Who Are you?
My name is Amanda Gall and I am an industrial designer who is currently working on my own product design business called Mehker. Currently, you can find me at slinging coffee at Cake & Loaf Bakery in the mornings and at my studio at 270 Sherman during the evenings. I bought a house in Hamilton 2 years ago with my boyfriend Lee after living in Toronto for 10 years.
Lee and I chose Hamilton because it is about equal distance from his parents and mine, close to our friends in Toronto and we could afford to buy a home and still have money left over to go out for dinner. The cost of living in comparison to our previous diggs was the determining factor. We are both entrepreneurs and we felt that we could afford to take bigger business steps in Hamilton.
Where do you live?
I live in Landsdale, in the North East end of downtown. After looking around at a whole bunch of homes (all over the city) we decided to land in this neighbourhood based on the sale price & condition of the home. I am a short walk to absolutely everything I need. Because I don’t own a car, I needed to live somewhere that would support that. I ride my bike 365 days a year and the Cannon bike lanes have made that possible!
What resources were helpful to you in making your decision to move here?
We did a lot of our research online as we lived out of town, also through local lifestyle blogs such a “this must be the place”. We were really taking a leap of faith in the fact that we didn’t over think our decision and based it mainly on creating a better quality of life for both my partner and I. The location we chose has a lot of pluses and minuses, but overall we are happy with our decision and have adapted to the neighbourhood. I think in hindsight that researching the neighbourhood more than we did could have prevented us from moving here – so I am glad we kept it to a minimum. I am happy to be living downtown and love watching the city grow and adapt to newbies like me.
What resources do you WISH you’d had access to that would have helped?
A website like the one you are building*…. A lot of social information in one hub. (*I did not ask her to say this but I appreciate it! :))
Because I don’t own a car, I needed to live somewhere that would support that. I ride my bike 365 days a year and the Cannon bike lanes have made that possible!
What things surprised you the most about Hamilton? Good & Bad
The amount of electric wheelchairs! (I think they should dub Hamilton the scooter capital of Canada!) I also was surprised how easy it was to make new friends – I was very nervous moving to a new city knowing absolutely no one, but I found everyone to be so welcoming and also engaged. There was no “let’s get together 3 months from now, because I can’t fit you into my schedule” attitudes (so far). People have really put the effort into making solid connections.
What advice do you have for anyone considering a move to Hamilton?
Just do it. So far, the best decision I have ever made. Be open to people and get involved – the best way to meet people is by taking part in your community.
What are your favourite places and things to do around the city?
1.Art Crawl – such an awesome time to catch up with friends and see some amazing stuff being produced in this city
2.The Hamilton Library – I am a HUGE fan of this place. It is so beautiful and it has all of the resources to make your life awesome. A big recommendation for a day off. The book return belt is definitely a highlight.
3.Catch a summer movie in Gage park – when we first moved here we discovered these free movie nights – they became our go-to date night.
Of all the things going on Hamilton these days – what are you most excited about?
I am most excited by the access to entrepreneurship. There are so many great resources in this city to help get you started and since the cost of living is relatively low compared with other cities, I was able to afford a space outside of my house that I could set up shop and begin working. This was not a reality before I moved here and am so inspired by all of the creative people coming to and already living in Hamilton. It just keeps getting better!