I love shopping for my home. It’s like a treasure hunt: searching for the perfect pieces to bring a room together. Now I’m not one to shy away from a big box store (to be honest, there isn’t a store I can’t tackle) but my favourite pieces, the ones that truly add to the room and spark conversation, are the ones I’ve unearthed at lesser known hidden gems.
My favourite stores allow me the chance to search through antique goods, handmade products, and true works of art, and feel the thrill of finding items so deliciously imperfect they have their own kind of beauty. With that, I wanted to share with you, my fellow treasure hunters, my favourite places to roam for unique finds in Ontario’s Highlands. No matter the size, these are places I can easily get lost in:
Location: Marmora, Ontario
Unique Elements: From the antique truck used as a display case, to the unique location of finds throughout former grain bins, this distinctive store takes rustic finds to a whole new level.
Insider Tip: Take advantage of the beauty of Marmora and stop for a picnic by the water. It’s a great way to fuel up before roaming Jillian’s unusual furnishings and enjoying her personable presence.
Location: Almonte, Ontario
Unique Elements: A fondness for all-things vintage is palpable in this store where every item is carefully chosen, beautifully restored, and lovingly displayed. Ideas for decor are as plentiful as interesting finds.
Insider Tip: Almonte’s historical buildings put anyone who craves old and interesting things in the mood to browse. Exchange stories with the proprietors along Mill Street and others, who never get tired of taking trips to find the uncanny.
Location: Pembroke, Ontario
Unique Elements: With enticing window displays and a rustic brick interior, it’s easy to lose track of time, enjoying the hunt for the perfect piece. This store features an eclectic array of matchless gifts items like soaps and fine foods, and décor items for tables, shelves and walls.
Insider Tip: This little city by the river feels quaint enough to still be a town. Check out the restaurants down the street, like Janna’s Gallery Cafe or the Nook Creperie, or wander over to the Pembroke Waterfront Park for a stroll by the Ottawa River.
Location: Haliburton, Ontario
Unique Elements: A constantly changing inventory ensures your gem of a find is always unique. Fall in love with farmhouse finds, shabby chic decor, and vintage goods as you browse this incredible store.
Insider Tip: Coffee shops have always been places where stories are told, and this shop is not only a treasure trove full of history, but offers a mean latte. If you visit in the summer, you can even top the trip off with a cone of Kawartha Dairy ice cream at the stand outside -could this place get any sweeter?
Storyteller: Jennifer Gilmer. Hometown: Port Hope, ON
Jennifer is a lover of cats, small towns, and everything chocolate. When she isn’t looking for opportunities to try out new recipes or dishes, or reading countless books, she’s busy planning her next road trip and encouraging others to search out hidden gems. Some of her happiest moments include basking in the sun at the end of a dock, laughing the day away at a backyard barbecue, or letting her creativity flow during an evening of sketching with a glass of wine at her side.