Leave the big-box behind and head to Hamilton Halton Brant, where handmade markets, artisanal food and drink, and boutiques brimming with locally designed and produced goodies await.
Take a day trip to the urban centres of Oakville, Hamilton and Burlington or make your way to the smaller towns of Dundas and Paris for quality, one-of-a-kind finds. Wherever your explorations take you, this region is the place to buy handmade and to buy local.
Markets & Events
For those who want to “meet the makers”, handmade markets, artists’ sales and studio tours are all a great way to connect with local talent. The lead up to Christmas, spring and summer are the “high seasons” for annual artisan markets and handmade events of all kinds, and some offerings are available year round. The events below are a sampling of what is on offer throughout the year (visit individual websites for this year’s dates and opening hours):
Kerr Village Handmade & Vintage Market – June, July and August
Kerr Street and Westside Drive, Oakville
Shop three curated outdoor markets with handmade products including jewellery, pottery, home décor and wellness products. Free admission.
Burlington Made – Spring (May) and Holiday (November)
McMaster Ron Joyce Centre, 4350 South Service Road, Burlington
Meet and shop from a highly curated selection of 60 makers, artists and small business owners from Halton, Toronto, Hamilton and Niagara.
Art in Action – November
Expect to see work from photographers, fine artists, fibre artists and jewelers at a variety of studios in and around the city of Burlington.
The Artisan Bazaar – Multiple Dates
Multiple locations in Hamilton and Burlington
The Bazaar’s weekly outdoor market in the heart of downtown Hamilton is an opportunity to buy unique handmade wares directly from makers every Saturday all summer. Events also include an early bird show in November, a night owl show in December and a spring show, all at Royal Botanical Gardens.
Craftadian Made in Hamilton – August and December
McMaster Innovation Park, Hamilton
60+ local makers from the Hamilton Wentworth Region gather at these annual summer and Christmas events.
Makers’ Market – Multiple Dates
Multiple locations, Hamilton
Since 2007, the Makers’ Market has delivered original merchandise while supporting the local arts community. Their events include indoor holiday markets, pop up shops in various neighbourhoods, at Supercrawl and at the Hamilton art crawl.
Handmade Hamilton – December
Staircase Theatre, Hamilton
This annual holiday show is in its 7th year in Hamilton and brings together the best creative makers in beautiful vintage buildings. You’ll find fibre arts, jewelry, ceramics, visual art, children’s wear, and other handmade goods.
Artsfest – June
Westdale Village, Hamilton
Over 50 artisan vendors are on site at this annual celebration of music, art, theatre and dance.
James Street North Art Crawl – Second Friday of every month
James St. N, Hamilton
These monthly Art Crawls have become a hub for up and coming creators, and are like a one-stop shop for shopping local. Purchase a one-of-a-kind handmade item in a gallery, studio or store, or as you stroll the sidewalks filled with artisans and visual artists.
Dundas Studio Tour – Weekend prior to Thanksgiving
The work of over 30 artists is stationed at multiple studio locations, all within walking distance or a quick drive of each other, in and around the charming community of Dundas.
Brantford Potters Guild Pottery Sale – April
Woodman Park Community Centre, Brantford
Find a variety of styles and pots at this highly anticipated annual sale that showcases the works of more than 30 potters, each with their own unique talent and perspective.
Paris Wincey Mills Co. – Thursday-Saturday year round
31 Mechanic St., Paris
The Market Hall on the main level of this revitalized historic building boasts a variety of vendors selling local farm-to-table foodstuffs, handmade jewellery, fashions and housewares and original works from local artists.
Brant Studio Tour – October
Brantford, Paris and St. George
Seek out the talents of over a dozen different artists and artisans while visiting galleries throughout the scenic Brant County countryside.
Shops & Boutiques
Fresh finds are “in store” for shoppers looking for handmade in Hamilton Halton Brant. These shops are a great start for those looking for local:
Dove and Arrow
131 Lakeshore Rd. E, Oakville
This inspired boutique in downtown Oakville supports 40+ mostly local makers and creates a magical sense of finding handcrafted treasures in a warm and inviting space. The store is filled to the brim with hand-sewn lingerie, vintage inspired jewellery cast in an assortment of metals, cozy knits crocheted with soft yarns, handmade skincare products and one-of-a-kind home accents.
The Little Pop-Up Shoppe
2045 Pine Street, Burlington
This rotating “Pop Up” retail store features amazing local artists, designers and entrepreneurs who are featured for 30 days, ensuring a constantly changing showcase of local talent.
The Local Life
130 King St. West, Dundas and 218 Locke St. S, Hamilton
These two spaces each bring together the best of the handmade markets in the area to one permanent place for local makers to display their products. The Locke Street location is also home to Small Batch Soap’s first retail location.
Home of the Makers
294 James St. N., Hamilton
Described as a 3,000 square foot “micro mini mall”, this unique space shows off local visual art, crafting, clothing design, home goods, and more in Hamilton’s arts district. A range of makers individually display their product and staff provides information on the local creators and their diverse collection of products — ranging from artisan soaps to jewelry, greeting cards to candles, and decor to baby goods.
133 James St. N., Hamilton
This female-run clothing and lifestyle store focuses on handmade and small-batch jewelry, accessories and gifts. White Elephant is passionate about supporting its community, shopping sustainably and shopping small, and proudly champions independent artists, makers, and designers.
The Hamilton Store
165 James St. N., Hamilton
It doesn’t get more local than a shop “for people who love their city”, lovingly curated with all Hamilton-based, locally made products. Prints, cards, gourmet food, condiments, mugs, and candles are just a few of the items on offer. During summer Art Crawls, don’t miss the store’s Artist in the Courtyard series, featuring local artist shows in their beautiful courtyard out back.
With so many spots to indulge in artisanal food and drink, Hamilton Halton Brant is a locavore’s paradise. Start your search for local along the True Brew Path, an easy to follow route that features the best of the region’s craft breweries, cideries and wineries. Another “sweet” route is Burlington’s Chocolate Trail, with stops at purveyors of award winning handcrafted chocolate and chocolates made right in store.
Farm-fresh produce and home baked goods are available at the many farm markets in the region (try Dyments Market & Bakery, Lindley’s Farm & Market, or Punch Bowl Market & Bakery), or visit one of the larger farmer’s markets with multiple purveyors in Ancaster, Hamilton, Aldershot, Milton, Burlington and Brantford. Even outside the growing season, you’ll find multiple vendors selling local gourmet goodies and foodie fare at Terra’s Winter Markets in Milton and Hamilton.