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Kitchener

The Art Project at Ontario’s Walper Hotel

Walper Hotel exterior. Photo by Sean_Marshall.

By Waheeda Harris

Forget the tired, nondescript watercolour prints that hang in most hotels.

As part of a recent multimillion dollar renovation, the historic Walper Hotel in Kitchener, Ontario, is doing double duty as an art gallery. More than 75 photographs, prints and other artworks adorn its walls, in what it calls the Art Project.

The works are a veritable who’s who of the contemporary Canadian art scene: Charlie Pachter prints; K. J. Bedford, Brendan George Ko and Nelson French photographs; and unique creations from Mary Baranowski-Loden, Nancy Fox, Isabelle Hemard and Brian Hoxha.

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Anna Tolazzi Artisanal Chocolates—Kitchener, Ontario

By Kat Tancock

Stop in Saturday mornings at the Kitchener Market, about a 90-minute drive from Toronto, and you’ll find a bustling hall packed with food, crafts and produce vendors that spills into the (covered) outdoors. Kitchener’s easy access to Ontario farms means an always-good selection of local produce. On my visit I found countless pounds of Ontario squash, apples, broccoli and other fall goodies.

But for something more unique, head indoors and up a small flight of stairs to the corner of the market building and the stall of Anna Tolazzi chocolates. Chocolatier Katharina Ortner creates organic, fair-trade truffles and bars with eclectic inspiration. Some truffle flavours are enhanced by the hyper-local: the Wilhelm Tell is made with market crabapples, the Kimono blends wild elderberry from Ortner’s own garden with sage and lemon in a dark ganache.

As for bars, flavours range from Canadiana (the Sugarbush bar mixes milk chocolate with roasted pecans and maple flakes) to the exotic (the Maharaja, a tamarind- and cinnamon-infused dark chocolate), all packaged in colourful wrappers based on vintage wallpaper patterns.

Fair warning: you may have trouble choosing—all told, Ortner has upwards of 300 varieties of chocolates.

If you’re picking up gifts, buy more than you think you need—the bars have a habit of becoming unwrapped.

Where to buy: Kitchener Market, Kitchener, Ontario; Saturdays, 7 am–2 pm {map}