Westdale Village 1038 King Street West

One way we have been keeping track of our tour is by splitting up the city into different sections and devoting a day to each of these areas. This day was all about Westdale. It’s an area I’ve always wanted to explore more, and you would think that with all of us being McMaster graduates, we would have done this sooner. But this is exactly the point of our tour – to take the time to do everything we have always wanted to do in our own city.

I met up with Avi and Jenny for lunch at Bean Bar. Although this wasn’t our first time there, we’re big fans, and definitely had to include it. Bean Bar has quite the selection and if you’ve been following our blog, you know we are terrible at making decisions, particularly when it comes to food and drinks. It will take many returns to get through all the fancy concoctions they have on their drink menu, alone! We’re ok with that. Deciding to try something new, we ordered the starter of Truffle Fries to share between us. Made with truffle oil and truffle salt, this led into a discussion of what exactly truffle is. (Sidenote: According to Wikipedia, it is indeed a type of fungus. This may not sound particularly appetizing, but we concurred the fries were tasty, yet different from what we’re used to.) Avi then chose the Bean Bar salad, Jenny the Bean Bar Chicken Grill, and I wanted to stick with trying new things by going with the Apple Paradise Grilled Cheese. It was like apple pie meets grilled cheese, with a side of maple syrup. If you’re in the mood for something sweet but still want to get away with calling it lunch, go for that sandwich. It revolutionized the way I look at the art of the grilled cheese.

Bean Bar

From there, we ventured down the street of Westdale Village. One of our favourite shops we visited was Dakota Mae. Right when we walked in, the girls working there, including the owner herself, Dakota, were so enthusiastic about our tour t-shirts. We told them all about our tour and we were thrilled to have the girls become our first official followers on Tumblr! (Follow Dakota Mae on Tumblr.) Dakota even snapped a picture of us outside her storefront. They have the prettiest dresses and accessories, and even have fascinators – something we have been obsessed with since the Royal Wedding. It was at the boutique we ran into my friend and fellow recent Mac graduate Emily, who suggested that we check out The Aviary while we were in the area. We loved the idea, and definitely took her up on that. Look out for our Aviary adventure in a separate blog entry.

Even though my lunch may have been sweet, we couldn’t resist a trip to Cupcakes for dessert. Once again we were confounded with a decision to make. Luckily, their selection isn’t too expansive, but is just enough to get you thinking about which delicious flavour you’re in the mood for. Avi complemented her lime tee by choosing the Peppermint Patty, I chose the Cherry Bomb, and Jenny went with the classic Vanilla Vanilla.

Cupcakes in Westdale

We continued down the street with our cupcakes, knowing that the next place we had to stop at was Bryan Prince Bookseller. As soon as we stepped inside, we were in heaven! They have those floor-to-ceiling ladders that reminded us of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast; the kind we would love to have in our ideal library. With the winning title of Best Independent Bookstore in Canada under its belt, this bookshop beats the bigger chain book stores, any day. We absolutely loved the atmosphere and could have spent even longer in that small space, bouncing from section to section.

Bryan Prince Bookseller

Later in the day, after visiting The Aviary, we stopped for coffee at Global Village Market. Here we were received with a lot of enthusiasm again, and the proprietor offered us many suggestions for the tour. One of these was the Royal Botanical Gardens, which was already on our list, but we were so inspired by the idea, we decided to go the very next day.

Other places we stopped into included Walker’s Chocolates, Lofty Ambitions, Chez Bon Bon, Hotti Biscotti, Write Impressions, Weil’s Bakery and Pastry Shoppe, and we spoke to someone from The Village Green Cuisine. Even then, there are some we missed, but we got a good feel for the area and were very pleased with everything we saw.

I must say, of all our tour stops thus far, the people of Westdale were the most vocal, enthusiastic, and encouraging of our Hamilton tour. It was so great to hear people’s feedback and suggestions. It also sparked so many ideas for future tour stops. It was a very productive and successful tour day for us. We love Westdale!

– Kristin

Kristin Archer is the creator of I Heart Hamilton (www.ihearthamilton.ca), 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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