By Lory Diaz
Torontonicity was invited to the One of A Kind Spring Show 2017, which ran from March 29 to April 2 at the Enercare Centre in Toronto! If you’re not familiar with the event, it’s an artisan fair that takes place twice a year: in spring and just before the winter holidays. The show is a fantastic event for discovering beautifully-crafted items from Canadian and international talent. It’s also a great place to learn some new art skills yourself, as they do host workshops throughout the show.
I attended a lovely breakfast on opening day hosted by the One of a Kind Show (OOAK) team in collaboration with Chef Clayton of Toben Food by Design catering company. The partnership was ideal as both organizations focus on quality goods made from locally-sourced materials and ingredients. We were treated to mini lemon blueberry pancakes with cinnamon maple syrup, Spanish sweet potato hash with pico de gallo, Benedict made from scratch, and beet cured salmon with cream cheese open-faced sandwich. The breakfast was lovely and delicious!
I was excited to learn during breakfast that the One of a Kind Spring Show 2017 organizers have added some new areas to the show. There is now a section highlighting craft brew beers, wine, spirits, and cocktails, which I’m sure became the hotspot during their late night hours. The Market Place highlights 50 new artists to the show, and is a great place to support rising stars. They’ve also introduced The Pavilion: an area featuring eight guest artisans from France who were showcasing at OOAK for the first time!
After my breakfast, I ventured out into the aisles to meet the vendors, and although there is always an abundance of talent and awesome handmade goods, here is a small selection of my personal favourites: Campfire Stix by Ryan Swiderski feature a beautifully crafted handle made from found Ontario driftwood. They’re ideal for safely and stylishly roasting marshmallows or other snacks over an open fire.
The Pop Stand crew brought delicious and vibrantly coloured freezies! Guests of the show could pick from flavours like strawberry milkshake, lemon rosemary gin tonic, basil lime, coconut cinnamon, thai coffee, and London fog latte with lavender!
New artisan Emilie Dell’Aniello of EMD Jeweler caught my eye with her clean lines and delicate geometric designs. Dell’Aniello is from Ste-Ursule in Quebec, and I would highly recommend her collection for anyone who enjoys a simple but eye-catching aesthetic. I fell in love with her pieces and purchased a mismatching metals earring set.
I found a housewares company with a very striking aesthetic that is going to solve my struggle during gift-giving season: Studio50. They have the most interesting collection of concrete, hardwood, steel, and glass pieces that allow for the organic beauty of the materials to come through without compromising on function and practicality.
I delight in discovering new jam, jelly, and marmalade flavours at OOAK, and this year was no exception: Provisions Food Co. from Niagara has a delicious selection of jams, with my top picks being their Pear & Riesling and Cherry & Merlot. These are wonderfully paired combinations that focus on the flavours of the grapes instead of simply adding an alcoholic element. I also loved Les Caprices D’Angeline’s mint honey, and Cosman & Webb’s maple syrups! Cosman & Webb’s packaging alone is fantastic, and makes a great gift when traveling abroad.
Another delicious discovery is The Lemon Square from Vancouver! They’re simple, handmade, and full of vibrant flavour.
I found a skincare company that has intriguing scent combinations and lovely textures to their creams and balms: Artifact Skin Co. Their clementine-mint lip balm smells fresh and reminds me of the brightest summer day.
If you’re looking to rework your wardrobe, or find some signature pieces, OOAK is an ideal place. For a quirky t-shirt company, I would recommend Beurd. They’ve created t-shirts with Canadian-themed velcro patches (like Drake portraits!) that allow you to customize your tee. For the modern minimalist, I would recommend Toronto’s own Hoi Bo. You can find her comfortable, oversized, but meticulously crafted pieces in the Distillery District.
Another fantastic group of artists at OOAK are illustrators and visual artists. If you’re into cheeky cats, or sarcastic pins, please find Jackie Lee’s designs: her galaxy cats are adorable! Prefer more colourful and patriotic items? Sandra Dumais of MoonAndSparrow has a gorgeous map of Canada that is made by hand painting textures, cutting out the individual shapes needed for each character, and then creating the final composition in Photoshop. Meticulously hand-cut art pieces highlighting the beauty in the mundane come out of Annyen Lam’s Tiny Blades Project; my personal favourite is her chainlink fence.
Overall, the artists and vendors chosen for the One of A Kind Spring Show 2017 did not disappoint, but I have to say that I’m especially happy to see that OOAK is continuing their tradition of supporting local talent. I met Ayisha of The Bacon Berry Card Co. in the Market Place. She decided to start her witty and cute card company in the tenth grade, and has been at it for five years now. Shows like OOAK give her the exposure needed to grow her business, so I encourage anyone interested in supporting creativity, skill development, and ingenuity to please attend the next One of a Kind. Hope to see you at the Winter show!