A tree swing sways in the breeze beneath a willow near gardens of large perennials sprouting in rows and flourishing in greenhouses. When Laura Tattersall founded Made in the Shade Perennials in 2006, she wanted to build more than a simple nursery, she wanted to create a destination. She envisioned a lush environment where customers could stroll among large clusters of violet hydrangeas, duck under the bulky green leaves of wild ginger, and admire the yellow and white blossoms of star grass. Teaming up with her daughter, Lynn, they till the ground and plant shade-producing perennials and plants suited to the eastern Ontario climate, growing everything available in their catalogue onsite. Working with both landscapers and home gardeners, they invite all horticulturists to peruse their lush country landscape for water plants, vines, and a wide variety of hard-to-find hostas. When the team can fit it into their schedule, they also lead free workshops on topics such as garden design and why an actual green thumb is a serious medical condition that should be attended to immediately.
Since 1972, Renaissance Music owner Gary Mullen has lived out his philosophy—that anyone can learn to express themselves through music—by selling instruments from makers such as Yamaha, Gibson, Fender, and Martin. The shop’s deft repairmen tend to all the wear and tear musicians inflict, building up a cache of services that ranges from guitar restringing to giving the Heimlich to blocked trumpets.
He facilitates patrons' enjoyment of the music world not only through sales but through lessons; the shop’s team of more than 30 instructors teaches almost 800 students on instruments from the piano to the harmonica. Students can show off their newly learned techniques during in-house concerts, and peruse a vast in-house supply of sheet music for classic concertos or newer works, such as Bach and Mozart mash-ups.
Since 1984, the framers at Creative Framing have worked with clients to encase treasured photographs, paintings, and keepsakes on premises. Drawing inspiration from the colour pairings in the shop's attached gallery, they match artworks with wood and metal frames as well as shadowboxes. The framers also shield works from sun rays and the withering eye contact of art critics with UV-blocking and glare-resistant glass. Gallery liners come in linen or custom-painted Medite; mats in hundreds of colours complement pictures and make diplomas look smarter. The Creative Framing team will also reuse or resize an existing frame on request, counselling it for adjustment to life after cosmetic surgery.
After punching his last timecard at Labatt's Breweries in 1981, Marven Veinot couldn't get brewing out of his system. That's why he got Homecraft Brew & Wine quickly up and running, excited to share his knowledge of the art with others. Since then, Marven handed over the reigns to Joseph Sulley and the little brewer's haven has grown to become one of the largest home and wine beer stores in Kingston. They supply wine- and beer-making enthusiasts with kits to craft their very own special concoctions, including red and white wines varietals and craft beer ingredients. To ensure hobbyists have all the tools need to create the finest libations, they also lead classes and workshops.
Hailing from South Africa, store owner Elsabe joins forces with fellow owner Elspeth, who has 20 years experience in the interior-decorative arts, to bring an expert eye and corporate-consulting experience into the homes of Kingstonians. Like a modern-day Alexander, Els cuts through the Gordian knot of clutter and clash, simplifying décor and organizing disarrayed domiciles. In addition to proffering colour palette suggestions, reconciling hue-feuding bedding and furnishings, Something Els houses a constantly updated selection of unique accessories and new, refurbished, and consigned furniture. Make your army of terra cotta dinner guests at home with a Chinese porcelain fishbowl planter ($90), or tie any room together with a De Poortere wool rug, spun from the generous donations of Chatham Island sheep ($200).
Cha Cha Tea’s cheerful, meticulously organized confines make a pleasing backdrop to its potent selection of leaf-based brews. Replace your cup collection’s frayed paper umbrellas with jaunty bags of tea from across the globe, such as the Sencha Superior, a Japanese Green Tea imported directly from Tokyo ($20 for 100 grams), or the Gyokuro Superior ($32 for 100 grams), lauded for its sweet, mild taste. Bold black brews such as the Earl Grey, available in a variety of bergamot-infused flavours ($8.50 for 100 grams), transform trembling frowns into stiff upper lips.