Top 20 Thunder Bay Holiday Gift List: 2018

The holidays are here and it’s “fa, la, la, la” until the end of the year. With the cheer and festivities of the Christmas season upon us,  also comes gift giving— a time that many stress over finding that perfect present for those that made your nice list. But no need to worry! Whether it’s a gift for a wife or girlfriend, boyfriend, hubby, something for your parents, a sibling, friend, or a prezzie for your co-worker, The Bay Awesome Top 20 TBay Holiday Gift List has a variety of awesome suggestions for everyone. This might very well be the best Christmas ever— but hey— no pressure.

Shopping locally is a cozy, hometown experience and everyone should enjoy it. I know sometimes it takes a little extra time, so this list should make it easy, with no-fail presents that also gives the gift of supporting Thunder Bay artisans and local businesses (and you get to meet and check out a lot of awesome people and places along the way). Many of the gifts included are inspired by Thunder Bay, while offering unique things to do in the community— experiences. I often find, the best gifts are moments and time we can spend together. 

Wishing you an awesome Christmas. Happy shopping! xo

1.Wine Caddy: Joanne + Russell

Scenario: You’re outside sitting around the campfire with a glass of wine, but there’s nowhere to put it down.You put the glass on the uneven ground,  and then your friend accidentally kicks it over, the dog gets it,  OR even worst …you spill it…wasted wine. THE WORST. 

If you know a wine-o, or someone that just really loves relaxing in the backyard after a long day of work, Joanne+ Russell’s Wine Caddy is a gift they will ADORE. The Wine Caddy is a portable wine bottle and glass holder that stakes into the ground, making your favourite vino safe and sound and within arm’s reach (meaning you can pretty much sit anywhere and pour a glass, not to mention you don’t have to leave the party to fill it back up).  And the best thing is, you can take it with you wherever you go! It’s light and portable and easily packs into your vehicle. 

Joanne + Russell, a husband and wife duo, spend a lot of time outdoors in the summer and having two little ones, they wanted to create something that was stable to keep glasses safe when outside by the fire—“In between roasting marshmallows or making spider dogs…a lot of getting up and sitting down occurs. Our motto is ‘One mama, one papa, endless possibilities’.

The Joanne + Russell Wine Caddy is exclusive to the Bay Awesome Gift List this holiday season with a limited quantity available.  Use code BAY AWESOME to get this special one-of-a-kind gift  by visiting the Joanne + Russell’s  Facebook or Instagram (joanne_and_russell) pages. Available in Espresso or Walnut. 

2. Neon Screenprint: Pulp + Paper Creative 

A gift with a glow. 

Old signs on buildings often go unnoticed and they’re disappearing fast, but graphic designer and illustrator,  Heather Cranston-Lesniewski  is shining a light on this part of the city’s history in a creative way. Her newest print features nine iconic neon signs of Thunder Bay, that are remnants offering a lens into a neighborhood’s past, showcasing the signs we love and grew up with. Neon fixtures used to dominate city landscapes, but times changed, neon faded in popularity, and now many of the city’s best vintage signs continue to disappear. Yet amid the tangle of digital LED billboards and backlit chain-store signs, neon’s legacy will live on in this awesome print. 

Heather explains that she loves old signs and advertisements— “A lot of the signs that we have left are at the point that they are damaged or starting to disappear. I starting redrawing them without a plan. After I had a few, I had to make a print.”

Neon signs come to life— a couple flickers, a buzz and then the illumination of vibrant colours with a mesmerizing glow, and this print is no exception. This limited edition 18 x 24 screen print ($45.00) on French Paper Co paper, has a layer of glow in the dark ink, so when the lights are out, the neon is on! This fun retro style art piece is a great present for those that love vintage.

It can be purchased by emailing pulpandpapercreative@gmail.com, or finding Heather on Instagram:  @hc_co

3. Winter Toque: Knits by Nat 

Move over knitting grannies, Natalie Jurcik is on to you and she can whip together everything from conventional toques and scarfs, to more advanced items like area rugs, decor baskets, and even bikinis! The old stereotype of the knitting grandmother clicking her needles in her rocking chair is gone, and Nat proves it. Every time I see this gal (which is usually during the Christmas months) she’s got needles in her hands with a big ball of yarn working on a  new project. Needless to say the finished product is snug, cozy and so lovely. The second you put on one of her knitted masterpieces it feels like it was made just for you- this hat in particular is so warm with the extra cable pattern and is easy to match with any outfit as it’s a nice neutral green.

