I just wanted to take today to share with you all as to how incredible it is to live, work and play in Downtown Burlington. I am so blessed! I wanted to share with you why living this way has become so important to me and to focus on all the good stuff.
I sometimes don’t realize how great I have it until we travel to other towns and cities and get a chance to see how others live. We always drive away and say, “Wow, we have it so good back home in Burlington!”
With a population of about 187,000 in the City of Burlington overall and a downtown core population of about 6,500, I’m beginning to really be grateful and love and enjoy the more quiet, yet vibrant, hustle & bustle of Burlington over living in Toronto from my previous years. As the years pass, I experience more blissed-out mornings and days and nights, we get more friends, we attract more customers and I really begin to feel my roots reach down in this area and grow deeper. (Funny enough, Burlington is ranked as the #1 BEST Medium-sized City in 2014, 2015 and 2016 to live in Canada, by Money Sense Magazine, how cool is that?!)
When deciding to move to Burlington in 2008, it was an unusual move for my husband Ken, and myself. We were both born and raised Toronto people, from the most Southeast shores of Scarborough. We were both accustomed to growing up in the “big city”, on the water of Lake Ontario, and we also were raised with summer cottages as kids too, so we had an affinity for the outdoorsy, living on the lake, lifestyle. We didn’t really know what to expect by choosing downtown Burlington. My only reason that I wanted to move was to be close to Erinn (and also be close to the water) and when she left in 2008, to attend McMaster University in Hamilton, we really didn’t have anything holding on to us back in Toronto. In 2009, Ken was selling the Black Dog Pub, his restaurant business (he owned for 16 years) – so we were free to go and make a new life somewhere else.
What I have discovered about living in Downtown Burlington, more than anything else, is that I feel like I’m on a perpetual vacation. Downtown Burlington living is like waking up in a travel destination every day. The sun comes up over Lake Ontario and there is this quaint cottage charm to walking around Lake Ontario in the quiet hours of the morning around 5:30am, it is my zen moments of the day. I get to walk to restaurants, outdoor patios, clothing shops and flower shops and work is a 1 – 2 minute walk up Brant Street to Kelly’s XO (voted Best Bakery and Cupcakes in Burlington) or over to John Street and Lettuce Love Cafe. I can sit on my balcony with a cup of green tea or Ken and I walk the quiet, meandering streets of the downtown core or the waterfront pier.
As many of you may know, in 2010, we opened Kindfood, now called Lettuce Love Cafe (update we have sold it in May 2017) and in December 2012, we opened Kelly’s Bake Shoppe on Brant Street – right across from City Hall. We loved the vibe and the ‘forever vacation’ feel of Downtown Burlington, we wanted in and decided to make it permanent by opening two businesses here in the downtown core.
Festivals, weekend events, pedestrian-friendly streets to shop and eat, drink and be merry are all around us and really, what I find striking in this town is a huge trend for healthy living and yoga, working out in power walking clubs and desire to ‘eat better’ that I have only found previously in California. For a population of this size, we really are making a huge impact on the planet and our health in Downtown Burlington. Maybe it’s because we are here on this beautiful waterfront and in the summer, it’s not possible to not “Stay Active” – or maybe it’s just that we are a collection of like-minded people all trying to make the world a better place…..whatever the reason is, I think I have found “Shangri-La” and to be honest, I am nervous to actually share this for fear of summoning 1000’s of newcomers into this quaint downtown core.
The businesses of Downtown Burlington I have so much respect for. We are hard-working, devoted entrepreneurs and I just love visiting as many shops that I can and become a loyal (local) patron. There are so many to mention and if I haven’t, please don’t be mad. There are just too many I care deeply about and really enjoy (also note: these are all a walking distance of 3 minutes or less) and I only had so much time to write this post.
Sue Abell and Tread Powerfully – Sue gets my first shout as I love her. I don’t know if she realizes it or not but I do. She is such an strong ambassador and leader for our town, (she is also an ambassador for Lululemon at Mapleview Mall) and Sue is MUCH MORE than that. She is a natural born leader, a life coach and a spiritual soul that is devoted to fitness and nutrition and the betterment of everyone. A bold woman who puts it all on the line every day to help people discover their passion deep within their bodies, mind and soul and gets them to dig deep and “powerfully” to discover OPTIMAL HEALTH, HAPPINESS and Kick their asses in the early mornings in the Downtown Core streets. You will see Sue and her members training on the sidewalks and waterfront most every day of the week. If you haven’t checked out her site and blog, you are missing a chance to change your life and health. We are so very lucky.
Centro Garden – Brant Street (our baskets at both Kelly’s Bake Shoppe and Lettuce Love Cafe are done by Jason – beautifully I might add)
Tamp Coffee Co. (BEST Matcha Green Latte with Almond Milk – go Vegan!)
Village Cigar Company and Barbershop. (They have cigars and a REAL shave and other cool guy stuff! located on Pine St.)
closed Faduchi Group (“Say Faduchi” the craziest guys we know! Our design/branding company for both businesses)
closed Foot Tools – the BEST place to get your running gear and more. Thanks John for sharing your love of health and everything else!
closed Celestial Beauty – John Street (waxing, aesthetics and cruelty-free beauty bar)
closed Elizabeth Interiors (incredible furniture and decor – Love Elizabeth and Allan – just north of Kelly’s Bake Shoppe)
Kinetic Yoga and Pilates – Pearl Street (newest Yoga and Pilates studio in Downtown Burlington. Christina is an amazing owner/teacher/physiotherapist – I love her and Andy too)
Mirella’s – Brant Street (22 years in business! Wonderful service and clothing)
Joelle’s – Brant Street (very cool women’s clothing – love Joelle – she is an icon in our town for her generous philanthropy since 1996)
Jeff’s Guy Shop – John Street (very cool guy’s clothing – love Jeff (husband to Joelle))
Scrivener’s – Brant Street (favourite shirt (Robert Graham) store for my hubster Ken – Hi Guys!)
Martini House – Elizabeth Street (love the wine and Martinis Barry! They have done a gluten-free and vegan pasta for us – and rocked it!)
Son of a Peach (pizzeria) – Pine Street (our new pizzeria joint for Downtown Burlington)
Paradiso – Pine Street (great dinner or lunch spot and lovely quiet patio – great wine too)
Queen’s Head – Brant Street (great patio and Guinness for the boys)
Wendel Clark’s – Brant Street (Sports Bar (of course) and World Cup TV’s everywhere!)
Gym on Pearl – Pearl Street (our local awesome gym)
The Oyster – corner of James Street and Pearl Street (upscale women’s clothing boutique, bridal too – love Kathy – over 25 years in business!)
Pepperwood – Lakeshore Road (closest patio to the Burlington waterfront)
NEX Wellness (672 Brant Street Naturopath and all of my hormone & health care needs and family’s too – Hello Jackie and Jerry!)
Saigon on Brant – Brant Street (Best Vietnamese Food in town – they do some vegan and gluten-free dishes)
Mikado – Elizabeth Street (Best Japanese food in town! Kim Chi too!)
For those of you that have never come to Burlington, perhaps this summer is a great time for a road trip (Burlington Tourism). It’s right off the QEW and the 403 and the 407. We are about 45 minutes from the U.S. Border, close to Toronto, right beside the beautiful Niagara Wine Region, and to the Bruce Trail for walks and hikes….so much to see and do!
Love and ENJOY this summer,