7 Ethical, Canadian Shops 🇨🇦 For All Your Gifting Needs

by Gelaine Santiago December 01, 2016

7 Ethical, Canadian Shops 🇨🇦  For All Your Gifting Needs

How do you find a gift that’s thoughtful, meaningful, and matches your values? That question is enough to make even the most seasoned gift giver shake in their boots.

The upside is that many local, Canadian businesses have cropped up over the last few years. They’ve become prime places to find sustainable, ethical, AND quality goods you’d be proud to share with your loved ones.

So which businesses should you support? And how do you find them?

Allow us to present: Our Sustainable Shopper’s Canadian Gift Guide.

*Disclaimer: None of these posts are sponsored. In our guide, we’ve only listed brands we’ve personally tried ourselves, or ones we just really believe in and want to share with you!

1. The Willow’s Bark Wildcrafted Skincare

Based in: Barrie, Ontario

The Willow’s Bark is a small business that’s impressed us from day one. They specialize in natural, handcrafted skincare products for men and women, and also make their own teas!

The Willow’s Bark uses organic, locally grown, and native plant extracts harvested from the wild. Even the bee products (like wax and honey) are harvested locally by a humane, backyard bee farmer (amazing, right?!). Plus, all their products are free from harsh dyes, preservatives, artificial fragrances, and unsustainable products like palm oil.

On Our Holiday Wishlist: The Essentials Facial Care Kit and the Lavender & Honey Exfoliating Face Wash. We use this face wash everyday and love how it leaves our skin silky and moisturized. It’s soap-free and oil-based, so it won’t strip your skin like harsher pharmacy brands.

The Willow’s Bark Wildcrafted Skincare
The Essentials Facial Care Kit. It includes: Fruit & Flower Facial Serum, Lavender & Orange Blossom Facial Tonic, and Lavender & Honey Exfoliating Face Wash

2. Woodlot

Based in: Vancouver, British Columbia
Woodlot is a young business that is booming within Canada. They create plant-based, handmade soaps and scented candles using simple, quality ingredients. The candles are petroleum-, GMO-, and phthalate-free, and made of coconut and soy wax scented with pure essential oils. Soaps are rich blends of olive, coconut, and avocado oils.

We had the pleasure of meeting Sonia, Woodlot’s founder, and were floored by her passion for sustainability. Woodlot loves to be involved in the local community and has donated to various events. They also aspire to become B-corp certified in the future, and are committed to creating products that are safe, beautiful, and natural.

On Our Holiday Wishlist: We’ve got our eye on the Recharge Candle in a recyclable glass, the Wildwoods Soap Bar made of bamboo charcoal, and the Amour Soap Bar made of white clay and himalayan pink salt (though who are we kidding, we’d gladly receive anything from Woodlot). Plus, look at that packaging!

Woodlot - Recharge Candle in a recyclable glass jar, made with rosemary and mint steam distilled essential oil
Recharge Candle in a recyclable glass jar, made with rosemary and mint steam distilled essential oil

Woodlot - Wildwoods Soap Bar made with bamboo charcoal
Wildwoods Soap Bar made with bamboo charcoal

3. Genuine Tea

Based in: Toronto, Ontario
Genuine Tea aims to lead the fair trade tea movement in Toronto and beyond. They specialize in high quality, sustainably sourced teas that respect nature and farmers. The founders themselves spent years in various parts of Asia studying teas and developing relationships with communities on the ground.

All teas are sourced from members of the Ethical Tea Partnership, are certified organic, and Rainforest Alliance certified. They specialize in a “farm to cup” philosophy, preferring to cut out the middleman and pay farmers directly.

On Our Holiday Wishlist: A Matcha Club Subscription (only $19.95CAD per month). Genuine Tea’s Matcha is ceremonial grade, meaning it’s top quality and sourced directly from Japan (unlike the cheaper, powder forms from China). It’s the perfect gift for avid matcha drinkers, and is extra delicious with steamed milk for a tasty matcha latte.

