BY KELSEY KROMODIMOELJO
The Christmas Market at the Canadian Museum of History is just one of many across the city that features handmade items by Ottawa artisans. (Photo: Canadian Museum of History)
When coffee-lovers switch from pumpkin spice to eggnog lattes, you know the holiday shopping season has arrived! This year we’ve seen big transformations at Ottawa’s major shopping centres, but 2014 is also bringing more festive fun, with lots of Christmas markets and craft shows appearing across the city. A trip to any one of these holiday troves will have you picking up one-of-a-kind gifts and supporting local. Go on — it’s time to make your list and check it twice!
The holidays wouldn’t be complete without the time-honoured tradition of shopping. Whether you’re browsing for yourself or your loved ones, we’ve compiled a list of Ottawa’s best gift ideas.
Red Canoe’s line of backpacks, duffel bags, and toiletry kits is inspired by Canadian icons such as the CBC and the Royal Canadian Air Force. The CBC Radio Bag is lightweight, durable, and perfect for day-to-day adventures. It’s available at Drake General Store, which recently opened its new location at The Bay in the ByWard Market. $40.
•Drake General Store at The Bay, 73 Rideau St., 613-241-7511, drakegeneralstore.ca
Paper Papier in the ByWard Market offers a wide selection of paper products, along with a new floral division.
At those times when a Hallmark card just won’t cut it, Paper Papier might have what you’re looking for. The independently owned shop is bursting with quirky wrapping paper and greeting cards, notepads, games, decorative ribbon, scrapbooks, and writing tools (including quills). It offers customized stationery for just about any occasion, and in early 2014, it launched Fleurissant, a new floral division inspired by the metro stations of Art Nouveau Paris. —Amy Allen
•Paper Papier, 18 Clarence St., 613-241-1212. paperpapier.com
The Snow Goose, located at the Sparks Street Mall since the ’60s, offers fine Native and Inuit art and gifts.
A staple at the Sparks Street Mall, The Snow Goose has been specializing in authentic Inuit and Native art since 1963. Its shelves house a colourful selection of prints, sculptures, handmade dolls, clothing, and assorted gifts, including moccasins, mukluks, baskets, and dinnerware. Don’t miss the hand-carved, hand-painted west coast masks — they’re a true feat of precision and artistry. —Amy Allen
•The Snow Goose, 83 Sparks St., 613-232-2213. snowgoose.ca
•Map and reviews
This Kayaking Bear is just one of many Canadian-inspired charms that can be found at Disegno Fine Jewellers.
Fine jewellery gets a uniquely Canadian twist at Disegno Fine Jewellers, where gemologist Pamela Coulston has been selling her Canadian-designed, Canadian-made jewellery since 2007. Her Canada-Canada collection of jewellery — sculpted in sterling silver, 14-karat, and 18-karat gold — is replete with Canadian iconography, including the spirit bear, the fleur-de-lys, a whale tail, and a reproduction of the inukshuk that stands on Rideau Hall grounds. —Amy Allen
•Disegno Fine Jewellers, 100 Murray St., 613-482-1614. disegnojewellery.ca
The Lole Stratus Jacket at Trailhead Paddle Shack will keep you dry during autumn hikes.
Don’t let autumn rains put a damper on your plans. The Lole Stratus Jacket will keep you warm and dry on your hikes with its multiple layers of breathable, waterproof nylon twill. It features a front zip design with a removable belt, a two-way adjustable hood, two zippered hand pockets, and a special pocket for your passport. $200. —Amy Allen
•Trailhead Paddle Shack, 1960 Scott St., 613-722-4229. trailheadpaddleshack.ca
The Unrefined Olive sells olive oil and balsamic vinegar from around the globe — and they let you try it first!
The Unrefined Olive brings the flavours of Italy to the Glebe. This little shop boasts a tasting bar, where patrons can sample the freshest premium extra virgin olive oils and aged balsamic vinegars from Modena. They currently carry a number of olive oils from around the world, including California, Chile, Australia, and Tunisia. —Amy Allen
•The Unrefined Olive, 151 A Second Ave., 613-231-3133. unrefinedolive.com
•Map and reviews
Terra20 is your one-stop-shop for all things environmentally-friendly. You’ll find clothes, beauty products, cleaning supplies, and even toys for the little one.
Green reigns supreme at terra20. The 15,000-square-foot store is a one-stop-shop for everything eco-friendly: sustainable fashion, cleaning products, toys, and a lot more. The selection is huge — over 12,000 products — and staff are very knowledgeable. We love the soaps from Purple Urchin: the Ottawa-based company makes bath and body products that smell good enough to eat, and are pure enough that you could. Another big draw is the store’s Ecobar — the largest of its kind in North America, the bar allows customers to fill and refill reusable containers with a range of green house-cleaning products that are mixed on site.
•2865 Iris St., 855-837-7220, terra20.com
Looking for some versatile, sturdy carry-on bags for the flight home? This LIFTwo garment bag, available at Ottawa Leather Goods, will keep your clothes crisp.
Keep your clothes crisp and clean with Samsonite’s LIFTwo Carry-on Wheeled Garment Bag. Redesigned to weigh in less than its competition, this little guy delivers on practicality and ease-of-use. The four multi-directional wheels make it incredibly easy to steer with minimal effort. Open it up to find two mesh pockets in the top corners — wasted space in other garment bags — and a spot to hang your clothes, complete with gentle compression straps that keep everything in place. And the paddled laptop pocket allows you to bring your business along without needing an extra bag. $320.
•Ottawa Leather Goods, 179 Sparks St., 613-232-4656. ottawaleathergoods.com
Recently opened at Bayshore, Express can meet all your wardrobe needs. (Photo: Tina Picard)
Known for its sophisticated line that acts as a magnet for fashion-forward individuals, Express recently dropped into Ottawa with its first store in Bayshore Shopping Centre in the city’s west end. It has plans to open a second location at the end of the summer in the Rideau Centre. For men, find quality shirts in three pinpoint fits that will help you transition from the boardroom to the lounge. For women, chic business wear ensures you’ll stand out. And there are plenty of casual and sexy options that will round out your entire wardrobe.
•100 Bayshore Dr., 613-828-2171. express.com
ça va de soi in Ottawa’s ByWard Market sells high-end knits, perfect for chilly weather, that will last a lifetime
Keep warm with quality knits this fall and winter. ça va de soi, a family-owned company, operated for years as a wholesaler before opening boutique stores in Ottawa, in the ByWard Market, and Montreal. Their mission: bring the best materials from Italy and Egypt, assemble with top-notch spinning techniques, and deliver a product that survives trends. Prices are on the high end, but with simple care instructions and built-to-last design, these pieces will become wardrobe staples. Run your hands over the luxurious knits, and you’ll understand why their name means “it goes without saying.”
• ça va de soi, 459 Sussex Dr., 613-789-2828, cavadesoi.com
• Map and reviews