City Life

Lots to Like About Locke

Locke Street is easily establishing itself as Hamilton's premier destination of eclectic shops, services, and eateries. A new cheese shop soon to open will further increase the mix of amenities.

By Lorne Opler
Published November 12, 2009

One of the unexpected pleasures of moving into Kirkendall Neighbourhood was discovering Locke Street South. As a transplant from Toronto where many neighbourhood "Main Streets" dot the city, Locke Street, a short hop from my apartment, provided me with a comforting transition to an unfamiliar city.

I felt an immediate sense of connection to the strip, and the presence of Locke Street affirmed that I did not have to give up the urban amenities and quality of life that were part of my day-to-day experiences in Toronto.

The annual Locke Street Festival showcases the street's success at anchoring and community building
The annual Locke Street Festival showcases the street's success at anchoring and community building (RTH file photo)

Because my affinity for Locke Street was instant, it's not a surprise that I have thought a great deal of how to make a great street even greater. Indeed, from stories that I've already heard from longtime residents, Locke Street's evolution has been a true in-town success story.

With an ever growing number of retail stores populating the street, Locke Street is easily establishing itself as Hamilton's premier destination of eclectic shops, services, and eateries. Nothing on the Mountain can compare to the unique shopping experience one will find on Locke.

Signs of Success

What held particular interest for me when I first found Locke was seeing the presence of Starbucks. While many people in Toronto see the presence of Starbuck's as a dire warning that their neighborhood as gone "corporate", I see the coffee house's presence on Locke in the exact opposite light.

Though I've only been in the area for three months, my sense is that the presence of Starbuck's may not only have brought more people to the street, but may indeed have spurred more retail interest in it too.

I recognize that Starbucks provokes a lot of emotional debate among civic-minded people dedicated to neighbourhood preservation, but consider this: Starbucks invests a lot in market research before it decides to open one of its stores. Like it or not, it's there to make a profit. The fact that it chose Locke Street is proof that the neighbourhood is a highly desirable location where attractive retail development can flourish.

And contrary to those who may feel the presence of Starbucks only accelerates the corporatization of neighbourhood businesses, Locke Street, to the best of my observation, has not been "malled to death" by chain stores. It is still, from everything that I can see, a street of staunchly independent and diverse, locally-based businesses.

Whether Starbucks has indeed had an effect on attracting new stores to Locke, this great street would be even greater with the addition of a few more amenities. As I have often pondered what I'd like to see next on the street, here is my wish list:

  1. A bike shop

  2. More bike racks along the street

  3. A runner's store (i.e. Runner's Room)

  4. A vegetarian restaurant

  5. More street benches

  6. Hanging flower baskets in season

  7. A dog-grooming shop

Cheese Shop on Locke

Last but not least, I've particularly been wishing a cheese shop would open up, and have found myself articulating this when the topic of Locke Street would come up in conversation.

So lo and behold, as I passed by the yellow-clad building at the corner of Melbourne and Locke St. last week, I happened to see a man through the window as he stood inside the empty storefront hanging butch block paper against the glass. Hanging Paper ... hmmm, often a sign that someone has leased a property and is undertaking renovations.

I motioned to the gentleman through the window, and he kindly invited me in. After we began speaking I realized my wish came true. I was witnessing the birth of Cheese Shoppe on Locke, the brainchild of Grimsby residents Torr Krueger and Catherine Corey.

Though both are currently living in Grimsby, Torr, a former resident of the Locke Street neighbourhood, never lost his affection for the area. That's why, when the current property became available, the couple jumped at the opportunity to locate their long planned cheese shop back in Torr's old haunts.

Quite a store it intends to be. With a focus on Canadian made products, the store will carry a selection of fresh and self-serve cheeses from provinces east coast to west, as well as cheeses from across Europe and the U.S - firm, soft, semi-soft, blue, organic, to name just a few types.

Strengthening Neighbourhood Feel

The couple's goal is to carry some very sought-after cheeses, some known, and some not-so-known, with the intention of introducing and educating clientele about new cheeses in Canada, and what to pair them with.

