The Harbour Diner 486 James Street North

In our search for the best breakfast foods in the City, we would be terribly remiss if we left out Harbour Diner. The James Street North staple has been on our list since the very beginning of the Tour, but we hadn’t yet managed to get to it as a group. Avishka had been before and really enjoyed it and knew that the rest of us would too, telling me about the homey feel of it, from the wallpaper to the nautical décor. The nautical theme has been following us throughout the Tour, and with summer coming up, I know it will work its way into our tour stops again.

Joining me for my inaugural Harbour Diner experience was the producer of CBC Hamilton, Conrad Collaco, making him an official Honourary Tour Member! We Tourists were excited to learn of Hamilton getting its own CBC station and that the digital station is the first of its kind. The week before, I got to sit down for a chat with executive producer Roger Gillespie and find out more about it. I was so happy to get to share with the CBC team all about our Tour and what we’ve been working so hard on and have been so excited about for the past year. We’ve spoken before about how we can feel something so special happening right now in Hamilton, and that we are really on the verge of a shift that is happening in the City. We’re thrilled to be part of that, and the addition of CBC Hamilton seems to be hitting at just the right time.

The Harbour

Belgian Waffles

Arriving early, not long after Harbour Diner’s 8 am open (hands down the earliest tour stop to date!) I was greeted by a friendly server and was offered a favourite spot of Harbour Diner patrons, on a raised platform by the front window. It was the perfect seat to look outside at the sunny morning on James North and also to turn around and overlook the cozy diner. I sipped on some coffee while perusing the menu, even though I was already pretty set on what I would order. (We tend to come prepared by looking at menus online before heading out to eat, even though that usually doesn’t curb our indecisiveness at all.) I decided to continue my current waffle kick and get the Belgian Waffles. I did not expect them to arrive so artfully presented, and for them to be waffles fingers, as I referred to them, rather than the traditional circle or square waffles. They were topped off with some powdered sugar and slices of kiwi, pineapple, and orange were on the side, for a little tropical panache. Of course, lots of syrup was added!

Thanks to Conrad Collaco for the photo

Conrad chose the combo The Harbour, which came with two eggs, bacon (or your choice of sausage or ham), home fries, and toast and jam, along with the same sprinkling of those tropical fruits on the side. The whole breakfast menu sounds delicious; it will take many trips to try everything. The Eggs Benedict in particular comes highly recommended by people we’ve spoken to. And that’s just breakfast – their lunch and dinner options also sound amazing. Poutine? Nachos? Crab & Lobster mac & cheese? Oh, yes, we will be back.

Back to the CBC! It was great to chat with Conrad about Hamilton and share with him many of the things we’ve discovered over the course of our Tour. We noted that overwhelmingly, the music scene is a favourite aspect of the City, which Conrad got to see firsthand by a survey he took for CBC Hamilton’s blog. We couldn’t agree more, as music becomes a bigger part of our blog all the time. I would love for Hamilton’s artists to be showcased on an even bigger stage. The music here is world-class, and CBC’s exposure of this music would be an incredible thing.

Photo taken with Instagram

We talked about the James North area, specifically, but I also noted how we have made an effort to explore all areas of the City. From Locke Street to Westdale, Ancaster, Dundas, and Stoney Creek, there is so much to see and do. Although CBC Hamilton is located in the downtown core, it would be amazing to see all of Hamilton invested and wanting to share their stories.

I look forward to sharing more of what we’ve discovered about our hometown with CBC Hamilton – that’s an aspect of the digital station that I’m encouraged by, is that citizens will get to contribute and help direct the content of the station, and CBC Hamilton is open and ready to listen.

‘Til next breakfast!

– Kristin

The Harbour Diner on Urbanspoon

Kristin Archer is the creator of I Heart Hamilton (, where she has blogged about experiences around her hometown since 2011, growing a social media presence along the way. Encouraging locals to “be a tourist in your own city,” she promotes arts and culture across her various social media platforms, blog, and weekly radio show on 93.3 CFMU.

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