In today’s global economy, it’s easy to forget that many items filling store shelves are produced halfway around the world.
But here’s a thought – what if you tried to discover treasures made right in your backyard? As an Ontario resident, shopping for Canada-made goods is a great way to support small businesses in your community and find unique, high-quality, innovative products. There’s an entire world of goods produced by talented makers across the province. This includes craft brews, everyday products, farm-fresh foods, and artisanal accessories.
Below, we’ll highlight some fantastic items dreamed up, designed, and manufactured by locals seeking business opportunities in Ontario.
Prepare to be wowed by the creativity and passion of Canadian manufacturers and entrepreneurs in your neighborhood. Shopping locally and encouraging the local supply chain can be more rewarding than you think.
Keep reading, and you’ll see.
Discover Locally Made Goods at Ontario Farmers Markets
Want to find unique Ontario-made products? Farmers’ markets are a great place to start. These community hubs offer locally grown produce and sustainable handcrafted goods from artisans in your area.
At many markets, you’ll find craftspeople selling wares like:
- Pottery, ceramics, and stoneware from local potters. Choose from colorful bowls, mugs, vases, and more.
- Handmade jewelry using natural materials like gemstones, crystals, wood, and leather. Look for bracelets, necklaces, rings, and earrings.
- Natural bath & body products like lotions, soaps, bath salts, and lip balms scented with essential oils and herbs.
- Fabric items sewn, knitted, or woven by hand, including quilts, clothing, bags, toys, and linens.
- Wooden products like bowls, cutting boards, utensils, decorative items, and children’s toys. Many are created from sustainably harvested local wood.
By buying from makers in your community, you’re supporting small businesses and the local economy.
You’ll go home with unique, high-quality goods and the chance to connect with the people who produced them.
Farmers’ markets offer an opportunity to invest in what matters — your community, creativity, and craftsmanship.
Support Independent Businesses at Made in Ontario Craft Shows
If you fancy handicrafts, Ontario craft shows are one of the top events to look out for! At the craft show, you’ll find one-of-a-kind gifts. These indie markets feature handmade goods by Ontario manufacturers in your community.
You’ll discover talented craftspeople and their unique, handcrafted creations. Chat with the artists and hear the stories behind their designs. It features stunning jewelry, natural bath and body products, colorful artwork, soft knitwear, gourmet food, and more.
Your dollars go directly to the makers, allowing them to continue creating. These entrepreneurs often source materials and ingredients from other small, sustainable companies. So, it’s a win-win.
Craft shows happen year-round, especially on weekends, but summer and fall are the most popular seasons.
Markets may be indoors or outside, from small church bazaars to large festivals attracting hundreds of vendors and thousands of visitors. Admission and parking are usually free.
Here are some of the biggest made-in-Ontario craft shows:
- One of a Kind Show, Toronto – Twice yearly, featuring over 800 artisans
- Ottawa Handmade and Vintage Market – Monthly market open April to December
- Muskoka Autumn Studio Tour – Self-guided tour of 100+ studios and galleries
- Evergreen Country Christmas Show, Bancroft – 200 vendors, live music, Santa visits
How about you stop acquiring products from only the classic international stores? Skip the big box stores sometimes and try buying local products!
Unique Gifts From Ontario Artisans
While Ontario isn’t home to the world’s largest collection of Inuit art, it boasts many talented artisans creating handcrafted goods. When shopping for handmade gifts, seek locally-made products from small independent makers.
Woodworkers across the province transform native hardwoods like maple, oak, and walnut into functional art.
Look for handcrafted cutting boards, charcuterie boards, bowls, and decorative pieces. Many woodworkers make custom furniture like tables, benches, and bed frames. The rustic, natural feel of wood products is perfect for any home.
Pottery and Ceramics
From mugs and vases to plates and bowls, Ontario potters produce an array of hand-thrown stoneware and porcelain pieces.
