Archives: Bayfront Park

bikes + beer

Bike rides and beers. Two of my favourite summer time things.

At the start of July I headed down to Because Beer (at Pier 4) with a bike gang of awesome women. We were a brigade of five with our rides.

SoBi & Because Beer

I love the lay of the land of downtown Hamilton; few to no hills, and anywhere across town in no more than 20 minutes max. It’s seriously such a bikeable city (if you don’t count the one-way thoroughfares). We biked through the North End and those we passed on fellow SoBi‘s gave friendly nods or bell rings as we went by or as we convened at the mouth of Bayfront Park to the corral of bikes just outside the venue.


We did a buffet sampler of all the food trucks. My fav is Meat Ventures (droooool…). Food featured below: taco from Taco Queso, Meat Ventures Bacon Fatty, Bomberos Nachos (I’m pretty sure these had mac’n cheese in it), Meat Ventures Parm Fries, and The Salted Pig Poutine.

Because Beer2

Our go-to beer for the day was from Longslice Brewery. We just kept going back for more of their Loose Lips Lager. Other favourites were Garden Brewer’s Piperales Black Pepper (unfiltered smoked amber ale brewed with crushed pepper corns), and secret orders of Viva Puff (hibiscus/raspberry lager mixed with a raspberry stout) which is not on their beer menu but you can request it with a wink wink from Flying Monkeys Brewery.
Because Beer3 Because Beer Because Beer1The sun hit this magic spot and everything went golden. When the last light dipped behind the horizon we sipped our last beers to the sounds of Yukon Blonde before hopping back on our rides to cruise back uptown.

Seriously just the most perfect summer day.

*SoBi Hamilton’s Bike Share, $4/hour or $85/year


dusk dances

Hamilton is host to its very first ever Dusk Dances down at Bayfront Park!

I’d never been to a Dusk Dance before (even though they’ve been around in Toronto for 20 years) so I had no idea really what to expect. But we figured it would be a fun summer event that we could take Omi to and enjoy some outdoor summer evening happenings. We arrived shortly after 7pm to a fairly large crowd seated on picnic blankets and lawn chairs just in time to catch the tail end of some kid friendly dancing and music. At promptly 7:30 our host for the evening appeared magically with bow tie and top hat explaining how the evening would play out and giving us some simple Dusk Dance etiquette. Dusk Dance host

Then with just a moments notice blankets were quickly thrown over arms, lawn chairs folded up, picnics packed up and we began following our host for the night like the pied piper to our first of five Dusk Dance locations throughout Bayfront Park.

Dusk Dances walking Dusk Dances Throwdown Collective Throwdown Collective radio dj’ed from their little Chevette an 80′s inspired dance number.

Dusk Dances Cercania 1 My favourite of the night! A powerful and stunning flamenco dance performed by Myriam Allard. Accompanied by flamenco singer Hedi Graja and percussionist Miguel Medina. Myriam’s feet were moving so fast I thought she was going to set the stage on fire -just a blur of her beautiful blue shoes!

Dusk Dances Unquiety WInds

We only made it to four of the five dances. Omi was getting so wriggly and restless. For the fourth dance Unquiet Winds, Omi started yelling at the top of his lungs “What’s that!?” mid performance. When heads started turning our way we took that as our cue to start making our way home.

But, oh the night was lovely! I enjoyed seeing people who were at Bayfront just out for a bike ride or going for a summer stroll suddenly stumble upon a large audience and unique dances. I love that this is happening here in Hamilton and I hope it continues on for years to come!

There’s still one more night you can catch the seemingly impromptu dances that pop up along the grounds of Bayfront. Tomorrow night is the last night! The evening starts at 6pm with a Lindy Hop Dance class until 6:45. And the Dusk Dance will promptly start at 7:30pm. I recommend being there no later than 7:15, so you get to know the Dusk Dance lowdown and the location of the first dance.

*Dusk Dances, July 31, August 1+2, 6-9pm Bayfront Park, admission is PWYC, @duskdances

because beer

I know that summer is only half over but I can safely say that one of my favourite days of the summer so far was spent at Hamilton’s first outdoor craft beer festival Because Beer. It was put on by the kind folks from Sonic Unyon, who know how to throw some solid large scale events. They’ve had lots of experience, especially since they’re the ones who started my other favourite yearly MASSIVE Hamilton event; Supercrawl, as well as Seven Sundays; Gage Park’s weekly summer concert series. So it was really no surprise that the event was well thought out and executed to meet the needs of all those craft beer drinking enthusiasts.