Natalie has been knitting for about five years after she taught herself how to make an infinity scarf, and soon after learning new stitches, figuring out a pattern (she says that most of her patterns are original) her love for the craft and creativity just grew.

Her winter toques make a great Christmas gift, and it’s Thunder Bay… so who doesn’t need a warm hat?!  Knits by Nat will be at upcoming Christmas craft shows and you can also find her on Instagram @KnitsByNatTbay

4. Persian Candle: Peace & Quiet Candle Co.

Like socks and beauty product stocking stuffers, candles are a no-brainer gift to give this Christmas. Appropriate for him or her, grandma or your gal pal next door, Peace & Quiet Candle Co. offers hand poured, soy wax candles, filling homes with warmth and scents that enhance the calm and cozy moments at home.

Aura’s ranging from festive scents (Birch Wood & Cranberry, O’ Christmas Tree, Peppermint Stick, and Holiday Spice)  to Thunder Bay’s very own sweet treat the Persian, they’ll literally be appreciated by everyone on your list…yes, even your bachelor brother understands that candles in a home are a must.

Peace & Quiet Candle Co. candles are made in small batches to ensure premium quality. They use soy wax as it is a biodegradable, renewable resource and doesn’t emit toxins when you burn it. This makes for a long, clean burn. 

The Persian candle is an awesome gift because it’s like having a little piece of Thunder Bay in your home at all times and smells so good that you’ll want to eat it- but please don’t. Whether you live in the city and like Persians (or just a good bakery scent) or you have a loved one living out of town, it’s a sweet and unique connection to home.

A selection of Peace & Quiet Candle Co. candles are currently available at The Design Studio, Blush Boutique, Up Shot Coffeehouse, and Stella WaxBar.

Insta: @peaceandquietcandleco

5. Metal Saw Art Hangings: MJ Metals

If you’re looking for something rustic and unique, MJ metals has awesome home decor gift options just for you. Mike Jaques takes old saws and metals and turns their old-fashioned flatness into a new dimension of artistic expression. 

What started as something he did in his spare time (making gifts for friends), Mike says has evolved into a business of creating keepsakes of art. “A lot inspires me. I’ve been sober for over two years which opened the door to explore my inner artistic side that I never really new I had. All of my work comes straight from the heart. ”

These metal pieces are perfect for that empty wall inside the sauna, at camp, or even in the living room. With a love for the outdoors and surrounding wilderness, Mike’s favourite work are his tree and fish saws .“They’re all very different  and one-of-a-kind just like all the trees in the forest. I love the shapes and styles of all the saws and handles.”

After finding old saws or metal, Mike comes up with a design, cuts it out and then cleans some pieces depending on style- some get welded and heated to change the colour and detail, which means that no two items will ever be alike. 

MJ Metals artwork is available at Mike’s gallery upon request and several art shows in Thunder Bay. There are also current pieces up on display for sale at the Sal. 

Insta: @mj_metals

6. Urban Farmchick’s Flower Subscription 

Flowers are definitely one of those gifts that never go out of style. There’s something about receiving a bouquet of flowers that will put a smile on anyone’s face- but what if you could continue to give flowers to that special someone for weeks?

The Urban Farmchick’s Flower Subscription provides flower lovers with the opportunity to receive premium locally grown flowers, fresh from their flower field and gardens right here in Thunder Bay.  Every week for four weeks throughout the summer and early autumn season your gift recipient will receive a big beautiful, freshly harvested bouquet of flowers with a variety of blooms and foliage rarely seen in store bouquets. 

Your gifted flower subscription not only offers a stunning alternative to imported store bouquets but supports the local urban flower farm.  All of the flowers you receive are grown locally from seed to harvest using natural growing methods, meaning they are safe to bury your face in, and will have the kind of scent, colour, and variety that you can’t find anywhere else.

