December has finally arrived, and with it is the season of gift giving. Personally, I always find Christmas shopping – or shopping for any reason – very difficult and very frustrating. Maybe it's because I'm a guy, but there just seems to be so many stores and so many sales that I always get pretty overwhelmed, especially when it comes to shopping for children. In an attempt to ease the pain of holiday shopping, I have reached out to three local businesses around Regina to tell me a little about who they are and what they have going on this holiday season. Have you ever visited these locations? Let me know about it in the comments below!
1. Kids Trading Company
Located in the south end of Regina, Kids Trading Company has been a part of the Regina community for the past 15 years. Here you can find a mixture of new and gently used children's clothing, shoes, toys and accessories.
Enjoy shopping in a local store where the friendly staff knows the products and can help you find what you need, like warm winter boots from Kamik or waterproof mittens and fleecy hats. Brands like Desigual, Hatley, Yogini, Billabong and Mexx will give you lots of options for great quality clothes in the latest styles. Need a baby gift? Shop their baby section for the cutest sleepers and practical accessories like Amber teething necklaces and muslin blankets.
For Christmas their Crazy Aaron's Thinking Putty, Aloka Sleepy Lights or maybe a pair of Padraig slippers will make someone on your list very happy! While you shop, your child will have fun playing with their train table, or reading a book in our big, comfy chair.
You might be interested in their consignment program, where you can earn money from your child's outgrown clothes, shoes and toys. Shopping their second hand section makes so much sense too, with great quality brands at affordable prices that were outgrown long before they were worn out.
While you're here, be sure to sign up for their free rewards program! They will give you a store credit worth 10% of what you spend in the store after only six visits - and did I mention that your member card stays in the store so you don't have to give up any wallet space?
Dessart Sweets is a retro candy and ice cream store in the heart of the Cathedral area. They specialize in retro candy (remember Lucky Elephant popcorn?), Dutch licorice, imported candy from the UK and the US and they have the largest selection of Jelly Bellys in Regina.
Christmas is a fun time of year to visit to get unusual stocking stuffer ideas. They carry Dutch specialty items like Taai Taai and Speculaas cookies as well as a huge selection of Dutch licorice.
Be sure to check out their soda selection too! You'll find over 20 different kinds of root beers and sarsaparillas, Pop Shoppe sodas and the whole line of Boylan's sodas.
Grace Avery-Parkman is a traditional and digital illustrator based out of Regina, Saskatchewan. Grace graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Regina in 2015, and is currently busy creating all kinds of original artwork and running her little shop, “Forest Floor Arts”. She loves making plush toys, art prints and other small goodies and sells her work across western Canada at farmer's markets, art sales and comic conventions. Grace also teaches art classes, and enjoys crocheting and playing ukulele.
In 2014, Grace began selling her work locally and has since attended numerous events with her handmade goods. Watercolor painting has become her medium of choice in recent years, and she currently has a catalogue of over 50 original art prints. The subjects of her paintings range from mermaids to monsters, and she loves fantasy.
Most recently, Grace has begun designing and sewing original handmade art dolls. She sells both printed dolls- which are adorned with cute watercolor characters, and entirely hand-painted dolls. Grace also self-published her first full-length graphic novel in May 2016, titled “Lesser Beasts”. She hopes to publish a new book in 2017, alongside a slew of new dolls and prints.
The Island of the Dolls is in Xochimilco, a borough south of Mexico City. While it would be faster to take a car from Mexico City to Xochimilco, the traffic is dense and the roads are very congested. Instead, if you're going there, I'd recommend taking metro, which is easy and the cheapest in the world. What you gain in comfort, however, you lose in speed, as the train ride takes about 2 hours.
Mexico City and Xochimilco both sit in the Valley of Mexico. Until about a millennium ago, the whole region around Mexico City was surrounded by a massive body of water. Over the centuries due to both climate change and interference by humans, most of this water has dried up, for the exception of Xochimilco. With networks of canals crisscrossing the borough, car transportation is difficult and water transportation is essential. I'm sure there were motorized boats somewhere in the waters of Xochimilco, but I never saw any. Instead, canoes and rafts are common on the water. However, the most popular vessel is a trajinera – a colourful gonadal-like boat that is pushed along the water with a wooden pole.
Xochimilco is known worldwide for their Floating Gardens market, which are essentially canoes floating down the canals, selling wares to tourists on trajineras. These include things like food, drinks, silver rings, trinkets, ponchos and sombreros. Occasionally other trajineras full of Mariachi bands will approach tourists and offer to play beside them on the water.
It's been about fifteen years since I last visited Grey Owl's Cabin. I went with my elementary school's Outdoor Ed program when I was about thirteen, and the only highlight I remember was missing school when I got back because of the blisters on my feet.
It was also around fifteen years ago that I last paddled a canoe.
Ever since visiting the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg last summer, I've wanted to include more about First Nations culture on my blog. Being of European descent, I often feel I am culturally blind to First Nations culture, and I noticed a severe lack of it in my writing. In fact, I feel in past articles a lot of my focus has been on European history in the New World, with only a side note regarding First Nations history. Now, I am trying for there to be more equal representation in my blog.
To finish off my #BucketlistAB series, I thought this article would be the perfect place to flip the tables, and instead focus on First Nations culture, with a European side note. Sometimes it is impossible to talk about one without the other, but I tried to focus more on the First Nations people and their story in this article. Please let me know what you think in the comments below.