Archive for March, 2009


Progress on the renovations continues to be slow but sure.  The plumbing, electrical, heating and cooling were completed last week.  The drywall is up and awaiting tape and mud.


The most obvious sign of progress is the new beautiful brick wall being built on the Locke Street side.  Along with the windows, that wall should be completed in the coming days.  The other exterior surface will be clad with a thinner “face brick” to match the old re-claimed brick going up today.  It’s shaping up to be another jewel on Locke.



If you’d like to know more about the other stores and services available on Locke Street please check out the websites promoted by the The Locke Street Merchants Association (http://www.loso.ca) and the Locke Street B.I.A. (http://www.lockestreetbia.ca).


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The last two days have been extraordinarily sunny and warm in Hamilton. The demolition crew couldn’t have picked a finer time to start their work. When I saw the fence going up I knew we would really see some progress. It started small.


At the end of day one they had made a good dent in the wall. Pun intended.

As day two got underway, the foot traffic on Locke Street started to get a better idea of what to expect from the future home of Citizen Kid. It was fun to chat with the locals who stopped to watch the demolition take place. I happily spread the news about our new store to some interested on-lookers.

By the end of today the bones of the new wall were revealed. We were recently informed that the exterior of the building will be done in re-claimed brick instead of stucco. We couldn’t be happier! This will definitely ensure the building continues to compliment the history and character of Locke Street.

We continue to work towards the launch of our website (www.citizenkid.ca) and designing the store’s interior. It is an enjoyable and welcome challenge. Thanks for checking in on our blog!

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We’ve been invaded by blabla dolls — strange and beautiful creatures hand-made in Peru.  These are so great we may be tempted to keep them all at home!


This is Leopold.


sandwichThis is Sandwich.


sniffyThis is Licorice.


From the blabla website:

“Blabla’s collection is designed by Florence Wetterwald and knitted by Peruvian artisans.

Everything is made from natural fibers of exceptional quality grown in Peru, making the line irresistibly soft and cuddly.

Florence’s poetic, simple, and vibrant style combined with the ancestral knowledge of the knitters has created products which look contemporary, yet feel like old friends.”


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Our shipment from Grimm’s Spiel and Holz Design arrived from Germany the other day.  This is a line of toys we were very excited to see and they did not disappoint.


In German spiel means play and holz means wood. The Grimm’s line of products are beautifully shaped and coloured toys.  They have a wonderful texture to the wood as well.

We decided to let our girls (ages 4 and 2) test some things out.  It was truly amazing to see how quickly and fully they were absorbed in play.  They were so excited to see the different ways they could stack them and continuously called us over to see their most recent creations.  The next morning, our 2 year old was searching the house for this toy but we had put it away.  We had to take it back out of course!


The Grimm’s line of toys incorporates many aspects of the Waldorf and Montessori style of education.  There is always an opportunity for the child to discover and develop their own creativity.


We can’t wait to see other children (of all ages) discovering Grimm’s Spiel and Holz at Citizen Kid.

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We open at 188 Locke St. in Hamilton, Ontario later this spring.  But first a little history.


Locke Street is located in Hamilton’s southwest corner, at the foot of the Niagara Escarpment.  Most of the homes and buildings in this area were built in the first ten or twenty years of the last century.  More recently the street has evolved into a vibrant and eclectic destination for locals and out-of-towners to meet for coffee, shopping, lunch or dinner, get a hair-cut, attend church, or just to hang out.


Below is what 188 Locke Street looked like when we first knew it would “soon” be the home of Citizen Kid.

collectorsstoreThe building itself was not in very good shape.  The “Collector’s Store” had some great stuff in there but it was time for this corner to get freshened up.

A casual conversation with the owner of “Antiques on Locke” included an interesting bit of information about the building.  You can see where an old painted sign on the exterior wall was left uncovered when the building was plastered some years ago.  The sign reads “Jeffery’s Shoe Store”.  I was told that Mr. Jeffery was a very successful distance runner and, with the prize money from his victory at the New York Marathon, he opened his own shoe store here in Hamilton.

Below is a picture of what the building looks like now.


I think I was able to catch the last moments of the “Jeffery’s Shoe Store” sign with these shots.  Some needed improvements are being made.  This includes windows.  Four on the street level and five on the upper level.


Later this week the entire wall facing Locke street will be coming down.  It has some structural faults.  I will certainly try to get some photos of that operation!

Below is an architect’s rendition of what things will look like upon completion.  I found out today that there will be some major cosmetic differences from this picture in the end.  You will have to stay tuned to see how it turns out.


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See.  I told you we get asked that question a lot.

Today I met again with the property developer who is performing the renovations at our store’s location.  The meeting went very well and I had a chance to see the continuing developments there.  They seem to be on course to finish things up in around 3 or 4 weeks.  So we can maybe definitely say with a slight degree of certainty that we might be open in late April.  Perhaps.  We’ll see.

Stay tuned.


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Taking ownership…

We own a toy store!  It’s something we have to remind ourselves of often these days.  We are Rebecca Bamford and Trevor Westerhoff.  It’s a family run operation so we ensure our daughters know that it’s their toy store too.

One year ago our family lived in Vancouver.  Trevor worked full-time (and then some) in the film and television industry.  Charlotte was attending pre-school, and Audrey was still one year old.  Rebecca was caring for them full-time (and then some).

For our own reasons we decided to chart a new course.  We decided to move to Southern Ontario and open a toy store together!  What fun!  The following things happened:

  • we sold our home in Vancouver


  • we packed a big U-Haul and loaded our car onto a trailer


  • we moved into my parent’s basement (What fun!) (Thanks Mom and Dad!)
  • we found a wonderful new home on the west side of Hamilton


  • we searched in earnest for a home for Citizen Kid
  • we waited
  • we waited
  • we finally found a GREAT location for our store on Locke Street!!!


That is a condensed look at the last 8 months of our life as it concerns Citizen Kid.  Initially we thought we could have our store open for Christmas 2008!  Ha ha ha!

This whole experience brings to mind a song from The Talking Heads that I have always loved.

And you may ask yourself
How do I work this?
And you may ask yourself
What is that large automobile?
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful house!
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful wife!

And you may ask yourself
What is that beautiful house?
And you may ask yourself
Where does that highway go?
And you may ask yourself
Am I right? …am I wrong?
And you may tell yourself
My god!…what have I done?

Well it IS my beautiful wife and it IS our beautiful house!  I suppose that highway went right here!

We own a toystore!

My god!… what have we done?

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