Members can expect both annual and perennial flowers complimented by beautiful, unique grasses and foliage and the variety changes weekly depending upon the weather, growing conditions and time of season. 

(Photos by Maria Maria)

Kate Fraser-Hominick is the urban flower farmer responsible for growing the beautiful blooms. During summer months make sure to check out her Walk-up Flower Stand and Moss Cottage that has an outstanding flower field and garden.

Insta: @urbanfarmchickflowers

theurbanfarmchick.blogspot.com

7. Denim Tote Bag: Knife Fight Press

This gift really is totes awesome. Arthur, William and Thunder- the gang’s all here. This denim tote bag (which is completely handmade) and also comes as a t-shirt, is a Thunder Bay inspired design, that holds your stuff and shows off your love for all areas of the community, past and present. 

Knife Fight Press, a of couple DIY screen printers who started out by making their own presses so they could print merch for their friend’s bands and a local bike polo club, have now been printing together for ten years. They print posters, bags, t-shirts, pillow cases, patches and pennants, many of which have a Thunder Bay theme including super neat neighbourhood maps of the city, which are also my favourite.  

A little known fact about the name:  The meaning behind it isn’t as nearly as badass as people think. The team explains that it actually comes from their love for bike polo and pays tribute to how the business started – a “Knife Fight” in the bike polo scene is a two person version of the game.

Insta:  @knifefightpress

8. 100 Club: Red Lion Smokehouse

At the root of any pub, is community, and this is a pretty sweet way on building just that. This membership is about the love of beer and like-minded humans clinking mugs together. The Red Lion Smokehouse 100 Club is available to a limited number of patrons (100 to be exact) to become a part of the pub’s most select customer base- and the best part is all members get there very own numbered stein (larger than the typical pint glass) that sits in a very exclusive cabinet near the bar, and  you get to use it every time you visit the establishment. It’s like a really cool name tag, that gives you access to 20 oz. pours for the price of a 16 oz. along with several other perks and benefits.

So if you know someone that is a Red Lion super fan or perhaps just a bar regular, this is a unique gift that lasts all year round, where members feel welcome and have someone to talk with even if they show up alone. What can be better than pulling up a chair to the bar, getting your own very special mug filled to the brim with a tasty brew, and attempting to solve world problems with other 100 club members?

Other perks include a personalized 100 Club ID card that is certain to impress your family and friends, a birthday pint on the house, 10% off event tickets at the Red Lion Smokehouse and retail merchandise, 100 Club parties just for awesome club members,  and advance invitations to events at the venue. Every first Wednesday of the beginning of the month is also Tap Takeover meaning the bar will feature 8 to 10 beers from an Ontario craft brewery, where club members get to enjoy samples and great company. 

PS

With only 30 memberships left, this is a very hot item. Talking with John at Red Lion Smokehouse, he let me in on a secret, sharing that there are some BIG changes happening. Yes, the rumours are in fact true- Red Lion Smokehouse is moving… but don’t worry it’s not going too far. Getting a sneak peak, I guarantee these memberships will go fast. 

9. TBay Mittens: The Loop

Mittens and Christmas go hand in hand. These are custom made, fleece lined Message Mitts, that tell the world just how much you love TBay. The customized mittens are available at the Loop for only $25. They come in this blended grey that matches any winter jacket, while showing off your Canadian and hometown pride, making for great Thunder Bay souvenirs. The Loop has been open since 2007, with almost all stock comprised of Canadian independent designers. The mitts are Dulux brand from Toronto. The store has carried their hats, fedoras and toques in the past. 

The Loop is located at 2 Court Street S or you can order online by visiting theloopclothing.ca

10. Ruby Gift Set, Whipped Shea Butters, Cold Process Soap, Nourishing Lip Balm, Shampoo Bars (Pretty much everything and the kitchen sink): Lovely Body 

It’s called a must-have for a reason. No matter who is on your list, these lovely products are bound to put a smile on someone’s face (even if it’s your own) come present-opening day.  This year, instead of choosing a generic lip balm or soap for a friend or as a stocking stuffer, why not elevate your shopping and pick a product that is made entirely here in Thunder Bay with non-toxic ingredients.

