My weekend in Hamilton

So this past weekend was the first of its kind: I had time off. In my entire McMaster career, I can’t remember ever having a free weekend in the middle of the semester. So I finally got to explore the city a bit more.

source: Group of 7 Billion

Of course, the first thing that I think of when I have time to myself is food. I love to eat, and I love to try new restaurants. Since it was the eve of the James St. North Art Crawl, I wanted to check out a restaurant in that area, so I went to My Thai. With a few locations around the Golden Horseshoe, My Thai in Hamilton is a simple but very well managed gem. You order food for the table and share it among your party, and thus you can experience a variety of flavours. Their Emerald Curry was mildly sweet, their Thai Beef was savoury and rich, and their house chile sauce was fantastic. I can barely handle spices, but the full-bodied flavour of it was too good to pass up!

After dinner I made my way over to James St. and got a hot chocolate at the Mulberry. The Mulberry is this trendy, independent coffee shop on James St. North, right at the heart of the art crawl path. Naturally, the cafe was packed with people keen to see and be seen at this cultural event. Definitely a cool vibe, and the coffee was fantastic. Definitely worth checking out again.

Well fed, I was finally ready to check out what this Art Crawl was all about; what an impressive event it was! I can’t believe that every month the area’s galleries open up for free. You can hop between galleries and studio spaces, interacting with the artists and other art enthusiasts. You don’t have to pretend like you know any art historical facts either – it’s a totally casual experience.  Some of the artists are really cool to talk to in person. Of the artists I got to chat with, the most memorable was a collage artist who is part of the “Group of 7 Billion” – a play on the iconic Canadian group “Group of 7”. His works played with contemporary (1950’s) pop culture iconography by contrasting media depictions of that time with unconventional situations. Sometimes he’ll collage animal heads to replace the faces of the models. It’s quirky, thought provoking, and his body of work is extensive. What was especially cool was that he was selling works for like $5-$10. McMaster students were also showing work, and I was glad to see them represented in the city.

After checking out all the gallery spaces I ended up at “The Brain” – this super hipster pub. The sign out front has no writing on it, only an illustration of a brain. Once you get inside, the decor is all supplied by the local artists. It was really cool to see the lamps and artwork from the galleries actually in a practical space as well. The offerings at “The Brain” were unique and local – totally not things you’d find at a less interesting place.  Definitely worth checking out if you haven’t been already.

Saturday I checked out Spring Sushi on the mountain, and was impressed at how much Sushi you could order when you were selecting it off an iPad. Spring Sushi is wirelessly decked out so you can order anytime from the iPad at your table, and that order gets sent automatically to the kitchen. It’s fantastic. I was with a group of friends and it was so easy to order that we ended up with like 35 different dishes and spent the better part of 3 hours chowing down.  I had to be rolled home after (worth it!).

It’s incredible how much there is to enjoy in this city. Over one weekend I checked out a bunch of neat spots and am already excited to see more about this city. I can’t wait until my next free weekend!