Local and unique are key
By Shelley Cameron-McCarron
Want something special to remember your trip to Atlantic Canada, maybe soap made from iceberg water, beach-inspired jewelry, cold, clear gin, or a CD or book from your favourite Atlantic artist? Here are just a few of the many cool things and places to look for souvenirs to take home from your Atlantic Canada travels.
1. For fun and funky gifts, including Labradorite jewelry, locally made soap, art prints and handmade bowties from Midnight Taylor, visit Posie Row, a downtown St. John’s, NL shopping fave since 1995. While they don’t specialize in souvenirs (think unique and hard-to-find items sourced from around the world), they have a good variety of locally sourced/locally significant product. They’ve also expanded and offer rental space to local artisans in Posie Row and Co, giving customers the possibility of shopping for a variety of local items, many directly from the makers, in a preserved heritage building.
2. Fred’s Records is an institution in downtown St. John’s, opening its doors in 1972. It specializes in Newfoundland and Labrador and Irish traditional music, so a great place to satisfy your music needs. (They also host in-house concerts.)
3. In Saint John, NB, stop by Slocum & Ferris at the Saint John City Market to pick up some of the province’s famous Grand Manan Island dulse in several forms, including ground to sprinkle on food.
4. New Brunswick is known for handmade pottery. A great place to buy it is at Botinicals Gift Shop, Studio & Gallery in Fredericton, NB.
5. Definitely anything from Distillerie Fils Du Roy, located on New Brunswick’s Acadian Peninsula, makes a great gift or souvenir. Many items are available in New Brunswick Liquor Commission stores. Their Gin Thuya is an award-winner and very popular with locals.
6. Jewellery lovers will want to pick up a little something, perhaps radiance earrings or the Skye necklace at Amos Pewter, with locations in Nova Scotia on the Halifax waterfront, the Halifax Stanfield International Airport, Mahone Bay, and Peggy’s Cove and in Charlottetown, PEI; or pop into Earth Goddess on Demone Street in Halifax to bring home something made from the in-house jeweller.
7. Chocolate aficionados will want to tuck a few artisanal goodies into their bags, including from Rousseau Chocolatier in Halifax, NS, Appleton Chocolates goodies in Tatamagouche, NS, Newfoundland Chocolate Company, headquartered in St. John’s, NL, and Peace by Chocolate in Antigonish, NS, which comes complete with a lovely backstory. The chocolate company is run by the Hadhad family, formerly chocolate makers in Syria, who came to Antigonish as refugees. Rebuilding their lives and business, they’re continuing the family tradition, now in Canada, selling fine chocolate, including chocolate bars crested with messages of peace and forgiveness.
8. With its classic anchor logo and hometown pride, East Coast Lifestyle, specializing in hoodies, hats and t-shirts, has been a huge hit ever since Alex MacLean started the company as a temporary business for a university entrepreneurship class project. Grab your own swag to keep the east coast love going.
9. One-of-a-kind finds abound in Bonavista, NL, where among the many neat things shoppers can pick up are beautiful weaved design by Morgaine Parnham at her shop Tree Line Fine Art and Craft, a curated market of fine handmade goods, of which 90 per cent are created in Newfoundland, and the rest from other parts of Atlantic Canada; as well as popular sea salts (even flavoured ones like juniper smoked, green alder and coffee salt) from the Newfoundland Salt Company; and wildcrafted natural skin care, soaps, lotions, and bath bombs made using mineral rich sea salts harvested from the cold, clean waters of Newfoundland and Labrador, pure essential oils, and wildcrafted botanicals at East Coast Glow, a seed-to-skin, pure iceberg water cosmetics company.
10. Consider My Home Mercantile in Moncton, NB a one-stop shop for local goodies Their stock in trade is carrying local and Canadian products, including Moncton’s own Hey Buttercup jewellery, Sweet Soaperie bath bombs from nearby Miramichi, NB, and Nova Scotia’s Lure Caramel Company. Look too for their own clothing line, My Home Apparel (five per cent of profits from every sale of this crested clothing is donated to homelessness initiatives across Canada) as well as a super-charged dressing room where staff have left maps, brochures and their own must-do Moncton recommendations.
11. Find award-winning gin and the popular maple vodka among the products at Steinhart Distillery, in Arisaig, NS, located just outside Antigonish, NS.
12. Be the hero. Arrive home with a travel-ready box of fresh Nova Scotian lobster. It’s available from Clearwater Seafoods at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport and can be checked or carried onto the plane.
12. Nova Scotia wines are making a big name for themselves, perhaps none more so than Tidal Bay, the first wine appellation for the province. It’s described as a crisp, aromatic white wine that pairs well with the region’s seafood.
13. At independent boutique Johnny Ruth on Water Street in St. John’s, look for top sellers including JR silk-screened clothing and local pottery, Saucy Pots.
14. Lighters Candle Company, in PEI, is known for their “badass quotes” on each scented soy candle. Foxhound Collection, out of Truro, NS, is also making popular scented soy candles sold across Canada, while New Scotland Candle Company, hand crafted in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley, have a Nova Scotia collection available in wax melt packs, a 25 hour travel tin and their signature mason jars, that come with a piece of Nova Scotia sea glass inside.
15. The always fabulous Quincy Street Market in Inverness, Cape Breton has a nice selection of local products including gorgeous leather bags crafted in Inverness by Les Hodgkin.
16. With calendars, prints, buttons and cresting clothing as part of her “Love Cape Breton Collection,” items by Miss Brenna are a popular commodity at the Brook Village Grocery Store, Quincy Street Market and Sundays at the Mabou Farmers’ Market.
17. At The Dunes Studio Gallery & Café, a fun and ever-inspiring shop in Brackley Beach, PEI, owner/potter Peter Jansons makes award-winning pottery on site. One item in particular, the “Ikebana” (a Japanese word for flower arrangement), is a bestseller for tourists and locals alike, all inspired by the property’s extensive gardens.
18. With a tagline of ‘words, whimsy, wonder for all ages,’ it is a delight to pull into author Sheree Fitch’s brightly-hued Mable Murple’s Book Shoppe & Dreamery in rural River John, NS, a seasonal indie bookstore, to stock up on Atlantic reading at a restored granary turned bookstore.
19. Moonsnail Soapworks in Charlottetown, PEI has among its locally crafted goodies selections such as ‘red clay and kelp soap,’ inspired by PEI’s beaches, it’s swirled with red clay and seaweed and scented with lavender, bay and cedar essential oils; and ‘beach feet salt sand and seaweed scrub,’ made with Dead Sea salts, PEI sand, local seaweed and Irish moss with fractionated coconut oil for moisture, and lavender and peppermint essential oils.
20. For a delectable souvenir, treat yourself to a few jars of jams, jellies, sauces and syrups from Prince Edward Island Preserve Co. found by the River Clyde in New Glasgow, PEI.
Intro credit: Distillerie Fils-du-Roy
Intro caption: Distillerie Fils-du-Roy is located on New Brunswick’s Acadian peninsula.