Ancaster is a community, and a former town, within the city of Hamilton, Ontario. It has a long history of industrial and commercial success and today is regarded as a wealthy and desirable place to live. There is an increasingly high proportion of young children in the area and it is recognized as being a great place to raise a family.
Ancaster is the most western community of the Golden Horseshoe, located on the Niagara Escarpment and running from the Lincoln M. Alexander Parkway to Sulphur Springs Road, and reaching the edge of the Dundas Conservation Area. Ancaster is the oldest European community in Ontario, founded in 1793, and presently holds a population of approximately 33,325.
The neighbourhood is composed mainly of family units in growing suburban housing. Ancaster maintains a strong community culture with a growing arts and recreation scene. The community vibe is a combination of historical pride and preservation, along with a growing modern feel and an abundance of accessible amenities.
Ancaster offers a collection of retail options. A variety of independently-owned small businesses are located throughout Wilson Street, running through the core of the community. These quaint shops provide antiques, footwear, clothing options, and freshly baked goods. Wilson Street also offers a seasonal nearby Farmers’ Market, as well as medical, orthodontic, and insurance offices. Goodlife Fitness and Huron Creek Yoga and Fitness are also conveniently located on this main street.
East of the heart of Ancaster, stands Meadowlands, a growing shopping centre that offers over 31 brand-name facilities such as the 5-Star co-ed gym, Reitmans clothing, Chapters bookstore, Starbucks coffeehouse, Montana’s Cookhouse, Jack Astor’s Bar and Grill, and a Cineplex Cinema with 10 screens and two party rooms. Meadowlands offers popular grocery outlets such as Sobey’s and Costco, and HomeSense, Michaels, and Best Buy are also located at this mega shopping centre.
The culinary gem of the neighbourhood is the Old Ancaster Mill, an upscale reservation-only restaurant that serves seasonal dishes cooked exclusively with local, farm-fresh ingredients. This sought-after spot is found within a restored 19th century limestone flour mill, and continues to be one of the most substantial stone structures in the province.
Ancaster has a selection of annual events and festivities suitable for everyone. There is the Ancaster Film Fest which is a year-round film membership series offering independent films at the Silvercity Cineplex; Heritage Days is a community festival that includes a parade, a marathon, arts and crafts, a dog show, music, and historical traditions; and the Ancaster Fair runs every fall, and hosts a derby, a student-oriented arts competition, and animal shows in addition to providing various food and drink vendors and rides.
Ancaster provides a mix of historic homes and modern single-detached homes, condos, and apartment buildings – single-detached homes predominantly account for the growing suburban area. Single homes have spacious backyards and large parking spaces that are ideal for families.
Ancaster has the highest median income in the city of Hamilton. According to the Hamilton Census community profile, children (ages 0-14) make up one-fifth of Ancaster’s population and this is the fastest growing sector of the population. The retired population accounts for only 1 in 7 persons.
There are no pollution problems in Ancaster, and the Weather Network has rated air-quality risk at a 2/10. However, houses on streets adjoining Sulphur Springs, Wilson Street, or preceding Golf Links road may experience moderate noise disturbances during peak hours caused by high-volumes of traffic.
The crime rate in Ancaster is very low, accounting for a miniscule fraction of Hamilton’s overall crime. The most common types of crime in this area are residential and commercial breaking and entering.
There are public schools located in the community of Ancaster for all age groups. Ancaster Meadow Elementary school offers school bus routes and has the latest education amenities including iPads and Smartboards in classrooms. Ancaster Senior Public school offers a French Immersion option for students and has lots of green space on the property. Ancaster High School offers a unique Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) for Aviation Technology. There is also the private school option for grades 7 to 12 at Tapply Binet College. There are limited post-secondary education options in Ancaster; however, Mohawk College and McMaster University are located in Hamilton, just a 20 minute drive from the centre of the community. Both Mohawk College and McMaster University are highly ranked in their applicable provincial and national sectors.
A number of bus routes run through the neighbourhood including Route 16 that runs through Meadowlands to Garner/Wilson, following Golf Links Road. All weekday and Saturday trips are interlined with Route 43 – leaving Meadowlands Terminal and running along Stone Church Road. Ancaster routes have access to connections to other Hamilton community routes to Dundas, Stoney Creek, and Waterdown. Hamilton Street Railway (HSR) runs from 5:00 am – 1:00 am. The HSR public transportation system accepts cash, passes, and Presto.
Ancaster activities are tailored to the high-level of family residents. Little Gems Children’s Centre is a popular preschool that is located on Wilson Street that employs engaging and caring staff. The local jungle-themed indoor playground – Jungle Jam – is a hotspot for birthday parties and family fun and recreation.
Pure Rhythm Dance Company offers both competitive and recreational dance classes for males and females aged 2 – 14, in jazz, tap, ballet, hip-hop, lyrical, contemporary, and modern dance. There is also Ballare Studio, which offers dance classes for all ages in ballet, hip-hop, tap, jazz, musical theatre, and acro. Ancaster Aquatic Centre is also open Sunday afternoons free of charge for families to join together and swim. The Rotary Club of Ancaster offers families access to recreation amenities such as basketball or tennis courts year round.
Ancaster is located near the conservation area, which has become an ideal place for families to visit due to the waterfalls and picnic areas. Tiffany Falls and Sherman Falls are among the most popular local falls, but the Ancaster rail trails, such as the Bruce Trail, connect the community to Dundas and Flamborough, where there are additional waterfalls such as Webster’s Falls and Tews Falls. These outdoor destinations highlight the neighbourhood’s natural beauty while providing a space for families to bond and explore free of charge.