Ciao a tutti, or hello everyone! Perfect way to greet our readers considering that our first stop on Ottawa Street was at the lovely Cafe Limoncello. From the moment you walk in, it’s like you’re walking on sunshine. With a warm and inviting atmosphere, Cafe Limoncello certainly stays true to its name with yellow walls and decor and vases filled with, what else, lemons. And yes, they do serve limoncello. The four of us met to catch up on the previous days’ events (in case you haven’t heard, which I simply cannot fathom at this point, we were featured on the front page of The Hamilton Spectator on July 19th; read the online version here) and share in our excitement for the days ahead. As many of you may know, we have an affinity for our accents and as we took in our surroundings, we shared a few giggles trying our hand at the Italian accent. We’ve mastered the word ‘prego!’ quite well, that’s for sure.
We had the opportunity to meet with Dana Borcea and Andy Zimmerman from Tourism Hamilton who were interested in hearing more about our story after reading the Spec article. It was neat to discuss not only our tour, but also share the city of Hamilton and some of our fave spots growing up. The six of us spent our time at Cafe Limoncello in deep discussion over delicious, authentic Italian food. Having had some extra time to peruse the menu, we were in top form when making our decisions, Jenny and I in particular having decided what we would share in record time. Go us! After starting with a calamari appetizer, Kristin selected the Quattro Stagioni pizza while Carly went for the Tuscan sandwich. Jenny and I decided to share the Pizza Florentina and quenched our thirst with sparkling lemonade which had a bit of kick to it! After our meal we were joined by the executive director of the Ottawa Street BIA, Patty Despinic. It was a great opportunity to learn about the history of the area, and she highlighted some of the attractions along the street, recommending some for us to visit. After hearing all about it, we were excited to go exploring.
From there we headed over to A Big Big Wallpaper Store, which also doubles as the Christmas Store. A huge portion of the place is filled wall-to-wall with Christmas decorations, ornaments, and lights. Being the week that Christmas in July is celebrated (a tradition for my friend Stacey and I), this was perfect, and also a great way to cool off, thinking of all that snow. Dana and Andy asked us to film a video interview, and what better place to do it, since we loved the store right away. Check out our interview below, that was posted on Tourism Hamilton’s YouTube page. – Kristin
Importantly, this particular Thursday was the hottest day of the summer. Troopers that we Tour Girls are, we chose to bask in the sunlight and walk in and out of the shops and galleries that Ottawa Street has to offer. And, although many of the stores were closed up for the day with lighthearted “Gone Fishing” or “Off to the Beach” signs on their doors, the street remained resilient and we were welcomed into whatever had remained open.
One shop that did so was The Millionaire’s Daughter. Adorned with furniture and accessories sold on consignment, there were a lot of pieces with the unique and vintage looks that we love to check out. The successful business model that is used by Maureen is the way that buying furniture is made into a bit of a game. The price on the item is accompanied by the prices that it will be in coming weeks, so the buyer decides if they are to purchase now if they are in love with the piece, or hold out for a better buy. Ever since entering the store, I have been checking out their regularly updated blog.
Antique Avenue is another spot that we have wanted to discover. Walking down the stairs covered in old school advertisements and other paraphernalia, we just knew that we could while away a number of hours in that basement! Going through the aisles of old books, hats, toys, musical instruments, cameras … the list goes on and on! Plenty of things to tweak our vintage hunter instinct!
A visit to Earl’s Court Gallery filled our artistic quotient for the day. We were welcomed into the gallery immediately, and were told that anywhere that there is art in the gallery, we are allowed to go. After having a sneak-peek at the show Connections within Context: Anong Beam and Nava Waxman about to open later in the evening, we were able to tour the other offices and workshop to look at any art that we could find.
Ciao for now!
xoxo Avishka and Carly