It’s been an interesting six months or so reacquainting myself with my hometown of Hamilton. Well, technically, it’s Dundas, since that’s where I grew up. Technicalities aside, I grew up in Hamilton and over the past six years or so, have really discovered all there is to see and do in this fine city.
Last year, I moved to Oakville to pursue my postgrad studies in Corporate Communications at Sheridan. I had so many full circle moments that year, including getting to know my roommate, boyfriend and now fiancé, Sean, who also happened to be from good ol’ #HamOnt and meeting others in my class. Having been a tourist in my own city along with three friends of mine in the summers of 2011 and 2012, I was quick to dispel some of my classmates’ perceptions and spoke up about the revitalization in the city, from the vibrant art community, to the emerging musicians and bands and all sorts of shops that seemed to be popping up along James Street North. It’s not perfect and really, nowhere is, but something positive has been happening in Hamilton that people aren’t aware of.
It’s funny how a year later, having found a fantastic place with Sean in downtown Hamilton in August 2013, that I still feel like a tourist in my own city. And having been away for the year, visiting home a few times a month, I felt more like one than ever. In a way, it made me sad and I found myself reminiscing to those summers. My exploration of Hamilton came to a halt for a number of reasons, mainly because I had other aspirations- my postgrad studies, getting a full-time job- and practically, there was no way to continue being involved in the way I had been, being in Oakville for school and working part-time. So it’s been interesting, a year later, rediscovering the city I had once set out to explore.
I’ve recruited Sean along for some adventures and being in the heart of downtown, there is no excuse for us not venturing out (ha ha). From popping by new shops like James North General Store and The Hamilton Store, to discovering CraftStock one afternoon while I was on Twitter and popping by that same afternoon, there’s quite a lot to see and do and places will sneak up on you when you’re not even looking.
Life is always better with an octopus pillow. Photo by Mathieu Brazeau, co-owner of James North General Store.
Funny enough, I’d written down the addresses of each place, yet we ended up passing by the James North General Store!! Granted, we were on the other side of the street, total accident. As we made our way down James North, we found ourselves slowing down as to not miss The Hamilton Store.
Our octopus pillow and this lovely elephant top we got from James North General Store
It’s fun, not only to get out and explore, but see the number of opportunities there are these days for emerging artists in Hamilton. Sean is one of them (read more about Sean in my artist profile) and I’ve set out on a mission to use my PR guru skills to promote him all over Hamilton and beyond. He’s working on a series of illustrated novels that I think would truly capture many creative minds in Hamilton.
So I end this post with this- I’ve had the chance to be a tourist around the world and really try and avoid being a voluntourist during my volunteering ventures abroad. We all want to travel the world and see what’s out there. No matter where you go, always remember that there are gems that have yet to be discovered in our own backyard, adventures that have yet to be had, in the place that we call home.
Taken during a stroll up Jolly Cut this past fall