Kenza Zaoui - Translated by Jocelyne Fournier

Pictured: French Christmas signs from the kiosk of local business Frou-Frou Furnishings at the Marché 340

The holidays are fast approaching, so in this week’s blog I’ll be sharing suggestions for local gifts right here in Saint-Boniface, and in the rest of the Riel Region too!

In Saint-Boniface, the gift options are endless.

Let’s start with Plantiel, a brand new boutique on Provencher Boulevard that just opened its doors this past September. As stated in their name, they sell plants! Having indoor plants and cultivating your garden has been one of the top trends these last few years (a trend to which I’ve fallen victim as well) and according to the business owners, Nat and Jan, the plant craze is here to stay. Having grown up in the Philippines, Nat wanted to recreate the tropical landscape that he was accustomed to, inside his new store.

Photo © Plantiel

I asked them what their tips were for people who are new plant owners, and they recommended starting with a sansevieria, a pothos, or a ZZ. Also, underwatering is better than overwatering! 

Further South on St Mary’s road, Lacoste Garden Centre is another great place for plant shopping, while also offering holiday decorations, clothing, and household decor. 

If you like to support local, there are so many gifting options like the delicious products at Spice World, a coffee subscription with Café Postal or Colosimo, craft beer from Kilter, work from the famous franco-manitoban author at la Maison Gabrielle Roy, a flower bouquet from Norwood Florist, vintage ethically made clothing from Reclothify, a subscription to La Liberté, and a multitude of books, magazines, CDs and vinyls at the librairie À la Page

Now, if you’re looking for a fresh new look this holiday season, the Passion & Histoire Saint-Boniface place brand has launched a merchandise line that’ll make you proud of living in or visiting Saint-Boniface! Head over to the Tourisme Riel office at 219 Provencher Boulevard to purchase a mug, a buff, unisex t-shirts, or hoodies. Check out the amazing design!

Sometimes I prefer to give gift cards, to make sure the people I’m spoiling can pick something that will make them 100% happy. My gift card selection for Christmas 2021 includes Fortify for wellness products, Woodcock Cycle for biking equipment or winter sports, and Jardin Saint-Léon for all the yummy treats and fresh foods they offer once warmer days come back around. Last but not least, there’s also Festival du Voyageur gift cards available by calling their office, so your loved ones can purchase their festival passes as soon as they’re released in 2022! 

Another way to find local vendors in the same place at the same time, are markets. The Marché 340 at the Centre Culturel Franco-Manitobain was bustling on December 4th, where twenty or so vendors were offering their authentic and unique products.

You could find everything from clothing, art, tea, beauty products, flowers, jewelry and so much more. There was really something for everyone, with the soft sound of a violin playing in the background and the delightful smell of crepes floating in the air. What these vendors all have in common is their passion for what they do, and I was fortunate enough to discuss it with some of them; all of whom were ecstatic about reuniting with the public in Saint-Boniface.

Ora Manov, tea vendor of the company Heyru, is originally from Nigeria. His products pass directly from producer to consumer, between Africa and Canada, and his original teas are made with a hibiscus or sweet potato base. 

Artist Anne-Claire Joffroy was very excited to be able to share her works of art and French greeting cards with the public. Originally from France, she offers intuitive and colourful art, portraits of souls and reproductions, mainly via paintings but also through objects such as cups or cookie boxes. 

For macrame designer Jamye Lovering, it was her quarantine hobby that led her to found her company Chéri Design and took her to the Saint-Boniface market. She uses wood from the Red River to hold her wall creations which are entirely handmade, without needles! Each decoration is one of a kind.

If you missed the last few weekends’ local markets, that’s okay, the Marché Saint-Norbert is also open one last weekend before Christmas: Saturday December 18 and Sunday December 19, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Happy shopping!