With a new expanded shop, Lovely Body has been able to increase its holiday line, with classic favourites like lotions, whipped shea butters, scrubs and soaps, along with new items like silk shampoo bars, cupcake bath bombs/bubble bombs, and new nourishing lip balms. There are scents ranging from warm and spicy, to cool and clean. Owner Sarah Johnston says that at this time of year her skin gets really dry with the cold air, so Whipped Shea Butters are a staple. 

There’s also a  huge rage about the new Silk Shampoo Bars and Nourishing Lip Balms that Sarah can’t keep on the shelf. “Experimenting with the shampoo bars gave me a whole new appreciation for my hair, which I’ve always just thrown up in a ponytail because it drives me bonkers. With the shampoo bars and hair oils, I can get up and walk out the door without having to worry about putting in other products or fussing with straightening it if I don’t have time – for the first time ever it’s just behaving!”

From start to finish Lovely Body is a local business – every single product on its shelves is handcrafted right in the Red River road shop (and a little secret- if you pop by, you can even see the team in action as there is a  window to view how everything is made). Also take note that every bar of soap looks like a piece of art. 

Some other quick facts that are absolutely lovely about this local business: Since its inception it has donated over 1500 bars of soap to community shelters. On Etsy, it became the #1 Canadian Bath & Beauty seller and Top 100 worldwide, and has had some really awesome corporate orders, including Revlon Canada (who gifted Lovely Body items to their Beauty Editors for Christmas). 

Lovely Body is located at 264 Red River Rd.

Insta: @lovelybodyproducts 

11. West Bison Tee- Wild Badger

Wild Badger clothing and designs are influenced by landscapes, nature and wildlife.  From conception to fruition, every print is a stylish liaison between the clothing and the outdoors. This  West Bison design is printed on a black unisex t-shirt made in Canada (Toronto), and is 70% bamboo (Rayon from bamboo) and 30% organic cotton.

Designer Emma Siltamaki, who is behind the entirety of the business, taught herself  how to screen print four years ago and from there it grew into a full-time career. Emma explains that this gift is inspired by  a road trip back in June of 2017 to the western United States, specifically Montana and Wyoming. “This design has a really special place in my heart since it’s my own artistic expression of a bison which has become one of my favourite animals”.

The shirt is great for outdoor adventures or even just a casual day out. Wild Badger’s “Wild” and cedar tanks are also my personal favourite. The fabric is unbelievably soft and are perfect for camp or a hike. You can find Wild Badger (and Emma) at the Thunder Bay Country Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays along with other Christmas craft fairs.

Insta: @wildbadger

wildbadger.ca

12. Christmas Wish Bags- Dilico Anishinabek Family Care

Over the  past 10 years, the community has helped make over 4000 children’s Christmas wishes come true. Fill a Christmas Wish bag for a child in need as a gift for someone you love. The Dilico Christmas Wish Campaign provides a wish bag full of gifts and essential items such as mitts, socks, tooth brushes and learning supplies to those who might not have a merry christmas without one. 

(Photo by DZ Photography)

You actually fill the bag based on a special profile tag that is attached to the bag. It will tell you whether the gift is for a boy or girl, their age and interests and even clothing size. This year, over 850 bags are needing to be filled that will be delivered to local babies, children and youth.  Want to get a bag? Visit facebook.com/dilicochristmaswish. All Wish Bags are due back December 10th.

13. Thunder Bay Winter Tours: Seek Adventure & Tours

Seek Adventure & Tours is a new company in Thunder Bay that offers walking tours and guided outdoor experiences that celebrate local food, stories and places. All tours have different themes and tastings, and winter tours will share fun stories and adventures for guests to fall in love with the season all over again. 

Owner and Lead Seeker, Sue Hamel says she also started the business that has been in operation for just over three months, to offer opportunities for people to connect meaningfully with Thunder Bay. As an outdoor wilderness guide and educator for over two decades, leading adventures across North America and Africa, she had a desire to create engaging experiences both urban and out on the land. In addition to providing experiences for visitors and travellers from afar, Seek Adventure & Tours has also noticed a lot of locals taking the tours. “This has both surprised and pleased me. To see how many locals are appreciating and really enjoying our tours –  learning about the natural and cultural history, about the place they call home, and the outstanding culinary offerings.” 

