Monthly Archives: February 2015

Kick Off June With A Night Of Blues, Food, And Culture

While downtown can boast a majority of music festivals and larger events in Hamilton, this weekend the quaint area of Westdale Village will host the first annual Hamilton Blues and Roots Music Festival. Presented by Sonic Unyon (among other sponsors), the festival will bring together local and travelling blues musicians to Westdale’s main hub for a warm evening of smooth tunes and great times. I for one am extremely excited that a festival so true to the spirit of the cultural transformation of Hamilton is happening down the street from my apartment!

Performances will be happening all day, so either stopping in for a few hours or spending the whole day in Westdale will be worthwhile. The festival will close down normal operation of the retail stores in Westdale for the day, so look forward to street performers, food and craft vendors, a beer garden, and a family movie event in the evening. Expect the event to have a similar vibe to the Supercrawl Festival that happens along James Street North in September— Sonic Unyon is the brains behind both events. Bring a group of friends, your family, or your favourite gal (or guy!)

The Hamilton Blues and Roots Festival is Saturday, June 1st with performances running form 10:00 am-11:00 pm. Look forward to performances by great local talents including Steve Strongman (headlining at 9:00pm), Terra Lightfoot, and Harrison Kennedy.

Westdale Village is in the west end of Hamilton, near McMaster University:

From downtown, King St. East will bring you right to the centre of the village. The HSR also has a few routes that will drop you off near the festival: the 01, 5C, 5E, 10, and 52 will all place you within 5 minutes of Westdale—note, however that those routs running directly through Westdale will probably diverge if the festival requires roadblocks.

If you are coming from up on the mountain you can take the Linc(oln Alexander Parkway) down if driving or catch a bus to the downtown GO centre and transfer.

Surfacing: Contemporary Textile & Craft Objects

The 2011 Textile Program graduates of Sheridan College will be presenting ‘Surfacing’ – an exhibition featuring handmade textiles and designs.

‘Surfacing’ is a forum that encourages a dialogue about the treatment of surfaces in contemporary craft, specifically concerning fibre and textiles. The eleven participants have a varied number of works of art which represent a reflection of their craft experiences through the manipulation and embellishment of coverings, containers, and art installations. These interests lead the artists to shape their ideas and concepts into objects of substance, either functional or decorative or both.

Through layers of colour and texture embellished with print, dye, stitch, and felt, their tactile surfaces embody a sense of discovery and play. ‘Surfacing’ is something that should not be missed, and fits perfectly within an exciting craft rich Art Crawl.

1Awards And Support For Hamilton Entrepreneurs

I was thrilled when asked to attend the secondary annual 1Awards presented by First Ontario Credit Union this past Monday. Now, overlooking how contrived that sentence seems to me, I sincerely had an amazing time talking with young entrepreneurs in the city and chatting with sponsors. This event has unfortunately already passed, but the opportunity to promote an event that so readily embodies the cultural “renaissance” happening in Hamilton right now was too great to pass up.

The 1Awards launched last year with the intention of helping small business owners in Hamilton with $125 000 in cash and professional services from partnering sponsors. First Ontario has come together with other generous sponsors this year to offer winners expert marketing, media, and financial support.  Interested participants were required to fill out an application and give an engaging presentation for judges (as represented by the sponsors).

I had the pleasure of sitting down with the three winners from this year and discuss their backgrounds, future goals, and undeniable love for Hamilton. All seemed to agree that without this city of ours, they would not have been able to pursue their dreams in the same way.

Bakers Josie Rudderham and Nicole Miller first met while in school at Niagara College. After losing touch for many years, they swear by a one time coffee date that brought them together in business. Discussing their lives and goals they realized that Cake & Loaf Bakery was a distant dream that they both wanted to pursue. Now some years later, after the great support of city council and the Hamilton community, these girls are on the way to opening another store front. Plans for the future include, of course, opening this second location and offering baking classes for customers. What did they say when asked how Hamilton has shaped their business? No other city would have been the perfect fit like Hamilton: the tight social media presence of the cultural community, support of the often-discussed renaissance, and genuine warmth of the people equal one thing—the perfect recipe for Rudderham and Miller.

Entrepreneur Martinus Geleynse has certainly seen transformation with MGI Media from an initial small video production company. Given involvement in the Hamilton24 festival and founding Urbanicity magazine, Gelenyse has

taken his media expertise to local companies with media and advertising support. Though hoping to move forward with growth and offering more services with MGI Media, he notes that he will always have a “soft spot” for his objet d’art Urbanicity. Of course, Hamilton plays a big role in the path his company has taken: the so-described “Wild West” is full of people rallying behind rebuilding the city and furthermore there is “opportunity for everything” according to Geleynse.

Though different in scope from the other winners, REfficient and their commitment to the environment and corporate responsibility makes them an admirable choice for the 1Awards. Founder Stephanie McLarty has developed a technology-based solution for a common wasteful problem in the corporate world: the improper disposal of outdated technologies. She found that a few years ago there was the need and opportunity for such a service, especially with the rapid improvements in technologies that require constant upgrading and phasing-out. Again, Hamilton was a key part in McLarty’s success not only from cultural perspective but from an economic perspective: “You can be someone here… from a cost perspective it is also great when you are trying to get your feet off the ground”. Moving forward, McLarty hopes to offer new features, expand her geographical reach to service more countries, and increase education about the 3Rs (as learned in school—Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!)

And so, dear reader, I strongly encourage you to consider the amazing opportunities available to you in Hamilton. If not taking the big leap of opening your own business, at least get to know and support the entrepreneurs living near you. You will be pleasantly surprised at the growth Hamilton is fostering.

Say Hello To The New Girl In Town!

This weekend, welcome the newest vintage lifestyle store to the downtown core. Girl on the Wing, a new vintage clothing, accessories, and wares store will have a sneak peek opening tonight for the public from 7pm-9pm.

Get the chance to meet owner Whitney Mcmeekin and discuss with her your mutual love of all things vintage. Followin

g tonight’s sneak peek will be the official grand opening ceremonies Saturday afternoon (12pm-6pm) complete with (of course) special deals for you and even a lemonade stand. What’s more, if you are scrambling for a special last minute gift for mom this weekend, Girl on the Wing is hosting a special Mother’s Day shopping event on Sunday.

If you love all things vintage and are embarrassingly nostalgic about decades before your time *cough* like me *cough* this is a great event to check out this weekend. Also, it’s exciting to welcome unique new businesses to the downtown core!