Wow- apparently it's been a while since I've updated the blog! Sometimes it's hard to keep track of everything and the past few months have been jam packed! We had an amazing holiday season, were co-organizers of Hamilton Flea's Last Minute Holiday Market and threw and epic holiday dance party. Now, slowing down is never an option (sometimes I know I should…but…too many fun times) and we're excited to let you know about some upcoming events!
CITY OF HAMILTON: WINTERFEST AFTER DARK
It's an honour to be brought on by the City to help with some fun programming for their annual Winterfest. Last year you may remember we coordinated a fashion show…while great, I definitely learned that a fashion show outside in the winter comes with many a challenge :) This year we decided to shake it up a bit.
Movies are great. Canadiana classic movies especially. The past few years I've taken to hosting movie nights for my friends in the shop and have always wanted to do something bigger and better for customers. So in the spirit of Canadian winter, we're excited to announce a screening of the 1983 cult-classic Strange Brew on Saturday February 6th!
"Grab your toques and your parkas and take off, eh!
As part of the City of Hamilton's Winterfest Kick-Off Event, we'll be screening the cult Canadiana classic 'Strange Brew: The Adventures of Bob and Doug Mckenzie'. Originally a skit on SCTV, this film was shot in Hamilton, Toronto and surrounding area and acts as a time-capsule for all things Southern Ontario.
Come join Bob and Doug Mackenzie in their quest for the perfect beer…oh and attempting to save the world from an evil mastermind! Get yourself decked out in plaids, earmuffs and your coziest wares for our Hoser Costume Contest and Great White North photobooth! We'll have some special treats and more surprises in store.
$5 admission. Seating is limited so please arrive early. Movie starts at 8:30 promptly. Theatre is located in the Hamilton Waterfront Trust, behind the skating rink at Pier 8, and beside the restaurant Sarcoa. "
HAMILTON FLEA PRESENTS NIGHT MARKET AT WINTERFEST
In partnership with Hamilton's Winterfest, Hamilton Flea presents a Night Market as part of the exciting "Winterfest After Dark" programming.
Stay warm with hot cocoa and a curated collection of cool vendors in heated outdoor tents! Take in all the sights and sounds of this fun festival and do a little shopping while you're at it. You can expect some of our "Flea Family Favourites" along with some exciting new vendors. There will even be a marshmallow roasting pit- because who says you can only eat those in the summer!?
"In the middle of the winter?" you may ask. "Are they crazy?". Not crazy, just dedicated to creating some cozy winter vibes to get you outside enjoying the beautiful winter weather and exciting cultural programming!
Jelly Brothers (Hamilton Neighbourhood Maps) Crown Point Candles(Natural Handmade Candles) / Sweet & Simple (Small-Batch Candies and Sweets) / Wolf Dottir (Sassy Wares) / Group of 7 Billion (Vintage Collage Prints) / Shannon Gerard (Plants You Can't Kill and Crochet Wears)/ Canoe (Canadian-Made Products)/ Hamilton Popcorn Company (Small-Batch Flavoured Popcorn)/ SLO (Mittens and Cute Things)/ Perk Naturals(Body Scrubs)/ Steel City Crate Company (Handmade Crates)
Hope to see you guys there!
For the past month and a half, I’ve been busy working away on one of my side-projects, the Hamilton Flea. You may remember our very first event in July that took place at the beautiful and historic Treble Hall. The idea for Flea happened when my sister, Erika and I were given the opportunity from Treble Hall owner, Jeff Feswick, to put on an event in his space. With Erika’s skills for facilitating events and cool happenings (she’s the founder of The Academy of All Things Awesome and most recently one-half of the brains behind Sous Bas) combined with my love of community, small business and all things retail, we made the perfect team! Because Treble Hall had been closed to the public in so long we decided that this would be our inspiration for this new joint-effort. Our main goal with these events is to open up spaces that are mysterious or have been unused for years and show their beauty and history off. The idea behind bringing vendors in is to infuse the spaces with the creative culture that is currently going on in Hamilton.