Sue explains that one of the best ways to discover a city is through its culinary culture, with food tours growing in popularity worldwide, including Chicago, New York, Barcelona, Montreal, and now,  Thunder Bay!  “Walking food tours are the best way to get to know the food scene, chat with some of the food artisans and chefs, and get recommendations from a local and enthusiastic guide.”

Whether you are a tourist or a local, Seek Adventure & Tours is a perfect way to spend a few hours walking around, tasting some delicious bites and learning about the city’s natural and cultural history.

(Photos by Epic Pictures)

Winter Tour Options:

  • Signature Sip + Savour in Bay/Algoma: Enjoy 4+ ‘signature’ tastings in various locations in the historic neighbourhood + stories connecting you to this Tbay area. 
  • Warm + Wintry in the Waterfront District:  Celebrate winter and warm your soul with tastings that highlight this neighbourhood’s vibrant culinary scene. Experience short outdoor walks between three cozy indoor stops to relax with tastings to nourish and warm your senses.
  • Coffee and Comfort: Enjoy an informative coffee tasting experience before a snowy walk for nearby comfort food. Tastings will include an extended coffee experience at the first stop, where you will taste a single bean prepared three different ways. Also enjoy two delicious local bakeries for outstanding comfort food. Hear local stories of how the local people + natural world embrace comfort, which may deepen your relationship with winter.

Give the gift of a Winter Tour. Tickets can be purchased online or Seek e-certificates is perfect for gift giving. 

seekadventureandtours.com

14. Holiday Greeting Cards: Pixie Card Co. 

Spread holiday cheer with some humour.  Everyone needs a card to go with those Christmas gifts so why not also give some laughs while you’re at it.  Pixie Card Co. is a funny little greeting card business that designs and sells cards that say what everyone is really thinking. They will make you laugh and maybe even blush! (Oh my!)

When Owner and Designer Amanda Trevisanutto noticed a lack of funny greeting cards available she made it her mission to fill that void (and oh boy, has she done just that). For the past two years she collected funny sayings that she thought would be good on a card (after reading the cards you will agree that she seems like she would be a fun friend), then signed up for an Etsy Shop went to her first Craft Revival in May 2018, and the rest is history. 

(Photos by Jamie Dawn Photography)

Pixie Card Co. designs are unique because every card is different. They don’t have one standard look or feel to its designs, with a variety of colours and all different kinds of graphics to make each card stand out.

The greeting cards can be found in store at Wojo’s Mojo or online at:

etsy.com/ca/shop/PixieCardCo  

Insta: @piexiecardco

15. Hoodie & Blueberry Habanero: Heartbeat Hot Sauce

There is some serious heat behind this holiday gift. Seeing massive success in 2018, Heartbeat Hot Sauce is literally hot stuff in every way possible.  The Thunder Bay made company received a lot of national and even global attention this past year, being featured on the sixth  season of the popular Youtube series, Hot Ones.  “It was so exciting to hear Thunder Bay get shout outs from the likes of Michael Cera and Jeff Goldblum. We still can’t quite believe it happened,” says co-owners Al Bourbouhakis and Nancy Shaw. 

Did I mention that Heartbeat is featured in the New York boutique store Heatonists? By quickly googling that, you will learn that it is a pretty big deal. It’s a shop that specializes in top shelf hot sauces from all around the world. You can also find Heartbeat Hot Sauce products in 300 retailers.  

It’s definitely safe to say that Heartbeat Hot Sauce is Thunder Bay’s favourite condiment (seeing sales surpass national brands at Tbay grocery stores), so why not wear it proudly? The hot sauce company just launched it’s newest product, a clothing line that represents its brand. Sizzling hoodies, t-shirts, and hats.

(Photo by Epica Pictures)

I also recommend the company’s new Blueberry Habanero. The latest sauce is a collaboration with Heartbeat’s friends at Lake of the Woods Brewery. It’s a custom sauce for its restaurant using Forgotten Lake Blueberry Ale. I know you might be scratching your head thinking, ‘blueberry and hot sauce!?’  But the Heartbeat team says it’s a must-try on chicken wings, salmon, avocado toast, fish tacos and fresh corn on the cob. It’s a great sauce to get creative with and adds colour to any dish. I can attest- it’s delish. 