On a deeper level, however, their goal is as much about strengthening and creating the neighbourhood feel on Locke, as it about selling and their products. They are committed to bringing people out of suburban parking lots and onto our local "main street" to experience the kind of personal service, outstanding selection and sense of community that you can't find in an enclosed mall. The duo's dual passion for cheese doesn't end there. The store will carry a variety of fine food accessories, such as jams, crackers, and cookware to complement its signature cheeses.

Finally, what cements the couple's desire for creating a community within a store is plans to showcase the talent of local artists.

Such is the vitality of the Locke Street experience that I've witnessed myself. Indeed, Locke has firmly established itself as a street with identity, purpose and a palpable, positive feeling. Now, if the same can be eventually said about Dundurn - a street which strikes me as one still seeking an identity.

From what I see, it's a hodgepodge of residents, retail, and light industry. My hope is that with new bike lanes recently paved, Dundurn will attract recreational and commuter cyclists, who with their daily presence, might just play a role in this street's renaissance too.

FYI: Cheese Shoppe on Locke is expecting to be open or on or about December 5 - just in time for holiday entertaining.

Lorne Opler is a freelance writer on the side, and has recently moved to Hamilton from Toronto. Coming from a city where anonymity is a way of life, Lorne is amazed by how friendly and approachable people are in Hamilton, and finds himself always telling people from Toronto (who don't know better) what a great place Hamilton is.

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted November 12, 2009 at 12:52:34

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By highwater (registered) | Posted November 12, 2009 at 13:34:42

Give the guy a break, Grassroots. He wasn't remarking on whether Starbucks is good or bad as a corporation, but rather the micro effect it has had on Locke St. It's completely valid to have a discussion on that issue alone without being accused of supporting Starbucks' wider corporate practises.

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted November 12, 2009 at 13:46:08

Sorry Highwater, but it is important issue to bring forward. How many of you will frequent this business establshment, paying for overpriced products?

Meanwhile, the small family owned coffee shops, will probably lose money, as the masses run to the corporate place. One must look at the corporate policies, as it affects workers, which affects the community.

I am sure that you read the article in spec where this corporate entity, along with Horton's has used its power to be exempted from HST. How many small family owned businesses do not have the power to influence decisions like this?

http://www.thespec.com/News/Local/articl...

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 12, 2009 at 13:50:27

great article Lorne. This may be one of the only strips in Hamilton with any resemblance to the many 'main streets' all through Toronto that you've mentioned. My hope for Locke is that it becomes so full and so successful that some of the businesses leave for the cheaper rents of James Street, King or Barton. ie - Waxy's Deli is soon to open in their new location at King and Walnut.

Locke is Hamilton's most vibrant street and offers hope to our plethora of empty, abandoned streets that there is hope yet.

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By madmatt (anonymous) | Posted November 12, 2009 at 13:54:55

I hope this cheese shop actually has cheese in stock...
"Red Liecster?"
"Sorry, just sold the last bit sir."
"Double Glouster?"
"Not on a Tuesday."
"Brie?"
"It's a bit runny."
"That's OK, I like it a bit runny."
"Ohh, the cat's been licking it."
"Cheddar?"
"Sorry."
"The world's most popular cheese!!"
"Not around here it isn't."
Actually I'm looking forward to the opening (I can see it from my kitchen window.
As for Starbucks, I'm not a big fan of the evil empire, but at least the employees acknowledge my presence unlike the other coffee shop on Locke where they tend to look right past you to chat to someone they know.

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By getmoving (registered) | Posted November 12, 2009 at 13:55:55

Hi just wanted to put it out there for the record, that as the writer of this article, I do not work for the Spec, or Starbucks, but am just a fan and supporter of Hamilton's intown renaissance. thanks.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted November 12, 2009 at 14:08:22

Grassroots, that may all be true, and I tend to avoid Starbucks for those very reasons (plus the yucky coffee and the fact that they make you say stupid things like 'grande' and 'venti' just to get a shot of caffeine), but it is irrelevant to this discussion, which is simply about its economic impact (or lack of) on Locke. I don't think talking about Starbucks in this narrow context makes one a 'mouthpiece'.

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By Go Cats (aka Capitalist) (anonymous) | Posted November 12, 2009 at 14:36:44

Great article!