Genuine Tea: Delicious, top quality matcha tea. Add steamed milk to make a yummy matcha latte
Delicious, top quality matcha tea. Add steamed milk to make a yummy matcha latte

4. Tribe of Lambs

Based in: Calgary, Alberta
Tribe of Lambs is a non-profit jewelry brand that donates 100% of its profits to empower HIV positive children in India. All jewelry sales help fund children’s education and tuition, create safe spaces, and provide access to facilities that the children need to grow.

Since its creation in 2014, Tribe of Lambs has already reached 584 children and raised over $10,000 for their compassion projects in India. How impactful is that?

On Our Holiday Wishlist: The beautiful Kalpana Necklace and Lakshmi Ring have caught our eye, but we’d be more than happy with any of these impactful pieces.

Tribe of Lambs - The Lakshmi Ring was named after a little girl that the team met in India. She lives in an urban slum in Madhya Pradesh.
The Lakshmi Ring was named after a little girl that the team met in India. She lives in an urban slum in Madhya Pradesh.

5. JR Authentics

Based in: Toronto, Ontario
JR Authentics is fairly new, so they don’t have a have a huge selection, but we love their vision. Ethically made in the USA and printed in Toronto, every piece is responsibly crafted using 100% certified organic cotton and printed using nontoxic colours.

It’s run by two women in Toronto who are the most wonderful and hard working people we’ve met. On top of that, every design is made by an independent Canadian artist! This means you help local Canadian entrepreneurs AND independent artists, while purchasing thoughtful gifts that are toxic-free and 100% baby-safe.

On Our Holiday Wishlist: We don’t have a baby of our own, but we’ve been eyeing the Toronto Skyline Organic Cotton Onesie and Maple Leaf Organic Cotton Hat and Bib Set. They’re never too young to show off Canadian pride

JR Authentics - The Toronto Skyline Organic Cotton Onesie designed by a Montreal artist
The Toronto Skyline Organic Cotton Onesie designed by a Montreal artist

6. Preloved

Based in: Toronto, Ontario
Preloved is a sustainable fashion brand that crafts one-of-a-kind pieces using reclaimed vintage fabrics – and it’s all done right here in Canada.

Founder and Creative Director Julia Grieve has made her mark on the Canadian and global fashion markets. She’s collaborated with retailers like Roots, Indigo, The Bay, and Holt Renfrew. Her pieces have even been worn by big players like Julia Roberts, Kirsten Dunst, and Anne Hathaway. Plus, considering the quality, ethics, and unique designs, their clothing is very reasonably priced.

On Our Holiday Wishlist: The Myra Top in Off-White, the Hello Miss Ellie in Grey, and the Tabatha Coat in Black.

Preloved - Hello Miss Ellie in Grey, made out of 4 vintage sweaters
Hello Miss Ellie in Grey, made out of 4 vintage sweaters

7. Buttercream Clothing 

Based in: Kelowna, British Columbia
We recently discovered Buttercream Clothing through Canadian ethical fashion blog My New Neighbour. Since then, we’ve become obsessed!

Every Buttercream piece is designed, cut, sewn and finished ethically in Canada. Their luxurious, high quality fabrics feel “as soft as butter on your skin.” Every piece is also made to order by local seamstresses. This means it does take longer than usual to get your goods, but there’s something so nice about knowing your clothing was made just for you.

On Our Holiday Wishlist: Seriously everything! We love the Layer Cake 3 In 1 Dress Poncho In Charcoal, the Morgan Ballet Top in Black, and the Take Me Away Tunic Dress with Black Lace.

Buttercream Clothing - Take Me Away Tunic Dress In Black Lace, made of incredibly soft bamboo/cotton blend French terry
Take Me Away Tunic Dress In Black Lace, made of incredibly soft bamboo/cotton blend French terry.

So there you have it. What are your go-to ethical, Canadian brands? Let us know in the comments!





Gelaine Santiago
Gelaine Santiago

Author

Gelaine is co-founder of Cambio Market – an online shop for handcrafted, ethical products that give back. She's also co-founder of ChooseSocial.PH – the go-to resource to learn about the social enterprise scene in the Philippines. She's pretty nerdy and loves to talk about all things social enterprises, careers, entrepreneurship, travel, start-ups, and (of course) food.


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