This week is BC Buy Local Week. I know I am a bit late publishing this, but you still have the weekend to participate and buy local. I love shopping local because it supports the local economy and usually results in a more unique gift than something bought at a chain store at the mall.

So first things first. What does BC local mean? It means local BC owned, local BC grown or local BC made products.

So here are some of my local suggestions to keep in mind as you do your Christmas shopping this year.

East Van Cross Project

You can't get much more local than the East Van Cross (also known as the Monument for East Vancouver).  Designer Susan Fiedler developed a fundraising initiative called the East Van Cross Project to benefit Pivot Legal Society, which works to create social and systematic change in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. The City of Vancouver has given Fielder the first license to reproduce the iconic East Van Cross in the form of jewelry, beginning with two sterling silver pendants.



"I have always loved the Monument For East Vancouver. It is emblematic of East Van. I wanted to find a way to link the power of that emblem with the incredible work done by Pivot Legal Society. I am honoured that the City of Vancouver supported my vision and granted me the license to use the artwork."
Susan Fielder, Designer
The East Van Cross pendants are available for pre-order at and range from $175 to $325 CDN. $25 from each pendant sold will be donated to Pivot Legal Society. A larger range of jewelry based on the Monument will follow in the Spring of 2015.
I love the story of both the jewelry and its designer. Susan Fielder first gained popularity as a jewelry designer for her company Soul Flower, founded in 1991, which grew to become one of Canada's leading design houses of sterling silver jewelry. The sale of Soul Flower Inc. in 2010 provided Susan with the opportunity to fulfill a life-long dream to travel the world by sailboat and to focus entirely on social ventures. She has designed jewelry for Canadian Breast Cancer and F Cancer to raise funds for cancer causes. At 47 I suspect Susan is just starting to develop her taste for social ventures. I am sure we will see a lot more of her in the years to come.

Coincidently, back in 2004 I bought several of the sterling silver and pink mother-of-pearl 'Symbol of Hope' pendants and a pair of the cufflinks (supporting Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation) as gifts to friends and family who had been touched by Breast Cancer.


The Soap Dispensary

Upon initial review you might wonder why I am recommending a refill store for Christmas. But The Soap Dispensary is about so much more than just soap. Sure they have lots of premium soaps and household cleaners, all carefully selected to be biodegradable, gentle on children, pets and people with sensitive and allergies. Which means they don't contain a lot of toxins. But they also bring in lots of great products, including personal care and DIY, that help you make your life less disposable. I have picked up reusable coffee filters, biodegradable/compostable toothbrush, essential oils, wool dryer balls, silicone drink lid to make my mason jar into a travel mug, toys, etc. Great ideas for stocking stuffers and hostess gifts.

There is a great video on their website that describes what they are all about. Ignore the address in the video as they are moving. They have been closed since late October as they move to a new, larger, place down the street. It looks likely, based on their latest updates, that they will re-open this Saturday. Follow them on Facebook to get the latest information on their opening date.

The new floor with their signature pattern and some old favourites (from The Soap Dispensary blog)_

New floor with their signature pattern and some old favourites (from The Soap Dispensary blog).

The NEW address is 3718 Main Street at 21st Avenue. A block south and across the street from their current location. So if you go to the old location by mistake you will still be walking distance to the store.

The Soap Dispensary also hosts great workshops. In the past they have had workshops on winterizing your skin care, candle making in the kitchen, soap making, chocolate making, etc. Their 2015 workshops haven't been listed yet, but would expect that once the store opens they will start to look forward to 2015.  A gift card or a promise note for a future workshop could make a great experience style Christmas gift.

UPDATE: The Soap Dispensary has confirmed they will open their new location on Saturday, December 6, 2014!!

Mink Chocolates

So lets talk one of my best parts about Christmas = Chocolate!  One of my favourite chocolate places in Vancouver, Mink Chocolates, became world famous this year when their Mermaid's Choice chocolate bar won BEST CHOCOLATE Bar at the 2014 International Chocolate Salon. So when I tell people this is the BEST. Chocolate. EVER. It really is.


When my Mom came to visit over the US Thanksgiving weekend, one of the first things she said was "We need to visit that place that won the chocolate award." My Mom lives in the Midwest - and even she had heard about our little small batch artisan chocolate company. Who am I to deny my mother the best chocolate in the world. We made a trek down to their West Hastings cafe that day. My son was more than happy to tag along for this shopping trip. He knew exactly which bar he wanted to go with his hot chocolate: Moishemellow. Me? I took the owner's advice and picked up the seasonal Traditional Christmas (Dark Run and Eggnog in Chocolate Ganache). I picked up a The Sporting Life (Double Chocolate Stout in Chocolate Ganache with Salted Pretzel) for my husband. In addition to several of the Mermaid's Choice, my Mom also took home a Greetings from Canada (Caramelized Pecans in Maple Syrup Chocolate Ganache).

If you are looking to pick up some of this Award Winning chocolate you can visit the Mink Chocolate Cafes on West Hastings or at Morgan Crossing. Or order online. This fresh small batch chocolate should be consumed within a month of purchase. Not that I expect it to last that long.

Got Craft?

Are you planning on spending time at the mall shopping anytime soon? May I suggest you head down to Got Craft? on Saturday, December 13th and Sunday, December 14th at the Maritime Labour Centre at 1880 Triumph Street at Victoria Drive.. Got Craft? showcases independent, local vendors with a variety of curated handmade goods ranging from jewelry, clothing, ceramics, stationary, housewares, plush toys, local artists, and more. Check out returning favourites like Mellifera Bees and Love My Local. In addition, vendors like The Beautiful Project greeting cards and Cabin + Cub jewelry are exclusive to Got Craft?


Some of my personal favourite vendors are Irit Sorokin Designs, Make Cheese Inc., and Locomotive Clothing Co. Check out all the vendors here.


Other Locals I Love

And lets not forget some of my other local favourites:  Nicole Bridger, Lunapads, Fluevog, and Jacqueline Conoir. And for those last minute wrapping, snack, records, and electronic needs London Drugs is a local BC based business too.


For my readers that don't live in Vancouver, take a bit of time to explore some of your own local shops, restaurants and designers in your area. You might some great treasures. And support your local economy this Christmas.

Do you have any local Vancouver places that you love?