I think Lock Street is the best neighbourhood in the city. I have the same feeling as you about Dundern Street. It has potential. Perhaps some of Lock Street's success will spill over on to Dundern. Downtown Hamilton please take note.

@grassroots
Please get a life. Nobody cares about your nonsensical rants about Starbucks.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted November 12, 2009 at 15:05:16

Meanwhile, the small family owned coffee shops, will probably lose money, as the masses run to the corporate place.

No: http://raisethehammer.org/blog/904/

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By Meredith (registered) - website | Posted November 12, 2009 at 16:36:22

On the one hand, Locke's getting to remind me a little much of midtown Toronto. On the other hand, the cheese shop at Mt. Pleasant/Eglinton was one of the only places I'd actually shop at when I lived there... and I can guarantee I'll be buying from this one, especially if they're open a couple hours later than the farmers' market.

This weekend in Toronto I just met the mother? (or possibly aunt) of the folks who opened Citizen Kid on Locke - family owned, independent store. One of their products, Ukoonto building blocks, is made by another guy I know - by recycling scraps and ends of unfinished maple from a lumber factory.

These people wouldn't be employed, those blocks wouldn't be sold there, and that wood wouldn't be made into something useful if there weren't customers chuggin' along with a Bugaboo stroller in one hand, a Starbucks latte in the other. I doubt I'll ever be part of that crowd, but they keep local people employed too.

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By H Mag (anonymous) | Posted November 12, 2009 at 17:23:18


If you are looking for a different kind of coffee shop experience on Locke - I fully recommend Courtyard Cafe. Good coffee - laidback place and when the weather is nice - the back patio is pretty sublime.

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By Henry and Joe (anonymous) | Posted November 12, 2009 at 17:45:19

Great piece on Locke. It has become a great destination. I welcome Starbucks to this great West Ham. neighbourhood. There aren't a lot of US retailers, or Canadian ones for that matter, that are opening up in the lower city, so that alone makes me a fan. I personally prefer independent coffee shops, but I don't begrudge this corporation for their desire to make a profit. Besides, they seem to respect the look of the neighbourhoods in which they set up shop. They seem to be doing well, since it is hard to get a seat there most nights. I've noticed that the Mac students have even migrated over from Westdale, so they must be doing something right to get this normally immobile demographic!

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 12, 2009 at 18:29:59

I second Dave's comment about the Courtyard on Locke. Amazing cappuccino's and the back patio is incredible.

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted November 13, 2009 at 03:08:44

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By Go Cats (aka Capitalist) (anonymous) | Posted November 13, 2009 at 09:12:18

Because I live on the mountain, the only thing that brought me to Lock street was the Starbucks (someone wanted to meet there). If it wasn't for the Starbucks I would have never gone down to that part of town and visited the other businesses located in the area. I plan on returing as much as possible. Lock Steer is worth the drive from where I live.

@grassroots
I am not interested in reading your crap. The more people like you rant about Starbucks or Wal-Mart the more I spend my money there.

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted November 13, 2009 at 09:48:51

Capitalists fear democracy:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHCQNz2Tb...

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By Jonathan Dalton (registered) | Posted November 13, 2009 at 10:05:00

Actually because of the commentary on rth when Starbucks moved in, I changed my position on the company. I don't believe their intentions, or their coffee are any better, but do believe that in some cases their effect on a district is overall positive. I know people who only go to Starbucks now that it's on Locke St, whereas beforehand they didn't go to the area at all. Most people I know however have always bought from the independents and continue to do so. This is just anecdotal evidence but it supports the theory that Ryan brought up.

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 13, 2009 at 10:21:08

I could do without their back parking lot however. Almost got nailed again this morning walking by as someone was flying out of there like it's a Hortons drive thru.

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By schmadrian (registered) | Posted November 13, 2009 at 10:25:42

I applaud the ongoing metamorphosis of Locke Street. Thank God it's finally begun to leave its 'antiques district' past behind. I'm quite cheered by what's cropping up every time I visit. Well done, and here's to an even better version of the neighbourhood down the road.

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By M. Fromage (anonymous) | Posted November 13, 2009 at 10:26:35

I think I speak for many on this board when I say that I love cheese.

