The city of Hamilton has been recognized as the capital of Bermuda for nearly 200 years - since taking over from the town of St George at the east end of the Island in 1815. While many would think that the city would be located in Hamilton Parish, it is actually in Pembroke Parish.
Front Street runs along the harbour and consists primarily of retail shops and restaurants. Many of the restaurants have balconies that look out over the harbour and offer great views of the Island. The buildings are primarily painted in pastel colours and house many of the tax-free shops that are popular with cruise ship guests and tourists.
Up the street (and hill!) from Front Street is where the majority of Bermuda's business takes place. Hamilton is the largest captive insurance centre in the world and ranks #3 in the reinsurance industry trailing New York and London. A number of reinsurance and well-known international companies are headquartered in Hamilton (Bacardi is one example). Hamilton is also home to the Bermuda Stock Exchange (BSX), the worlds largest fully electronic offshore securities market.
Hamilton is contained within a few square kilometers but is where nearly half of the Island's residents come to work. The population of Hamilton during the working day is roughly 15,000 though the majority live outside the city and commute in to work daily. Hamilton is easily accessible by public transit (both bus and ferry boat) and a large number of workers drive in to the city on scooters. There are a surprising number of cars in Hamilton and parking for cars can be somewhat difficult to come by - scooter lots are located throughout the city.
Despite all this activity, Hamilton has several parks within it's boundaries that serve as great lunch spots or meeting places. Many choose to enjoy their lunch breaks in these parks, either by the waters edge or surrounded by gardens. There are several coffee shops (sorry, no Tim Horton's!) and a fair number of sandwich shops available for a quick lunch if you'd prefer to avoid a full sit-down meal.
The city of Hamilton, Bermuda is truly unique. For many years there were building height restrictions (that kept most buildings under 5 stories) but these regulations have started to relax and taller office buildings are now being developed. There is a strong desire to maintain the heritage and history of Bermuda in its architecture and hopefully Hamilton will continue to be a part of those plans for many years.
Author: Jason Squires