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‘Switch’: What you need to know about Happy Hours Speed Dating in Hamilton

After a couple of years of isolation, more people are trying to get back on track.

Many people were stuck during Covid socializing on social media, and more people were forced to stay indoors, spending time by themselves.

Dating apps seemed to be in high demand, allowing single individuals to find partners online without meeting each other in person.

Samantha Bendo found herself stuck inside, wondering if people communicate with each other anymore, and that is why she decided to start Happy Hours Speed Dating.

“Speed dating is an event that allows single people to meet other single people face to face,” Bendo explained, “Every five minutes you switch to a different person with a bell or a ding that tells you when to switch.”

The events are all held in a controlled setting, either a restaurant or bar, and there are alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages depending on preference.

Each person at the event is given a piece of paper to write down matches, and at the end of the event, they can decide whether they want to continue or not.


Happy Hours Speed Dating hosts events at various venues around Hamilton.


“I think it’s awkward to give out your phone number, so how I do it is, if they mutually like each other, then I share the contact information and consider that a match,” Bendo said.

Many of the events are age-based or have a theme, and the events allow you to interact with different people from diverse backgrounds and interests. This allows the participants to step out of their comfort zones and communicate with different types of people.

Some participants say they prefer this approach.

“I did the online thing, but it sucks,” Mohawk College student Maurice Cormier said. “Fake profiles, robots, people who say hey but never respond. I think I like this because I want to meet new people and I want something to excite me.”

Playing Cupid at these events is fun for Bendo because she says her grandparents have inspired her.

“I felt that everyone’s mental health was very low after Covid, and I thought this would be a fun idea,” Bendo said. “I also just want everyone to find love like my grandparents. They’ve been together since they were 16 years old”

Bendo’s goal is to have inclusive and diverse events for everyone and to include all individuals to help them find love. She also has 2SLGBTQ+ events and friendship events.

“There are many different types of events like board game ones, but I personally prefer this one. It’s more face to face,” participant Andrew Beveridge said.

Tickets are $35 per person, and they are available on


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