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By Go Cats (aka Capitalist) (anonymous) | Posted November 13, 2009 at 10:53:51

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By locke st comments (anonymous) | Posted November 13, 2009 at 13:05:28

I do not like Starbucks, neither it's corporate policy nor it's mild pretense in it's products. However, it has worked out for the street. It is sad really, that such branding draws people like it does, but it is working and so long as the whole street does not follow, it is not worth debate.
That is with one exception. What drives me nuts is the waste with all the cups going straight to landfill. Just check out the garbage can out front. Tim's and the Bagel shop's customers are just as bad but a simple recycling bin would do wonders, better yet, for in store customers, what about real coffee cups?
It should be interesting if the new shop will make enough "cheddar" to keep the chees shop going and wish them the best of luck. Not being a cheese expert, I hope their simple cheddars will be affordable.
Overall it is a great street especially for people with disposable income because it is also far from the most affordable. But that is part of the price you pay I guess for small business success and many specialty stores.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted November 13, 2009 at 13:16:49

Full disclosure: I have been known to buy cappuccinos from Starbucks (gasp!).

My personal experience with the staff and management has been entirely positive - they're friendly, helpful, and community-minded.

(Incidentally, if you're staying to drink your beverage you can request a reusable coffee mug.)

I also enjoy independent coffee houses, but there's room for variety - and the evidence indicates that the presence of a Starbucks is actually beneficial for its independent competitors.

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By Go Cats (aka Capitalist) (anonymous) | Posted November 13, 2009 at 13:25:37

^ Well said.

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By shaddupsevenup (registered) | Posted November 13, 2009 at 14:02:33

I agree with Ryan, and I am an occasional sipper of lattes of the Starbucks variety. Also, I know that Starbucks will support community groups. If you're having a fundraiser, go talk to the manager of your local Starbucks. They'll probably donate coffee and goods for your affair.

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By Meredith (registered) - website | Posted November 13, 2009 at 15:01:23

I did a project last year about the culture of Starbucks and learned a lot - incidentally, that Slate article mentioned on RTH previously came in useful there.

I like many other coffee shops for other reasons (better quality products, and it's nice to find the independents) but I don't mind Starbucks. And often Starbucks gets my business for one reason - consistency.

I know if I need to work, especially with a laptop, it's the one place I can go in any city and find a soft chair and an electrical outlet. There's a few other places locally (e.g. My Dog Joe) that are good for that too, but at Starbucks I can always expect the same thing no matter when/where I go - and they'll be open. Sometimes that's worth it.

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By everywhere (anonymous) | Posted November 13, 2009 at 19:45:36

yes, great article i'm also connected very much with locke St and surroundings. I have taken snaps for sake of art. Yes, I'm an artist working hard to get established. Getting there.

I only read some replies but read your article though missed few. I am surprised of this pic festival i was in it. I was at The Hive with my yellow velo showing my art. I did get a snap or 2 from 2 photographers. i also snapped some of my own same time the Spec was there. Next to my spot were hoola hoops.

Ok, this place u mentiuoned is going to be a Cheeze Shop. I bet U it's that house that used to be Antique store correct? if so, I also asked about this. My friend (rather aquaintence) ran that business over a year ago closed maybe lot longer. Well ended up rental to live. I will wait for the Cheeze shop to open(if the place) and paint before/after) as I will many others. All the guy told me was it's going to be a store.

There is more news I made a promise not to tell. Kinda sad but potential for me Jan 1st.

BTW, some of my art can be seen inside The Hive across bad Dog cafe.

One last note...I almost had an art gallery on Locke St where that ice cream place is and it's also chocolates. now a pet Store til April(?)...

I am presently renting garage on Charlton/Walnut where I repair, sell used bikes, parts and do R&D with hpv's(human powered vehicles but I can't afford Locke St (yet). I don't want to compete with Pierik's though they knew what I was doing on Dundurn/Herkimer over 5 yrs ago.

I'm focusing more on my art though bikes is seasonal mostly yet more cyclists riding yr round like myself. Both have been way down for me this yr due to economic...crap!

Richard,

I don't mind being "semi anonymous"










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By Brandon (registered) | Posted November 14, 2009 at 08:21:17

We tried to support the Courtyard in the early days, but got tired of lukewarm coffee and adequate service.

