I love Hamilton. My father immigrated to Hamilton with his brother in the late 1950's - so did my mother with her parents and sister. Both of my parents paths lead here with the promise of a better life. Back then, Hamilton was an economic powerhouse filled with job opportunities and vibrant communities. Since the 1990's this city has unfortunately been in a steady decline. It burns my ass at the ineptitude of City Hall to try to revitalize downtown Hamilton. However, the times they are a changing thanks to artists who began opening galleries on James Street North and a grassroots movement. The advent of the James Street Art Crawls, downtown is slowly making a comeback. There are new businesses opening on a monthly basis.
The Fella and I spent a rare weekday off exploring the businesses of James North.
We first stopped at Ola Bakery & Pastries (230 James Street North), which came highly recommended by my friend Liz. For an early Monday afternoon, this little jem of a place was absolutely packed. They have to make some of the best sandwiches in the city (and an absolute steal at $3.25 each). The bread is made fresh daily on site. We accompanied them with lattes and a Portuguese custard tart which was to die for. It was creamy, sweet and had a beautiful buttery, flaky pastry. The staff are quite brusque, but the food is so good I was willing to overlook it and plan to return soon.
Ah munna eat choo! Too good to wait to be photographed
Also, on recommendation by Liz, we pre-ordered the piri-piri chicken to take home for dinner. You must provide them with a minimum of an hours' notice, so we placed our order and continued our exploration of James North. Being the Instagram nerds that we are, we spent the rest of the afternoon taking photos of James Street's urban beauty.
Of course I had to make a stop at one of my favourite clothing stores, Blackbird Studios (161 James Street North) www.blackbirdstudios.ca. It goes without saying that I cannot leave this establishment without making a purchase. Their one of a kind creations are original and beautiful and hand made on site. I purchased this 1940's inspired "Jessica" dress. I have absolutely no where to wear this, but when you find such a great piece you have to buy it. A wedding or formal event will always come up unexpectedly & you will be prepared with a fabulous outfit. So someone, please get married pronto, so that I can wear this little number!