Hands down, no questions asked, and with zero lag in response time – West Town is my
absolute favourite place to roll into on a Sunday morning, slide into a booth and place my standard order of coffee, eggs benedict and depending on the events that unfolded on Saturday night… a Caesar. I completely understand that I run the risk of aging myself slightly with this recommendation, but it’s a chance I’m willing to take to pass along a great piece of wisdom to younger (and potentially new) Hamiltonians. It will not disappoint.
BEST WAY TO STAY FIT
This is going to sound incredibly cheesy and I hope that my admitting this fact negates some of the cheesiness, but the best way to stay fit is by doing activities that you actually enjoy. If the thought of going to the gym makes you want to burn all of your sneakers and toss anything resembling athletic gear into the nearest body of water, then here’s a wild idea – don’t go to the gym. Find another activity that gets you moving and doesn’t result in a quarter of your wardrobe being slashed and burned in the pro- cess. Go for a hike, play basketball with your friends, or ride your bike to school. There are a million ways to get your blood pumping, so find something that you actually enjoy. Whatever it is, if you enjoy doing it then finding time for it in your day won’t be a burden but something you look forward to.
A blanket, a book, some good music and Bayfront Park. Whenever I’m feeling the need to escape for a while, all I need is an hour in the park and everything else seems to melt away. It also doesn’t hurt that during the warmer months you can bet with 99.9% certainty that there will be an ice cream truck on site. I dare you not to be happy with the sun on your face and a vanilla chocolate swirl cone in your hand. Pure joy.
MUST-ATTEND EVENT THIS FALL
I’m sure that most people will read this and think to themselves, “Well duh, Nics. That’s pretty darn obvious.” But what kind of Hamiltonian would I be if I didn’t list Supercrawl as the must-attend event of the fall season? If you’re new to the city and making Hamilton your home for the next 4 years – GO TO SUPERCRAWL! If you’re a student who’s never ventured past the borders of Westdale (no offense to that great neighbourhood in the city) – GO TO SUPERCRAWL! If you’re young Hamiltonian who has never experienced the event first hand (and I pray that there are only a small number of you out there) – GO TO SUPERCRAWL! Whatever the case may be, make sure that you hop on your bike, flash your student ID to grab a ride downtown with the HSR or drive down to James Street and be a part of the amazing weekend that is Supercrawl. I promise that not only will you have a great time, but also you’ll leave feeling proud of the city that you call home. (Oh, and if Mulberry Coffeehouse hosts one of their “Mulberry After Dark Events” DO NOT miss it!)
TAKE IT FROM A LOCAL
I couldn’t decide which insider secret to share, so I’m giving them both up (you’re welcome). The first being that the best sandwich in the city can be purchased for $5 at Ola Bakery on James Street North. Walk through the front doors and past the pastry section until you find yourself in front of the almost unnoticeable deli counter looking at a sign that has been hanging there since before I was born, which displays only 6 sandwich options. You order Italian Salami. You give them $5 (tax in). You take the first bite and then you wonder how you ever existed without this beautiful sandwich in your life. My other tip is that you can still hike down to the bottom of Websters Falls despite what the word on the street may be. Follow the Tews Falls trail, trek downhill past the look-out point, follow the railroad tracks and voila – an hour or so later you’re at the base of the falls. It’s worth the possibility of being scolded by a park official – although if they ask how you found out about this juicy piece of intel, I ask that you keep the identity of your source a secret.
AVOID AT ALL COSTS
You’ll be hard-pressed to find me talking about this city with any undertone that could be conceived as negative, but for all of my fellow commuters, I’ll impart some knowledge about this city that I’ve unfortunately learned through painful time spent behind the wheel of gridlock traffic. If possible, avoid Dundurn Street between the hours of 4:30 PM and 6:30 PM at all costs.