It may have improved since then, but unfortunately it doesn't register as a destination for us anymore.

I love their philosophy and many of their ideas, but if the product isn't there, well, call me shallow if you like, but I'm going to where the product meets my expectations.

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By adam2 (anonymous) | Posted November 15, 2009 at 13:03:42

Just to be clear, Locke St. was on its way up before the Starbuck's moved in. In fact - as the article clearly says - Starbuck's does a lot of market research and only move into areas with future potential. We have seen the short term effect of Starbuck's moving in being other businesses more comfortable opening up shop. However, the long term effect of the Starbuck's is yet to be seen. There will always be the chance that other big companies take interest in Locke St and start forcing the small businesses out. Fortunately though, the strong community values of people who live in the area should help prevent this from happening.

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 15, 2009 at 17:27:25

I love the Courtyard. Best coffee and cappuccino on the street, and best patio too. I was glad to see Starbucks come out with instant coffee recently since that's what all their coffee tastes like to begin with. haha

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By geoff's two cents (anonymous) | Posted November 15, 2009 at 20:08:59

I'll take Starbucks over Tim Hortons (mediocre coffee) or Second Cup (talk about coffee with attitude! - at least in Westdale) any day. As for the long term effect on small businesses, I'll believe it when I see it. Then again, I live in a city with a Starbucks on virtually every corner, yet a plethora of very successful small businesses, including local competing coffee and dessert destinations. The business is actually quite unique in its ability to brand a neighborhood as a cafe-type destination, encouraging people to linger awhile on patios and in front of shop windows, something that benefits everyone, employers, employees and consumers alike. My one quibble would be that not all of their products are organic or fair trade; then again, the neighborhood branding Starbucks makes possible opens up a niche to be filled by a more ethics-conscious coffee business.

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By geoff's two cents (anonymous) | Posted November 15, 2009 at 20:21:08

I should add that I'm surprised at the uproar a single Starbucks in Hamilton can cause. Given the utter saturation of the city with Tim Hortons locations, it seems that people opposing Starbucks merely for its being a large coffee corporation are behaving just a tad hypocritically. It would make more sense to oppose the existence of large corporations wholesale. Then again, I wonder what kind of toothpaste people who rail against corporate hegemony use - I doubt they make their own from wild herbs gathered in the forest.

For me, it makes more sense to encourage corporate enviro-ethical *responsibility*, in which case we should be encouraging Starbucks to move in on Tim Hortons territory - at least with the former, there are occasional overtures towards fair trade and organic products.

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 15, 2009 at 21:53:07

I'm not aware of any uproar in Hamilton over Starbucks. Have I missed something??

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By geoff's two cents (anonymous) | Posted November 15, 2009 at 22:31:59

You might have, lol, though perhaps "uproar" is too strong a word. "Controversy" might work better.

I'm referring, by the way, not only to the dialogue here, but also to that which prompted rth to pen an article vindicating the company for its effects on small businesses, and the posted responses to that particular piece. I also encountered the prejudice in personal conversations during my time in the Hammer.

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By Meredith (registered) - website | Posted November 16, 2009 at 11:59:16

I agree it's funny a Starbucks prompts so much discussion.

As for Second Cup, if you're interested in good coffee, they are the only place I know of that carries and regularly brews La Minita coffee, which is one of the only single-origin coffees that by itself is perfectly balanced without being blended with other beans.

If you're looking for a top-quality coffee and enjoy the light to medium roasts, that one's definitely worth a try. I can drink that one without cream, which I don't do with any other coffee.

I can't speak for the attitude of this Second Cup here, as I haven't been there (My Dog Joe is right by it...) but I used to work at one back in Toronto and it was one of the best part-time work environments I ever had.

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 16, 2009 at 12:30:59

sadly, the Second Cup in Westdale was butchered when they did the big reno a few years ago. I've been back exactly once since. Used to be a cool, comfortable spot to hang out, now it's lame. I noticed a new cafe a few doors west of My Dog Joe on King. Haven't been yet though.

