally.
Hamilton is home to lots of stylish thrift stores and unique home and gift shops. These Black-owned stores and makers feature curated vintage items and BIPOC vendors. Be sure to check out BLK OWNED HAMONT website for a directory for a full list of local Black-owned businesses.
- Reloved Boutique is a mother-daughter owned women’s clothing consignment boutique, located in the heart of James Street North. They also carry local and Canadian women-owned brands.
- Ark Collective nearby showcases a variety of BIPOC vendors to provide a unique shopping experience in Hamilton with everything from clothes and accessories to skincare and decor.
- Look out for some gorgeous hand-crafted items at Hamilton festivals and pop-up markets from local makers like My African Treasure and My Dad & Me Everyday Ornaments.
- Check out Ainara’s Bookshelf for recommendations from a Hamilton-based teen who believes "representation is important" as she shares her passion for books whose main characters are Black and people of colour.
BLACK CULTURE AND HISTORY:
Talented Black artists have been instrumental in building Hamilton into a cultural hub. There are also many historical landmarks reflective of the city’s Black history. When visiting Hamilton, start with these important sites – both old and new.
- This stunning mural by Stylo Starr – Untitled (Sanctuary) – speaks to creating a sacred refuge in a world committed to harming us. It's part of the mural project A World of Welcome in downtown Hamilton's International village exploring the diverse experiences of women of colour.
- The Black Lives Matter Mural on Hamilton mountain off Concession Street is a message of "love, unity and inclusion" painted by a group of muralists including Elicser Elliott. Find it at 335 Upper Wentworth Street.
- Griffin House National Historic Site shares the fascinating history of Enerals Griffin and other early Black settlers at this preserved home set on a hilltop overlooking the beautiful Dundas Valley. The museum is currently closed for renovations but can be experienced here virtually.
- Stewart Memorial Church is home to Canada's oldest Black congregation established in 1835 by members arriving in Hamilton via the Underground Railway. Some famous congregants here included olympian Ray Lewis and the Honourable Lincoln Alexander.
- Early Black Community on Hamilton Mountain Audio Tour on Concession Street uses storytelling and poetry to tell the stories of Early Black Canadians in Hamilton Mountain's "Little Africa". This is best experienced ‘on location’.
- We are Hamilton – Black History Remembered explores the diverse contributions of 16 prominent Black Hamiltonians, honoured at locations across the city for Black History Month 2023!
FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
Music, food, art, and culture come together for annual festivals and events throughout the year. Mark your calendars with these must go-to's:
- Concrete Canvas, founded by local artist Eklipz, is a multi-day arts festival where local and internationally acclaimed artists alike gather to paint murals live across the city. Look out for a new hip-hop festival from them this summer as well!
- Fresh Up RnB Festival highlights some of the top musicians in Hamilton. Hear the likes of Queen Cee, WHITNESS, and Luckystickz live!
- Keep an eye out for upcoming BLK OWNED Pop-up Markets bringing BIPOC products to Hamilton and surrounding communities.
ABOUT BLK OWNED HAMONT
BLK OWNED HAMONT‘s mission is to celebrate, showcase, explore, and support BIPOC businesses and entrepreneurs, especially those Black-Owned in Hamilton and the surrounding areas. Follow them on Instagram @blkownedhamont and check out their website at blkowned.ca. If you are a Hamilton Black-Owned business, connect with them to be featured and collaborate.