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Where to Shop Ottawa

Say Yes to the Dress at The Handmade Bride


(Photo: Gaby Bayona)

Truvelle Bridal dresses overlook the street at The Handmade Bride’s new showroom location. (Photo: Gaby Bayona)

(Photo: Kelsey Kromodimoeljo)

A rack of dresses in The Handmade Bride’s sophisticated new space. (Photo: Kelsey Kromodimoeljo)

Finding the right dress is a personalized experience at The Handmade Bride, where the bride’s vision is kept in mind from design to creation. Popular for its vintage-inspired aesthetics and one-of-a-kind dresses, the bridal fashion boutique has moved from its cozy New Edinburgh home to its new flagship location in the Byward Market. Formerly home to La Petite Mort Gallery, the shop still holds the showroom ambience of its predecessor, and the relaxed and sophisticated space is filled with beautiful wedding dresses and accessories.

The Handmade Bride carefully curates an in-store collection of independent designers who create their dresses as original works of art. During our visit to the store, we met Gaby Bayona, owner and creative director of Truvelle Bridal. Though the Vancouver-based line is now available worldwide, The Handmade Bride was the first retailer to carry it, after discovering Bayona’s creations on Etsy back in 2013. Like many of the dresses at The Handmade Bride, Truvelle’s designs are modern, refined and effortless to wear.

(Photo: Kelsey Kromodimoeljo)

Find handmade accessories to complement your wedding day look. (Photo: Kelsey Kromodimoeljo)

All dresses at The Handmade Bride can be customized and made-to-measure with the help of the boutique’s bridal stylists. Brides-to-be can also bring in a dress from elsewhere for alterations and other personal touches. Besides gowns, the shop also carries plenty of exquisite accessories, such as jewel-encrusted sashes, lace boleros, floral crowns, and bridal clutches, to complete your wedding day look.

•The Handmade Bride, 306 Cumberland St., 613-695-8247, handmadebride.ca


10 Holiday Events in Ottawa


(Photo: Samantha Katz)

Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet pirouettes into town with its beloved interpretation of The Nutcracker. (Photo: Samantha Katz)

Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet: The Nutcracker
DEC. 2 TO 6 Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker has been a holiday classic since the 1950s, and Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet stages a thoroughly Canadian version by setting it in early 1900s Winnipeg. You’ll see more than just sugar plum fairies dancing across the stage this time around — think hockey players, Mounties, and a pack of adorable polar bears. From $20. National Arts Centre, Southam Hall, 53 Elgin St., 866-850-2787, nac-cna.ca.


Holiday Gift Guide


(Photo: Marc Fowler/Metropolis Studios)

As seen on the cover of our 2015 November/December issue. See end of story for product info. (Photo: Marc Fowler/Metropolis Studios)


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. 


Curiosity Shop: Wunderkammer

Wunderkammer carries an eclectic collection of jewellery, home accents, stationery, accessories, and more.

Wunderkammer carries an eclectic collection of jewellery, home accents, stationery, accessories, and more.

Wunderkammer is the German word for “cabinet of curiosities”, and this shop on Dalhousie Street certainly lives up to its name with its whimsical, one-of-a-kind products. Vintage furniture, animal skulls, and walls covered in sassy, out-there artwork give the location heaps of character. Among the glass cases full of jewellery — including Frug, a line created by owners Tamara Steinborn and Nathan Dubo — you’ll also find stationery, handbags, art, and home décor. —Amy Allen
•234 Dalhousie St., 613-860-3510

Little Jars of Happiness

Bring new flavours to breakfast with Top Shelf Preserves' Orange Vanilla Marmalade. (Credit: Goods Shop)

Bring new flavours to breakfast with Top Shelf Preserves’ vanilla orange marmalade. (Credit: Goods Shop)

Top Shelf Preserves came to be when chef-owner Sara Pishva started canning preserves to get her through those rough university years. Her pickles were a hit among her friends and fellow students, and before long, she took the leap and started up her own business in 2013. Pick up a jar or two of her vanilla orange marmalade for the perfect breakfast spread — or, if you’re more in the mood for something savoury, try her spicy pickled beans for crackly, zesty snack. You can find Top Shelf Preserves at several locations in Ottawa, including Goods Shop.
•Goods Shop, 201 Dalhousie St., 613-421-9418, goods-shop.ca

For the Fashionable Man: Frank & Oak

Frank & Oak

With its line of classic apparel, high end accessories, and top notch grooming services, Ottawa’s Frank & Oak location will appeal to stylish shoppers.

An upscale yet affordable men’s apparel line that began in Montreal, Frank & Oak offers a unique experience to the discerning shopper. Nestled just west of downtown in trendy Westboro, the shop caters to the fashionable man: racks of high quality sweaters, shirts, and pants line the walls, while assorted grooming supplies occupy the shelves. At the back, local barbershop House of Barons serves patrons looking for a shave or a trim. —Amy Allen
•297 Richmond Rd., 613-288-5798. frankandoak.com

Chic Finds at Kate Spade New York

Kate Spade's chic apparel and accessories will appeal to

Find trendy apparel and chic accessories at Canada’s eighth Kate Spade location in the Rideau Centre.

After launching in 1993 with a line of just six handbags, Kate Spade New York quickly grew to become a coveted name in fashion. The company now designs and markets chic apparel and footwear, colourful accessories, timeless home décor, and whimsical stationery. Its new location at the Rideau Centre is only the eighth to open in Canada. Why not bring a little Kate Spade into your life? Pictured: the All-Occasions Card Set, $30.
•Kate Spade in the Rideau Centre, 50 Rideau St., 613-567-2500. katespade.com
Map and reviews

Refreshing Retreat: Holtz Spa

Relax with massages, body treatments, and more at Holtz Spa.

Relax with massages, body treatments, and more at Holtz Spa.

Just a stone’s throw from the historic Fairmont Chateau Laurier, Holtz Spa is an oasis in the middle of the bustling downtown core. In the mood for a little relaxation? Choose from an assortment of packages that include Swedish, Thai, aromatherapy, and reiki massages. For a truly decadent experience, try the full body maple scrub and moisturizing wrap that incorporates local products. And afterwards, when you’re bundled up comfortably in your fluffy white bathrobe, pop into the adjoining Santé Restaurant for a delicious, wholesome meal. Amy Allen
•45 Rideau St., 877-241-8889. holtzspa.com

Hiking Gear at MEC

The MEC High Jinx 16 Daypack is perfect for toting your gear around on a hike.

The MEC High Jinx 16 Daypack is perfect for toting your gear around on a hike.

Blue skies and balmy weather may entice you to get outdoors and hit the trails, so you’ll want to make sure you’re well equipped for a day under the sun. The lightweight MEC High Jinx 16 Daypack is great for storing water bottles, umbrellas, sunscreen, and snacks. Its breathable padded straps will keep you comfortable and cool, whether you’re a serious hiker or just looking for a hands-free way to carry your things around town day-to-day. $28.
•Mountain Equipment Co-op, 366 Richmond Rd., 613-729-2700. mec.ca

Scents and Sensibility: Saje in the Rideau Centre

Saje's aromatherapy products can help heal everything from headaches to sleep disturbances.

Saje’s aromatherapy products can help heal everything from headaches to sleep disturbances.

Ancient wisdom suggests that certain aromas can alter mood and trigger healing in the body and mind. Saje Natural Wellness operates on this principle, stocking its shelves with an array of soothing sprays, mists, oils, and lotions that claim to remedy everything from stress to headaches to sleep disturbances. They also have diffusers, nebulizers, and jewellery to help you disperse your scents.
•Rideau Centre, 50 Rideau St., 613-789-0440, saje.ca

Second Skin: ça va de soi on Sussex Drive

The family owned ça va de soi designs cozy, lightweight knitwear.

The family owned ça va de soi designs cozy, lightweight knitwear.

The family-owned ça va de soi specializes in natural fibers, including Egyptian cotton and Merino wool, and the knitwear they produce is tasteful, timeless, and cozy. Simply stopping in at the boutique to browse is an experience in and of itself. The staff is knowledgeable and friendly, so don’t be surprised when they spend an hour helping you choose the products that are best suited to your body type.
•459 Sussex Dr., 613-789-2828, cavadesoi.com
Map and reviews

Nordstrom Now Open at the Rideau Centre

Nordstrom opened in Ottawa on March 6.

Nordstrom, now open in Ottawa, carries high end names in apparel, beauty, footwear, and more.

Now open in Ottawa, Nordstrom is one of North America’s biggest names in retail. Covering apparel for women, men, and children, along with accessories, shoes, and beauty products, Nordstrom also offers services that run the gamut from personal stylists to beauty specialists to certified shoe fitters. And if you’re hungry after all that shopping, its full service restaurant, Bazille, will help you fuel up again.
•Nordstrom in the Rideau Centre, 50 Rideau St., 613-567-7005. ca.nordstrom.com