Locke Street and an ode to bagels

Sometimes I forget that I haven’t left the McMaster bubble. I can go on for days, weeks, even, before I notice that I haven’t strayed from my regular bike route to and from campus, other than to walk through Westdale a few times. It isn’t until I actually do leave that I remember that there’s an entire city here, not just a village.

So with a bit of free time and no class for the rest of the day, I set off on a mini adventure. I hopped on the bus and got off at Locke Street, which is easily one of my favourite places in the city. You could probably forget it’s there as you jet by on the bus, but it’s worth getting off to take a proper look. Walking south from Main, it doesn’t seem like much at first. But then suddenly you’re in the midst of a cute collection of second hand shops, restaurants, and specialty food stores.

There’s a Starbucks, in case you crave a sense of familiarity in your life, but you’d be better off to try Johnny’s Coffee, a newly established, locally-owned shop. It even serves coffee roasted right down the road in Dundas. If you’re looking for a bite to eat there’s always Chuck’s Burger Bar, a small but mighty burger joint that serves an impressive range of meats and toppings.

But on my afternoon adventure on a windy winter day, I needed something comforting and wholesome. What better place to find that than at a bakery?

For the first time I set foot in Locke Street Bakery, a mainstay of the neighbourhood. There’s a whole menu of cafe food, but also baked goods available for purchase. I was struck immediately by the selection of bagels they offered–over sixteen kinds. So naturally, I bought a dozen, and ventured back out into the cold satisfied with my paper bag full of doughy goodness.

On the rest of my walk down the street, I was reminded of the sidewalk poetry, one of the things that makes Locke Street so unique. The installation of little bronze plaques, called “Concrete Poetry,” was made by Hamilton artist Simon Frank. With a short line every few steps, it’s easy to get absorbed in the poetry while you walk.

Perhaps wandering around Locke street is not the most exotic of afternoons, but often the best moments come from the smallest things. And with my arms full of fresh bagels as I took the HSR back home, I thought it was definitely a good moment.