By Kristin Archer

I always like to make birthdays special – it’s important to Treat Yo Self! I’ve incorporated the spirit of I Heart Hamilton into each celebration since I started the blog in 2011. There was my Silver Jubilee in 2012 which I celebrated with an acoustic show at The Casbah and drinks at Baltimore House. The following year, I booked a show at The Casbah with some of my favourite local musicians and had the proceeds go to a local food bank.

Last year I started a new tradition, the birthday tour! Being your resident local tourist, it just made sense to spend the day venturing around to some of my favourite spots in the city. Since I never did blog about it – here’s a recap of last year’s adventures as I gear up for tomorrow’s birthday tour.

Ottawa Street
Ottawa Street

The day began in the east end, on Ottawa Street. I knew I had to start with one of my favourites – waffles at Cannon Coffee. It’s the best spot. Right away you’re greeted with friendly faces and I always run into someone I know. After a good brunch, it was a nice stroll along the street, popping in and out of antique shops. From there, it was into the grittier side of Hamilton as we drove through the industrial sector.

Cannon Coffee
Cannon Coffee
Ottawa Street. Taken with disposable camera.
Ottawa Street. Taken with disposable camera.
Antique Avenue on Ottawa Street
Antique Avenue on Ottawa Street
Industrial sector in the east end. Taken with disposable camera.
Industrial sector in the east end. Taken with disposable camera.

From one end of the city to the other, the tour continued on to Dundas. I love taking days to spend time in one particular BIA or neighbourhood and just explore, going in and out of shops. With spring here now (let’s hope!), I can’t wait to hit the streets and explore more on foot.

Stops included Detour Cafe for another local brew before some more birthday treats. It’s a sweet dream over at Beanermunky Chocolate and I picked out one of their festive Crispy Pops. We also did some more antiquing and hopped around into different shops.

Downtown Dundas
Downtown Dundas
Detour
Detour
Beanermunky Chocolate
Beanermunky Chocolate
Treat from Beanermunky Chocolate
Treat from Beanermunky Chocolate
Treats from Beanermunky Chocolate
Treats from Beanermunky Chocolate

In the evening, it was in another direction entirely – down to the Waterfront. It’s one of my very favourite spots in the city. I always feel so peaceful there by the water – walking around, reading, or just taking time to pause and reflect. It’s one of my happy places.

It was the best way to end the tour before having a cozy night in with pizza – and cake, of course! I’m looking forward to seeing where this year’s birthday tour takes me.

Waterfront. Taken with disposable camera.
Waterfront. Taken with disposable camera.
Waterfront. Taken with disposable camera.
Waterfront. Taken with disposable camera.
Waterfront
Waterfront
kristin
ihearthamiltontour@gmail.com
Kristin Archer is the creator of I Heart Hamilton (www.ihearthamilton.ca), where she has blogged about experiences around her hometown since 2011, growing an influential 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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