James Street North Art Crawl

Hello everyone!! As planned we had decided to check out the July Art Crawl on James Street North. This was actually my first Art Crawl as I was unable to make it to our first, so as you might imagine I was excited and curious to find out what the Art Crawl was all about. Since we arrived a bit too early we got the chance to walk around James Street. We checked out Dr. Disc which carries vinyls, DVDs and a large variety of CDs. We browsed through the store for a bit before deciding to walk around the back of the store to check out a rock band that was playing on the rooftop of the building! We were joined by a small crowd of people that gathered around the parking lot to listen to the music. It was definitely a unique and great way for bands to promote their music and attract new fans. Before leaving, we were attracted to the graffiti painted on the side of the building. Graffiti can be considered art, after all! So naturally we decided to pose by the wall and take snap shots of each other.

Outside Wild Orchid

Our next stop on the street was the Wild Orchid. Since I had not eaten and had become famished at this point of the evening I was attracted to the scent of Portuguese food while walking by the restaurant. A sign advertising sangria, just outside the restaurant, got us excited and eager to try out our new find. As soon as we walked in we were welcomed by some traditional Portuguese music that suddenly made me want to dance the polka! The restaurant itself was very inviting and offered a menu with a wide variety of Portuguese cuisine. Although it was a difficult choice to make, I decided to go with the grilled salmon fish with a side of Portuguese rice and veggies.

Since Kristin and Avishka had already eaten, they enjoyed a pitcher of sangria that we shared between the three of us. If you are unsure, sangria is essentially cold wine mixed with juice and cut up fruit. After a few glasses of sangria the three of us began to have a bit of a giggle fit. Our small group has become known for our random outbursts of the giggles and hilarity but after a few glasses of fruity wine our giggles took over much of the conversation. It is safe to say that we very much enjoyed our time at Wild Orchid and we would certainly recommend this restaurant to anyone who is up for some authentic Portuguese cuisine. Authentic cuisine is one thing to love about James Street North. It is known for its Portuguese and Italian restaurants and cafes. Visiting James North is definitely a great way to step away from the ordinary and try something new.

Wild Orchid

The Art Crawl itself was quite exciting. In all my life I have never seen James Street so packed with people. People were everywhere! The atmosphere on the street was very welcoming and fun. Everyone was accepted and seemed to be having a great time listening to musicians playing on the street or looking at some very impressive works of art. Creativity at its best was definitely evident on James Street that night!

The girls and I had a blast checking out shops and galleries along the street. Some of the places we visited included White Elephant and Mixed Media, where we actually found Hamilton post cards!! We were so proud of this find that we decided to buy a few as souvenirs for our tour and mailed one to our close friend, Emily, who lives in Toronto. Humble Pie, Hamilton Artists Inc, Loose Canon, The Print Studio, and James Buttrum & Son were other examples of places that we discovered while touring the area. Each gallery or shop displayed unique pieces of art and knickknacks that craved discovery!

Artwork along the streets of James North

At the end of our evening we lounged at the Mulberry Coffeehouse to get off our feet and discuss what we had seen. While leaving the coffeehouse we were approached by reporter Emma Reilly who works for The Hamilton Spectator! We were overcome with joy when we were told that The Spectator wanted to cover our story! It was the best possible way to end our night of touring the Art Crawl.

This concludes our time at the Art Crawl. If you haven’t already gone to check it out we would strongly recommend going. Also, check out our story in the paper!!

– Jenny

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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