Friday, 25 November 2011

Home is where the Hammer is.

You must be wondering why I compare Hamilton to all the places I've travelled?  Mostly I just think it's interesting how distinct certain places can be. London has Big Ben, Paris has the Eiffel Tower. Hamilton has my life. To me Hamilton is home, as much as I may complain about certain aspects of it and even dream about taking off and travelling the world troubadour style, I know I will always come back here. I am literally nailed to the Hammer (okay not literally, but you get the point).

There may be things I don't like, stereotypes I wish I could break but there are so many wonderful things about my city as well. Things I wish I could share with other people. I hate when I meet people in other countries and they ask where I'm from and I say, "Hamilton". They have absolutely no idea where I'm talking about until I say, "oh it's near Toronto".

Hamilton is awesome on its own. We have a lot of talent, arts, culture and nature happening here. I mean we are the waterfall capital of the world (sigh). That's got to count for something right? Unfortunately most people sneer at our steel city but I think and hope that people will start to take notice of our citizens. Hamiltonians are awesome. I don't know if there's something in the water but in the past five years we've had at least four or five bands really break onto the Canadian and world music scene. People are bound to wonder what we have here that inspires all these artists.

I want to travel. I want to see new places, meet new people. Experience new and exciting things but I also always want to come back home. Come back to Hamilton.

Arkells, a band that was born and bred with steel in their blood.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Holidays In The Hammer.

Just because it’s cold and blustery outside doesn’t mean that you should hide indoors for the whole winter. Hamilton has lots to offer to warm your hearts this holiday season. Whether you want to experience an old fashioned Christmas or you want to indulge in some modern art, Hamilton has it all!

If you like history you can harken back to days of yore by visiting Dundurn Castle for a Victorian Christmas. Decorated in the authentic way the castle may have looked for the MacNab family in 1855. Victorian Christmas runs from Saturday, November 26, 2011 to Saturday, December 31, 2011 (Closed Mondays).

For those folks who want to brave the outdoors you could visit Westfield Heritage Village every Saturday in December (except for Christmas Eve) from 5pm to 9pm for ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas. It is a celebration of Christmas past and present. You can warm yourself with seasonal drinks and food while wandering around the historic village.

For the less traditional out there you can cozy up by the fire and listen to some Victorian ghost stories by candlelight. Haunted Hamilton presents An Old Man Young Christmas on December 18th at 8pm at The Parlour in the Historic Mansion at The Scottish Rite of Freemasonry.

If, like the Grinch none of these holiday events make your heart grow three sizes and you are on Christmas overload The Art Gallery of Hamilton is a good way to escape the hustle and bustle of the season. With local and world art that will help take your mind off the stress that the holidays can cause. Don’t miss the Masters of French Realism on until January 15th.

So as nice as it is to slip into your flannel PJs and hibernate on the couch in the winter don’t forget that there’s always something happening in Hamilton. For more winter activities and ideas visit

Gore Park during the Holidays
(Photo by Kerry Wah)

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Canucks- How nice are we really?

Canadians are known for being nice. Everywhere I go people always guess that I’m Canadian, so I guess that means I’m nice too. The thing is that I’ve never really noticed it so much in my own hometown of Hamilton (which is located in nice old Canada). People here scowl at me on the street, rarely hold doors and just seem downright miserable most of the time. It might be because we have winter for about 9 out of 12 months a year, but considering Canada is known as the friendly country I rarely see any friendliness coming from my fellow Canucks.

In my travels I have met some amazing people! I have never encountered a rude person in my travels (save one bouncer in Paris). People in the Dominican Republic were so warm and friendly, I had great conversations with many Dominicans.

When I went to France I was nervous because I had only heard bad things about the people there. I had heard they were rude and that the men were sexist and all kinds of terrible things about the French. I was so pleasantly surprised when I got there. Most people that I came in contact with were very friendly and patient. I don’t speak great French but I thought I knew enough to get by. They would be patient while I tried to work out the French or they would try to help me, or if I got it right they would congratulate me. Thankfully I had a friend with me who went to French immersion school so she knew quite a bit of French so when I really didn’t know what to say I would let her go first and then just say “La même chose” which means basically “the same thing”. I would say after going to France I became very good at frenglish, which was my own version of French mingled with English.

Frenglish really came in handy when I went to Belgium as well. I went to a party while I was there and everybody spoke French. I ended up having an entire conversation about the Twilight books with one guy. He was so patient while he was talking to me.

Ireland was beautiful and the people there are also beautiful. The Irish are amazing! They really like to have a good time and they love including outsiders. We met up with some fun Irish people as well as some really amazing Welsh people (who I am still in contact with). They took us to some great bars and showed us some sights. 

It could be because we are tourists and we are a commodity but I have encountered some really rad people in this world. I assume that my Canadian brethren are nice to outsiders as well, but I wish that they would act how they are stereotyped to their own as well. I want to find where these awesome Canadians hang out but I fear that the awesome Canadians are probably out travelling the world, giving the rest of these grumps a good name.

 Some of the amazing people I met in France!

My Welsh friends in Ireland with a statue of James Joyce