Archives: James north

cbc hamilton

We finally have CBC in Hamilton in its newest ever format… digital!

Nearly a month ago CBC launched its first ever digital only news station.  Welcome to the digital age and welcome to Hamilton!  The station combines a number of news sources with different social media formats such as the already active #HamOnt Twitter community and local bloggers. Hamilton veterans Paul Wilson (writer of the infamous Hamilton Spectator Streetbeat) and Roger Gillespie (former managing editor of the Hamilton Spector), are part of the small team of Hamilton CBC reporters covering the news here in Hamilton.

Not only is it fabulous to see another news source reporting and supporting Hamilton culture, but it is great to see the CBC presence on the street level too.

CBC Hamilton is officially in their new digs in the former Friendship Gift Shop on James St. North.

I’ve noticed this great logo plastered on bus shelters all over town.

A special treat from the CBC Hamilton opening at the last art crawl.  CBC cupcakes yum!

Its refreshing to see an integrated approach to reporting that interacts with the community from the ground on up.  I’m looking forward to seeing how the CBC presence in Hamilton continues to develop over the years.  Perhaps it will even attract some bigger Hamilton features on CBC Radio and Television.  Or perhaps it may bring CBC guests to the city for special talks or broadcasts.  Tonight Nora Young – host of CBC Radio’s Spark – was in Dundas to do a talk about the “Digital You”.  Seems like a great start so far!

PS. -Thanks CBC Hamilton for the shout-out yesterday in your new feature Best of Digital Hamilton.

spring crawl

This month’s artcrawl is going to be a good one!  SO many things going on;  Steve and our talented friend Jamie Lawson both have their solo openings tomorrow night, there’ll be the super-fabulous vintage dress sale that White Elephant is hosting, and CBC Hamilton will finally have their official doors open for the crawl too (yay)!

Some sneak peaks…

Steve Newberry, artist, b contemporary, straits

Steve’s show is called Straits, and is amazing!  It features new 2D and 3D works using mixed media, metal, and routered wood.  His show will be up at b contemporary gallery at 226 James St. North until June 2nd.

Up on the 3rd floor of 126 James St.  North, be sure to check out Jamie Lawson’s exhibit Albedo in Sylvia Nickerson’s Open Studio.  His work is looking fab, and he will also have some prints for sale to adorn your lovely walls.

To get your one of a kind 1940′s-60′s vintage dress you must check out White Elephant’s Dreaming of Dresses -vintage dress sale!  They’ve got the combined super-power forces of Ottawa’s Victoire, Hamilton’s Peacock Chic, and Toronto’s Love in the Afternoon to put on the best vintage dress sale you’ve ever seen!

White Elephant, Dreaming of Dresses, Vintage Dress sale, Hamilton, James St. north

With the quickly warming weather this art crawl is sure to be a busy one.  I heard that last month the count was 6000 people!  Well done.  If you do plan to stop by the crawl it runs form 7-11pm and please remember to bring a non perishable good to Cannon & James North (specifically baby formula and baby food)!  Help your community!


record swap

Recently we’ve been writing a lot of lists and organizing around here.

First on the list was to sort through our record collection, and weed out some of the non-essentials i.e. Milli Vanilli and STYX.  There’s probably still a ton of records left that could’ve gone in the “sale” bin but alas for now they will stay in our newly organized and sorted (by genre/era) record shelf.

Over the weekend I headed on down to The Brain for the bi-annual Deep Groove Record Swap.  It was a casual scene.  The regular crowd of afro-funk, soul, reggae and ska sellers and traders were not there in full force like I’ve seen a previous swaps, so I have to admit I was a little sad.  I didn’t pick up anything new but I managed to make one $5 sale from my “sale” bin; a lovely Roberta Flack album that we had a double copy of.

deep groove record swap, april 28 2012

I loved seeing all the different record enthusiasts swapping and flipping through records and chatting.  The best was watching a dad school his young daughter about vinyl.  He was happily showing her his awesome finds of Joy Division and New Order.

If you’re not into the record purchasing and swapping but maybe into some vinyl listening, there’s always Jazz Chess on late Sunday afternoons.   You could swing by for a beer, wine, cocktail or juice, jazz, chess and a nice ol’ cheese platter.

*The Brain, 199 James St. North, 289.396.8508


Have you ever noticed all the secret back alleyways in Hamilton?  There are more than you would think -mostly tight little unknown spaces tucked nice and snug between buildings.

I don’t know how many times I’ve walked by this particular alley without ever noticing its existence and its ornately crafted steel work.

james st. north, hamilton, ontario, alleyway, steel work

I sometimes wonder about back in the day, where did the lane-way lead to, who used them back then?

sakura, sakura

The other day I was walking by Hawk & Sparrow vintage clothing store and I fell in love with their romantic spring-scene window display.  I loved the hot pink cherry blossom (sakura) flowers and the bright red-orange colours of the kimono.  Everything about the display pulled me right in and got me thinking about shopping for the spring season.

