Copyright 2013 Allan Stokell
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From Toronto Outer Harbour set a weigh point for Gibraltar Point and then for the entrance to the Burlington Canal. The lift bridge at the Burlington canal only opens every hour and half hour, so you may have to wait to get through. The marina is about 45 minutes from the north end of the canal. Assuming your timing is perfect you should be able to make the whole trip in about 7 hours at 5 knots.
Once you are through the canal, head west and a bit south to the marina. When I was there in August of 2011, both the Stelco and Defasco steel plants were shut down so Hamilton's reputation for being dirty and smelly is no longer true. The factories are still there by the bay and it does remind me of a line from William Blake's Jerusalem:
And was Jerusalem builded here,
Among these dark Satanic Mills?
The marina is operated by the Hamilton Harbour Commission. It has a gas bar and pump out. Go to the gas bar for slip assignment. The gas dock is made of steel and quite high, so have your fenders out on the starboard side as you approach. Transient docks may be flimsy and covered in goose droppings, so be careful.
The marina has no WiFi but it is easy to poach it from the Royal Hamilton Yacht Club next door or to go to the coffee shop. The marina does have excellent facilities including very clean washrooms, laundry room, a covered lounge area with BBQs and a small kitchen area. People are friendly and helpful.
There are a lot of things to do in Hamilton including an indoor farmer's market, Canadian Football Hall of Fame, galleries, and many arts and cultural events. Many artists have fled Toronto's high rents and settled in Hamilton so there is a thriving arts community. Check out the gallery crawls!
Harbour West Marina,
Marina Fax: 905-
This trip is a bit more on an adventure as you will travel Lake Ontario, the Burlington Canal as well as Hamilton Harbour. It is ideal for a long weekend providing the weather is good for 3 days.
The marina is in a newly gentrified section on Hamilton. There are bars restaurants and cafes nearby but the main shopping area is a couple of kilometres away. If you can't bring a bike, be prepared to take a cab, at least for the return trip. There is an excellent chandlery within walking distance.
Dowser Marine Supply,
522 James St North,
Burlington Canal, Lift Bridge
Lake Ontario Side 43.30027 79.79338
Hamilton Bay Side 43.29628 79.80137