Kristin Archer at Dundas Peak

I Heart Hamilton’s Best Of 2015

By Kristin Archer

Every year I think I’m going to do a recap post with my highlights of the year. Life always gets so busy, that I usually only have time for my Best Of Playlist. This year, though, felt more significant than ever. Not only on the personal side (getting dumped, getting a job, road tripping to Ottawa to visit a dear friend); it was a huge year for my Hamilton adventures, and I’m super grateful for all of it.

2016 brings I Heart Hamilton into its 5th year –  still so much to do, and I can’t wait to see what’s to come in this amazing city of ours!

For now, my Best Of 2015, in no particular order…

Kristin Archer at Dundas Peak
Kristin Archer at Dundas Peak. Photo by Lisa Vuyk

The JUNO Awards
Hamilton hosted the 44th annual JUNO Awards this year. It was a game-changing event for Hamilton as a music city, and it was the biggest event I’ve had the opportunity to cover so far on I Heart Hamilton. The excitement wasn’t just confined to one event; JUNO-fever spanned many months, beginning with the first big press conference in December 2014 at Catherine North. It was a really fun few months, from pop-up shows with Tokyo Police Club and July Talk, to the nominations press conference in Toronto, JUNOfest shows, and being in the media room during the awards. (See all JUNO coverage here!) The whole experience was unforgettable and it was a pleasure working with everyone involved. Hamilton nailed it. Come back soon, JUNOs!!

Lister Block lit up during JUNO Week
Lister Block lit up during JUNO Week

Hamilton Music Awards
Life got so busy, I didn’t even blog about the 2015 Hamilton Music Awards. 2015 marked the HMA’s return to Theatre Aquarius and a move to May. It was my third time attending and I was excited to be more involved this year. I was nominated for the second time, for two Industry Awards: Media Person of the Year and Website/Online Publication of the Year. I was also honoured to be part of the Music Industry Conference as a speaker at the panel “Digital Distribution and Promotion.”

Oh yeah, and I won! Media Person of the Year, baby!

Kristin Archer after winning at Hamilton Music Awards 2015
Kristin Archer after winning Media Person of the Year at the 2015 Hamilton Music Awards. Photo by Kyle Weir
With Tom Wilson, Hachey the MouthPEACE, Buckeye Red, Melissa Marchese. Photo by Tom Wilson
With Tom Wilson, Hachey the MouthPEACE, Buckeye Red, Melissa Marchese. Photo by Tom Wilson

Greenbelt Harvest Picnic
It was hard to believe I had never attended the annual Greenbelt Harvest Picnic in Dundas. 2015 brought the Picnic into its 5th year, and I was thrilled to attend as part of the staff. It was magical day and unlike any festival I’ve been to before. Performers included Arkells, Bahamas, Terra Lightfoot, Gordon Lightfoot, Martha Wainwright, Basia Bulat, Lee Harvey Osmond and even more. Perfect way to end the summer.

Lisa Vuyk and Kristin Archer at Harvest Picnic 2015
Lisa Vuyk and Kristin Archer at Harvest Picnic. Photo from Lisa Vuyk.

It goes without saying that Supercrawl will always be a major highlight of the year for Hamilton. It means more to me than any other Hamilton event. Always the best time evvvvver! Can’t express my love enough for the entire team behind Supercrawl. This year, I had an amazing partner in crime, my good friend and photographer extraordinaire, Lisa Vuyk (who has contributed so much to I Heart Hamilton this year!). We pounded the pavement for three days in the rain, and we had a blast. My music highlights: Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, Terra Lightfoot, Monster Truck, Rich Aucoin, Whitehorse, Twin Within, The Elwins, Rah Rah, Grey Lands. Plus, the big pre-show in the summer with Jessy Lanza, Caribou, Jamie xx & Egyptrixx at the Waterfront! Can we see more big shows at Pier 4 Park in 2016, please?

(Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4)

Kristin Archer on James Street North next to mural by Lester Coloma
Kristin Archer on James Street North during Supercrawl 2015, next to mural by Lester Coloma. Photo by Lisa Vuyk.

I’ve been a huge fan of Discography nights at The Baltimore House since they started in July 2013. The vinyl-only DJ night was created by Mark Furukawa (Dr. Disc) and Andy Inglis. The concept is brilliant – the pair DJs alongside different guest DJs at each session. From old school vinyl-lovers to those who are just beginning their record collections, everyone can get into it. The dance floor is alive and anything goes! My goal going into 2015 was to give vinyl DJing a shot. Along with Kristin Lee, we made our Discography debut in February and followed it up with another set in April. I’m grateful to Discography for sparking an interest in vinyl and I’m taking pride in my little (but growing!) record collection.

Maybe another set from me to come in 2016? Stay tuned!

Kristin A. Photo by Grant Winestock
Kristin Archer DJing Discography at The Baltimore House

93.3 CFMU
This year I celebrated two years of my show on 93.3 CFMU. I’m forever grateful for the opportunity to be part of CFMU – it adds an amazing element to I Heart Hamilton and gives me the opportunity to learn a lot and meet so many new people.

Highlights of the year on CFMU:

  • Celebrating my 100th episode with Pet Sun, Hamilton Theatre Inc. and The Eye of Faith
  • Interview with Michael Keire of Threshold Recording Studio
  • Interview and live performance by Munroe in support of her debut EP, on the blog’s anniversary
  • Celebrating Grey LandsRight Arm Album Release Day
  • My second two-hour, live-to-air episode from Gore Park in collaboration with the Downtown BIA
  • Interview with Julie Fader of Etiquette and radio premiere of two songs
  • Interview and live performance by Terra Lightfoot
  • Interviewing Rich Aucoin twice in one weekend! On my show and live during Supercrawl
  • Interview with Dave Monks of Tokyo Police Club, who also performed in studio, as he was promoting the release of his first solo EP, All Signs Point To Yes. My biggest guest to date!
I Heart Hamilton's 100th episode on 93.3 CFMU. Photo by Lisa Vuyk
I Heart Hamilton’s 100th episode on 93.3 CFMU. Photo by Lisa Vuyk
With Dave Monks
Kristin Archer with Dave Monks at 93.3 CFMU
Kristin Archer hosting I Heart Hamilton live-to-air from Gore Park
Kristin Archer hosting I Heart Hamilton live-to-air from Gore Park

Collective Arts Brewing
It was a game-changer for Hamilton to get a brewery back in town this year. Collective Arts and Nickel Brook Brewing opened up in the North End and it’s not only a brewery, but a brand new events space. One of my favourite posts of the year was my visit to the space, and one of my favourite parties of the year was their Grand Opening, the Bash in the Brewery, featuring performances by WTCHS, Zeus, and my faves, Hollerado. Now THAT was a party. (And I got to meet Annie Murphy of Schitt’s Creek and The Plateaus!)

Kristin Archer at Collective Arts Brewing
Kristin Archer at Collective Arts Brewing. Photo Lisa Vuyk
Annie Murphy and Kristin Archer at Collective Arts Brewing
Annie Murphy and Kristin Archer at Collective Arts Brewing

I Heart Hamilton’s The Playlist 4.0
I Heart Hamilton’s 4th annual anniversary bash and fundraiser saw Munroe, Grey Lands, Aukland and Fast Romantics play a fun show at This Ain’t Hollywood on May 1st, right on the blog’s anniversary. Girls With Gunz were also part of the night with a pop up shop and a custom I Heart Hamilton tee. The event raised $1260 for Food4Kids. I was also very touched to receive the Big Heart Award at Food4Kids’ Community Appreciation Awards early this year. Food4Kids is an incredible organization that I was thrilled to be able to contribute to for three years in a row.

