By: Michael Gallea

 

With the holidays just around the corner, we’re all looking forward to heading home and reuniting with friends, family, and most of all, food.

 

I don’t know about you, but I have my favourite coffeehouse that I hit up every holiday season to catch up with friends. There’s something magical about tradition – especially when it’s accompanied by a cup of coffee and a Hello Dolly bar. This December, why not start a new tradition with your friends and family?

 

Instead of going to Starbucks or Tim Horton’s for a coffee, why not venture downtown to explore the booming coffee shop culture in Hamilton? The Mulberry Street Coffeehouse offers a great space to make new memories with old friends, serving one of the best chai tea lattes in town – no joke. A little closer to campus, Johnny’s Coffee on Locke Street also provides a comfortable environment to finally work your way through that summer book that you’ve had to shelf for the semester. Don’t be afraid to try something new!

 

“But where can I go to get that good ol’ holiday buzz,” you ask? Check out the Augusta Street pub scene for quality food and entertainment. One of the gems of Hamilton, Augusta Street is lined with a variety of fantastic bars – The Pheasant Plucker, The Ship, and The Winking Judge, among others. Serving Hamilton’s best selection of micro-beers, these pubs are a great way of introducing your friends and family to an interesting niche of Hamiltonian culture!

 

So this holiday season, find your tradition. You can’t go wrong!

By: Nashwa Khan

 

Community is a word that should never be undervalued, but it often appears that only a handful of people take the time to explore the city beyond our school.

Sure, it’s great that we have a campus that resembles Hogwarts and that we don't have to access public transit to cross campus (although you could take a bus from your class in HSL over to the student centre). Going to school at McMaster without trying to see beyond the Westdale, Boston Pizza or Hess Village excursions is truly a loss.

If you've seen those laundry bags hustled around by first-year students headed home this year with the tagline, “You Can Do Anything in Hamilton,” it's because there is a growing number of people from various backgrounds believing just that: you can, indeed, do anything in Hamilton.

Before another “voluntourism” trip to provide your time in a different community or a developing country, please consider keeping local (but still thinking global).

The student and permanent resident balance is truly remarkable in Hamilton, with events like Open Streets McMaster highlighting this balance. Events and other initiatives like this continue throughout the year. Venturing a bit from campus on the last Saturday of the month, you can find Red Door events at 1140 King St. East, put on as a joint initiative by various community partners.

If you enjoy making music and meeting fellow community members, this is a supportive environment where you can share your creativity with others. The night features many things, changing every month, with an open mic night being a key component in setting the event's ambience with all levels of experience welcome, even if you've never performed before. This sets the tone for a very accepting environment where students and permanent residents can mingle. Fair trade coffee and free wi-fi is offered at these events, making them great study spots if you’re looking for a low-key environment.

A little farther out into the community, an eclectic mix of storefronts and restaurants are at your disposal. Locke Street alone is enough to keep you occupied for a night, with small local restaurants providing fun and affordable meals. Restaurants like Earth to Table (Bread Bar) have a seasonal menu using predominantly local ingredients. Businesses such as this support us and our community, the economy and the environment. Keeping local and thinking global can be seen throughout Hamilton's small and upcoming businesses, like White Elephant on James Street, which carries locally made and up-cycled goods. Make Hamilton your “Homeilton;” don't just live as a temporary tenant.

By: Joshua Patel

Stressed by midterms and need some fresh air? Haven’t yet explored the waterfalls the tour guides all rave about?

One of the major physical features that mark this city’s beautiful landscape is the Hamilton Waterfront Trail. The trail is managed by the Hamilton Waterfront Trust, a charitable organization that makes it possible for everyone to enjoy the trail. Located in the North end of Hamilton, this trail offers a multitude of attractions and services to visitors, apart from its natural beauty. The trail is a beautiful place to get some fresh air and observe the beauty of the harbour.

 

The Hamilton Waterfront Trust offers a Harbour West Trolley Tour –a guided trolley tour that follows along 12 km of the shoreline and gives visitors a view of the natural and manmade features along the trail.

The Waterfront also offers winter attractions, with an NHL-sized outdoor ice rink, located on Pier 8. A concession skate rental stand is also available if you forgot yours back home.

If you’re looking for a place to dine or grab a snack, the Discovery Centre area has several quality restaurants that can cater to your needs.

An expanded trail system also gives you easy access to other areas such as Cootes Paradise, the Royal Botanical Gardens and Dundurn Castle.

Some other recreational activities that you can do along the trail are take a jog, bike or even join a real-world treasure hunt through Geocaching.com. For those of you who don’t know what this is, it’s a high-tech treasure hunt where users can use their smartphones or GPS devices to find caches that are hidden along the trail and discover what are stored in these hidden packages.

For you art-lovers, Pier 8 hosts a number of different murals along its fences from local art students.

So take a study break this month and discover a little bit more of the Hamilton waterfront than you knew of before.

By: Erika Richter

 

In conjunction with the downtown Hamilton event of the same name, McMaster University will be hosting its first Open Streets event on Sept. 23 and 24, 11 a.m to 4 p.m.

Inspired by Hamilton’s Open Streets events, which have bought thousands to James Street North, McMaster and Westdale are opening up their roadways to expand this weekend’s downtown event. There will be shuttles and organized bike rides running all day to connect the two events and to encourage students to explore beyond the confines of campus.

The event will include a wide range of activities aimed at promoting vibrant communities, healthy living and environmental sustainability. With the streets closed off and safe to walking, riding or rolling along, Open Streets encourages participants to think about walkability and bikeability of the city and creates an atmosphere of inclusivity. The hope is that community members who come out to the event will develop a connection and a sense of ownership towards the community. “Make the streets your playground,” the event’s slogan goes.

In addition to celebrating McMaster’s 125th year, this event will welcome and involve community members. The opening up of this public space and the wide range of events and vendors that will be hosted at the event will ensure that the occasion will attract a diverse group of individuals from the community.

“Forward with Integrity,” a University visioning letter by McMaster president Patrick Deane, speaks to the need for McMaster students to engage with their community and for mutual respect to be developed among the different demographics represented in the area. Deane’s letter includes a reminder that students have a lot to gain from interacting with the permanent residents in the community and vice-versa.

Open Streets will be a powerful representation of the importance of these connections, as both students and permanent residents will be hosting tables and sharing their ideas and their organizations with other community members. The campus will also be hosting tours, lectures and visits to the planetarium to showcase the value and diversity of student life and what the campus itself has to offer.

So instead of just lighting the candles on McMaster’s 125th birthday cake, let’s celebrate a new era in McMaster’s history – one in which the community is able to function as a cohesive whole, and both McMaster students and permanent residents can fill the streets together in mutual respect and cooperation.

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