Special Report

King West Photo Tour

Trevor Shaw comes in from the suburbs to see what makes King West tick.

By Trey Shaughnessy
Published April 14, 2005

King Street West Tour
King Street West Tour

King Street West in Hamilton is a microcosm of eclectic consignment shops, restaurants, gift stores, coffee shops, restaurant supplies, even a spa and tattoo palour. The King Street West shopping area is between Bay and Queen, a short stretch but nontheless exciting and interesting.

The north side of King W. features
an elegant street wall
The north side of King W. features an elegant street wall

In its favour, King W. is anchored by Hess Village and Jackson Square. The merchants tend to keep good hours. Most are open until 9 pm and I have seen them open later. The shops compliment the Hess Village pubs well.

The restaurants are fanstastic. Kasturi serves exceptional Indian food. If you like super hot food, try the Banaglore style.

Kasturi Indian Restaurant
Kasturi Indian Restaurant

At King and Queen is the ever-fantastic La Luna, featuring authentic Arabic and Eastern Mediterrean dishes and outstanding service in a very nice décor that makes it also one of my favourite place to eat in all of Hamilton.

The landmark Harvest Burger looks like it was an old fashioned "drive-in," with the canopy for cars where waitresses on roller skates would take your order. Unfortunately, they don't do this anymore. However, Harvest Burger makes the one of the best souvlaki and gyros in town.

Harvest Burger recalls the glory
days of Drive-In burger stands
Harvest Burger recalls the glory days of Drive-In burger stands

A new coffee shop, Columbia Coffee House, is set to open soon at Bay St.

King and Bay, new coffee house
opening soon
King and Bay, new coffee house opening soon

You also have to check out the two restaurant supply outlets, Chris' Store Fixtures and Hamilton Restaurant Supplies. These stores always impress me with their supply of stainless steel utencils and commercial kitchen appliances. If you've always wondered where the restaurants get their cool salt and pepper shakers, visit one of these stores.

Chris's Store Fixtures
Chris's Store Fixtures

Star Lounge is another cool place to hang. In the summer it opens the front "garage door" to the street. A live music venue at Reigning Sound adds to the many venues located in Hess Village.

Star Lounge
Star Lounge

My favourite shops happen to be the cool consignment/second hand shops. Some feature new clothes like Metro. Metro looks like it belongs on Queen West in Toronto; inside and out this store ooozes cool. The clothing is all new and features urban and anti-Old Navy fashions. It also has fun gifts and accessories.

Metro
Metro

Metro
Metro

Déjà vu is another very cool shop. The clothing is used and new and ranges from suits to graphic t-shirts.

Déjà vu
Déjà vu

Déjà vu
Déjà vu

King West is a gem of stretch of retail in Hamilton. According to Louis, shop-owner of Déjà vu since 1983, the area has experienced ups and downs, but it seems to be enjoying a renaissance lately.

I only wish the south side of King wasn't stripped of its streetwall. It is a sad sight. Chain-link fencing around a vacant used car lot, a crappy strip mall, and a Tim Horton's parking lot make the south side barely walkable. Hopefully the south side of King West can be re-built to match the north side.

Puttin' On the Ritz
Puttin' On the Ritz

A sense of place on King W.
A sense of place on King W.

Screamin' Mimis
Screamin' Mimis

Keeping Watch at King and Caroline
Keeping Watch at King and Caroline

Trey lives in Williamsville NY via Hamilton. He is a Marketing Manager for Tourism and Destination Marketing in the Buffalo-Niagara Metro.

His essays have appeared in The Energy Bulletin, Post Carbon Institute, Peak Oil Survival, and Tree Hugger.

And can't wait for the day he stops hearing "on facebook".

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By Car Ant (anonymous) | Posted May 19, 2008 at 00:55:07

I feel that the photo tour idea should expand to all of Hamilton. Encourage others as to how they can contribute, in a controlled manner.

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