Stops and shops on Ottawa Street

Arts and Culture
April 21, 2022
Est. Reading Time: 3 minutes

C/O Violet Lampman

The variety of businesses on Ottawa Street offer an excellent insight into all Hamilton has to offer students

By: Violet Lampman, contributor 

Ottawa Street has blossomed over the last decade, with the opening of a number of local businesses. Nicknamed “fabric lane,” its many craft and fabric stores located along the street, the street is also home to coffee shops, restaurants and markets.  

One staple business of Ottawa Street is Empire Make Space. Ariane Clark opened Empire Make Space at the start of the pandemic, looking to share an inexpensive and upcycled way of crafting and skill learning.  

“We want to open up crafting. Make it as accessible as we can financially. We want to foster creating and creativity, there should not be any barriers to that,” explained Ariane Clark, Owner of Empire Make Space 

With their workshops, free time to use sewing machines and free outside cart, Empire Make Space has different features for any type of craft or skill level. Materials collected through upcycling allows for inexpensive cost, making this an affordable and sustainable stop for students.  

Clark also spoke to the valuable community feel of the street and how this sense of community is supporting by the variety of shops, including her own.  

“There's so much just within a 50-metre strip. It really serves a number of communities. We have two vegan restaurants just on the same block. You get a good variety of shops, there's something for everyone,” said Clark.  

"There's so much just within a 50-metre strip. It really serves a number of communities. We have two vegan restaurants just on the same block. You get a good variety of shops, there's something for everyone."

Ariane Clark, Owner of Empire Make Space

A cup of coffee is the perfect addition to a shopping trip to Ottawa Street. The Cannon is a locally owned and operated coffee shop on Ottawa Street. Located at Cannon and Ottawa, it is also a community staple, having been open for the past ten years.  

Owner Chris Poirier, who bought the business five years ago, has grown it into to the cozy shop it stands today. The shop offers students a small taste of the grit of Hamilton along with an inclusive space to study and a range of student-perfect features, including an assorted range of coffee imported from all over the world.  

“We want people to come and feel included. I hope students can walk away with a new coffee favourite and if not . . . to just come down and visit, we are a smiley bunch,” explained Poirier. 

"We want people to come and feel included. I hope students can walk away with a new coffee favourite and if not . . . to just come down and visit, we are a smiley bunch." 

Chris Poirier, Owner of the Cannon

Poirier also encouraged others to explore Ottawa street and the various businesses located in the fabric lane.  

 “It's nice to get out here to Ottawa Street to experience the diversity and grit of Hamilton and get out of the McMaster bubble. There are some nice bars and shops that have opened up. The street is really starting to bloom,” added Poirier. 

Beyond Empire Maker Space and the Cannon, Ottawa Street is full of unique and welcoming businesses that capture the grit and beauty of Hamilton while still embracing the inclusivity and diversity this city has to offer.  

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