BY AMY ALLEN
The festive season has begun in earnest, which means retail fever is at an all time high. Whether you’re browsing for yourself or someone else, we’ve come up with this handy guide to Ottawa shopping during the holidays.
From Coast to Coast
Once upon a time, graphic designer Valerie Thai was the art director for Vancouver-based activist magazine Adbusters. She has since turned her talents to something more personal — in 2006, she founded her own design company, and eventually began creating and selling wooden accessories for men and women. These Cabin + Cub cufflinks have simple, timeless designs with Canadian motifs — hockey sticks, deer, canoes, teepees, and mountains. The cufflinks are laser-cut from bamboo and feature silver-tone backs. $33. JV Studios & Boutique, 1282A Wellington St. W., 613-421-9696, shopjvstudios.com.
At Cylie Artisans Chocolatiers, co-owners Cyril Nebout and Leslie Yang create chocolates that are as delicious as they are beautiful. Their jewel-like chocolate truffles are filled with flavoured ganache (caramel beurre sale, for example, or pink peppercorn and Barr Hill gin), and each is individually hand-painted with colourful designs. They’re almost too pretty to eat! $2.25 per truffle; $3.25 for the robot. Cylie Artisans Chocolatiers, 204 Dalhousie St., 613-695-8887, cyliechocolat.com.
Handmade toy company Velvet Moustache was born when owner Majorie Labrèque-Lepage created her first plush creatures using scraps of old fabric, recycled sweaters, and pieces from her button collection. She has since branched out, dreaming up and giving shape to all manner of woodland animals and aliens. Her sleepy Field Mouse plush, with its floppy ears and cuddly terrycloth skin, will delight the little ones in your life. All of Labrèque-Lepage’s toys are assembled with care in Montreal. $50. Boogie + Birdie, 256 Elgin St., 613-232-2473, boogieandbirdie.boutiquewindow.com.
Mukluks are the traditional boots worn by the Arctic’s aboriginal peoples. They are specifically designed to provide protection and warmth in the coldest of winter conditions, but light enough that hunters can still move quickly and quietly. Fashioned from deerskin and wool duffle, these mukluks are handmade by Irene Beardy of Bearskin Lake in Northern Ontario. The beautiful embroidered design shows a vibrant floral pattern. $285. The Snow Goose, 83 Sparks St., 613-232-2213, snowgoose.ca.
Ottawa artisans are here to spruce up your kitchen with the Ottawa Care Package, which contains everything you need to make your next dinner party a memorable evening: a jar of blueberry gin jam by Top Shelf Preserves; spicy sriracha sauce from Michael’s Dolce; an Ottawa print by State Goods; a bottle of Jack’s Tonique, sweetened with pure Quebec honey; two Ottawa-themed coasters by N-Product; and a serving board made of reclaimed wood by Na Coille Studio. $150. Goods Shop, 201 Dalhousie St., 613-241-9418, goods-shop.ca.
Both stylish and practical, the Matt & Nat Kintla Bag is perfect for travel, business meetings, or a day out on the town. Its three compartments provide ample room for a laptop, documents, and daily essentials. A removable strap means the bag can be worn across the shoulder or carried by hand. The best part? The bag is environmentally sustainable — the shell is made from vegan leathers, and the lining is fashioned from recycled plastic bottles. $158. Roadtrip, 24B York St., 613-562-0992, roadtripclothing.com.
The Zoku Single Quick Pop Maker helps you whip up delicious, healthy desserts in the blink of an eye. Simply throw some fruits, yogurt, or cream into the mold, give it a few minutes to do its thing, and voilà! A tasty treat, ready to be devoured. The machine works without electricity — just keep it in the freezer until it’s ready to be used, and it can make up to three individual pops before it runs out of juice. The unit comes in a variety of colours, including orange, red, blue, purple, and green. $30. Ma Cuisine, 269 Dalhousie St., 613-789-9225, macuisineottawa.ca.
On the Cover
Robeez Soft Soles are the perfect gift to keep tiny toes nice and toasty. $38. Belly Laughs, 300 Earl Grey Dr., 613-963-0711, bellylaughs.ca.
The silver fox faux fur throw has velboa lining and naturalistic faux fur, and is 60 inches by 70 inches in size. $129. Urban Barn, 22 York St., 613-860-6020, urbanbarn.com.
These reversible bow ties will add a pop of colour to any outfit and are made locally by an Algonquin College professor. $35. Stroked Ego, 131 Bank St., 613-667-3008, strokedego.ca.
The Warren Chase shave kit comes with the Warren Chase signature razor, a silver-tip badger brush, a shaving stand, luxury shaving cream, and hazel post-shave tonic. $350. Warren Chase Urban Retreat for Men, 515 Industrial Ave., Unit 1, 613-241-0818, warrenchaseretreat.com.
Solmate socktinis come in colourful quintets (two pairs and one spare) and are available for men, women, and children. $20. Boogie + Birdie, 256 Elgin St., 613-232-2473, boogieandbirdie.boutiquewindow.com.