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By rrrandy (registered) - website | Posted November 16, 2009 at 12:37:07

The second cup in westdale used to be a hardware store. Like downtown Dundas, there is an edging toward upscale service boutiques, rather than nuts and bolts like hardware or stuff people now drive to get, like underpants! Locke Street is a really great street, but I wonder how well a continued shit towards upscale boutique stores will help keep people shopping for essentials from hopping in a car and going to Meadowlands. Probably not preventable, but does anyone else have a reaction to this perceived shift?

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By Tim (anonymous) | Posted November 16, 2009 at 14:34:29

We need all of these neighbourhoods to be a sustainable city - boutiques, upscale coffee shops, independent cafés, etc. It's not my bag to go to a box store or restaurant, so I don't go, much like some people will never frequent a small cafe or restaurant. By having both in our great city we can satisfy all. Evolution is a form of progress - as a neighbourhood evolves, it becomes more affluent. Locke was once a home to second hand shops and antique stores. It served it's purpose, and now many of those businesses have moved elsewhere to serve new neighbourhoods...there's a time and a place for everything. Sit back, support who you would like and your area of choice will thrive.

There's no reason for people to become mean and ugly just because someone doesn't think the same way that they do.

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 16, 2009 at 19:55:49

I'm assuming Randy meant to say 'shift'. Lol.

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By Locke Street sucks (anonymous) | Posted November 16, 2009 at 20:45:57

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted November 16, 2009 at 21:02:48

How dare you say that about Jason. He is not prancy, he's just fancy.

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 16, 2009 at 21:26:48

Lol. Reminds me of Kramer calling Jerry a 'fancy boy' with his European carry-all. haha

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted November 16, 2009 at 21:33:27

Truth be told the reason why I troll this board is because in real life I am a very unhappy person with no life.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted November 16, 2009 at 22:48:05

A Smith, do you need a hug?

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted November 17, 2009 at 00:23:04

Why yes, as a matter of fact I do. Thanks for asking. All this time while people were down voting me and criticizing my obvious trolls, no one ever asked how I was feeling, no one ever heard my cry for help. In truth I troll because I want some attention, any attention, even if it's negative. Deep down I just want to be loved.

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By Edb (anonymous) | Posted November 17, 2009 at 10:07:45

Having lived in Hamilton all my life(so far) and living around the corner from Locke in a house that has been in the family since 1969, I can honestly say the changes in the area are almost surreal. Any native Hamiltonian over the age of 25 will remember when Locke was essentially the "hood". Unless you were a biker, or a teenage gangster aspiring to be a biker, you stayed away. With all the changes I sometimes feel a fish out of water in my own neighborhood, however, it's much nicer to go for a walk, buy fresh meat and bread stopping for a chilled glass of vino then it is dodging street fights on your way through. Yes, I do prefer a bit more of the ol' Hamilton grit, but I'm not hypocritical enough to deny that I do enjoy some of the finer elements that come with a bit of gentrification. Can't wait to see what this long strange metamorphosis reveals.
Cheers.

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By Voltaire (anonymous) | Posted November 17, 2009 at 10:17:30

The only thing I miss about the old Locke Street was Ron's Big Easy. And that weird "floral arrangements" store.

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By JM (registered) | Posted November 17, 2009 at 12:51:36

Some of the antique shops are moving to Ottawa Street....

I sense a Locke East beginning to form - and no, it's not because of the Centre Maul.

Once that gets going, maybe Kenilworth will be like Dundurn? Or i could just be dreaming....

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By Really? (registered) | Posted November 17, 2009 at 13:24:58

I used to frequent Locke back in the day (well, not THAT way back, maybe like 4-5 years ago).

I love seeing how busy and popular it is, but don't like the attitude.

I was a semi-'regular' at the Locke St Bakery, and now can't even get a "Hello" just a "Whaddya want?" Could be because some of my favourite staff are gone, perhaps.

Regardless, Congrats on your Success. And yes, I bet Ottawa will become the 'new' Locke --and Centre Maul will be falsly credited for this--, and Kenilworth will become the Dundurn. Give it a couple years.

