Strolling Through Downtown St. Catharines

I have a special place in my heart for downtown St. Catharines.

Whenever I can, I love to wander the streets there, just seeing where my feet will take me. Sometimes they take me back to my favourite places, or sometimes somewhere new.

IMG_9014

I spend a lot of time looking up, gazing upon all the beautiful buildings. I feel such a sense of the past here.

20160121_112642

I think about who these people were….

IMG_8976

What did they do here? What kinds of shops or businesses did they own? What were their lives like?

IMG_8953IMG_8951

It gets me every time.

IMG_8944

Until my sweetie-pie suggests coffee. So a stop at the Craft Espresso Bar in the Craft Arts Market is in order.

IMG_4545

Will it be a Flat White? An espresso? Perhaps one of their delicious tea lattés? For the record, I love the Cardigan Latté.

IMG_4499

While I wait for my drink, I sift through the unique products from their artistic entrepreneurs.

IMG_8905

My inner homebody really wants this t-shirt.

IMG_8898

And my inner bookworm must have this button.

IMG_8901

Latté in hand, I pop next door for a dose of Beechwood Doughnuts.

IMG_8907 IMG_8912

Death by Chocolate for me, thank you very much.

IMG_8913IMG_8930

Caramel Chocolate Crunch for Ken.

IMG_8915

I offered to taste-test it for him. Aren’t I a fantastic girlfriend?

IMG_8932

Fuelled up by caffeine and sugary vegan doughnut goodness, we resume our leisurely stroll.

IMG_8896

Heading along St. Paul.

IMG_9012 IMG_8985IMG_8994 IMG_8995IMG_8997

Perhaps a tea stock-up at Gwen’s Teas? Such a great shop.

IMG_4489 IMG_4485

Being a lover of all things British, a stop at The British Boutique is a must. Maltesers, meat pies, and yet another “Keep Calm” mug for me. I collect them, in case you are wondering.

IMG_8999

I see one in the shop window that I must add to my collection  – “Keep Calm in London”. There is a problem, however. The only one left is in the shop window. The lovely lady in the store goes into the shop window and gets it for me. I am amazed by this. In my Toronto days, many times I was told that an item couldn’t be sold from the window.

Helpful, friendly customer service – and I got another mug for my collection. Oh, and a giant box of Maltesers. Lucky me.

IMG_9087

Next, we decide to loop up Queen Street, heading over to the Farmer’s Market. It’s a Thursday after all.

20160121_112902

You can get your fill of delicious goodies every single Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

IMG_8832

It’s a Thursday in winter, so the market is a bit quieter today. I love it. A smaller crowd is always a bonus for me.

IMG_8840 IMG_8844IMG_8851 IMG_8847

Cheese, charcuterie, honey, veggies, fresh bread, tasty Mexican food. Along with chocolates, coffees, teas, fresh flowers….even gourmet dog biscuits. Such a variety of things to choose from.

IMG_8865 IMG_8870IMG_8863

Being around all of this yumminess, we drop our bags in the car, and decide it’s time for lunch.

This visit, we wanted to try Gord’s Place. I had been so good with my “Healthy Home Cooking” New Year’s Resolution, that I decided it was time for a splurge.

A decadent burger and some poutine. Definitely splurge-worthy.

IMG_9031

The burger selection at Gord’s is terrific for two hardcore burger lovers like us. First, you choose your patty – 1/2 lb beef, turkey, black bean veggie, or chicken breast. Then you choose your bun – white sesame seed, multi-grain thin, gluten-free, or naked (no bun). Next, you select your side – fries, salad or soup. You can upgrade for a small fee to sweet potato fries, Caesar salad, or poutine. Of course, you know what I selected for my side.

IMG_9075

I chose beef for my burger, on traditional white sesame, done California-style. It was topped with fresh guacamole, roasted red peppers, lettuce and jack cheese. Just what I wanted. Guacamole on a burger = heaven, my friends. Actually, guacamole on anything is heaven.

Ken’s selection was The Gordo – Maple smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, and BBQ roasted onions topped with lettuce, tomato, & pickles.

IMG_9069

It turned out to be a great choice for a treat day. If you love burgers too, you should keep in mind that Gord’s has $8 burgers every Monday. They have special daily features on the menu every day of the week, and some new menu items that look good too.

IMG_9066

I would have loved to continue walking after our feast, but we had a meeting to get to.

I know I’ll be back for more St. Catharines strolling in the very near future. I always enjoy it, and there are some good things happening downtown. To me, it seems to be a place that combines the beauty of the past, with exciting potential for the present. There are lots of restaurants, and I know there are a few new ones in the works. There are some good events too – In the Soil is coming up, and I plan to attend. I also still need to get to a performance at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.  I have heard excellent things about Poor, and wish I was going to be in town to see it.

I also can’t forget my beloved Yates Street Heritage District. I love walking or driving around there. So many beautiful historic homes and buildings.

I’m sure I’ve still got lots to discover in St. Catharines. If you have any other tips, events or suggestions for things I can’t miss next time I’m there, please let me know.

Let’s all share our St. Catharines love, shall we?