On this July day the sun was hot, the air was dry and there was the most perfect summer breeze coming off the lake. Beers were flowing from over 25 craft beer micro-brewers and food trucks were serving up some mouth watering grub.

Twenty-five dollars got you into the event. The fee provided you with your own beer sampling mug and four beer tokens to get you going on your beer tasting. One token would get you half a glass of beer from any of the craft brewers (two for a full 1/2 pint). You could restock your token supply by purchasing additional tokens at a dollar a pop.

We set off to sample our first beer of the day from Waterloo brewery. I got the Grapefruit Radler which was so good it ended up also being my second beer of the day too. I’m not one to like beers that are too sweet and fruity but on this hot day the hints of grapefruit were so light and refreshing it totally hit the spot!

Because Beer sampling mug Because Beer Waterloo

I was happy to see The Salted Pig food truck – a truck I’d never sampled before. I got a little snack of Pigs in a Blanket; two deep-fried tortilla shells stuffed with pulled pork creamy horseradish sauce, bbq sauce and green onions. Perrrfect with a bitter beer!

Because Beer Salted Pig truck Because Beer Salted Pig

We found a piece of shade by the water and used our Beer Passports to plot out our route for future beer sampling. My one regret is that I didn’t get to the Wellington’s Farmer’s Market Rhubarb Saison before their tap ran dry. Clearly I didn’t plot my beer drinking route as well as I’d thought. As the day progressed you would hear a buzz about certain beers and breweries and we’d make our way over to try them out ourselves.Because Beer beer tents

Because Beer bar boys

Next up to sample was Flying Monkey’s Shoulders of Giants.

As evening was starting to fall we’d visited what felt like over a dozen craft breweries often returning to specific brews that tickled our tastebuds. I loved the Margaret Atwood from Beau’s Brewery, and I feel like there was a chocolate stout that I enjoyed somewhere along the way too, was it the Tom Green?

I wanted to sample Garden Brewer’s (rooted in Hamilton) Black Pepper Ale but it was sold out.

Because Beer Piperales

Because Beer Southern Smoke Poutine

Refuelling with a massive pulled pork poutine from Southern Smoke Truck.

Because Beer summer sky

Because Beer Descendants

My last beer sample of the day was from Descendants -Reynard the Fox and it just may have been my favourite of the day.

The Dinner Belles hit the stage and the beer festival was starting to come to a close. The sun was starting to set on a perfect blue summer sky, and the beer taps were starting to run dry.

Because Beer The Dinner Belles
Because Beer bayfront

The Because Beer festival in my mind was a huge success. People were civilized, the beer and musical acts were great, there were numerous options for seating and various lookouts to perch at to sip your beers AND the weather was just absolutely perfect.

At 8pm we were gently and promptly herded out of the beer grounds and people dispersed. By 8:20 everyone was gone. The grounds weren’t littered with plastic beer cups and garbage, there weren’t any fights or brawls, mostly just a lot of merry making craft beer lovers making their way home.

Because Beer is an annual two day event and I can’t wait to go again next year!

BUT if you missed out on this year’s festival and have a hankering for another this Friday and Saturday is another first for Hamilton’s Craft Beer Festival, which will be held at Gage Park. Tickets are $30, which includes five 5oz beer tickets and access to sample. Not to mention that all proceeds of the festival will go to seven Children’s Hospital Charities. There’ll be live Jazz music at the bandshell and of course food trucks.

AND that’s not even the last beer festival of the summer! On August 22nd and 23rd is Hamilton Beer Festival! Another two day beer festival on the roof top of Jackson Square. Oh my goodness! I love you Hamilton!!

*Because Beer, July 11-12, Pier 4, $25 +4 beer tokens & beer sampling mug, @BecauseBeerCA

*Hamilton Craft Beer Festival, August 1-2, Gage Park, $30 +5 beer tickets, all proceeds going to charity, @HamOntBeerFest

*Hamilton Beer Festival, August 22-23, Jackson Square Rooftop, $32.50 +3 beer tokens & beer sampling glass, @HamBeerFestival



The clouds were grey, and the wind was picking up as these tall ships sailed into the Hamilton Bay Friday afternoon. I didn’t expect to see the crowds of ship enthusiasts in such large numbers on a weekday afternoon. Yet they were there with lawn chairs, zoom lenses, and binoculars taking in what really was a majestic and breathtaking nautical scene.

