10 cool things spotted at Open Streets Hamilton

This year, open streets expanded to include Westdale and McMaster University.
Remember the gym-class parachute? This little guy does. (Adam Carter/CBC)

The streets

The streets themselves were one of the biggest highlights on James North Sunday afternoon.

People wandered unencumbered down the middle of the street with their families, while others biked and roller-bladed their way along.

But perhaps the biggest surprise came at the intersection at James and Murray Street. As Murray was still open to traffic, cars were passing through — and so were people walking on James.

And for a brief period, cars and people used the four way stop equally. A car would go through, then a person, then a car — just like a four way stop is intended to be with vehicles.

The music

There was plenty of music in Westdale, between a stage on campus and another on Sterling Street.

Just opposite the Meatball Shoppe food truck, folk duo Dawn and Marra sang intricate harmonies to people walking on Sterling.

Further up the street, the McMaster Gospel Choir lifted their voices as they sang to the crowd on the field in front of Burke Science Building. Of Gentlemen and Cowards also made an appearance, fresh from their Letterman gig.

Then on James Street, music wafted around buildings from busking bass players, Artword Artbar's on-street open mic, folk bands and a Peruvian flautist with an affinity for Celine Dion covers.


Down by Picton Street, the East Kiwanis Boys and Girls Club had set up a small skateboard park.

Kids hit the ramps with enthusiasm, grinding and skating their way along for hours. They skated even harder when our cameras were out — check out the photos here.

Street art at McMaster

The Bomb Squad Art Crew brought a touch of street art to the university grounds Sunday. Since 2009, this group of artists has been commissioned to paint for various events, including Supercrawl 2011 and the Art Gallery of Hamilton's 2011 World Film Festival.

On Sunday, they painted the 125th anniversary poster on the ground just in front of Titles Bookstore.

"It is the school as it was and what it is now," said visual artist, Amanda Wedekind, describing the poster.

The gym-class parachute

Remember the parachute from gym class as a kid? You know, this guy:

Plenty of kids and some playful adults got the chance to laugh and play under and around the same sort of parachute on James North Sunday afternoon.

Though the crowds were sparse at times, the parachute was always fluttering up and down.

Marching band

How often do you get to see a marching band parade around McMaster?

Not too often — but at Open Streets, a band of around 30 people with percussion, horns, and in full marching regalia wandered around campus, blasting out tunes.

Climbing the Alpine Tower

More than 40 kids of all ages had a chance to climb Canada's only Alpine Tower at McMaster. This 50-foot tower has high ropes and climbing routes, which are "ideal for team-building."

Mac alumni Terry Cooke didn't hesitate to let his kids scamper up the tower. He thought the event helped introduce his kids to university life.

"It's always good for kids to experience campus life. To see that it's fun and work," said Cooke.

Kids scavenger hunt

But it didn't stop there — kids also got to learn more about campus through a scavenger hunt organized by the McMaster Alumni Association.

The hunt sent kids running to all corners of campus to locate eight clues, from the west-side John Hodgins Engineering building to the Ron Joyce stadium at the north end.

It took about 30 to 45 minutes to finish the search, and those who managed to find all the clues were rewarded with McMaster merchandise.

Planetarium Tours

More than 200 people experienced the night sky in Hamilton during planetarium tours in the basement of the Burke Science Building.

The W.J. McCallion Planetarium opened its doors to all for free 20 minute preview shows, beginning at 11:30 a.m. Capped at 35 people per session, the crowd was still going strong at 3 p.m.

Food trucks

It wouldn't be a street event in Hamilton if it wasn't full of food trucks. On James North, Southern Smoke dished out their comfort food stylings to an appreciative crew.

Then over in Westdale, Sweetness Bakery parked its striking pink truck right next to the Sterling stage and Westdale Cupcakes also served decadent delicacies to all who came.

Those craving something crunchier weren't disappointed either. Hotti Biscotti was on the street selling its crispy chocolate-covered biscotti to those looking for a bit more bite in their sweets.

Hope you enjoyed Open Streets, Hamilton. To see all our photos, head over to our Facebook page.