This time around we were excited to discover and open up a new location. One day when asking around about a location, Susie Braithwaite from the International Village BIA sent me the contact info of someone she had met who recently purchased a building at the corner of King William and Wellington. As soon as she mentioned the building, I knew exactly which one it was. It’s right in my neighbourhood and I had passed the building countless times and always wondered about it. More recently I had noticed that the old vacuum store that was there (and had been closed for ten years) had been cleared out and you could, for the first time in ages, see into the windows. The history-lover in me knew I had to get into the space and so receiving the contact info to the owner felt like a higher power shining down on me. I quickly emailed the owner and expected I’d have to wait a while to hear anything back. But to my surprise, I got an email pretty much instantly back from the owner, Kevin Wride, that said “YES! LET’S DO IT!”. We made a meeting for that evening and I felt that it was almost all too good to be true.
Meeting Kevin was a very memorable experience for me. As soon as I arrived at the space, he welcomed me with such warmth and excitement. Up until this point, the space hadn’t been seen by many people and had been a passion project he had been working on to get it fixed up. Kevin purchased the building with a partner and is still trying to figure out what he wants to do with the space. He started telling me about his dreams for the building as being something for the community and a positive space for the neighbourhood. I couldn’t stop staring at the building’s beauty with giant eyes (and maybe even my mouth hanging open in shock for most of my visit). I knew it was the perfect space for the next Flea. Kevin loved the idea and from there we started working hard to get the building fixed up and started looking more into the history of the space.
One of the coolest parts of this whole process has been learning about the history of the building. Most notably it was the business “Brown’s Tire Ltd.” through the 40’s and 50’s. One day when we were walking through the building we found a receipt book from the 50’s up in the rafters. But other than these small snippets, we didn’t have much concrete information. One day, Kevin came into the store, after a long day in the Library archives with some exciting news. He had tracked down one of the only photos of the building- and it was perfect! The image, from 1949, shows the beautiful old façade of the space with the Brown’s Tire lettering and the Firestone tire logo (they were a Firestone dealer when the factory was just down the street in Hamilton). Seeing this image made me so excited! Now all the stories I had been hearing were given such an amazing visual. I love the left side of the photo where you can see one of the workers entering the building. To imagine the buzz that used to go on through the walls of the building and all the people who were going about their business here. I can’t wait to fill its walls again with people for the event and feel it come to life all over again!
Kevin also found out some information about some of the other businesses that used to be there, even before Brown’s Tire. The first business dates back to 1925 and was “Farr and McManus Furniture Finishes”. From there, he found listings for “Bamford Tire Service”, “Classic Athletic Club”, “Wentworth Hall”, and “Wellington Tire Service”. While we’ve only begun to delve into it’s rich history, it’s obvious that this building is something special and has been such a part of Hamilton’s business community.
Being in the space, I've fallen in love with so many details- The beautiful peeling paint in various colours, the rich woods floors, the vaulted ceiling on the third floor, and the many artifacts discovered. We've had some amazing people to help bring the space to life. Dee, also known as "The Story Girl" is a sign-painter and calligraphy expert who did a wonderful job in beautifying two of the large boarded-up windows and drawing people's attention to the space. Craig and Lesley from Circa Projects were given the task of installing some window art and used some wonderful blown-up automotive-themed photos from their collection of vernacular photography combined with classic auto-shop bunting. I love how they interpreted the "Brown's Tire" history! I feel like everyone who has been working hard on the event is engraining a piece of themselves within the walls of the space. We feel so lucky to have been able to meet Kevin and bring the Hamilton community into this beauty of a project he’s working on.
And I’m so thankful for everyone who has supported Flea thus far, though still in it’s early stages. I love what I do with the shop, but this event has become such an important part of my life. Working with other creative visionaries to put something together for our community is not only fun but has taught me so many important lessons. I can’t wait to share the space with all of you and the amazing vendors! This time round we've got some special out-of-town vendors coming in, combined with some classic Hamilton favourites. You can expect vintage and retro-wares, handmade objects, art work, records, yummy treats, plants and more! Big thanks goes out to everyone involved. A special shoutout to our presenting partners and sponsors: Young Lions Music Club, VarageSale, Kevin Wride, SoBi Hamilton.
Check out the event flyer and RSVP here.
Whenever it’s time to do a new Girl About Town post, I get so excited. There’s nothing more fun than thinking about which cool and talented woman to feature next. This month’s was easy for me because from the moment I first met this lady I knew I wanted to feature her at some point. Anna Wiesen is an all-around marketing genius with a quick-witted personality, the best taste in music and clothes and makes a truly lasting effect on anyone she encounters. We first met in the shop and had lots of friends in common, which gave us an instant familiarity with eachother. Over the next few months we bonded on our love of dance parties, community and bringing people together and how many cheeses we could possibly eat in one sitting. The more I got to know her the more I learned that she does- and it never seems to stop! She’s one third of Young Lions Music Club, an all-encompassing group that puts on great community events, and also keeps busy with various contracts and freelance marketing jobs.