Each potter uses colors and glazes to give their creations a signature style. Many potters make decorative planters, bird feeders, and garden stakes for gardeners.
Talented jewelers across Ontario have gorgeous handcrafted necklaces, bracelets, rings, and earrings using sterling silver, gemstones, and natural materials. Look for jewelry featuring popular semiprecious stones from the province, like amethyst, citrine, and labradorite. Leather and copper are also used in jewelry making for a rustic look. A handcrafted piece of jewelry is a thoughtful gift that anyone would appreciate.
Clothing and Accessories Proudly Made in Ontario
Ontario’s production industry is vibrant and bound to develop immensely as government sets to invest in infrastructure improvement around the city. Thus, there’s no shortage of Ontario-made products to try out, especially clothing.
Ontario has many clothing brands focusing on high-quality, sustainable pieces. Some brands to consider:
- Kotn is a Toronto brand that makes simple yet stylish basics like t-shirts, sweatshirts, and loungewear using GOTS-certified organic Egyptian cotton.
- Peace Collective creates comfortable, unisex streetwear crafted locally featuring original Canadian graphics. They use durable, ethically-sourced fabrics and donate part of their profits to local charities.
- Frank and Oak is a Montreal brand offering men and women stylish, minimal wardrobe-essentials. They use sustainable, natural fabrics and eco-friendly dyes and are certified by B Corp.
From jewelry to bags to shoes, you can complete your look with accessories also proudly made in Ontario:
- Mejuri makes delicate, handcrafted jewelry in their Toronto studio using 14K solid gold. They have a wide range of earrings, necklaces, rings, and bracelets.
- Herschel Supply Co. creates timeless bags, backpacks, wallets, and accessories at its Vancouver headquarters. Their pieces feature simple, functional designs using durable canvas and leather.
- Manitobah Mukluks uses natural materials to make traditional Indigenous mukluks, moccasins, and leather accessories. Each piece is handcrafted in Ontario by Indigenous artisans.
Locals selling products deserve recognition, especially when they sell quality.
Made in Ontario: Food and Beverages
Ontario’s manufacturing scene is quite large, encompassing an unending supply of food and beverage options. Regardless of whether you stay in eastern Ontario or the southern part of the city, you’ll find peculiar food or beverages like:
Craft Beer and Cider
Ontario’s craft brewing scene has exploded in recent years. You’ll find innovative ales, lagers, stouts, and ciders from over 300 craft brewers across the province.
Look for brews from popular brands like Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co., Muskoka Brewery, Nickel Brook Brewing Co., and Collective Arts Brewing.
From soft goat cheese to aged cheddar, Ontario produces world-class artisanal cheeses. Some recommended brands include Glengarry Fine Cheese, Monforte Dairy, Back Forty Artisan Cheese, and Maple Dale Cheese.
Visit their shops or find their products at specialty grocers like Loblaws The Market stores, Whole Foods, and farm markets.
The Niagara and Prince Edward County wine regions boast over 200 wineries crafting Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, and Icewine. Look for wines from Two Sisters Vineyards, Peller Estates Winery, Inniskillin, and Huff Estates Winery. Most of them offer tastings, tours, and dining on-site. It’s a great way to support Ontario makers.
Ontario craft distillers produce premium spirits like gin, whiskey, vodka, rum, and bitters. Some recommended brands are Dillon’s Small Batch Distillers, Toronto Distillery Co., and Georgian Bay Spirit Co. Their spirits are available for purchase at the LCBO and their own distillery shops.
Exploring the shops in your backyard is a great way to find locally-made Ontario products and support the talented makers in your community.
You never know what kinds of treasures are waiting to be discovered right around the corner. And by choosing to shop small and support local businesses, you’re helping to strengthen your local economy and keep creativity alive.
Who knows, you might find your new favorite boutique or artisan. So get out there and start exploring—you have a world of locally made goodness waiting for you.