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 17, 2009 at 17:22:24

The best place that ever existed on Locke was (I'm forgetting the name) The Red Room (or something like that). It was in the area of the current Courtyard Cafe. Very cool, very urban and I knew it wouldn't survive. It was the sort of place you'd find in a city like Buffalo, Seattle, Portland or Montreal. I hate to say it, but it was too cool for Hamilton. Same as the Bauhaus on King at Queen. I wonder if we'll ever see these unpretentious, cool places try to pop up again in our city?

In the meantime, head to Rustbelt Books, the Towne Diner and local espresso bars in Allentown in downtown Buffalo when you need a good urban fix.

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By everywhere (anonymous) | Posted November 19, 2009 at 16:28:07

Nice lots of posts...again!

This time read every1. I remember the Red Room think an eccentric art gallery gallery/cafe? Didn't do well and I was invited to display my art back then.

I go to all the cafes, some I prefer more than others. I like Bad Dog though slowed down Courtyard Cafe bit. I take my mug in and get the "green" discount. I have been going to Tim's on Dundurn for same reason and I like the brightness there for when I do my sketching.

I like Williams and now again My Joe Dogs. I sort of don't mind Starbucks but sometimes way too crowded makes me scratch my head noting the 2 up the Street are often empty especially early morning(Bad Dog/Courtyard)

The road newly paved on Dundurn St is much prettier now than the rest of it.

I know another business moving to Ottawa St soon I will post after it happens. Personal reasons I'm uncertain I'm fond of yet. Made a promise not to say yet....

Richard















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By Meredith (registered) - website | Posted November 19, 2009 at 17:08:07

since we're still on the 'cafe' side of things...

I went to the new cafe in Westdale ("Westdale Cafe") today... it was a bit generic-looking, but nice inside.

The coffee and tea were Planet Bean and Four O'Clock respectively - both fair-trade and organic, and brands I know are decent - Planet Bean is based in Guelph, I think. Several lunch/food options as well.

Speaking to one of the employees, it looks like there's a big emphasis on going green - the cups are compostable, tables and cabinets are bamboo, the floor is flax product, the paint is a zero-emission and the countertops are recycled quartz, etc. Lots of details like that.

Lots of tables and chairs, one comfy banquette - no real couches or chairs, though.it was mostly people older than students, there for lunch or a coffee on their break, which was nice too.

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By andy k (anonymous) | Posted November 20, 2009 at 13:36:03

I've heard rumours of a new bakery in the works for Locke. Something about the Old Mill people opening it up to service the restaurant as well as a regular retail operation. I'm crossing my fingers. A top notch bakery can make a street happen. Look at the lineups at that crappy bakery on Locke right now, and imagine if they actually sold something tasty...

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By Checkitout (anonymous) | Posted November 20, 2009 at 14:04:29

I have enjoyed making the trek to Hamilton to enjoy some of the well known areas that are often mentioned on this website and Locke Street is actually one of my favourite places in Hamilton to go - it actually removes the feeling of big city hautiness and really puts things in perspective and gives people a chance to breathe.

I understand the fear of a Starbucks opening and changing the face of Locke Street somewhat - and change is difficult for those that find comfort in old things. I am not sure people have really been complaining about capitalism - or more about having to deal with change.

Me - change is good - it brings a bit of snap to the air we breathe. Maybe the next time I go to Locke - I will stop in at Starbucks - but it won't be my last stop on the street.

You can almost hear a song like the "King of Kensington" when you walk down the street. Perhaps there should be a song dedicated to Locke street. Give it a bit of dimension to its personality.

any ideas?

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 21, 2009 at 12:57:09

well, the city is currently exploring options to build a parking lot on or near Locke, so once that happens we can sing "paved paradise, put up a parking lot" It's practically Hamilton's official song. Lol.

That bakery sounds awesome...I hope it happens. I like the pizzas and bagels at LSB, but a full-fledged bakery would be awesome. I always find myself at Pane Del Sole, Ola Bakery, Weils of Westdale and Bonanza Bakery when I really want a true bakery. Locke could use one.

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By rumourmonger (anonymous) | Posted November 23, 2009 at 11:19:56

The bakery opening up will be called "Breadbar" and from the sounds of it will be truly amazing - also will do gourmet pizzas and be open late!

That's all for now!

