Joey Coleman: Localism: King at Main or King and Main?

Localism: King at Main or King and Main?

There was an accident Thursday in the intersection of King Street East and Main Street East in Hamilton’s East End which prompted an interesting discussion on Twitter.

Is the intersection, known as The Delta, ‘King at Main’ or ‘King and Main’?

[View Larger Map](http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=embed&hl=en&geocode=&q=Main+St+E+and+King+St+E,+Hamilton,+Ontario&aq=&sll=43.259928,-79.889576&sspn=0.007485,0.021136&vpsrc=6&g=Main+St+W+%26+King+St+W,+Hamilton,+Hamilton+Division,+Ontario+L8P,+Canada&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=King+St+E+%26+Main+St+E,+Hamilton,+Hamilton+Division,+Ontario,+Canada&ll=43.243838,-79.825108&spn=0.014974,0.042272&t=m&z=14) I did a scan of tweets about the locations and a search of blogs. (I was slightly bored at the time)

In a completely non-extensive and non-scientific scan, I found native-Hamiltonian’s leaned towards ‘at’ over ‘and’ whereas non-native Hamiltonians preferred the more common ‘and’ without much use of ‘at’.

King and Main streets are the two primary arteries for east-west travel in the City with four one-way lanes for the majority of their distance. Travel west is on King, travel east is on Main. They run parallel across Hamilton with the exception of this crossover at The Delta.

I’m an east-ender by birth and lived there most of my life. I’ve lived outside of the east end during times while in foster care and for the past decade.

To an east-ender King and Main is THE Delta with an emphasis on ‘the’ to distinguish between the intersection and neighbourhood of the same name. The emphasis also serves to avoid confusion between the intersection and nearby high school of the same name.

For example, ‘let’s meet at the Pizza Pizza at Delta’ means the location at Graham and Main across from Delta High School. ‘Let’s meet at Pizza Pizza at The Delta’ means the location at King and Main.

When using King and Main, without saying “The Delta”, I’ll use King at Main to emphasis the intersection. King and Main, while more proper, sounds weird to the ear of a native Hamiltonian. We expect the cross-street to be a north-south route, and have to think about it before realising the speaker means The Delta.

Am I pointing in the wrong direction? Do you use King and Main more than The Delta or King at James? Let me know, let’s have a discussion. This is one of Hamilton’s great localisms.