Elevated walkways, concert spaces, pavilions, promenades: Visions for Pier 8 waterfront

The city has released a new photos and details highlighting six proposals for the promenade at Pier 8.
Changes are coming to Pier 8. (City of Hamilton)

The city has released a new photos and details highlighting six dramatic proposals for the promenade at Pier 8.

The six shortlisted proposals provide widely divergent views of how the public spaces along the waterfront will look.  The design competetion is for a 30 metre wide park along the north and east edges of Pier 8.

The decision on which submission is chosen will be made public in late September.

Public input is part of the evaluation.

Here's a look at what the waterfront may look like in the coming years, alongside excerpts from design statements from each proposal.

The submissions can be viewed online and at three locations for the next few weeks: The Lister Block (28 James St. N), Williams Fresh Café (47 Discovery Dr.) and Evergreen Hamilton (294 James St. N).

Details of hours for viewing are on the city's website. For a full list and more information on the proposals, visit the city's website.

'Hamilton: Hammer City' by Forrec Ltd

Design statement excerpt: Hamilton is a proud waterside city forged in the fire of industry. For over two centuries, ships have docked in Hamilton Harbour to exchange raw materials for goods processed by Hamilton's factories. Today industry still employs over 30,000 people.

Hamilton has developed a character that is best described by the native Hamiltonian term "The Hammer," expressive of the authenticity, edginess and raw potential that is shared by the city and its people. These characteristics have more recently contributed to the surge in a young, educated, and artistic demographic.

By creating an urban destination at Pier 8, we provide a catalyst to strengthen the connection along James Street between the downtown core the waterfront, allowing the benefits of new development to extend beyond site boundaries. 

'Pier 8 Escarpment Park' by gh3

Design statement excerpt: The Lake Ontario shoreline is the meeting place of Hamilton's industrial and geological heritage and its cultural future. The idea of a constructed, abstracted escarpment along the water's edge drives the design of Escarpment Park.

The design unites Hamilton's nature — the escarpment, the shoreline, the waterfall; with its muscular industrial DNA — a deep port city with the imprint of a century of steel industry. Escarpment Park has three dominant landscape features: an escarpment promenade along the northern park edge, a shipping container village along the eastern edge, and a lookout at the northeast corner. 

'View Hamilton | Past Present Future' by Hargreaves Associates

Design statement excerpt: View Hamilton brings together the natural and the manufactured, — both central to Hamilton's socio-cultural identity — to create a vibrant and unique public space the Hamilton Harbour Shoreline.

A welcoming and inclusive civil space, View Hamilton celebrates and amplifies these themes, creating a waterfront experience that is authentically Hamilton, serving as a catalyst for the emerging Pier 8 waterfront neighbourhood, as well as Hamilton's ongoing urban renaissance. 

'Cove' by Janet Rosenberg & Studio

Design statement excerpt: Hamilton's fascinating natural and industrial history has shaped its character, forming the strands of a narrative that is woven in this proposal for the Pier 8 Promenade park.

We were very inspired by the mid-nineteenth-century's frayed coastline marked by a multitude of sheltered river inlets. Its strategic location along Hamilton's waterfront assures a continuous animated stretch of access to the water's edge. Our proposal then introduces a new edge to Pier 8 that is defined by a sinuous civic trail, which in its modulated coursing creates a set of coves of a unique and iconic character in the form of a littoral splash pad, a dune beach, and an urban(e) cultural plaza, the experience punctuated by a "walk over the harbour" at sunrise bridge.

Proposal by PFS Studio

Design statement excerpt: 

  • Edge: Celebrate the strength and activity of the working waterfront edge
  • Access: Every space and access of the park will be inclusive and accessible
  • Amenity: Hydration stations, dog fountains, bike rings, and bikeshare stations
  • Art+culture: Integrated art platform, public art strategy, cultural event spaces
  • Beacon: Iconic architecture creates a new landmark at the prow of the pier

'A Place to Breathe' by The MBTW Group

Design statement excerpt: The arrival of Pier 8 promenade park, along with the adjacent new community, will dramatically change the water's edge experience in this area of Hamilton Harbour.

Significant grade changes proposed between the new community and streets and the harbour's edge provide an opportunity to redesign the relationship between the harbour lands and its waters.

Our team submission expresses our exploration of this new waterfront typology and shows how Pier 8 promenade park will become the "lungs" of the harbour, providing an inviting and accessible "place to breathe" during all seasons of the year.