Who are you?
I’m Thea Faulds, aka Thea Munster. I’m mainly known for running The Toronto Zombie Walk, although I am also a media artist and educator as well. My husband, Adam, and I moved to Hamilton in 2007.
I grew up in Victoria, BC and after attending University at Ryerson in Toronto I decided I wanted to move somewhere with a smaller population, character and a thriving art and music scene, that made Hamilton the perfect choice. Also, I actually lived in Hamilton for a year in the 90s and worked at The Sam the Record Man on James St North. The area was a lot different then, but I always had fond memories of Hamilton.
Where do you live?
We wanted to be close to the arts scene, but we also love the character of the buildings (and people) in downtown Hamilton. I live in the Strathcona Neighbourhood, right by the Hamilton Cemetery. It’s the first place I’ve lived in my life that’s felt like a real neighbourhood, the locals are very friendly and everyone watches out for each other, plus I love the mix in styles of homes, the paths through the ravine and the sprawling historical cemetery.
What resources were helpful to you in making your decision to move here?
The only resources I had were friends who already lived here, one worked closely with me to help find a home in the right neighbourhood.
What resources do you WISH you’d had access to that would have helped?
Any resources would have been good, finding information that gives a broad overview of Hamilton from the different community perspectives would have been great! I see a lot more online resources now, but at the time there wasn’t much.
I am really excited about initiatives to involve existing communities within the renewal of Hamilton’s downtown. It’s vital! There’s many programs that exist and are being developed to engage youth, seniors and new canadians in Hamilton through the arts.
What things surprised you the most about Hamilton? Good & Bad
I was surprised by the geographical beauty of Hamilton and how many gorgeous nature trails and parks there are in Hamilton and the surrounding area, as well as all the waterfalls. The biodiversity and beauty of Cootes Paradise makes it one of my favourite locations to explore.
Also, I knew the cost of living was low, but I didn’t realize that it was so low, I have found grocery prices here much less expensive than in Toronto.
I’m surprised about how many shows I miss here, I would like to see more poster boards around, since the penalty for postering in other areas is so high. I am also always surprised when I get yelled at from cars in the summer here, I haven’t had that happen since I was 16, I didn‘t think I was that weird looking. Also, there are not as many 24 hour conveniences here as Toronto, but I guess that wasn’t shocking.
What advice do you have for anyone considering a move to Hamilton?
I find Hamilton very friendly, my advice would be to talk to people in different communities and get their feelings about the area. Before I moved here I was hesitant to talk to people, since I didn’t know what the “vibe” would be here, even though I lived here along time ago. But now I know that most locals are completely friendly, outgoing and love their city. They can also tell you where to find hidden gems, etc.
What are your favourite places and things to do around the city?
1) Two Black Sheep – Although I’m a vegetarian and there’s not much to eat here for me the cocktails and atmosphere are fabulous and vintage. If you are going by there definitely try the Harvest Moon cocktail!
2) Martin’s Bowling Alley– 5 pin bowling at it’s finest, I was so happy that this location was still open when I moved back and Jim, the owner, is great and it’s got a very retro look to it!
3) Affinity Vegetarian Restaurant– Fantastic teas and food here, they even have a Vegan Buffet.
Of all the things going on Hamilton these days – what are you most excited about?
I am really excited about initiatives to involve existing communities within the renewal of Hamilton’s downtown. It’s vital! There’s many programs that exist and are being developed to engage youth, seniors and new canadians in Hamilton through the arts. I work at Centre for Print and Media Arts and I have never come across a place like it in my travels. It’s an artist run centre that provides space and galleries to artists, but it also has two full time programs designed for youth. Nu Steel involving teaching youth traditional printing skills, design and art theory and is run through the Hamilton-Wentworth District school board. The other youth program, Nu Deal, is Trillium supported and teaches youth to make websites, videos and market ideas.
The Centre also prints t-shirts and merchandise for local business, so we are able to hire the youth we’ve trained, as well as the artists who work in the building to work on jobs. In this way it’s a circular approach to providing opportunities and it’s all very exciting. Especially knowing that we are not the only place in Hamilton providing opportunities like this, also look at NGen, Threshold and Art Forms for some more cool approaches.