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Wow loved ones with unique gifts from crafts markets this holiday season





Got $10 to spend on a handmade gift to warm hearts and hands of all sizes? A purchase that will please the planet while boosting a local artisan?

Then you’ll be smitten with mittens crafted from recycled sweaters by hobbyist Debbie Edison. Selling for $10 a pair, the fleece-lined cozies are one example of the dollar-stretching, original gift ideas at holiday craft shows, markets and bazaars.

“People like seeing who made it, and they love to buy something that’s recycled,” Edison says, explaining why customers veer off the beaten retail path in favour of seasonal pop-ups.

Based in Colborne, Ont., she makes clothing accessories and kids’ tutus when she’s not delivering mail and newspapers for a living. Her craft show appearances, including one in Port Hope on Dec. 8, are noted on Facebook under the name “Just Tulle’in Around.”

If you need more reasons to shop the shows, try these on for size: less wasteful packaging, merchandise you won’t find anywhere else and support for the creative little guy. Add season’s eatings, free activities and entertainment, wrap it all up in a cheery atmosphere and shopping becomes a festive family outing.

And here’s a bonus: many vendors accept cash only, meaning no credit card bills to worry about.

Here’s a sampling of what we’ll call “mall-ternatives:”

Junction Holiday Market: Hosted by a west corner of Toronto for more than a decade, this market features hundreds of vendors, shops and artists at multiple locations. In addition to a vast range of goods, there’s complimentary gift wrapping, free photos with Santa, public transit access and lots of affordable parking.

When: Nov. 30, 4 to 8 p.m.; Dec. 1, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Dec. 2, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: The Junction neighbourhood in the Dundas St. W. and Keele St. area

More info:

Holiday Fair in the Square: Combining Christmas market with winter carnival, this third annual fair organized by Epilepsy Toronto promises “festive fun for everyone.” Unique gift ideas from more than 75 artisans reflect the city’s cultural diversity with products that include clothing, jewelry and decor.

“Buying from our artisans goes a long way as this market is run by and benefits a charity,” says spokesperson Melanie Carrey.

When: Dec. 1 to 23; Tuesday to Thursday, 4 to 9 p.m., Friday to Sunday, 12 to 10 p.m. (closed Mondays)

Where: Nathan Phillips Square, 100 Queen St. W.

More info:

Holiday Street Market: It’s worth the drive to Milton for the ugly Christmas sweaters alone ($15 and up). But there will be more than 2,000 niche products at this event — billed as Ontario’s largest outdoor holiday market — showcasing the handiwork of 250 artisans. Special show prices include charcuterie and cutting boards starting at $20 and cushions printed with sayings for $10. For a nominal fee, indoor workshops cover everything from cooking to cookie decorating.

“You’ll be able to save time, gas and money by shopping all in one location,” points out founder and managing director Philip Suos.

When: Dec. 1 and 8; 12 to 7 p.m.

Where: Main St. in downtown Milton

More info:

Old Fashioned Christmas Craft Show: Custom fishing lures for $10 to $15, dolls in knitted outfits for $1 to $15 and home decor items from $3 to $100 are among the creations of 80 crafters and artisans at this fourth annual event just north of Toronto. There’s also jewelry, seasonal decor and self-published books at the show that raises awareness of a community group that brightens seniors’ lives called The Grandparent Connection.

When: Dec. 8, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: Newmarket Community Centre, 200 Doug Duncan Drive, Newmarket

More info:

Port Hope Farmers’ Christmas Market: “Handmade” and “homegrown” are the buzzwords for the 10th year in this small-town event east of Toronto. More than 40 vendors can provide everything on your list, from knitted goods, skin-care products and baby wear to wreaths, woodwork and beeswax food wraps. For holiday hosts, there’s European and East Indian foods, preserves, farm veggies and a perennial favourite: perogies priced at five for $2.50.

When: Dec. 8, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: Town Park Recreation Centre, 62 McCaul St.

More info: Port Hope Farmers’ Market on Facebook.