As the ships glided by the pier an announcer narrated their arrival giving historical facts and figures while taking brief pauses as the cannons loudly fired to welcome them in.

I was so happy that I made it down for the ships’ arrival and felt slightly as though I was cast under their seaworthy spell. I ventured down two more times during their weekend long visit at Pier 8 to take a few more peeks. Tall Ships was such a fabulous event.  So happy to see Hamilton’s waterfront bustling.

Tall Ships I love you!

tall ships

This weekend the tall ships are coming!

In part for the bicentennial anniversary of the War of 1812, six tall ships will enter into the Hamilton harbour tomorrow afternoon (between 2-4pm) and dock for a weekend of nautical entertainment. The weekend-long event is jam packed with three nights of really fabulous live music from the likes of Hamilton locals such as: Young Rival, The Dinner Belles, Harrison Kennedy and the Soul Motivators (hailing form Toronto). There’ll also be a craft fair, an art battle, snow cones (plus other food vendors), dancing, busking and tours of these historic tall ships. For more information you can visit the Tourism Hamilton website here or take the free shuttle bus down to Pier 8 to see for yourself.

Well Hamilton you never cease to surprise me! The other evening I discovered this little piece of the city that I didn’t even know existed. The Royal Hamilton Yacht Club sits at the bottom of James St. North. If you are a member you can gain access to lakeside views like this one. Well, as a non-member, I won’t be sitting at this exclusive private patio watching the tall ships sail in. But alas that’s won’t stop me from finding a little perch of my own to watch these tall sailing beauties.

roller skating

Yep, there’s a roller rink in Hamilton!

I feel like things in Hamilton just keep getting better and better.

Let me clarify before you get too excited -this isn’t no Skooters or Roller Gardens roller rink -this is the outdoor rink down at Bayfront Park; ice-skating in the winter AND more importantly roller skating in the summer!

If, like me, you’ve heard rumblings of this roller skating thing but have yet to check it out, you still have time! I know summer is just days away from being over but lucky for you roller skating down at The Bay goes right into the crisp fall season -perfect for roller skating in sweaters and admiring fall sunsets and harvest moon rises.

To be honest early on in the summer I’d heard of this roller skating at Bayfront Park but for some reason it took me nearly all summer to get down to see what was happening on these “so called” roller skating nights.

We finally checked it out and MAN I had no idea what I was missing!  My mouth was hanging open in awe.  First of all there was a DJ that was playing old school soul and disco funk perfect for some classic roller skating.  And secondly, it was like nothing I’d ever seen before.  There were women in their 40′s and 50′s cooly gliding by with moves right from roller disco days of the 70′s (they must’ve been roller queen’s back in the day).

In my mind it all kinda looked like this:

People were speeding around the rink, doing tricks, some all laid back and others coupled up, some with super cool dance moves and glow in the dark wheels and everyone moving at a right whirling speed.

There were some fabulous skaters of all different ages and styles and I wasn’t even roller skating but was in heaven and loving every single moment of my existence spectating on the side lines. The super awesome skaters whizzed and danced by on the outsides of the rink while the slower folks familiarizing themselves with roller skating went by in the middle.

I hadn’t roller skated in 20+ years and figured now wasn’t the time to start up again but the rest of the roller skating enthusiasts we came down with rented their roller skates for $5 from the roller rental and made their way out (slightly nervous and a little unsteady) onto the rink.  Although growing up and roller skating in the 80′s everyone still felt a little rusty with their skate legs on and it took a few laps before regaining some moves and confidence.

For the fall season roller skating at the Bayfront is still on on weekends with the last weekend being October 5, 6, 7, 8. You can rent skates, helmets and protective gear at Pier 8 by the rink. For more details about hours, rentals and the concession stand click here.

I leave you with my two favourite roller skating anthems from when I was a kid.  I could never pass up skating to these two songs.



muffuletta picnic

No summer picnic would be complete without the muffuletta sandwich.  I learnt about this sandwich on a cottage trip last summer when my sister put one together.  We were all in awe of the muffuletta and all its deliciousness.

