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Bancroft, Ontario: Where to Shop for the Stuff You Really Want

Monday, August 21, 2006
This is not the definitive guide to shopping in Bancroft. I haven't been to every store in town yet (we've only had the cottage for three years), and there are new stores opening all the time. But this is a list of three stores I absolutely love to visit -- and that you'd probably love to visit, too, if you're into things like old books, homemade soap, interesting art supplies, antiques, fair trade coffee, cool purses, interesting housewares, and other Ann-ish things.

Ashlie's Books proudly proclaims that it is "the last bookstore for 67 km" -- and it takes that responsibility seriously, carrying an eclectic mix of new and used books. I've had great luck finding vintage pregnancy and parenting books, etiquette guides, and classic cookbooks at Ashlie's, many of which served as inspiration for my book Canuck Chicks and Maple Leaf Mamas: Women of the Great White North. My most recent find? A six-volume set of encyclopedias on motherhood for $10.

The Old Tin Shed serves up an irresistible mix of stuff from times past and present --we're talking books, antiques, gift products, hardware, greeting cards, jewelry, and other houseware and personal care items. I've purchased a number of old wooden boxes (a long-standing addiction of mine) at the Old Tin Shed, as well as gift items galore. It's a truly amazing -- and inspiring -- place. One important shopping tip: if you spot a one-of-a-kind item you like, pick it up and carry it with you while you shop. Otherwise, by the time you make up your mind and decide you want it, it will be gone. I missed out on an $18 wooden tool caddy the other week. It was gorgeous, inexpensive, and it could have been mine. She who hesitates is lost.

The Mad River Consignment Company is my kind of store -- and it's not just because a huge coffee emporium greets you the moment you walk through the front door. I love the fact that the store offers a motley assortment of everything that I love: vintage household items and furniture, old books, art supplies, SIMPLE soap (made by an entrepreneur-friend of mine who lives in Peterborough), gorgeous minerals which hardly cost anything (Bancroft is the mineral capital of Canada), cool purses and jewelry, and so on. I also think the woman who operates the store -- Wendy -- is cool beyond words. She's really supportive of the arts in Bancroft and she's so warm and welcoming to her customers. She's the kind of person you'd love to have as a friend or neighbour. She is "good people!"

Something else you need to know about Bancroft -- particularly if you're shopping with young children -- is that washrooms are in insanely short supply. I suggest you hit the Tim Horton's near Canadian Tire. (Buy a coffee to make it legit.) If anyone has the lowdown on other washrooms in downtown Bancroft, post away. This is the kind of thing would-be shoppers need to know!

| posted by Ann D @ 12:33 AM