Christmas Bazaar & Craft Show: Handicrafts from other countries will be assembled under one Mississauga roof when more than 60 vendors — many from the Middle East — offer up jewelry, artwork, clothing, decorative items and baked goods. Renting retail space is expensive for artisans, says organizer Rose Mary, but the bazaar gives them an affordable place to sell their wares.

When: Dec. 15, 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Where: First United Church Port Credit, 151 Lakeshore Rd. W., Mississauga

More info: Rose events on Facebook.

Carola Vyhnak is a Cobourg-based writer covering home and real-estate stories. She is a contributor for the Star. Reach her at


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Halifax’s Scotiabank Centre reopens for Mooseheads’ season opener





The home of the Halifax Mooseheads will reopen next month to host the team’s season home opener, although the experience will be different as a result of COVID-19.

The Scotiabank Centre will reopen on Oct. 3, after its reopening framework was reviewed by Nova Scotia’s public health and occupational health and safety departments, the company operating the centre and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) team announced on Tuesday.

“We’re thrilled to be reopening and welcoming our fans back to Scotiabank Centre,” said Carrie Cussons, the president and CEO of Scotiabank Centre.

The centre will be following all standard health and safety guidelines related to the wearing of non-medical masks, hand hygiene, physical distancing and contact tracing, the company said.

But there will be additional protections put in place as well in order to limit any possible spread of the novel coronavirus.

Scotiabank Centre will be divided into separate zones of up to 200 people with set washrooms, concessions and entrance/exit points for each zone.

The organization also announced that tickets will be sold in groups of up to 10 within the same bubble, respecting the province’s guidelines on gatherings.

Fans and attendees will be required to wear a non-medical mask at all times, except when they are consuming food or beverages, the Scotiabank Centre said.

Tickets will also be mobile-only in order to minimize close contact between individuals.

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Candidate slate set for Halifax election as mayoral race grows to three candidates





The slate of candidates for the Halifax Regional Municipality’s upcoming election has been finalized and it’s now officially a three-horse race for the municipality’s mayoral seat.

Incumbent mayor Mike Savage will face off against Coun. Matt Whitman, the current representative for the Hammonds Plains–St. Margarets, and political newcomer Max Taylor.

Whitman and Savage have previously announced their plans to run but Taylor’s inclusion in the race was a last minute surprise.

On his campaign’s Facebook page, the 22-year-old says his platform is “simple”

“Get out and vote. I don’t care who you vote for, I care that you vote,” he writes.

One of the more notable aspects of Taylor’s presence in the race is his status on social media platform Tik Tok.

He’s built a following of more than 600,000 people on the platform and his videos have generated more than 20.6 million likes.

What that will do for his candidacy is up in the air, but he’s sure to bring a youthful energy to the process.


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Here’s what Toronto’s new 57-storey skyscraper will look like





The corner of Bay and Harbour may be getting a new 57-storey office tower perched atop the heritage Toronto Harbour Commission Building.

Updated plans for The Hub — a skyscraper from multinational corporation Oxford Properties — have been submitted, and if approved, will see a building designed by London-based firm Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners to 30 Bay Street.

The project near Toronto’s waterfront which was initially proposed in 2018 will add around 1.4 million square feet of office space to the neighbourhood. The building’s west side will also be directly connected to The PATH network.

The Hub will also sit overtop (but only lightly touching) its next door neighbour: the six-storey Toronto Harbour Commission Building, which was built in 1917.

Nicknamed “The T”, the historic building was sold to Oxford in 2017 for $96 million. Fun fact: The T is also reportedly haunted by the ghost of a janitor.

It’s not entirely clear how the interior of the old Commission Building will play into The Hub’s commercial workspace, but the design of the 57-storey building shows the strategic use of four columns to allow for distance between the main building and The T.

The two buildings will be connected by a “finely detailed glazed atrium.”

Windows will stretch from floor to ceiling in the four-storey lobby, which will be home to restaurants, retail spaces, meeting and event spaces, and maybe a fitness facility.

Floors five to eight of the podium will see larger office floors.

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