If you haven’t stopped by Hawk & Sparrow yet you should.  There are beautiful hand selected items from local Hamilton designers, a wonderful and delicate selection of men and women’s vintage finds, jewellery, shoes and accessories.

hawk & sparrow, window display

hawk & sparrow, window display, hamilton

hawk & sparrow, window display, hamilton

With the temperature at 15+degrees today, and crocuses already in bloom does this mean that spring is here to stay?


For another Hawk & Sparrow sneak peek check out my blog post here.

*Hawk & Sparrow, 126 James St. north, Hamilton, Ontario


Hansen-Lübbers design and furniture shop opened this week on James St. north!  It is a beauty of a shop in every possible way.  In addition to carrying quality Canadian-made furniture designed by Gus* and eco-friendly paint and wallpaper by Farrow & Ball, they feature local Hamilton artist’s artwork on their walls (currently Julia Veenstra‘s paintings), and their store is located in just about the most gorgeously renovated old building ever!  For more details about the building renovations take a look at a blog post from the ladies at White Elephant here.  I read their post and saw that the store was opening and I had to go and see it for myself that same day!

The store was still being set up, but I couldn’t resist snapping some pictures of the space and some of the furniture that I hope to one day have in my own home. There was a steady trickle of people stopping in for a late Thursday Hamilton afternoon.  Everyone seemed enthusiastic about the new store location and were simply coming by to check it out, congratulate and welcome Hansen-Lübbers to the neighbourhood (Hansen-Lübbers did operate another store that was located on Locke street before deciding to make the move to James north).  Customers chatted casually with one of the owners, who was happy to talk about the progress of the space. He told us of the drapery sewing room and upholstery workroom that will be opening up in the store’s basement, and he gave us some details about the renovations like the radiant heated, poured cement floors, and amazing original 100 year old 6 feet by 6 feet skylight that was letting in beautiful light considering it was a grey and gloomy day.  The glass is actually welded in right level with the rooftop!

I remember when the building sold, and also while it was in transition as Buttrum and Son’s gallery space.  What an amazing transformation the whole building has taken.  I believe there was a point in time when there were no floors from top to bottom, and there was an intriguing wall with about a thousand layers of old wallpaper.

hansen & Lubbars, 114 james st. north, hamilton, ontario

hansen & Lubbars, 114 james st. north, hamilton, ontario

hansen & Lubbars, 114 james st. north, gus funiture, filament lighting, feather light

hansen & Lubbars, 114 james st. north, hamilton, ontario

I love the sofas, and one day when I actually buy some “grown-up” furniture, one of them will be mine!

hansen & Lubbars, 114 james st. north, hamilton, ontario, gus sofa

I think Hansen-Lübbers will be a great fit for the changing and evolving neighbourhood.  A perfect complimentary partner in combination with the up-coming opening of the AGH’s design store moving in just a few stores down.

For a little more history of Hansen-Lübbers’ Hamilton design dream and aesthetic read here.

*Hansen-Lübbers 144 James St. north, 905.308.7777

the new artists inc.

Upon the 36th year of the existence of Hamilton Artists Inc. its new building at the corner of James and Cannon will officially open it’s doors tonight to the public at 7pm!  The building will be home to contemporary exhibits, installations, events and performances.

I’m excited to see what the space is like and to check out the opening exhibit 4  from 6.

Hamilton Artists Inc., art crawl, James St. north, grand opening, 155 James St. north, James & Cannon,

Hamilton Artists Inc. wall during the August art crawl, pre opening.

 Unfinished Interior of Hamilton Artists Inc., new building, 155 James St. North, James & Cannon

HAI Board of Directors inspect the new building


*Hamilton Artists Inc., 155 James St. north, Hamilton, 905.529.3355

dj disaster

For one of the weddings I went to this summer I had been asked to be the DJ.  I was super excited to take on this task (my 2nd time DJ’ing ever) exclusively with records.  I spent days going through my vinyl collection and thinking about songs to play, while weighing out their danceability.

In university I once put a raging dance party to screeching halt by trying to cue up a song on a 5 CD changer but instead I accidentally cut the music mid song and dance.  If there had been a record for the needle to go skipping across when everyone stopped dancing and the room went quiet, it would have.  So for this wedding I wanted to be sure to have zero DJ disaster moments.