To make your own muffuletta sandwich one needs a crusty round bread that you carve out like a pumpkin. Save a bread lid, and scoop out most of the bread from the inside.  Drizzle the bottom of your new bread bowl with pesto.  For my pesto I ground up fresh basil with some olive oil and roasted garlic.  Then add layers of salami, and roasted veggies (I used grilled eggplant, yellow and green zucchini, and carrots).  As for cheese, provolone or havarti will do. Make your layers of cheese nice and thick.  In between layers add capers, and chopped olives or an olive spread, and arugula.  We got our arugula spicy and fresh from our garden.  I also grated a fresh beet and added it to the layers -it gives a beautiful colour.  I put in a layer of some pickled artichoke hearts too.  You could add other items like sundried tomatoes, roasted red pepper, grainy mustards and a layer of thick smoked bacon (save that layer for the top).  My sister’s tip was to separate the layers of meat and cheese so it doesn’t get too greasy and ensure that a little remaining pesto gets drizzled on top.  Last you put the bread top back on and tie the bread back up nice and tight with some parcel string.  Return the whole bread to fridge and let it sit refrigerated for a few hours before cutting into “pie-slices” and serving.

We brought two muffuletta sandwiches out for our July 1st picnic -one with meat and one veggie.

Along with the sandwich was also an assortment of other beautiful fresh summer foods and beverages.  We had some refreshing rice wraps with lettuce, cucumber, mango, mint and basil, as well as, a quinoa and chickpea salad.

Sigh…. I love hot summer days and picnics in the park.


july 1

For the past three years Steve and I have made a tradition of heading down to Bayfront Park to watch the fireworks on Canada Day.  It is pretty much the marker of when we made the move from Toronto and officially became Hamiltonians.  I have to say we’ve been here now for three years and I am still happy that we made the decision to move to Hamilton -I haven’t had a single regret.

This year we headed down to Bayfront with a troupe of friends.  We opted for a hassle free evening of fireworks by arriving early and staking out a choice fireworks viewing location, and by coming down to the park car-less to avoid the ridiculous traffic jams post pyrotechnics.  Most of us biked or walked down; packed up with pillows, blankets and food.  Our set-up was quite luxurious and the fireworks like every other year were satisfactorily grand.

bayfront park, Canada Day

July 1st, Canada Day, Fireworks, Bayfront Park, Hamilton

July 1st, Canada Day, Fireworks, Bayfront Park, Hamilton

July 1st, Canada Day, Fireworks, Bayfront Park, Hamilton

Once the fireworks ended there was a massive exodus out of the park.  We all decided to hang-out for a little while until the crowds died down.

Sitting back and watching the park empty, we observed the frenzied way people were packing up and  heading in one direction en masse, it actually seemed eerily apocalyptic.  It made for a great scene and I was able to snap a few beautiful pictures of the lights and silhouettes.

Canada Day, Bayfront Park, Hamilton


With the heat, Canada Day celebrations and fireworks kicking the start of July off it is undeniable that summer is here!


summer wind

We’re on to our last phase with the main floor renovation, which entails finishing the original 100+year old pine-plank flooring.  To stay clear of the toxic polyurethane varnish smell that we’d just slathered the floors with, we decided to spend the day outside enjoying the hot summer day.

Bayfront Park, Hamilton, sailing,

Down at Bayfront Park there’s a little corner that juts out just so.  On this day this little peninsula had the most gorgeous breezy bit of wonderful wind (hot everywhere else but amazing here).

2 years + lee fields

July 1st is our official 2 year mark of being Hamiltonians.  After the Canada Day fireworks at Bayfront Park we went to This Ain’t Hollywood to check-out the sounds of the one and only Lee Fields and his 7 piece funk/soul band The Expressions.

Bayfront Park fireworks, Canada Day, July 1st 2011, Lee Fields, funk, soul music, This Ain't Hollywood, Hamilton

The show was fantastic.  Lee Fields has clearly been around a while, although this was the first I had heard of him.  His voice is phenomenal, and I would even be so bold as to say he rivals the funk and soul classic Mr. James Brown.

Lee Fields LP, vinyl, record, soul, funk music, Let's Get A Groove On, 1999


*This Ain’t Hollywood,  345 James St. North, Hamilton, 905.529.9500



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