There was something about the way the pots of plants hung from the light posts along Brant street, how every independent shop was painted a different colour, even the way people silently shuffled past one another on the sidewalk.
It wasn’t until venturing outside the Burlington bubble that I realized how much little ol’ downtown Burlington felt like a big city. It has an atmosphere unlike the rest of the city, that no matter where I was downtown, there was always an activity to be done or a store to be shopped at. For a city composed mostly of small neighbourhoods, where days could go by without seeing another person on my street, downtown Burlington was full of life.
I remember being fourteen years old, walking down Brant street after seeing a movie at the dearly missed Encore Cinema, and feeling energized. My friends and I would skip down the street to Starbucks and soon after spend a few minutes browsing the collection of new and used books at the Book Nook next door.
Window-shopping was our forté, and with the wide selection of cuisine scattered along the street we would never go hungry. Every once in while, we would go get our nails polished, because if there is one thing teenage girls are good at, it’s spending their parents money.
By the time I turned seventeen, I was making my own money by working at Siam Dish on Lakeshore Road. While at this point I could put my finger on the big city feel, the magic did not cease. The ever-changing mass of patrons that shuffled through, even in the off-season (apparently Thai food has an off-season, who knew?) continued to remind me how big this little city can be.
While Burlington itself will probably never be a megapolis, it is still comforting knowing that if I ever I want to expand my bubble I never actually have to leave the bubble.