Anna and her partner Bobby moved to Hamilton this past winter to set-up house in a smaller community and focus on their various projects. I can say with full confidence that Hamilton is so lucky to have them as part of our community. One thing I’ve noticed about everything YLMC touches- it’s always fun, inclusive and well thought-out. As a fellow organizer, I truly appreciate all that they do and see how amazing they are at it. This Saturday they’ll be set up at the Hamilton Flea, dj’ing some sweet tunes and meeting all of your sweet selves! Anna and I spent some time in the Flea’s location, the historic Treble Hall, chatting Hamilton, the challenges of moving to a new city, style and the Flea itself!
How did Young Lions Music Club start?
Young Lions Music Club started back in 2011 in my boyfriend Bobby’s basement apartment in Toronto. He had recently quit his full time job in music marketing and had been throwing dance parties where local bands would come on board as guest DJs.
The dance parties were growing in popularity and at some point Bobby decided he wanted to do other types of music events and somehow turn all this fun into a “full-time” job for himself. In those early days there was a lot of throwing around ideas and concepts, and I remember specifically the moment when we were lying in Bobby’s bed at night when he came up with the idea to create physical membership cards and then the whole idea took shape. I guess I’ve been involved with YLMC since Day 1 as the first ever member, and also as the person that would listen to Bobby’s ideas and help them take shape. The official soundboard, you could say.
I wasn’t really “officially” a part of it for a while, except that I was Bobby’s girlfriend, would go to every single party, and came up with ideas. Bobby sometimes calls me Young Lions Music Club’s First Lady, which seems to be appropriate. I had my own stuff going on – managing a singer and pursuing a career in marketing.
Fast forward to 2014, and Young Lions Music Club was planning the first of several Stanley Kubrick themed parties. This one was themed after The Shining. It was a couple of months before the party, and I asked Bobby “so…how exactly are you going to make this party feel like The Shining?” …he didn’t really know. That’s when we started assembling a team of insanely talented artists ranging from painters to set designers to lighting and projection artists to bring this party to life.
The party ended up being incredible, and changed the way Bobby looked at planning Young Lions events. When people started asking how we made the theme come to life, that’s when we dreamt up the idea of Young Offenders: a collective of artists from different disciplines that we would represent to try to find them work. I was able to apply my experience and passion for working with and managing artists, and Bobby could leverage his Young Lions relationships to find these artists some work. Bobby and I launched Young Offenders together as co-founders, and Young Lions exists as a separate entity, though the two companies work together all the time.
What’s your favourite part of YLMC/Young Offenders?
The best part is coming up with your ideas and bringing them to life without having to go up a chain of command. On the Young Offenders end, I love that we can find really great artists opportunities that they might not have found for themselves. For example, our painter Sarah got to work on a large-scale live painting piece for the Field Trip festival last month in Toronto for thousands to see. I’m proud that I could facilitate that exposure for her, and help her make money off her craft.
What was the most memorable event you’ve been involved with?
Tough question! I’m a huge fan of The Smiths, and one time Andy Rourke from the band DJ’ed on a boat for a Young Lions Music Club party and asked to borrow my headphones. That was a big deal to me.
But probably the most memorable was our Young Offenders launch party. We wanted to invite everyone we knew to see what the Young Offenders are capable of. So we got a warehouse, sent people cryptic invitations in the mail, and got all of our artists involved in some capacity to throw a party in the middle of February fit with a slingshot range, murals, and a giant eyeball installation that projected live surveillance camera footage from the party.
What are the upsides to working freelance/for yourself/from home, etc? Downsides?
The flexibility to work when it feels right and don’t work when it doesn’t is invaluable. Sometimes we get on a creative kick at 9pm and get a bunch of work done, but then we have our fair share of later mornings when we take time to make a nice, big breakfast. I also like being able to test and execute my own ideas.
The downsides are mostly financial. It’s hard to get used to not getting a regular paycheck. Money and projects come sporadically, so it’s important to stay organized and budget myself properly.
Where are your favourite places to go/hang out?
