Historically speaking, the neighbourhood of Beasley – which has boundaries at the CNR tracks to the north, James Street to the west, Main Street to the south and Wellington Street to the east – has had a troubled past. While it is one of the original 4 neighbourhoods of Hamilton, and is steeped in industrial and architectural history, it’s no secret that it has not fared as well as Durand, Corktown, or Central Hamilton.

In 2006, the Hamilton Spectator devoted months of research to a multi-part investigation of Beasley. At the time, it was considered the poorest neighbourhood in Hamilton, and claimed its place in the top 20 poorest in the country. And the statistics were staggering. Zero city arenas, recreation centers, or pools. Two and half times more people were living below the poverty line, than anywhere else in the city, and only 51% of its residents felt safe at night. And the largest problems being reported were drug dealing, prostitution, and garbage in the streets.

But in recent years, things have changed significantly. Much of Beasley’s past is becoming unrecognizable, and this is in large part due to its residents taking a stand and taking back control of their neighbourhood. Hip new shops and restaurants have sprouted up, the old housing stock is experiencing a much needed face lift, and there are safer, enjoyable green spaces and community centers for its citizens. Even Listerine Alley (once known for being a haven for addiction and prostitution) has taken a turn, featuring a wide array of local artwork that residents now enjoy, rather than avoid. However, every ‘silver lining’ shrouds a dark cloud. While it’s clear that new life, new money, and new residents are springing up all over the community, we can’t help but wonder what has happened to the old? Gentrification is the elephant in the room, and it will be up to the community and the city at large to help alleviate some of the pressures.

While on one hand, change is inevitable and at this point encouraged, but on the other, it’s a matter of how change is initiated that’s important. With new developments on the horizon, what we will need to see is a good mix of affordable housing, so that some of Beasley’s oldest residents are not displaced merely out of circumstance. And its groups like the Hamilton Community Land Trust that are trying to make this a reality. In June of 2016 they released their 5-year plan that focussed on land acquisition, marketing and communications, membership and resource development, policy development, and a housing-based pilot project. However, at this point their top priority is acquiring property in Beasley to develop into affordable housing.

Like us at RE/MAX Escarpment Realty, we recognize that a community is more than just its streets and buildings, its culture and people. So while we encourage you to look to Beasley as your new home, we also remind you not to forget all those who were there before you.

BEASLEY STATISTICS:

Lowest priced home: $220,100
Highest sold home: $520,000
Average sales price: $312,550

*Based on freehold residential sales in the past 90 days.