This Ain't Hollywood
This Ain’t Hollywood
With Grey Lands. Photo by Ashlina Sousa
With Grey Lands. Photo by Ashlina Sousa

The Academy of All Things Awesome
Erika McMeekin launched The Academy of All Things Awesome in 2015 with a simple motto: Do cool stuff. AATA hosts a variety of events to get you to try interesting things, meet new people, and explore awesome spaces. The biggest activity they hosted this year brought Beyography to Hamilton. The Beyonce-inspired dance classes had three successful runs this year, and I shook my booty (or at least attempted to) at almost every class, and loved every minute of it. We learned “Single Ladies,” “Crazy in Love,” “Diva,” “End Of Time” and more. Thanks to these classes, one of my theme songs of the year has to be Bey’s “Grown Woman” (because I can do whatever I want).

Erika and her sister Whitney McMeekin (owner of Girl on the Wing) also started Hamilton Flea this year, throwing successful events at Treble Hall and the old Brown’s Tire building. I’m happy to know these two really rad, creative ladies – looking forward to seeing what they do next!


Tours with Rebuild Hamilton
Given my “Be a tourist in your own city” tagline, leading a tour is a logical next step! I had the opportunity to host two tours this year with my friend Thomas Allen of Rebuild Hamilton. In September, we each led our own groups of first-year McMaster students around downtown, in partnership with the City of Hamilton.

Later on, Thomas and I teamed up for another tour with the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce. We lead a tour of James North for a group from CivicAction and we had the pleasure of meeting President of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, Carlo Scissura. The day ended with the Ambitious City event at Lincoln Alexander Centre where Mr. Scissura gave the keynote, followed by a panel discussion hosted by Steve Paikin.

Serendipitously, at the following Art Crawl, I met photographer Deborah Kanfer, who was along for the tour, and she shared her great photos with me. She even used some of the photos that she took in some of her art pieces!

Kristin Archer and Thomas Allen
Kristin Archer and Thomas Allen leading tour group. Photo by Deborah Kanfer
Kristin Archer and Thomas Allen
Kristin Archer and Thomas Allen leading tour group. Photo by Deborah Kanfer
Photo by Deborah Kanfer
Photo by Deborah Kanfer
Kristin Archer and Thomas Allen
Kristin Archer and Thomas Allen leading tour group. Photo by Deborah Kanfer

Blogging Community
I love the Hamilton blogging community. I’ve made some amazing friends in fellow bloggers since starting I Heart Hamilton, and brought a pile of us together back in November 2013 for a Blog Fair. Now there are even more bloggers than ever, and I met some more great people this year. Chanry of The Hungry Gnome has been another major partner in crime for me, and at the end of November we brought as many bloggers as possible together to a pot luck. So much fun!

Too many to name, but thank you to the food bloggers in particular for being so awesome (and having me as an honorary Belly Monster!). This year I experienced more food events than ever, and shared so many laughs with this group.

Speaking of blogging, this year also saw the launch of Tourism Hamilton’s guest blogger series, #MyHamilton, featuring my column, Culture Beat!

Hamilton bloggers at Lake Road Restaurant
Bloggers at Lake Road Restaurant. Photo from Chanry Thach

Phew, that was bigger rundown than I thought! Suffice to say, it was a really fantastic year. Hamilton is more exciting than ever, and I’m just happy to be here to experience it and to share it.

Thank you to everyone who is following along! Happy New Year – see you all in 2016!

Kristin Archer at Dundas Peak
Kristin Archer at Dundas Peak. Photo by Lisa Vuyk
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.

3 thoughts on “BEST OF 2015”

  1. Hi Kristen,

    I’m a landscape architect working with the city of Hamilton. I was wondering if you can share some of your Gage park images with us. This is for an award submission.
    please email me and we can discuss this more.

    Elnaz Sanati

  2. Great post. The JUNOs were the highlight of my year. Getting all those photos over the weekend was hard work. Here’s to another successful year!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *