Bay Awesome 2022 TBay Top 20 Gift List

Stressed about finding an awesome gift? Totally stumped? Fear not, dear reader, as I am happy to present this year’s  tree-mendous Top 20- ish Tbay Gift List (that definitely doesn’t include that typical pair of socks). From decadent handmade chocolates, a magical ‘moog’ made of sand, candle making classes, pancakes for lumberjacks, Something Rotten and even Thunder Bay wrapping paper, these are what I consider to be the most awesome LOCAL holiday gifts of the season.

Cheers Santa! We’ve got this. 

1. Holiday Sparkle: Wine Tasting with Sommelier Cale Graydon

Wine is the perfect gift for any holiday, especially Christmas AND if you’re looking for a fun addition to your upcoming party… look no further. 

Photos by DZ Photography

Sommelier Cale Graydon offers an unforgettable wine tasting like no other. The hour and a half session is an informative and entertaining event for absolutely any occasion. From dinner parties, gals nights, or even a date, wine tasting is always a good time. As a certified sommelier (very few exist in Thunder Bay) Cale makes it easy and convenient to learn about wines, customized to suit any palate and budget. 

Interested in a particular country, region, style or grape variety? He will have plenty of ideas for you. To get into the holiday mood, I recommend sparkling wines— the official drink of celebration. During this session you and your guests will explore all different types of bubbles, and even learn proper technique on “popping” a bottle. Insider secret—sparkling wine makes pretty much all food taste better. The crisp, zesty nature cleanses the palate between, making every bite taste like the first. 

Give the gift of a new experience with wine and an understanding of why a wine tastes, smells and feels like it does. “I seek to educate people on different styles of wine, the history of the region or producer, how they compare with other wine, and ideas for food pairings!”

“My tastings make a fantastic gift as they bring your family and friends together to experience and learn something new. Instead of another ‘thing’ for your house, consider a fun activity or experience like a wine tasting as a gift or gesture.”

Aim for a guest list of six to ten people and raise a glass to all the sips ahead! Cale also plans to host an online wine tasting in late December. If you are interested in giving the gift of an unforgettable wine event contact Cale at: 


2. Advent Calendar: Lovely Body & Waxxed Candle Co

One of the most popular ways to build excitement for the arrival of Santa— the beloved Advent Calendar. A gift for yourself or an early present for someone you really adore, the idea is simple: countdown the days in December leading up to Christmas Eve. While chocolate is without a doubt the most popular holiday countdown, a calendar filled with minis from two of my fav shops in town is even more dreamy. Doors open to Waxxed candles along with a variety of items from Lovely Body including soaps and body lotion. I totally love the packaging too.



*This item SOLD OUT before the list went live. BUT I’ve got you. Stay tuned to @bayawesome for a limited Bay Awesome restock of this gift.

3. U-Pick Flower Experience: Urban Farm Chick Flowers

This is a one-of-a-kind gift for the flower lover in your life. The U-Pick Flower Experience by Urban Farmchick Flowers, is a breathtaking adventure that gives exclusive access to  beautiful, locally grown, fresh from the field blooms. Unwind and enjoy the work of Kate Fraser- Hominick, as you pick and harvest flowers of your choice.

You’ll be surrounded by beauty, fragrance and colour, in the quiet countryside setting at Moss Cottage. Participants wander through the long rows of flowers in the gardens and have a choice of annual and perennial flower fields, foliage, grasses and other goodies in bloom. There’s just nothing like building a bouquet with all of your favourite flowers! 

Clippers and instructions on cutting will be provided.  This special Christmas gift is being made available for purchase ahead of the growing season, and the number of U-Pick Gift Cards will be limited. The gift card comes tucked inside a little BLOOM BOX with information on the U-Pick experience, perfect for giving.

*  The zone 3 growing season depends entirely upon Mother Nature. U-Pick season may run anywhere from June/July through September/October but never disappoints.

4. Hoito Brick: The Finnish Book Store & Kitchen Nook

Give a piece of Thunder Bay history and help rebuild the iconic Finnish Labour Temple on Bay Street. It’s been almost a year since a devastating fire completely destroyed the heritage site along with the world famous Hoito Restaurant. Bricks that once made up building were salvaged from the blaze and are now available for purchase at the Finnish Book Store & Kitchen Nook.

The Finnish Labour Temple was originally constructed between 1908  and 1910. All dollars raised from the brick sales will support the reconstruction of the highly recognizable cupola. While stopping at the shop, check out the Hoito scale that once sat inside the entrance of the restaurant for decades.

5. Lake Superior Sand Müg: Stone Circle Pottery

If you’re on the hunt for a magical, meaningful gift you can’t find anywhere else, the one-of-a-kind Müg from Stone Circle Pottery is just for you. Potter Noël Keag says the mug was inspired from her travels along with rocks, pebbles, and sand.

“I’ve collected many bits of the world… pebbles from the bottom of the pyramids, Blarney Castle, Hagia Sophia, the Olduvai Gorge, and a most harrowing border crossing in Mozambique where we had to buy our friend back from the guards. I have sand from the red, black, and white beaches from when I lived in Santorini, along with five different seas and numerous deserts. I have two shoe boxes full of envelopes and small bags and now fancy tubes to keep these geological treasures.”

So it really comes as no surprise that Noël has also collected sand from the world’s largest fresh water lake to incorporate into one of her latest designs.  The Stone Circle Pottery Müg (pronounced “moog”)  contains sand from the beaches of Lake Superior, with tiny bits of agate in every piece. Noël explains that it is a way to connect her customers to Thunder Bay in a meaningful way. 

“They are a reflection, of the place we live and share our lives together. It’s a connection to the powerful lake that has shaped our landscape, to the earth and to each other. To all the life that has come before us and the majestic power that is represented by the clay itself.”

Some of the oldest rocks in the world are from Lake Superior, formed about 2.7 billion years ago. Want to make a custom Müg? Stone Circle Pottery can use the sand you collect from your favourite lake. 

Pre-orders for the Müg are now open online at:

There will be a limited number of Mügs at Craft Revival (Red Lion). You can also snag the cup in the Fox on the Run Holiday Gift Card Pack. 

*This item is SOLD OUT but will be available in Fox on the Run Holiday Gift Packs the week of December 5.


6. Snoozin’ with the Giant Family PJs + Tree Cans: Ungalli Clothing Co

As a child, one of my favourite traditions during the holiday season was getting the gift of pj’s on Christmas eve.  Cozy pyjamas are just about the perfect compliment to evenings snuggled up by the fireplace with your favourite holiday movies… and even better, matching SUSTAINABLE pj’s for the entire family!

Photos by Jamie Dawn Photography

Inspired by the master of sleep and a TBay icon,  it’s tough not to snooze as hard as the Sleepy G when your pj’s are this cute, cozy and good for the planet too. Ethically made by Ungalli Clothing  Co from recycled and organic materials, they are available online by visiting or check to the Ungalli Shop on Cumberland Street filled with tons of holiday goodies. 

“There’s nothing more important than a good nights sleep, especially when Santa is watching! Create a conversation about why sustainability is important during the holidays (and always) by gifting a family a matching set of pj’s made from recycled fabrics. “

While grabbing pj’s also check out a fun-filled gift that will grow a  Red Maple or living Christmas Tree!  It’s a tree in a can!! This grow kit is 100% guaranteed and you will find everything needed to germinate the tree included. 

“This year at Ungalli, it’s all about inspiring the kiddos to grow up to lead more sustainable lives! Kids everywhere should know that even though they were born into a world that is changing rapidly, they were also born at a time when they can do profound good. This holiday season let us tell our children stories about the planet they live on, with an ending that is filled with love, possibility and hope. Cheers to the future change makers of the world!”

7. Truffle Boxes: Chef John Murray of Red Lion Smokehouse & Cardinal Chocolate Company

Ahhh chocolate… How do I love thee? Let me count thy ways. Our love affair with chocolate has been going on for centuries, and continues to be  one of the most popular gifts to give. Everyone loves chocolate…especially beautifully presented chocolate boxes—one of life’s simple pleasures.  Give the gift of melt-in-your mouth chocolate from Chef John Murray of Red Lion Smokehouse. 

Fun fact: John is actually a Michelin-trained pastry chef so you know these are going to be AWESOME (they are actually so good I can’t even explain it).  Made entirely by hand and produced in only small batches, this means each chocolate has tons of care and attention put into it. They take hours to produce, some even days! 

Photos by DZ Photography

Coming in six different flavours for you to savour, the combinations are a delight to discover:

  • Champagne & Raspberry  (White Chocolate)
  • Lime, Malibu Rum & Coconut (White Chocolate) 
  • Peanut Butter & Banana (Milk Chocolate) 
  • Hazelnut & Amaretto (Milk Chocolate)
  • Smoked Espresso (Dark Chocolate)  + (Rosencrantz Coffee) 
  • Heartbeat & Dark Chocolate (Dark Chocolate) + (Forgotten Lake Heartbeat Hot Sauce) 

The trick to yummy chocolate- tempering. Chef Murray explains “the melt temperature of the chocolate is important, then cooling it to a specific temperature is the process of ‘tempering’.” Again, all done by hand. These sweet treats won’t last! The Truffle Boxes will be sold in either 6 or 12 pieces and will be available at Craft Revival (Red Lion Smokehouse), and then available at the pub throughout the holiday season.


8. Woollysteer Ranch Gift Boxes

Mooooove over Yellowstone, Woollysteer Ranch is on Santa’s good list this year! If you follow Rachel and Jay on any of their social media platforms, you know who they are and simply adore this first-generation of family ranchers, raising heritage Highland cattle and Mangalitsa hogs.

Woollysteer brings you an up close and personal experience of ranch life, taking viewers along for day to day activities,  moving the herd, the entire family out doing chores and taking care of the animals  (including littles, Geor and Keitta ) and even the birth of their calfs! 

“Inspired by nature itself, we strive to raise our livestock in a way that replicates the behaviours of wild herds and is as natural as possible. Our animals are Grazed in the Wild – spending their entire lives foraging pastures and roaming forests.”

Woollysteer’s Highland cattle AKA hairy cows are recognized for their distinctive horns and long, wavy, woolly coats. These fantastic beasts also have a reputation for their kind personalities.  Highland cows are raised primarily for their meat, which is growing in popularity as its lower in cholesterol than other forms of beef.

“Nothing makes us more proud than to share our nutrient rich 100% grass-fed and finished Highland beef and pasture-raised heirloom Mangalitsa pork with you. This isn’t your average commercially raised meat. These slow-growing, highly marbled meats are known to be superior in flavour and tenderness with additional health benefits, including higher levels of various vitamins and antioxidants. All our beef and pork is free from antibiotics, added hormones and chemicals.”

This holiday season Woollysteer Ranch is offering a collection of specially curated holiday meat boxes filled with an assortment of premium 100% grass-fed and finished Highland beef and heirloom Mangalitsa pork. Some of the box options will also include a bonus locally crafted gift as well as newly released Woollysteer toques. 

“The holiday meat boxes are the perfect unexpected gift for that person who already has everything or for the meat lover in your life. They would also make an excellent gift for anyone interested in sustainable and naturally raised meats or for someone who simply loves sampling different types of gourmet meat.”

Woollysteer boxes will be available December 9th and can be purchased at: Follow Woollysteer to find out more details.

BTW Do you think Jay looks like Kasey from Yellowstone!???? I asked Rachel what she thinks…  She confessed that she’s told about this weekly!!! “I’m a total Kasey fan, so I love it ”


9. Lake Crib Board: Stakd  Birch

The game that has stood the test of time now has an exceptionally nice board- one of the only things you really need to play. These beautifully made, custom lake cribbage boards by Stakd Birch, are made out of premium Baltic birch. With a cartographer on the team, Stakd can map any lake in Canada! They use a laser to cut and engrave the boards, then stain, assemble and treat each one. You can can personalize your gift with a special location and engraving on the 9” x 14” borad that comes with pegs. The Lake Superior board is the  best seller. 

“We both grew up playing crib at camp (well camp for Kristin and cottage for Brian) so we made a cribbage board and fell in love with them.  These are meaningful gifts that represent very important places for people and their families.  Almost every family has some connection to a lake or waterbody and what better gift than a one-of-a-kind, personalized cribbage board that doubles as a piece of art.”

The crib boards are quick to make, so last-minute shoppers are in luck.  Stakd Birch cribbage boards are made to order, which makes them completely unique. They travel well and are great for all ages. Place a custom order by messaging @stakdbirch on Instagramor by sending an email to  You can also catch them at Craft Revival (Delta).

10. Holiday Activity Boxes: Little Farm Hands 

Fun, festive and SO cute! It’s the perfect activity for kids to do over the holidays and a cozy way to spend a winter day together. 

If your littles  enjoy painting, colouring, and creating, Little Farm Hands boxes will make all their crafting dreams come true (not to mention you can save  your creations as a holiday keepsake for years to come).

Little Farm Hands creates thoughtfully designed painting kits using handmade plaster figures. They have regular boxes available all year long, plus speciality boxes for every holiday. There are various Christmas themed boxes this year, including two different paint your own Christmas ornaments boxes (paint ceramic figurines to create your own holiday decorations or give a creative gift for someone else in your life).

Hope and Tegan believe the Little Farm Hands boxes “not only provide a ready-to-go craft, but are also a meaningful activity to do as a family, or for kids to paint and give as gifts they will feel proud of.”

Little Farm Hands boxes will be  available to purchase at Craft Revival (Goods & Co). You can also submit an order via Instagram:  @littlefarmhands_

11. Candle Making Class: Waxxed Candle Co

Give the gift of a wick-ed good time at Waxxed Candle Co! If someone in your life loves candles, or even just trying something new,  a candle making class experience is an awesome idea.

Photos by DZ Photography

 It’s a  fun, hands-on 30 to 45 minutes session at the Waxxed Candle Bar where you create your own custom scent to take home and enjoy. From wax, containers, and fragrance, participants learn the essentials of candle making, going step by step through the process.

The candle class is for beginners. A fun pink apron is provided, sparkles are optional, dancing is a must. A class can be booked for a group or individual and is definitely a way to brighten up a winter evening!


12. Maple Stocking Stuffers: Lumberjack Pancake Mix- Canada West Maple Products

Timber!!! Now these are worth getting out of bed early for! Fluffy, tall, sweet and delicious, the new Lumberjack Pancake Mix, creates the best short stack, and gift. This pancake mix is truly a local product, with the wheat for the flour even grown by Jeff of Brule Creek Farms in Kakabeka, and is milled and packaged right at his farm. Created by Canada West Maple Products, its fine granulated maple sugar has been added right into the mix, to give a subtle hint of maple in the pancake itself. 

“These fluffy style pancakes would be right at home in the old lumber camps that used to be common in the woods all around Northwestern Ontario, but are also the perfect Sunday breakfast treat with the kiddos.”

They also make a yummy addition to any Christmas morning breakfast, topped off with Canada West Maple’s 100% pure maple syrup.

Canada West Maple Products is a producer and distributor of the very best quality maple syrup made in Northern Ontario. The Lumberjack Pancake Mix is available at the Sugar Shack in Goods and Co, online, or at the following retailer locations in Thunder Bay:

  • Georges Market and Celebrations
  • Ungalli
  • Westfort Foods
  • Evergreen Pharmacy (KB)
  • Kakabeka Depot (KB)
  • Cheese Encounter
  • Nomad on Bay


12. Maple Stocking Stuffers: Creole Maple Hot Sauce- Heartbeat Hot Sauce

Now this is a  knockout for gift giving! You really can’t go wrong with Heartbeat Hot Sauce’s latest sauce. Creole Maple is the third installment of the Poirier’s Louisiana lineup, landing right in the middle, heat wise, of the other two sauces. It brings the two sides of the partnership together (Lafayette and Ontario) in a delicious way using a blend of cajun spices and locally sourced maple syrup from Canada West Maple Products. 

“Working with Dustin is extremely special to us because he could have reached out to any hot sauce company on earth. It’s an unexpected Hot Sauce partnership because it’s not Tabasco, it’s a Canadian company out of Northern Ontario founded by a husband and wife. He cared more about the quality of the product than the scale. It really came down to how well we got along on our first meeting and the rest is history. He’s the best.”

Heartbeat Hot Sauce launched back in 2015 in Thunder Bay, and company owners truly believe they could not have grown the way they did, if they started anywhere else. “When we launched Heartbeat here in Thunder Bay, we felt the community and local retailers embrace our vision and run with it. Our community lit the spark that is still at the heart of our company and its growth. Nothing makes us happier than repping our hometown on a global scale.”

The new sauce definitely supports local, with Canada West Maple Syrup as a key ingredient. With the holidays all about food, Heartbeat is a good gift. “It’s fun to take a recipe you’re known for and add one of the sauces to create a spicy take on a tradition. The bottles are also the perfect size to slip in a stocking.”

“We ship our products worldwide from our website every day, and recently had an order come in from the North Pole…so maybe, just maybe, Santa himself is adding some of Thunder Bay’s finest to his cookies this year.”


13. Fishing Lures: Fishing Kid Brock

Growing up in Northwestern Ontario, we all have a fish tale or two about that BIG catch… but what about a lure with a story. 

You’re going to want to snag this gift. 11-year-old Brock has created his very own fishing lure. From the time he was old enough to hold a rod, Brock loved fishing and being out in a boat.  His passion inspired him to create a lure that he hopes will encourage more kids to fish while helping others reel in the big one. With a lot of time on the water and learning from his own adventures at the lake, Brock figured out a style he wanted to make. He puts quality and care into every lure he creates by hand in his garage at home. 

“The fishing lures were created with the idea that they needed to be shiny and loud to capture the fishes’ attention. I use beer bottle caps or the pop bottles like A&W root beer caps. Inside each cap I place bbs that are made of copper to rattle around and create a bit of weight. They are then added to a swivel and hook.”

So do they work? Brock says they definitely do, putting the lures to the ultimate test over the summer. The lures brought in pickerel, pike and bass.  “I did have failures before, but that’s what’s fun about making your own lures. You get to try them and see if they work. “

Brock has aspirations to become a fish guide when he is older. The biggest fish he’s caught to date was a 41-inch Musky (WOWZA) this past summer on Eagle Lake. “I love to fish anywhere really, but Lake Superior never disappoints me. It is such a massive lake and you really never can predict what will happen out there.”

Brock’s fishing lure can be purchased via Instagram: @fisher.kidbrock  or at the Ungalli Shop on Cumberland St.

14. Something Rotten Theatre Tickets: Badanai Theatre

Give the gift of theatre (and laughs) this Christmas. Badanai Theatre’s latest production promises to be a fun night out, featuring a newer Broadway musical hit called Something Rotten. 

Something Rotten is about two brothers who set out to write the world’s first musical in this hilarious mash-up of sixteenth-century Shakespeare and twenty-first-century Broadway. It’s an absolutely hilarious, light, upbeat musical farce, and the laugh we all need to brighten the dark winter nights. 

“We couldn’t resist bringing this show to Thunder Bay! We have a cast and crew of over 25 people who are amazingly talented taking on this show. We thought we have produced some large shows in the past, but from the dancing to the harmonies of the music… and the jokes – this will surely be our biggest production to date.”

Over the past couple of years, Badanai Theatre’s annual winter musical has become an event people not only wait to audition for…. but patrons can’t wait to get their tickets for. The hugely popular productions have sold out night after night for shows such as The Producers, Sister Act, Mamma Mia, and my absolute favourite, The Addam’s Family. “You can go to Toronto or Broadway to see some of these shows, but we have a talent of finding some of the best local people and making them shine onstage here. We add our own comedy to the shows, and always ensure the heart and passion of the story is there for audiences to fall in love with it.”

Tickets for Something Rotten go on sale December 1st at:

Save $5 per regular ticket if you purchase in 2022. All performances take place at the Paramount February 1,2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 11, 15, 16, 17, and 18.


15. Custom Photo Ornaments: Talus Prints

Imagine a tree filled with pictures of your favourite people and memories? Trim the tree with custom Christmas ornaments from Talus Prints. These photo ornaments make great keepsakes and gifts for those hard-to-shop-for loved ones (also very popular with Grandma and Grandpa).

The handcrafted 4” wooden ornaments feature a mounted photo of your choice with a protective coating. The edges are sanded giving it a true handmade feel and also comes with a choice of twine or leather string. Creating a new ornament every year can be a fun tradition the whole family will love for years to come.

“Nothing lights up a grandparents face more than seeing their adorable grandchildren. There’s also something so special about adding a spot on our tree for our favourite people and fondest memories. It’s sure to make the viewer smile each time they walk by or admire their tree lit up. We also love the idea of creating your own tree to be full of beautiful memories and adding to those memories each year.”

Talus Prints custom ornaments are available to purchase at 

Simply upload your favourite photo and ensure the crop is correct. The deadline to order is December 16th for local pickup or December 7th for an order to be shipped. 


16. Watin Vinyl & Show Tickets: Aysanabee

He’s got a voice that will stop you in your tracks, is being described as “one of the most compelling new voices in Canadian music”,  and his new debut album Watin came it at number 7 on CBC’s best 22 albums of 2022. Aysanabee, a.k.a. Evan Pang is an Oji-Cree singer, songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist born in Sandy Lake First Nation, who grew up just outside of Thunder Bay.   If you saw him perform at Wake the Giant Music Festival, you will know why Watin is an absolute must have. Named after his grandfather, the tracks are inspired by conversations they had during the pandemic. His voice can be heard throughout the album’s tracks.

Photos by Epica Pictures

“Watin actually started out as a series of conversations between myself and my grandfather. We spent the first year of the pandemic talking about things we’ve never spoke about, his life on the trapline on Sandy Lake First Nation, falling in love, his life in residential school and then leaving everything behind..we never spoke of it until now. Even though we were over 1,000 kilometres apart, it was probably the closest we’ve ever been.”

Watin is available on vinyl at:

Tickets to one of Aysanabee’s shows also make a great gift (full schedule: ). You can catch him live on the The CP Holiday Train when it visits Thunder Bay on December 2nd. 


17. The Tiny Gift Shop & The Licit Garden 

If you go for a hike at Mink Mountain, you might have to do a double take when you first discover the cute Tiny Shop located on Island Avenue. It’s a pleasant little surprise for visitors to the area… an unexpected treat that you truly would never expect to see.  Inside you will find the walls and shelves packed with so many handmade treasures—ornaments, wall hangings, cups, bird houses— all inspired by nature and the surrounding forests.

The sign outside the shop reading “On Your Honour gift shop: a small store that sells things that might be given as a gift”, inside a little note book with visitors comments about their adoration of the spot and a list of all of the items purchased. If you’re in search of a gift you won’t find anywhere else, and are in need for a winter adventure, this is a unique shopping experience you don’t want to pass up. 

Inspired by their love and passion for travel, Rebecca Smith and Jeff Kay opened a fun, quirky little boutique shop in Thunder Bay just last year. When you walk into the Licit Garden something will definitely catch your eye, filled with a ton of interesting and unique items made by small makers.

“We wanted to recreate the feeling of strolling through funky shops when you’re in a new city. We’ve put together a unique array of gift-abel items with all ages, interests and budgets in mind.”

Rebecca explains that it’s all about the stories that each product tells, “whether it’s one of sustainability or of the maker and their creative process.”

The curated collection of everything and anything includes a San Fransisco inspired sock wall, jewelry with little hand written messages from people all over the world, vintage style blankets made out of recycled materials, and your fav Canadian snacks to hang on the tree (yes that is a cheezies ornament). 

The inventory is ever-evolving, so always keep an eye out for new featured pieces and make sure to check out the Christmas cactus.The Licit Garden is located at 118 Cumberland Street North.

18. Macrame Book: Tiffany Allen

Macramé has made a strong come back over the past couple of years and the boho decor has even gained in popularity as a DIY craft. So why not learn the technique from Thunder Bay’s own pro of knots, Tiffany Allen of Macramé and Driftwood? Wanting to be able to teach the art of macramé to anyone who has ever had interest in the craft,  this year she released the book titled “You will be able to macramé by the end of this book”. 

This is a great gift for the creative in your life, or even the person who just can’t get enough of the fringed trend!   “Macrame has really brought so much joy to my life and I wanted to share my knowledge and passion for this hobby with all of you.  I wrote this book for absolute beginners, but it can be enjoyed by seasoned fiber artists who are looking to try out some new designs. “

The book starts with a full introduction including the ideal setup, tools, materials, calculating how much rope to use,  and then it jumps into a comprehensive Knot and Technique Library with clear illustrations that the reader can follow very easily.

“I’ve included tips and tricks that I’ve learned over the years that will surely be helpful.After trying out some of the projects the reader will be well on their way to creating their own original designs, which is truly the best part of learning macrame (and I think you’ll agree)!”

You can pick up the book locally at Entershine Bookshop.


19. Silver Islet General Store Tea: International House of Tea + Silver Islet General Store

If you’ve visited the historic Silver Islet General Store, you will know its Tea Room has reopened and is the perfect place to getaway from the rush of daily life, relax and take in the rich history of the nearby surroundings. Since 1871, the General Store has been the hub of the quaint mining town, and although  closed during the winter months, you can still  give the gift of one of store’s tasty family traditions. 

Operated by Sandy and Jeff Korkola, the Tea Room  is known for the family’s homemade pies and delicious cinnamon buns that people travel for from all over the place just to taste.

“There isn’t much from childhood life that I  remember more than the smell of my mom’s homemade cinnamon buns. Walking into our home after school and smell taking over the air. This is the same warmth of cinnamon customers swoon over when they walk into General Store. My grandmother taught my mom, and in turn, my mom taught me and my sister to make these sinful pleasures.”

Like a pastry fresh out of the oven, Silver Islet General Store’s Cinnamon Bun Tea is a heartwarming classic. Lightly spicy, it is perfect for winter days and is sure to become an instant favourite in your household. Pair this gift with the store’s incredibly popular Blueberry Lemon House Blend.

This past summer,  the Korkola’s collaborated with the  International House of Tea  to create a tea that could be served daily at the location. Add a dollop of honey to make it slightly more sweet, then sit back and relax with this iconic blend. “Our homemade wild Blueberry Pie has always been a favourite in the Tea Room. Customers call ahead to plan their visit on the days we bake our fresh pie. Now there’s no need to wait for dessert to enjoy the taste of fresh northern blueberries!”

The teas are available online at with free local delivery. 


20. Craft Soda Cocktail Kit and Drift Cranberry-Orange Holiday Pack: Sleeping Giant Brewing Company

Ok, it’s not beer! Sleeping Giant Brewing company is bubbling up something other than it’s typical brew— this past year the company has tapped into the craft soda scene. With a desire to have options for everyone, the new products were created. Non-alcoholic craft soda and a gluten-friendly hard seltzer provides a lineup of beverages for those who may be sensitive to gluten, looking for a calorie and carb friendly non-beer option, or are seeking a non-alcoholic craft beverage . Both the Craft Soda and Hard Seltzer are produced in Thunder Bay using fresh, all natural, Canadian-sourced ingredients. 

Cue holiday gift packs! 

Craft Soda Cocktail Kit: Tasty on its own, the ginger ale also makes a great cocktail mixer. The kit  includes two SGBC cocktail glasses, two cans of SGBC Craft Ginger Ale and a signature cocktail recipe card. 

Drift Cranberry-Orange Holiday Pack: Try the limited edition, small batch Cranberry-Orange Drift hard seltzer in an exclusive holiday pack, with three cans of the bevy plus a Sleeping Giant Brewing Co. pint glass. “The Drift pack is an exclusive, limited-edition flavour, brewed in a small batch only for the holidays – it’s the perfect holiday party sipper.”

Both packs each come in under $25, making them ideal for your secret-santa exchange, or a last-minute gift for those who are more tricky to shop for. Both are available at Sleeping Giant Brewing Co. retail locations (712 MacDonell St, Goods & Co. Market, Intercity Shopping Centre, Thunder Bay Country Market),  or online at

BONUS: TBay Wrapping Paper

You’ve made it this far, so you might as well continue to keep it local and wrap all of your gifts in fun Thunder Bay themed paper! Pulp + Paper Creative has got you covered (and your presents too) with three different designs, which includes ‘This Gift was made in Thunder Bay, a holiday Thunder Bay colour palette, and no-label needed North pole certified wrapping paper.

They are all 100% recyclable and there’s even TBay tape to go along with it. Designer Heather Cranston is also taking it one step further for you, offering custom wrapping paper (include your littles name, or maybe even your dog). 

The local wrapping paper is available at:


About the author

Amanda Bay

Amanda is a PR Gal from Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. She is a news enthusiast and communications specialist, navigating the media world for over 17 years. Being very passionate about her community, she strives to create a positive reaction through giving back and her work. It's about finding the awesome in all of life's experiences.

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