Heartbeat Hot Sauce clothing can be found at Mars (6 Court St S), while you can visit heartbeathotsauce.com to see the many retailers that carry its products in Thunder Bay.

Insta: heartbeat_hotsauce

16. Mama Mia! Tickets: Badanai Theatre

Over the years, millions of  people worldwide have fallen in love with the characters, the story and the music that makes Mamma Mia! the ultimate feel-good show. Badanai Theatre will be bringing the hilarious story of a young woman’s search for her birth father through ABBA hits, to Thunder Bay in the new year, which makes for the perfect gift and night out on the town. The show features over 30 local actors, and will hit the stage in Paramount Theatre-  Thunder Bay’s most intimate venue for performance, seating 230 people. I mean, even from the back row you can see every expression on the actors faces which is even better for comedy.“Audiences will feel like they are truly part of the show. People can expect everything that they love about Mamma Mia!  We’re going full out – costumes, set, lights – the ABBA outfits! It’s going to be a ball,” says Lawrence Badanai. 

Badanai Theatre started over 20 years ago and is now operated by Lawrence and Candi Badanai. The local group does two major productions per year— one large scale Broadway style musical in the winter and one light summer theatre production. The creative team is most recently known for their sold out and highly acclaimed adaptation of The Full Mont, and The Producers that broke box office records in the city.

“It’s not to produce ground breaking theatre, it’s to produce theatre that moves the soul, fulfills the hearts and gives audiences a good night out.” 

Tickets purchased as Christmas gifts are only $20, and can be found at the Maple Tops concession in the Paramount Theatre or by calling (807) 344-4080.

Photo (left to right): Rosie played by Leigh Wood , Donna  played by Stephenie Stirrup, and Tanya played by Jacqui Souls.

17. Brewery Tours & Official SGBC Swag

If you know someone that has a passion for local brew and thinks its hip to love hops, I suggest getting them a beer inspired prezzie. Although it might be tempting to give them one of those funny gifts, like a helmet with the two straws, I know you can do better than that, and Sleeping Giant Brewing Company has you covered. From fancy glasses, retro-knit toques, Christmas sweaters, beer-infused soaps, and a ton of options to flaunt love for your favourite beverage, Sleeping Giant Brewing Company has official swag and gift ideas for the entire family, including the baby! 

Sleeping Giant Brewing Company also has a great tour that would make for the perfect gift. Tour participants get to learn about beer, the brewing process, check out the fermenters, the Brew House, see how the malt gets crushed and hear about the journey of the company while they enjoy some samples or a pint in the Tap Room. At full capacity the brewery is canning 1200 beers per hour! That is a ton of brew. And keep a look out for the bikes overhead. Word on the street is that Mark from the packaging line likes to refurbish bikes…and what better place to store them, then at a brewery. 

In total the tour is about 45 minutes of education and entertainment. Every participant takes home a pint souvenir glass. (Did I mention it’s  only $8.00 per person!? Heck, for that price, you might as well join too.) To book brewery tours: sleepinggiantbrewing.ca

Check out Sleeping Giant’s Pop Up Shop in Intercity Mall for holiday swag along with the Brewery. 

18. Parisian Macarons: A Taste of France 

You don’t need to go all the way to Paris to enjoy this sweet treat. Perennially cute and very giftable, the macaron has gone from fad to fixture in the past decade. These macarons, handmade in Thunder Bay, not to be confused with English macaroons, make a delightful gift idea. 

These brightly coloured, mini meringues, daintily sandwiched together with gooey fillings, come in every imaginable flavour including, pistachio, chocolate orange, strawberry, lemon and even chai late. The five-piece box set, is an awesome gift for those with a sweet-tooth in your life, and can even be customized with an initial.  A Taste of France points out that they do not use artificial flavours, only natural, with some ingredients imported all the way from France. Macarons are made with almond flour and do not contain wheat, with the filling composed of buttercream or chocolate ganache.

