Shopaholics beware! You’re going to check boxes off your shopping list you didn’t know you had! In the quaint villages, towns and communities along Lake Huron’s shoreline, shopping becomes a pleasure again. Escape the mundane and repetition of big-box stores and malls. Shop the unique at family-owned stores for a refreshing shopping experience that will excite your soul and delight the senses. Visualize mature trees that umbrella historic buildings and provide shaded pedestrian-friendly walks. Proud shop owners that take time to share their creative talents and one-of-a-kind merchandise. Stores filled with truly unique items. You can own pieces of history, handcrafted treasures, conversation starters, and the works of many local artisans and artists. Here’s a curated selection of the area’s offerings.
ONLY IN CANADA YOU SAY?
Thunderbird Crafts & Trading Post (Kettle Point) is a family-owned and operated Native trading post. For centuries, the Kettle & Stony Point community was a supply location among Native peoples. Today, Thunderbird continues that tradition offering walls of colourful and unique crafting materials like colourful seedbeeds, porcupine quills, native themed fabrics, leathers and fur, and wool broadcloth.
An authentic cultural experience, this store showcases genuine, hand-made First Nations products from across Canada and locally. You’ll be proud to gift these moccasins, blankets, mens and ladies jackets, hats and bags. You can even purchase a beginners guide to spoken Ojibwe.
If you’re searching for that show stopping, jaw dropping, conversation piece that will give your home that ‘wow’ factor, then look no further than DL Creations (Bayfield). Inspired by the outdoors, they provide beautiful home furnishings and décor (butcher blocks, appetizer boards, wine caddies, etc.) from reclaimed pieces of wood. Each item is guaranteed to be as unique as the piece of wood from which it’s crafted.
Gift of Art (Grand Bend) features the work of local and Canadian artists and artisans from across the nation. Let your eyes wonder with delight through this curated collection of pottery, jewellery, wall art and home décor.
Looking for something just a bit more on the wild side, then head to Deja Vudu Studio (Grand Bend) where you’ll find out-of-the-ordinary gifts, art, home decor, clothing, furniture and jewellery. Deja Vudu will blow your mind with the truly unique and hand-crafted and carefully curated selection of mass production products all served up with a generous dose of dry humour.
Thinking bigger? Why not a handcrafted boat or canoe from Skip Izon of Shadow River Boatworks (Grand Bend) – the artisan who built Olympian rowers Silken Laumann and Marnie McBean’s racing sculls. His pieces are truly works of art and any boater’s dream.
TAKE ME BACK
If your taste can be defined by ‘anything old is gold’, then you’ve hit the jackpot! This area is rich with vintage and antique shops.
JMR Collections (Bayfield) carries an impressive selection of hand-picked vintage clothing and accessories. Each piece is in pristine condition and is a trigger for nostalgia. It’s fashion through the ages, with many pieces translating to today’s trends. If your love for vintage is reflected more through your home than your wardrobe, then be sure to check out Dale’s Antique Market (Grand Bend). With their appreciation for the unique and unusual, you will be impressed by the variety of rustic, yet high quality items. This family business also features solid wood furniture, hand crafted by Canadian Mennonites.
If you’re a bit of a “furniture feen”, you won’t want to miss Stonehedge – Antiques and Design Studio (Bayfield). It features very high-end vintage and period styled pieces, specializing in fascinating collections of clocks, lighting, and crafts. For the antique hunters that love anything rustic, you will lose your hinges over Country Collectables (Parkhill), Dashwood Design and Décor (Dashwood) and Born in a Barn (Ailsa Craig).
Other places to search for the unexpected pieces at a budget friendly price, are Blessings (Zurich), ARC Angels Thrift Shop (Dashwood) and the Habitat for Humanity Restore (Exeter). They’re truly a thrift shopper’s delight!
STOP & SMELL THE ROSES
For shoppers with a green thumb, don’t miss the charming shops that are not only filled with beautiful fresh flowers and exquisite arrangements, but also with gifts, décor, and garden accessories. Forest Florist (Forest), The Garden Gate Gifts & Florals (Grand Bend), and Frontier Flowers and Gifts (Parkhill) will give you a warm and cozy country feel as you shop to the sweet aroma of bursting bouquets.
Westland Greenhouses (Grand Bend) is the largest destination garden centre on the shores of Lake Huron. Shopping at Westland is like a mini vacation for the whole family. It features a bunny petting zoo that welcomes children, along with relaxing show gardens, workshops, and unusual yet spectacular merchandise. It’s just one of several amazing garden centres the area offers.
FEELS LIKE HOME
If indoor décor is more your avenue, then you’ll be sure to obsess over the incredibly unique furniture and décor pieces that can only be found in this area. It’s Thyme (Grand Bend) boasts home accessories and housewares sure to become the focal point of any room.
Or head over to The Iron Barn (Grand Bend) to browse a wide variety of hand-crafted decorative and functional items for inside or outside of your home. Want a unique sign or fire ring – they’ll create it just for you!
Quality, Mennonite solid wood dining room furniture and Canadian and North American manufactured living room, bedroom and outdoor furniture can be found at Forever Furniture (Zurich). Looking for that cozy, comfortable chair with power recline? Well, you’ll find it there along with top quality leather and fabric sectionals and sofas.
