Who are you?
I go by Christopher Godwaldt, and I’m the co-owner/operator of Café Oranje, a coffee house in the downtown core of Hamilton. Initially I moved here on my own, renting in the east end, then in the north end. I then purchased a condo in Corktown, and this September got myself hitched and my husband and I live in a condo in the core. **in 2016 Chris and Kevin took a leap and moved their lives to Amsterdam!! They remain connected to Hamilton and we can’t wait for their next visit**
I was born and raised in Grimsby, and lived there the majority of my life. About 4.5 years ago I started volunteering with a coffee company to learn the art of roasting and to get my feet wet in the coffee industry. I left Grimsby and moved to Hamilton partly because rental opportunities were abundant and were a great price, and partly, because it was still close to ‘home’.
I was surprised by how quickly Hamilton seized me and how quickly I came to love the city, especially the downtown core. It’s a space/place that is still gritty, but I feel that you can truly be anyone in Hamilton, and that’s okay
Where do you live?
I live with my husband in the core, quite close to City Hall. We’re in this specific spot because he purchased this condo shortly after we started dating and once we married, it made sense to move here. Location is as good as where my condo in Corktown is, but Kevin’s condo is larger and gave us a bit more living and office space.
What resources were helpful to you in making your decision to move here?
I didn’t use a lot of resources specifically when choosing Hamilton, or the locations I’ve lived. I’ve engaged the local community over social media including Facebook and Twitter, and asked questions of others who’ve lived in the areas, but I’m quite independent at times, and so each move within the city was predicated by my walking throughout, loving the apartments & my condo, and price.
What things surprised you the most about Hamilton? Good & Bad
I was surprised by how quickly Hamilton seized me and how quickly I came to love the city, especially the downtown core. It’s a space/place that is still gritty, but I feel that you can truly be anyone in Hamilton, and that’s okay. There’s space for you. I also felt that opportunity was abundant…I do think it’s quite true that you can do anything in Hamilton, and I love that about #HamOnt. I can’t say that there’s anything bad or that I was negatively surprised by anything specifically.
What advice do you have for anyone considering a move to Hamilton?
Don’t wait! Prices are amazing; this city is bursting with ambition and opportunity, and it’s on its way into a great space of rich texture including art, business, coffee…culture in general.
What are your favourite places and things to do around the city?
Is it fair to list Café Oranje as my number 1? 😉 How about this:
1) Coffee shops. Hamilton’s coffee scene is growing and there are at least 6 roasters each doing different and amazing things with coffee; across the city there are incredible
2) Augusta Street (and a wee bit o’ John South as well) – pubs, beers, foods, oysters, cocktails. It’s a little street that feels established with bars & pubs and restaurants, and it’s always guaranteed to be a great night. Cozy inside on cold winter evenings. Blissfully marvelous on patios in the midst of a hot summer.
3) Urban exploration: I’m a walker so I love being able to travel anywhere in the core easily on foot. You never know what you’ll experience, and it’s possible to easily visit some excellent shopping opportunities, unique galleries, eateries, cafes, etc on Locke Street, or James North, or in the International Village, or over on Ottawa Street, or or or…the list just keeps developing and each of our boroughs (Ancaster, Dundas, Westdale, Stoney Creek, etc) are unique.
Of all the things going on Hamilton these days – what are you most excited about?
I’m most excited about what feels to be the ongoing and ever developing face of small business. It seems to me that Hamilton is in the crux of a renaissance and what could be more exciting than that? What excites me even more is that despite the ongoing red tape that happens within the departments of City Hall, there are passionate people and groups who don’t care…who just march on, and make things happen, and continue to be excited, and continue to pour their hearts, thoughts, energy and money into Hamilton, and it’s making us ever a better city!