I love doing work at Johnny’s Coffee and grabbing lunch at the Green Smoothie Bar. I do a regular visit to Newold’s, Hawk & Sparrow/Eye of Faith, Girl on the Wing & Out of the Past since I have a vintage clothing addiction that can’t be tamed. I also enjoy hanging at Dundurn Park with my dog Charles and exploring all the parks and trails around Hamilton. I grew up in the country, so I love that Hamilton has so much nature in such close proximity to downtown.
Is there a specific moment that you can remember where you thought “I love Hamilton” for the first time?
I remember my first trip to Ottawa St to go check out some antique shops. I took Barton Street across and was completely enamored with the abandoned storefronts amidst a city that was developing in other areas so rapidly. Because I come from Toronto where everything is hyper developed and established, I see so much potential in many parts of this city, especially Barton St. It’s sad to see the ghosts of failed businesses but exciting to be here in a time when many people are starting new businesses and seeing Hamilton rally around them. It’s an inspiring place, and there’s a certain feeling of soul and community that is often missing in larger cities.
How would you describe your style in 3 words?
Vintage, colourful, comfortable
What’s your favourite thing you’ve found at Girl on the Wing and why?
An aquamarine blue raincoat. Whitney described it as “the coat your mom would wear in the 80s at Niagara Falls” and man do I love sporting that look on a rainy day on a walk with my dog. The colour cheers me up on a dreary day and the pockets are big enough for a ball and dog treats. Perfection!
What can we expect from YLMC at the Hamilton Flea?
Bobby and I DJ together under the name Summer Fling. We’ll be DJing and also selling some special YLMC merch. You can also find out more about Young Lions and sign up to be a member if you aren’t yet.
Who/what are you most excited to do, see, etc at the Flea?
I’m really pumped to eat some donuts from Donut Monster! I’m also hoping to find some vinyl from Roly Poly Records & Retro, and meet some more Hamilton pals.
Sunglasses: from a sunglass vendor at Austin Psych Fest
Top: Out of the Past
Jeans: Levi’s - Girl on the Wing
Sandal: American Apparel
This Saturday kicks off the first official Hamilton Flea! A curated collection of 20+ vendors, the sale aims to bring new life to old Hamilton buildings by infusing them with the creative spirit that Hamilton has become known for. I'm so excited to be one of the organizers of the Flea along with The Academy of All Things Awesome and Historia Restorations. The sale came up very organically and honestly at the perfect time. I'm one that thrives on being busy- and the more things I have going on, the better I am at all of them. Girl on the Wing is my passion and first love but it's always nice to work on other projects that fit in with the GOTW brand and style. I specifically love getting to work with other creatives and entrepreneurs, and the Flea has been the perfect excuse to partner with some businesses I admire.
Treble Hall was built in the late 1800s and has been home to a performance hall, the Pagoda Chop Suey House, apartments in the 50s and most recently the mixed-use boutique/cafe/bar Moulin Rouge. The owner of Moulin Rouge has a vast collection of designer samples and beautiful pieces that will be available for purchase at the Flea at huge sale prices. Along with her collection, there will be vendors selling vintage clothing, records, housewares, artwork, zines, patches, tshirts and more!
I was so excited to sign up three brands I admire to travel to Hamilton for the sale. From Toronto, No Fun Press and Yo Sick will be here slinging their awesome wares. And my absolute favourite, Olivia of Stay Home Club will be traveling here all the way from Montreal. Her stuff has been in the shop since we first opened and has always been our best seller. It's so exciting that she will be here in the flesh and I can't wait to check out her full collection. The Flea will be an awesome mix of amazing products, amazing people and an amazing place!
Treble Hall hasn't been open to the Public for ages and is a spectacle in itself. I've been having a total love affair with the building while working on getting it set up for the Flea. The peeling paint, the Art Deco carpeting, the amazing artifacts scattered throughout the space and all the history lingering in the walls. It's truly an amazing place!
Hope to see you all there this Saturday between 11 and 6! You enter the sale through "The Secret Door" and the vendors will be spread out over the 2nd and 3rd floors. On top of the amazing shopping, there will also be donuts by Donut Monster and snowcones by Sweet Ice Snow Cones, two Hamilton treat staples. My friends at Young Lions Music Club will be providing a sweet soundtrack for the day so maybe an afternoon shopping dance party is in order! See you there!