Sarnia vs. Hamilton

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On Sunday evening Adrian McFarlane and myself missed the gathering at The Freeway because our band 2x the Mono was on the road playing a show in Sarnia, Ontario called Empty Spaces. It was a great chance to catch up with former Freewayers Nathan and Rachel Colquhoun who have moved on to a community in Sarnia called The Story. We were introduced to an amazing cultural city that is off the provincial radar with many similarities to Hamilton.

First off, Empty Spaces (a monthly music showcase) was one of the best shows 2x the Mono has ever played. The crowd was electric and loved to dance. All the local Sarnia bands that played were amazing. Sarnia has a diverse underground music scene that reminded me a lot of all the local talent in Hamilton. Check out the band “Driving on City Sidewalks.” “Empty Spaces” also reminded me of The Freeway Coffee House’s weekly concerts and annual Art of Sound Festival (coming soon on January 23rd). Everyone in 2x the Mono said they felt so comfortable amongst Sarnia’s music scene, it was like a home away from home.

We also found out that Sarnia has a monthly art walk called “First Fridays” that is very much like  Hamilton’s  James Street North Art Crawl.

What excited me most was to hear from Nathan about all the things happening with his church community, The Story. The Story has recently moved into storefront property in downtown Sarnia. Nathan said that it has opened up all kinds of opportunities for his community to interact with local artists, musicians and the downtown small business community. The comparison to The Freeway in this regard was overwhelming. I have always thought that church communities belong in the downtown core of their respective cities, and I’m so glad to see The Story taking this path in Sarnia. I know that The Freeway could not be or do what it needs to if it did not reside in downtown Hamilton.

I wouldn’t want to leave Hamilton for anything, and I still think Hamilton is the best place to live, but if Hamiltonians ever get together to “Tar and Feather” me, sending me on my merry way, I think I’ll move to Sarnia.

You can see more pictures of the Empty Spaces show by clicking here.


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