Annual Ottawa Street Sidewalk Sale

With the official first day of fall earlier in the week, we were probably all expecting a crisp autumn day to stroll about during Ottawa Street’s Annual Sidewalk Sale, but we were hit with one last (maybe last?) blast of summer for the event.

Auntie Boom's Retro Cafe
Auntie Boom’s Retro Cafe

I began the day bright and early with breakfast at Auntie Boom’s Retro Cafe. I was excited to finally visit the 50’s style diner, and you know how much I love breakfast foods. I ordered the French Toast, since it’s a dish I have not learned to perfect at home. It was super tasty, light, and fluffy. Just what I needed to start the day. If you’re not the breakfast type, they also have burgers, sandwiches, poutine, grilled cheese, salads, hot dogs… and I can’t wait to go back and try a milkshake.

French Toast at Auntie Boom's Retro Cafe
French Toast at Auntie Boom’s Retro Cafe
Auntie Boom's Retro Cafe
Auntie Boom’s Retro Cafe

I loved the rosy pink and baby blue walls and black-and-white checkerboard floor. The diner has just the right amount of kitschy pieces of decor to compliment the vibe, but is still a bright, fresh space.

What I learned later, through their website, was the story behind the diner. It began with Lisa Palmer, a burlesque performer (named Vanity Boom), whose biggest supporter was her Aunt Shelley (earning her the nickname Auntie Boom). Tragically, Shelley passed away in 2012, and Lisa fulfilled Shelley’s dream of opening a diner, creating Auntie Boom’s Retro Cafe in her honour. It’s nice to hear about the history of a place – it makes you feel more connected. Everybody has a story. I look forward to visiting again.

Auntie Boom's Retro Cafe
Auntie Boom’s Retro Cafe

The charming nostalgia continued from Auntie Boom’s to Stardust Records. I couldn’t have chosen a better spot on the street to visit next, and it was by complete coincidence. I’m new to the vinyl game, so it was fun to peruse the bins for vintage gems. They had some classic tunes playing outside, welcome everyone into the shop. With a street full of antique shops, a retro record store like this fits in well and is awesome to see.

Stardust Records
Stardust Records

Next up, it was off to another new spot that has long been on my list – The Edit. I know owner Jentine from her lovely and engaging blog My Edit where she showcases her beautiful fashion sense and thrifty eye.

That eye for fashion led Jentine to open her own shop which sells her carefully curated selection of vintage as well as new items. The window was decorated in pretty fall colours with a cascade of red and gold leaves. I was ready for fall and enjoyed looking through the cozy knits on the racks, despite it being so warm outside this day. The Edit is coming up on its milestone first year anniversary in November.

The Edit
The Edit

I’ve been following Jentine as well as the shop on Instagram and always love seeing the outfits she puts together. I couldn’t resist snapping a photo in the full-length mirror, joking to Jentine that it is one of the best selfie mirrors I’ve seen yet! I am also on the hunt for a good hat and tried a few on for size.

The Edit
The Edit

Back out onto the street, I passed by The Vaudevillian, a busking duo I’ve recently been hearing more and more about. The pair aren’t Hamilton natives, but quickly earned a loyal following when they came to town, even celebrating an Album Release recently at Homegrown Hamilton.

The Vaudevillian
The Vaudevillian

On my way back down the other side of the street, I popped into the second location of Kerry’s Party For Less. It was hard to miss, with the colourful balloons outside. I love a good party supply store; just set me loose in there, and I will go to town! They were also giving out free popcorn – festive all around.

Kerry's Party For Less
Kerry’s Party For Less

I spotted another new business that was set up along the street. The barbershop Crows Nest has just opened a Hamilton location on Edinburgh Avenue and were offering a trim right there on the street.

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After that, I grabbed a fresh lemonade from a vendor on the street before I hit the road, but first I had to make my mark in chalk on a friendly looking piano. Why not!

It worked out wonderfully that it was such a sunny, warm day to venture along Ottawa Street, an area I’m always happy to visit.

– Kristin

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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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