When all the rooms in your house are filled from furniture and décor shopping, visit Casual Industries (Grand Bend) where they have a huge selection of outdoor furnishings. In fact, they have one of the largest selections in Canada. For almost 40-years, they have specialized in outdoor furniture with many pieces made on-site from domestic linens and a warehouse stocked with 15,000 items.
Like Forever Furniture, Casual Industries serves all parts of Southwest Ontario. So don’t be afraid to shop for your home as well as your cottage!
SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
Can’t find the perfect gift for that hard-to-buy-for person? Then, head to the shores of Lake Huron! This region is spoiled with dozens of stores that have just what you’re looking for. You will feel more like a guest than a customer when you visit Hive (Bayfield) where shoppers can enjoy an in-store mini café that offers mouth-watering treats. Once you’ve had your fill, browse through their inspiring clothing, accessories, décor, and more. Many items are up-cycled and re-imagined. It’s another great place to feel those vintage vibes.
Pinery Market (Grand Bend) is a family friendly market that’s the complete package for an outing with everyone. It has food, entertainment, and a vast variety of vendors that offer everything from fresh produce to the latest trends. Not to mention an incredible amount of antiques that are sure to provoke a treasure hunt through the past. It’s a Grand Bend must, and a wonderful way to spend the day. Mark your calendar, it’s open Sundays May to Thanksgiving.
If your kitchen is your favourite room to accessorize, then The Gravy Boat Kitchen Store (Bayfield) is your haven. With its huge assortment of quality tools and fun giftable items, it truly has something for everyone’s inner kitchen and cooking enthusiast.
If your version of shopping for a-diamond-in-the-rough, is quite literally diamonds, then you’ll be dazzled with the collections of jewellery to be found in the area’s shopping hubs.
For budget-friendly treasures of all ages, Sea Jewels (Grand Bend & Bayfield) is a very popular destination.
For custom designed and gold pieces, be sure to drop by Bakelaar Jewellery (Exeter). Elements of Design (Bayfield) is a unique find offering Canadian artisan jewellery from Christophe Poly, Jon Klar, Nancy Plourde and others.
Since 1873, family-owned Van Valkenburgs Jewellers (Forest) has operated a full-service jewellery store offering quality items to celebrate and commemorate life’s greatest moments. Knowledgeable staff and jewellery experts will help you find your perfect gem at each of these locations.
Once your bling is taken care of, you’ll want to find an outfit to compliment the rest of your look. This area has no shortage of spectacular apparel stores. UBU Fashions (Grand Bend) carries sizes 4 to XXL; dress for a night out or weekend at the lake. Be sure to visit Designers (Exeter & Bayfield), Leslie’s (Bayfield), Luv Scarlett (Exeter), and Rhumba (Bayfield).
Headed to the beach, but nervous about finding a bathing suit? Bikiniland (Grand Bend) is your answer! They have an incredible selection, and boast having bathing suits that flatter all body types.
It’s about more than what’s on the outside; if you want to enjoy shopping that’s good for the mind, body, and soul, you’ll want to visit Forest Glen Herb Farm (Forest). It has a variety of culinary products and products made from herbs and other plant life; from facial masks to vacuum scents. Not to mention, it’s gorgeous! Located right by the Lake Huron shore, it’s an organic garden and farm. It’s also the perfect place to enjoy their service as a bed and breakfast or wedding venue. The incredible indoor/outdoor experience doesn’t stop there; they offer classes for making products and for yoga.
Continue to treat your body well at Genuine Wellness (Parkhill). Owned by a holistic nutritionist, this health food store offers solutions for health problems, delicious and healthy products, as well as organic and gluten-free specialty foods. Or, drop by the Wellness Cabin Health Co. (Grand Bend) for quality supplements, vitamins, herbs, protein powders, local natural teas, soaps and beauty skin care lines, specialty groceries, and more.
And don’t forget what you put on your skin ends up in your body. Visit LUVU Naturally (Exeter) for a full line of all-natural cosmetics and beauty products from lip balm and eye-shadow to shampoo, soap and even toothpaste. And yes, they can give you the ingredient list!
ON THE MOVE
Keep the outdoor fun going at Outside Projects (Bayfield) where repair services, equipment and accessories for bikes keeps you on the move. Paddle boards, skateboards and snowshoes too. Whether you’re looking to buy or simply rent for the day, they’ve got you covered. Be sure to browse the bike and running shoes and outdoor clothing for everything you need to have fun and be comfortable outside. Guided tours also available.
YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS
- Dashwood & Hensall Community Wide Yard Sales – May 20, 2017
- Town-Wide Yard Sale (Exeter) – June 17, 2017
- Bayfield Rummage Sale (Pioneer Park) – July 14, 2017
- Exeter Sidewalk Sale Days – July 20-22, 2017
- Bayfield Antiques & Collectibles – August 11-13, 2017
- Thanksgiving Market & Sidewalk Sale (Grand Bend) – October 9 & 10, 2017
- Lambton Fall Colour & Craft Festival – October 14 & 15, 2017
- Lucan Christmas Craft Show & Sale – November 3-5, 2017
- Christmas Comes Early (Grand Bend) – November 17-19, 2017
- Christmas in Bayfield – November 17-19, 2017
- Christmas Weekend (Exeter) – November 17-19, 2017
- Ladies Night (Forest) – November 30, 2017
See Festivals & Events for more events, dates, times and details.