We are all starting to feel the holiday frenzy creep over us, and while some impatiently waiting the Black Friday deals, we suggest instead taking a peek at what our local artisans and boutiques have to offer. We have brought together ten businesses that have us by the heart and some gift ideas from them that will fulfill your desires for a local, responsible, and ethical holiday season!
Needle and thread - Atelier B
Founded in 2009 by two old friends, Catherine et Anne-Marie, and recently established in Old Montréal, the DNA of Atelier B is all about “minimalism and creativity” and perfectly expresses the essence of our historic neighbourhood. This second location is a boutique and gallery where they show off several artisans’ work and even host a Christmas Market. Here, Québécois and Canadian products are front and center, and if you’ve fallen for the cypress and fig candle from Baltic Club, then you’ll be sure to love the clothes here, made in their Montréal workshop, like this dress that is ideal for the holidays or as a gift to slip under the tree!
Funny, ethical, and inclusive - Mimi & August
From this brand of bathing suits, hats, sweatshirts and wonderfully decorated coffee mugs, we love being able to find amusing little greeting cards and funny tote bags that only get better with each one you see, perfect for delivering gifts without having to wrap! The loft boutique, situated on rue McGill, is worth the detour, and its owners, Camille and Joao, are so charming! Camille does all the illustrations for their brand items and her high level of talent is matched only by her creativity.
Montréal, I love you - Le P’tit Dep
Montréal or Poutine T-shirts, bagel socks, Montréal mugs… This shop that gives homage to the city of Montréal and its province has everything for lovers of this city, the proud residents of the Isle, or visitors bewitched by its charm. For those that hold an unconditional love for these famous little turquoise café-convenience stores, le P’tit Dep also has bottles and mugs with the image of these sweet storefronts on them. The Vieux boasts two different locations, at rue St-Paul and rue St-Sulpice!
Edgy gifts - Harricana par Mariouche
Since 1994, the talented fashion designer Mariouche has signed her creations under the Harricana brand, an “ecoluxe” label through which she makes everything by reusing fur to make fashionable items that are as warm as they are beautiful, keeping the environment and style in mind. Besides her mittens and shawls, we also noticed the Craft your pompom kit, a great way to upcycle a hat that you already own and give it a new allure.
Our lifeblood - Délices Érable & Cie
A nice name and a nicer store where maple is in the spotlight. You may think you know maple, but it has been reinvented here and it is astounding how Délice’s products are just as much for the local crowd as they are for tourists. Interestingly, the company is actually a co-op between several maple farms, and the products that you will find here all support an economy and a skilled trade! You should plan on testing their recipe for maple syrup and blueberry bread pudding for the holidays! From a small stocking stuffer to their festive kit or discovery box, the whole range of products is as full as it is attractive. Maple means the most when it’s sparking our senses!
Of bees and men - Montréal honey from the Marguerite Bourgeoys Museum.
Marguerite Bourgeoys Museum has a very good holiday store, and among the items found there, the Accueil Bonneau honey grabbed our attention. This honey is a solidarity product and result of a rehabilitation project led by a notable Montréal institution that assists persons struggling with homelessness. Bonneau honey is a local product that enriches the toast of those who buy it and the life of those who make it.
Hand-selected stones - Mélanie Stones
Talented businesswoman Mélanie has focused her diligence and her creativity toward the jewelry pieces that she creates with her hand-picked stones. With her nimble fingers and razor-sharp eyes, she envisions and creates jewelry from her studio in the heart of Old Montréal that lasts and is sure to please. Her new “I am lucky” collection is both a nice nod to the promising mantra and something that you can give to others or yourself for the new year.
This place puts stars in your eyes - Noël éternel
Even if this store advertises Christmas 365 days out of the year, we have to admit that the best time to visit Noël éternel is during the approach of the holiday season, so that you can find the holiday spirit and bask in the Christmas carols under the pretty garlands, lights, and seasonal ornaments. We particularly like the metal-covered maple leaves that can give your tree a nice Canadian touch.
Art & artisanal products all year long - Mon shack au Québec
From jewelry and accessories to visual art across several decades, Mon shack au Québec offers a great selection of pieces made in Canada, notably from Québec. The main concept of this store is to show off artisans directly to the public during its summer session (La Cour des Arts), but it is also open all winter for the holidays! We love the huge variety of offerings and their jewelry has us especially weak in the knees!
A Cooperative Footprint in History
In the great, brightly-lit store with stone walls and beautiful wood flooring, everything catches the eye and once you know the history, you’ll want to stick around even longer: In 1974 on rue St-Paul, this building was born from a collective wish from a group of artisans who wanted to collaborate on making a stained-glass window. This wish still holds strong today, and the twenty-one members who created it are still maintaining it. And apart from these member artisans, another sixty are invited to come take part in the festivities. We like seeing Louis-George L’écuyer's musical spoon while waiting for the bottine!
Photos: Geneviève Giguère