Explore the people and places that make downtown a great place to visit, live and work.

Tales from the Abell Trio: Exploring East of Brant in Downtown Burlington
Posted: May 14, 2013

sue-abell-150x150Being a voracious reader I do enjoy a nice beginning, middle and end to my books and an emotional connection to the characters I find sprinkled throughout the pages.

That’s probably why I’m attracted to Downtown Burlington with all the special shops and owners who make an outing play out like a storybook.

For the kids and I it’s an opportunity to explore and connect with each other in the outdoors and by sticking to our three store limit per trip there is never any eye rolling or shoulder sagging.

anise-apothecary-burlingtonWe were first greeted by owner Monique at Anise Apothecary located at 446 Pearl Street right beside Four Forty Fitness for Women.

Although I had visited the shop on my own I wanted my kids to be enveloped by the beauty of this natural health shop. Monique has handpicked her products and they include functional foods, supplements, organic perfumes, skincare and unique lifestyle items.

Monique wants you to explore and feel comfortable as evidenced by the samples and displays and she always appears at just the right time to answer questions and offer tips.  The kids were drawn to the samples of the ChocoSol Traders artisan chocolate, my favorite being the “Five Chili Bullet” bar which is squirreled away just for me in an obscure cupboard in the kitchen.anise-burlington

If you haven’t sipped a smoothie through a glass straw you don’t know what you’re missing!  My son asked for a new “bendy” version and since my hubby is now using the “strong man” 100% recycled cotton lunch sak he also couldn’t resist asking for his own “banana” sak.

With a few other products to wrap up we ended our trip with the “Wei of Chocolate” experience.  Monique will ask you to point to the flower picture that draws you in and this will correspond to a ‘personally prescribed’ chocolate flower essence which you will unwrap and dissolve on your tongue.

So much fun for all of us!



On to see owners John and Paula at Foot Tools located at 2013 James Street.foot-tools-burlington

As your full service athletic store downtown, regardless of your sport you will feel a kinship and warmth and it’s not unusual to join a conversation with their amazing staff and other shoppers about a recent race or workout and come out feeling re-energized about your health goals.

They honestly have the most enticing walls of shoes and enough clothing, gear and fuelling snacks to keep you circulating a few times around the store to take it all in.

running-shoes-burlington1When I started frequenting the store years ago I had little children and they got used to “assuming the position”, which meant sitting on the bench at the window and having John amuse them with stories and perhaps even a healthy treat.assumetheposition-150x150

If you spot a pair of bright pink low-profile racing flats on the wall please know that with a combo of some tough hill work and their unique function I shaved significant time off my 10 km time.

They also are one of the few shops around to have Buffs, which are my favorite gift for a friend or teacher to protect the face and neck during chilly runs and power walks.



Finishing up our trip was a drop-in to see owners Jimmy and Maya at Tamp Coffee Co. located at 2049 Pine Street in Village Square.

This specialty coffee and tea shop has a beautiful wood interior, comfy seating and it makes me feel like I’ve walked into a European neighbourhood where you are known by name. Jimmy takes the time to explain the process from bean selection to brewing and this inspires me to slow down my pace and enjoy these hot masterpieces in-house.tamp-coffee-139x150

My favorite treat is the unsweetened almond milk latte with a roundie, which is a gluten free ball of yumminess. My daughter is mesmerized by the hand crafted hot chocolate paired with a brownie and my son is a softie for the blood orange soda with a spicy ginger cookie.

Whether it’s a hand-pour, a siphon or a loose-leaf tea, there’s nothing like someone taking the time to craft something special just for you… especially if you’re like me and look forward to seeing what loving artwork they will magically create in your cup!

If you’re like me and delight in using shops and services that come highly recommended I hope you’ll venture Downtown by foot or drive and park in one of the plentiful spots and replicate this tour, adding in extra stops along the way. Please post YOUR finds on Facebook to spread the word so I and others can benefit from your explorations!

~ Sue

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