One of a Kind Show 2010 – Toronto

One of a Kind Show 2010 - Toronto

Various One of a Kind Show 2010 Picks, Toronto

Every year, Canadian and American artisans showcase their handcrafted wares at the One of a Kind Show hosted in Toronto, Vancouver, Chicago, and New York City.  I had never been to a One of a Kind Show, so I decided to swing by the Toronto show and see what the Canucks had to offer.  The categories were varied including body care, candles, ceramics, children’s clothing & accessories, toys, Christmas decor, clothing, collectibles, dried floral, fabric/textiles, fashion accessories, flavours, furniture, glass, hats, home decor, jewelery, leather, metal, original art, photography, stained glass, etc., etc., etc.

The show was very busy and I have to say, I was pretty impressed with a lot of the stuff.  In all fairness, I could probably do an entire post on the food alone as there wasn’t anything that I tried and didn’t like.  For the scope of this blog however, I’m going to leave the food out.  So after weaving in and out of every single one of the 24 aisles over a three-hour period, here are my top picks:

Coats by Mary Ellen, Outerwear
This humble atelier located in North Toronto, could just as easily be located in Southern Italy.  Established by Italian immigrant Elia Pizzonia, Coats by Mary Ellen has been in business since 1982.  Thirty years in, the Pizzonia family still run the business the traditional Italian way offering local and international clientele a healthy alternative to the traditional coat buying experience.  The cashmere/cashmere blend coats are beautifully hand made pairing old-world tailoring with contemporary style and cuts.  Priced at a jaw droppingly low price of around $400, (should be closer to $4,000), these ladies and men’s coats are a bloody steal! –

Beebop & Wally, Clothing, Outerwear
While on the subject of outerwear, I spotted one particular women’s black and red print hounds tooth jacket (see photo above) by Beebop & Wally that looked really cool.  Take a look at their website for Christmas gift ideas for the women in your life.  Hey, how did these New Yorkers get into the Toronto show anyway? –

L’Eclisse Objets de Bois, Wooden/Glass Vases
Benoît Royer’s wood covered glass vases are such an eye-catcher, you’ll spend more time looking at the vase than the flowers in them.   One would expect no less from a designer whose experience includes designing sets for Cirque du Soleil.  Honestly, these vases look amazing.  You’ll find quite a few samples on his website. –

Morin Choinièr, Wall Candle Holders
This Montréal based company has created some remarkable wall mounted tea light candle holders that with the strike of a match, will turn your living space into a romantic love den.  Visit their website for product designs and email for pricing. –

Botanical Art by Diane De Roo, Wall Mounted Art
What happens when you turn your gardening into art?  Intriguing botanical west coast framed works of art, that’s what.  British Columbian native Diane De Roo has developed a process that enables her to press her homegrown fruits and vegetables, while maintaining their intricate forms and colours.  At first glance, I thought that the framed veggies were paintings.  Just the right gift for the Marth Stewarts on your Christmas list.  Sizes range from 9″ X 11″ to larger 24″ X 12″ frames.  Orders taken by phone.  –

Tres Normale & iDentity Apparel Co., Canadian Themed T-shirts
One of the recurring themes of late, is Canadian identity themed prints.  Tres Normale’s Urban Designs have taken photos of iconic locations in Toronto and reduced them to basic black and white screen prints onto coloured American Apparel T-shirts.  The effect is very hip and works as a great unisex article you can dress up or down.  –
Alternatively, iDentity plays with images of the Canadian motif using wildlife, igloos, national sports, even the country’s map itself, to create funky men’s T-shirts that are printed in limited runs. –

Urban Tree Salvage, Furniture
What is Canada if not a boundless boreal forest?  True enough, but we chop down a lot of those trees to manufacture wood and paper based products for domestic and international consumption.  Urban Tree Salvage is a eco-friendly company based out of Toronto’s east side that makes use of the sick, dying, and discarded trees of the city.  Over 9,000 trees are removed from the Greater Toronto Area every year and these are the trees they source.  They save these poor suckers from a fiery death or worse yet getting mulched, by converting these trees into furniture.  As with most of the exhibitors, they are small and very accommodating.  If they don’t have what you’re looking for in stock, they can make it for you. –

Andrew King Studio, Paintings
As a painter myself (, I can appreciate the amount of work that goes into making a painting.  There really is nothing that you can display that is quite as impressive as an original work of art.  Paintings adds an air of sophistication to the room, the living space, the house – the home.  Many painters showing their work at the One of a Kind Show this year.  For me, Andrew King’s Hockney-esque minimalist paintings really caught my eye.  He works using a basic colour palette, on Canadian subject matter, with paintings portraying subjects in vast quiet empty spaces. –

Tapochki, Children’s shoes & Thorpe Toys, Wooden Children’s Toys
I’m not a dad, nor an uncle, but if I had a kid I would pick them up a pair of these adorable little Tapochki baby shoes.  They come in some pretty stylish patterns and look comfortable enough to make me a little envious. –
While on the subject of children, in an age dominated by animated DVD movies and video games, one might develop a healthy nostalgic desire for a return to the safe lead-free basics?  Thorpe’s unfinished wooden toys are made by hand in Canada.  Great as functional toys or even decorative pieces for a child’s room, you can’t go wrong with high quality toys. –

Truth, Belts
Vegan fashion accessories?  Sounding more San Francisco than Toronto, Ryerson Fashion Design grad Renia Pruchnicki started Truth ten years ago from her downtown apartment.  Renia started making belts out of technical materials she knew how to work with, rather than leather.  This serendipitously made her a big hit with vegan community.  The quality of her belts claim to be unparalleled in a market where most other leather-looking belts fall apart within months.  Truth belts are sold in retail stores across Canada, USA, UK, New Zealand, and Australia.  You can also buy them online here. –

Eric Séguin, Knifemaker
Quebec based artisan Eric Séguin’s knives are for the hunter or serial killer in all of us.  Just kidding.  Seriously though, this guy can make a mean gorgeous looking chrome knife.  His knives are designed for hunting, fishing, and the kitchen.  He also makes swords and ornamental knives for collectors.  The handles are made from exotic wood, laminated wood, micarta (phenolic resin), animal bone, tooth and even jaw. –

Out of Ruins, Flattened Glass Flasks
What a cool idea!  Makes you wonder why you didn’t think of it.  Ottawa based artisan Out of Ruins, using a special glass kiln, takes wine bottles and converts them into cheeseboards.  The result is yet another great conversation piece for Christmas and New Year’s parties.  Many labels to choose from and the items can be shipped to you within a few days. –


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