Locke Street

The marathon of tour stops continues! This was the third tour day in a row for Avishka and Kristin. We love dedicating a day to a specific street or area, exploring it on foot and popping in and out of shops. This day was all about Locke Street and we were excited to finally check it out since it has been on our list. It was our Locke Crawl, if you will. As their website states, the street is eclectic, friendly, and funky. We concur!

We started our day by checking out the Cheese Shoppe on Locke. With its brightly-painted logo on the wall outside the shop, this is one of many examples of unique establishments on Locke Street. We had fun looking at all the goodies this store has on display. Living up to its namesake, of course, there is a smorgasbord of cheese, but also jams, baked goods, kitchen utensils, and all kinds of ingredients we could use on our next cooking adventure.

From left: Teacups at Olive’s Oddments, posing at Art Alley, outside the Cheese Shoppe

Another shop which caught our eye was Ten Thousand Villages which features handicrafts from all over the world and provides income to people in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. Through sharing the stories of these people and selling handicrafts, Ten Thousand Villages also encourages the community to support fair trade through volunteerism. From the moment we walked in, it had such a cool vibe to it, very warm and inviting. We chatted with some of the staff who told us that they were featuring coffee from Tanzania. Upon hearing this, I was like (I suppose in typical Avishka fashion) ‘ooh really??’ Yet another full circle moment on the tour. I’m travelling to Tanzania this fall for a youth development project so I was delighted to have the chance to experience some of the culture before going. After grabbing a cup of Tanzanian coffee (verdict: delicious), we perused the assortment of handicrafts, jewelery and home decor.

Ten Thousand Villages

Olive’s Oddments was another really fun discovery. True to its name, the store boasts a massive assortment of oddities, including everything from furniture to fragile collectibles. Very deceiving from the front, the shop was much bigger than we thought it would be, extending to upper and lower levels. Our eyes kept bouncing around from place to place, and we kept calling each other over with excitement at every new find. We were especially drawn to a glass case displaying a variety of delicately-decorated tea cups, perfect for our next high tea. In this shop and several others, we kept spotting items in fours. Here we found unique handbags that would match well with each of our tour tees. It’s a funhouse of treasures!

Pure Home Couture is another stop that both Kristin and I were enamoured with from the moment we walked in. This home decor shop was simply charming. It seems so unassuming on the outside, but once you’re inside, you can’t help but fall in love. The decor, the lighting from the chandeliers and the music added such a soft, romantic feel to the shop. From bath salts and candles to lotions and jewelery, this was another stop where we excitedly called to one another to share our finds. The owners, Abby Karak-McDuffee and Steven McDuffee, have certainly paid careful attention to detail and Kristin and I loved the Parisian accents here and there, very reminiscient of Paris in the 1950s. Pure is the perfect spot to buy something special and different for your home or as a gift. We will definitely be visiting again soon!

Pure Home Couture

We tried out Earth to Table Bread Bar for dinner. After perusing their menu online beforehand, we were pleased to see they take precedence in healthy and environmentally-friendly alternatives, and as they state on their website, they are “a sustainable system that now nourishes our community & our environment.” We really like the feel of the restaurant, with its vibrant colours and wooden benches with comfy, colourful pillows. We decided to try out some appetizers to share between us, or, as we are now calling them, the much cooler-sounding “apps”. Figuring we were at Bread Bar, we kind of had to try some bread, so we ordered the Fresh Bread and Dips (dips included romescu, tapenade, and hummus). We also ordered a plate of their Loaded Fries, which features Bread Bar’s standard skinny fries with toppings that change daily. Today it was gravy, cheese curds, and mushrooms (we opted out on the scallions). Bread Bar also has quite the lengthy drink menu, and we love a good drink menu. The Spiked Shakes looked particularly fun, but in the end, I went with the Housemade Iced Tea and Avishka tried out the Passion Berry Iced Tea. The staff was very friendly and interested in our tour. We even chatted to a couple sitting next to us who had read about us in the paper, and they gave us some suggestions for more food places to check out. We’re kind of foodies, so that was very much appreciated.

Bread Bar

After dinner, we took a nice stroll along Locke, and decided to try our hand at a video blog, which we’ve been meaning to do! We were even recognized a couple more times as we were filming, which was fun. Watch it at the bottom of this post.

Honourable mentions to other places we popped into include: Kataya, La Jardinère Flower Market, Textures Craftworks, Second Chance, Goodness Me!, and Art Alley

There are so many shops along Locke; here are some other places we spotted, which we would like to visit next time. You’ll see them in our video blog: Epic Books, Locke Street Antiques, J Taylor Antiques, Locke Street Bakery, Vintage Garden Tea Room, and Forrat’s Chocolates.

– Kristin & Avishka

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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