Having the ultimate dance party has always been an eternal dream of mine, so when the dance party was rowdy, collars turned up, ties on heads, and people were getting sweaty, I felt that I had done my duty.  I moved through the eras and genres of ska, soul, surf, calypso, funk, disco, 80′s rock, pop, and new wave. I even managed to squeeze in a little Wu-Tang.  One of my favourite parts of the night was when I turned to see the bride’s parents dancing to Nuthin’ But a “G” Thang.

Dusty Springfield, record, vinyl, A Girl Called Dusty

My two favourite tracks from Dusty Springfield’s 1964 album are Mama Said, and Do Re Mi.

Depeche Mode, The Singles, vinyl, record

Two songs I adore on this album, Just Can’t Get Enough, and Dreaming of Me.

records, vinyl

The Spinners, surf music, records, vinyl, Party -My Pad, After Surfin'

The killer song on this album that just makes me want to die and go to heaven is Barracuda, which has an uncredited mind blowing trumpet solo by the legendary Rafael Mendez.

Duke Errol, vinyl, record, Calypso

The song that I love on this album is a cover of A Hard Days Night, which was the entire reason why I bought the record.


Some of the songs that I played at the wedding a few people specifically came up and asked about after.  Those particular songs came from the 2 albums in the pictures above, which I had picked up in Hamilton from the Deep Groove Record Swap hosted at The Brain.  So if you’re into collecting records especially of the soul, jazz, funk, ska, afro, calypso, disco, rock variety you should definitely go by The Brain this Saturday from 1-5pm to do some record swapping and/or purchasing.  I’ve been to 2 swaps so far and have always managed to pick-up a few amazing finds.  There’s no better way to spend a Saturday afternoon with a coffee, or a pint, flipping through records and listening to great music.

Deep Groove Record Swap, Saturday, September 24th 2011, The Brain, 199 James St. north

*The Brain, 199 James St. north, Hamilton, Ontario

inside out project

For the past month I’ve been noticing these large portraits posted on walls throughout the city.  Turns out this is part of a large global street art project called Inside Out or the Inside Out Project.

INSIDE OUT is a large-scale participatory art project that transforms messages of personal identity into pieces of artistic work. Upload a portrait. Receive a poster. Paste it for the world to see.

Inside Out Art Project, Hamilton, Ontario, John & Main St.

John between King & Main

Inside Out Project, art, street art, Hamilton, Ontario, King William & John

King William, west of John

Inside Out Art Project, street art, Hamilton, Ontario, James St. north & mulberry

at James north & Mulberry

Inside Out Project, art, street art, Hamilton, Ontario, King William & John

King William west of John

When I was in Toronto over the weekend I saw Inside Out portraits pasted up on walls there too.  Some people might not welcome this type of street art, but I like the way it interacts with passerbys and how it brings a personal story to public places.  I love even more that this is a global project.  You can see a map here of people all around the world who have participated in Inside Out.


hawk & sparrow

I absolutely love all the new stores that are opening up in downtown Hamilton.  I was so happy to hear the buzz about this gem of a store.  Located in the old Factory: Hamilton Media Arts Centre, Hawk & Sparrow at 126 James St. is the latest store to pop up on James north.  It’s another welcome addition to their recently new next door neighbours HOME; antique store and furnishings.

Hawk & Sparrow store owner Sarah Moyal has a sharp eye for choice selections of vintage clothing finds for both men & women.

hawk & sparrow, james st. north, vintage clothing store, 126 james st. north, hamilton, ontario

Adorable window display and cute green bike.

126 James St. North, Hawk & Sparrow, vintage, clothing store, Hamilton, Ontario

vintage clothing store, James St. North, Hamilton, Ontario, Hawk & Sparrow, clothing store,

Bright yellow and blue are two of my favourite colour combinations.

Hawk & Sparrow, vintage clothing store, Hamilton, Ontario, James St. north,

This shirt is so amazing and is priced so reasonably at $25. If I could pull off rocking this top I would.

126 James St. north, Hamilton, Ontario, Hawk & Sparrow, vintage clothing store,

I picture myself wearing this jacket in a bull fight in Spain. Seriously.

Hawk & Sparrow, 126 James St. north, Hamilton, Ontario, vintage clothing show.

Hawk & Sparrow, vintage clothing store, 126 James St. north, Hamilton, Ontario

Hawk & Sparrow, 126 James St. N, Hamilton, Ontario, vintage clothing store

I like the minimalist feel to the store in that the racks aren’t crammed.  There’s just the right amount of eye candy, perfect for easy browsing.  The style selection ranges from retro 80′s glam, and sparkle, worn jean and leather jackets to soft, and romantic skirts and delicate knits, shirts and blouses perfect for the summer to fall transition.

Hawk & Sparrow, 126 James St. north, Hamilton, Ontario, vintage clothing store

*Hawk & Sparrow, 126 James St. north, Hamilton, Ontario

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