Today, I Heart Hamilton turns 10. TEN! 🎉
What once began as a summer project with friends, after graduating from university and not knowing what would come next for me, grew into so much more. It’s difficult to put into words how grateful I am for I Heart Hamilton. It’s more than just a blog, radio show, and social media presence. It opened up my world, and has given me so much to be grateful for. I can look back on posts and reflect on how much I’ve grown as a person over the past decade, and reflect on the past decade of my hometown as well.
I Heart Hamilton began May 1, 2011 with the mantra, “be a tourist in your own city,” and I had a few goals in mind: become re-invested in my hometown, explore the city with fresh eyes, get outside my comfort zone and try new things, and encourage others to do the same, wherever you may find yourself. Hamilton has changed a lot in the past decade, and it was fun to be part of a wave where Hamilton’s arts & culture scene hit a moment where things were burgeoning and being recognized, locally and beyond. Being part a local group of bloggers at the same time as we were all documenting the city together, it was such a blast, and I never could have anticipated all the amazing people I would meet.
I’m so grateful for everyone I’ve had the chance to meet through my local adventures, for the friendships and connections I’ve made. It’s so rewarding to be part of your journeys too. To everyone who has been part of the blog and radio show over the past 10 years, thank you for sharing your stories with me. I look forward to learning more – and can’t wait to meet more great folks in this city.
I’m also grateful to have gained experience working in social media through I Heart Hamilton, allowing me to, in the last few years, make a career helping others with their social media. It has been such a rewarding experience that I also couldn’t have anticipated.
I also reflect on Hamilton, and recognize there is a tremendous amount of work to do here. I will always be a platform to help showcase the arts & culture scene, the music scene, and creative sectors. But I know that promoting Hamilton means nothing if this city isn’t a safe and welcoming space for everyone. I am continually grateful for the activists and leading voices in our community who are holding our political figures accountable, and who continue to fight for change every day, and for the engaged citizens of Hamilton who work every day to make Hamilton a better place to be.
Local photographer Stephanie Montani took this photo of me at the end of last year, along with creating a beautiful edit for her #HamOntMusic photo display. It turned out to also be the perfect image for me to celebrate 10 years of documenting Hamilton.