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By highwater (registered) | Posted November 23, 2009 at 14:22:46

^Your happy talk sounds suspiciously spammy. If you're connected to the Breadbar, just 'fess up. No one will think less of you, in fact we'd appreciate an insider's POV. My apologies if you truly are a disinterested bystander.

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 23, 2009 at 17:03:14

Not sure if there is any connection or not, but I found a link to a stall in the Ottawa Farmer Market called 'Bread Bar'

http://www.greenbeltfresh.ca/region/hami...

I agree, that post almost seems spammish, but I hope it's not!

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 23, 2009 at 17:06:56

sorry for the quick repeat post, but it looks like Bread Bar is true. THIS I can't wait to see.

http://www.chefdb.com/pl/17979

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By breadmonger (anonymous) | Posted November 23, 2009 at 17:23:37

Not spamming at all and not connected to the place. just passing on some good news for Locke Street. Yummy pizza. Finally!

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 24, 2009 at 14:08:19

another article about this new venture:

http://www.thestar.com/living/article/69...

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By highwater (registered) | Posted November 24, 2009 at 14:49:14

Lucky Locke St!

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 24, 2009 at 17:10:20

Get out of Westdale Highwater. It's sooooo played. Haha

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By everywhere (anonymous) | Posted November 24, 2009 at 18:50:29

Wow! lots more comments of Locke St...

I kinda made a mistake new Cheeze shop. It's west side just noticed signs other day but same friend/aquaintance owned antique shop. I still can't wait til that old house(east side) is complete to snap new pic to paint later.
Too bad almost most even same people I know personally go to Starbucks. Gee, even my "friend" Rob Finlay (redish hair with glasses smiling) group shot on billboard & on back of yellow phone book...I hired him yrs ago when I was hit by car riding regular bike. He was referred by friend of mine(ex landlord) but I'm not fond of even friends with chip on shoulder. But that's fine if just there for coffee and not have your nose above your head. that would make a great painting or drawing wearing a shirt "I frequent Starbucks....I think I'm important..."

kidding or being ironic etc....a cafe is a cafe...


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By everywhere (anonymous) | Posted November 24, 2009 at 19:02:49

Hi again,

the secret to post now of a business vanishing from Locke St is......

Now official by owners. It's The Hive! Across the street from Bad Dog cafe.

My art has and still is displayed there. Moving near Cannon/Ottawa St Jan.

Candles personally hand made from pure bee's wax.

Their candles I find too low but great sending as any gift occasion here or there!

Other artists display too. Stained glass art, cards, etc...Yeh, this Hive is below gym on Locke. I learned that these burning candles absord the crap from the air we breathe. Nice smell too just like but different than Hemp Store.




Richard, not just unanimous...






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By woody10 (registered) | Posted December 01, 2009 at 02:42:16

Kenilworth the next Dundurn??? Not in the next 25 years (probably longer). Not a downer just a realist.

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 19, 2009 at 15:05:53

the new cheese shop is a fabulous addition to the street. LIve jazz and free coffee today for their grand opening. The product line-up is amazing. This place should do great on Locke. The owners are great and they have a lot of locally produced products.

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By eileentallach (anonymous) | Posted January 10, 2010 at 21:13:39

You missed the boat, the hot topic for Locke Street is Fair Trade, who sells or serves Fair Trade? Here's the short list.
Goodness me!
Ten Thousand Villages
The Cheeseshop on Locke
Citizen Kid
Locke Street Bakery
The Courtyard Cafe'
Bad Dog Cafe'

Write an article about this topic, educate your readers about the new wave of shopping. The teenagers of today have found Locke Street because of these retailers....
"Your choice is your voice" Fair wages for the farmers and producers.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted January 11, 2010 at 09:54:44

Write an article about this topic, educate your readers about the new wave of shopping.

Better still, you write the article. You already seem to be very knowledgeable about the subject. I'm sure the ed would be happy to publish anything you had to say. It's not his job to 'educate his readers' on everybody's pet issues. It's enough that he provides a forum for people like yourself to highlight the issues that matter to them. I urge you to take advantage of it.

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By MommaHen (anonymous) | Posted March 21, 2011 at 11:10:48

Strarbucks has been on locke street for over a year and the smaller family owned coffee shops are doing the same amount of business.

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