Back in August of 2016, as I was road-tripping along the Trans-Canadian Highway on my way from Vancouver Island in the far west of the country to Stratford Ontario (just east of Detroit Michigan) I came across this really unique combination store that I liked so much that I can actually see myself driving back there (albeit, on a more direct route next time) to buy things for my home… once I actually get one.
It’s actually a combination of a few stores that is only open during the tourism season (closed in winter, even just before Xmas — which is a bit crazy if you ask me), as well as a liquor store and gas station which stay open all year round.
Agawa Crafts sells items made by the local First Nations (i.e., Canadian name for Native Americans) tribal members,
while the Canadian Carver is a gift store, full of hand-made items from local artists
…some that looks a lot like cheesy stuff you could buy on-line or from gift-shops along highways … but ALL of it is in fact hand carved by artists they represent — although of varying levels of ability….
The better stuff, from more skilled artists, is usually is grouped together on a wall
or a shelf, with a photo and description of the artist alongside the items.
Although some of it is just easy to self identify….
While I was here I did buy a carved duck, but as a wedding gift for two friends of mine who were getting married about a month later in September 2016, in Chicago.
It was of a sort decoy duck, a type of traditional North American Folk Art, usually carved out of a wood that will float — and sometimes used by hunters to confuse a duck into landing near them … like in the image below, only the one that I bought was MUCH nicer
the one I bought almost looked like it was breathing … I’m sorry to say I never took a picture of it before wrapping it … my bad… that had been carved by a master level carver by the name of Larry Fell, and was signed underneath by the artist. (Works from some of the more famous master carvers have gone on to be collector’s items that have sold in the high six figures — so I figured, good gift.)
… which I later, while in Stratford, ON… paid to have wrapped to my specifications (because when it’s worth doing right, pay a professional) at a high-end chocolate store called Rheo Thompson Candies…
Even though it’s a candy store, when I was walking through it one day I noticed that… because of all the people in that town who like to give chocolates as wedding favors, they had wedding gift paper with butterflies on it … so I asked them if they’d be willing to wrap my gift for me even though I wasn’t going to buy any chocolate, and they said they were…. I also asked if I could have these clay butterflies, which were on display as part of something else in the store, attached to it, and they agreed. I think the wrapping cost me like $30… but I think worth it… Getting the whole thing back to chicago without it being damaged was the tricky part.