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):
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.