Raised in France, and taking inspiration from a family of bakers and pastry chefs, Christine, who originally started the business in Oakville and just moved to Thunder Bay this summer, shared the story that she had been working as a flight attendant for many years and on her flights back from Paris, would see people coming on board with their cute Ladurée bags. (Ladurée is THE macaron reference in Paris). So, she thought she would try making them herself. “They are temperamental cookies but I got hooked. Lots of trials and errors! My kids loved the errors because they got to eat them!”

They are, to put it mildly, the most delicious macarons you could ever wish to eat. The colourful french treats can be found at the Thunder Bay Market (upstairs). You can also order online at: info@atasteoffrance.net. 

Insta: @a_taste_of_france 

19. Cooking Classes: A Fine Fit Catering

Cooking classes accomplish two things: they inspire the inner chef in all of us and they create great memories with those we love. What better gift can you think of for the person on your list who “has it all”? A Fine Fit Catering offers cooking classes aimed to make the art of cooking gourmet accessible to everyone, focusing on specific dietary or ethnic themes.  

Lead by cook Rhonda Bill, who has now tackled over 150 classes over the last eight years, hopes to inspire and encourage participants to take on new culinary pursuits that they might previously have thought to be too intimidating. “I hope people will walk away completely satisfied with their meals, entertained, and eager to try these recipes for their own families and parties.”  

Aside from walking through the recipes Rhonda has also been known to break out her guitar or ukulele and serenade the group while they eat.

(Photos by Steven Bill)

Most menus selected in the classes are done specifically with a local producer in mind, focusing on what’s available within season. Rhonda explains that A Fine Fit Catering makes sure to emphasize and celebrate the local food scene as much as possible, and also loves to use locally made pottery as much as possible. 

All classes are held in a studio teaching kitchen at 144 Evans St. To learn more and to book a class: afinefitcatering.ca/cooking-classes

20. Holiday Wish List:  Ritual Skin Co.

Now here is a gift that you can give to help those looking to purchase gifts. Ritual Skin Co., a new store in the Waterfront District has launched it’s very own Holiday Wish List Registry. You simply come into the store, and then owner Elsie Tranmar will take you through the products while you pick and choose what you would like for Christmas. The fun part is definitely checking out everything in the boutique. From the second you walk in, there is so much to admire, from the scents to the textures and the many unique brands. 

Elsie was inspired to create the new location as she wanted to give HAIL (her cosmetics line) a venue. She added other Canadian brands to the roster that were complimentary, being independent , cruelty free, clean and for the most part hand-crafted. Featuring a lot of skin care products such as cleansers, sunscreens, and anti-aging products, a baby care section that has plenty of treatment and sleep time products and every day routine staples, along with Men’s care items consisting of beard and shave products as well as some body care (when buying beauty products, it’s important not for forget about the men in our lives), and of course cosmetics.

The most unique and one of the most popular products, is the Magnesium Oil from SÒ Luxury. It’s said that 80% of the population is magnesium deficient. The oil is a sleep aid and has been proven to help with headaches, migraines, and restless leg syndrome. It’s applied topically on your feet and absorbs through your skin. 

“The meaning behind Ritual is just about routines. Getting into routines, starting new ones, or adding to an existing one. I think we all have daily routines and I want to help add proper skin care to those routines. Skin care is a part of self care.”

Ritual Skin Co. is located at 8 Court St S. 

Insta: @ritualskinco

ritualskinco.com

Special mention:

Just opening up it’s doors, I would also recommend to visit the new Hygge Loft. Pronounced “hoo-ga”, hygge is a Danish concept that can’t really be translated to one single word but encompasses a feeling of cozy contentment and well-being through enjoying simple things in life. This shop on Bay Street is just full of neat items including barware, blankets, candles, giftware, and even vintage board games.

 

Blog cover and theme photography by: DZ Photography

About the author

Amanda Bay

Amanda is a PR Gal from Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. She is a self-proclaimed news junkie, hot yoga addict, and above all else, a young professional. Amanda has been navigating the media world for over 14 years. With a background in journalism, she began her career in broadcasting as a Radio Personality and News Director , and then moved into the role of Photojournalist and Television News Anchor. Joining the Firedog Communications team back in 2009, she now lives and breathes to create a reaction as the Director of Communications and PR.

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