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Local Love: Purpose-Driven Canadian Brands to Shop From This Holiday Season

The gift-giving season is upon us! This means you’re probably on the lookout for exceptional gift ideas for everyone on your holiday gift list. 

More than ever people are interested in conscious and purpose-driven brands.

Recently, through a holiday media preview, I had the opportunity to learn more about five wonderful Canadian brands. Each one creates unique products and has a purposeful mission.

From proud Indigenous makers providing a taste of Canada’s cultural fabric to former international aid-workers creating the world’s best bean-to-bar chocolate!

Sḵwálwen Botanicals: Indigenous Skincare

“Sḵwálwen (skwall – win) is a luxury Indigenous brand creating botanical skincare products. Honouring traditional Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) plant knowledge, we incorporate sustainably harvested and sourced plants and organic, high-quality ingredients. Each product has a Squamish name to honour the place where this plant knowledge comes from.”

Founded by ethnobotanist Leigh Joseph of Squamish First Nation, Sḵwálwen provides gentle and effective skincare that draws from the ceremonial aspects of plants. 

In the Sḵwálwen Botanicals shop, you will find healing salves, toners, face masques, bath salts, cleansing clay, and much more. 

I have been using the Pá7pawtn Nettle and Arnica Sore Muscle Salve ($18 CAD) for the past few weeks and I love it. It works wonders on tension spots and sore muscles!

Visit skwalwen.com to explore their different skincare collections.

Fern & Petal: Handmade 100% Pure Essential Oils

Founded by Katie Derrick, Fern & Petal is a family-run business. Putting quality first with products that are handmade and/or bottled locally in Vancouver, BC. Their mission is to help their customers feel safe knowing their products are all-natural and the highest of quality. They’re on a mission to make the world a better place too. A tree is planted with every order!

Included in my holiday media preview box to try:

  • Candy Cane Essential Oil ($9 CAD)
  • Ginger Snap Essential Oil ($11 CAD)
  • Aquamarine & Lava Bracelet ($20 CAD)
  • Lemon Lavender Tea Soak ($17 CAD). 

Right away, I gravitated towards the Ginger Snap essential oil and added a few drops to my living room diffuser. I have a thing for ginger, in a big way. Folks, if you’re like me and you love the smell of fresh gingerbread cookies, you have to try this blend. Just a few drops, and I’m immediately in the holiday spirit. Whereas, to feel invigorated first thing in the morning, the Candy Cane blend is just the thing.

Fern & Petal offers an assortment of high-quality essential oils, home and bath products, and accessories, such as diffusers. 

Visit fernandpetal.ca to explore their extensive line of essential oils and more.

EATABLE Popcorn: Snacks For Curious Palates

Charlene and Vince Li, husband and wife duo, founded EATABLE Popcorn. Their flavours are inspired by classic cocktails, wine, and spirits for a sophisticated taste and texture. A portion of every online sale gets donated to Second Harvest – Canada’s largest food rescue organization with a dual mission of environmental protection and hunger relief.

EATABLE Popcorn offers an assortment of delicious, gourmet popcorn and popcorn gift sets. 

I have taste-tested two varieties, Pop the Salt & Tequila ($8.99 CAD) and Pop the Champagne ($9.99 CAD). Both popcorn flavours were scrumptious!

Visit eatable.com to discover their gift set offerings for the holidays.

Hummingbird Chocolate: Craft Chocolate Makers

We love good chocolate, don’t we! Erica and Drew Gilmour founded Hummingbird Chocolate in Almonte, ON. They are former international aid workers who spent their careers working with farmers in developing countries. Hummingbird Chocolate is one of the world’s best producers of bean-to-bar small-batch chocolate.

Since I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying Hummingbird Chocolate many times over, I can tell you firsthand just how decadent and delicious their chocolate creations are! 

Purely for research purposes, I recently sampled Hummingbird Chocolate’s Almond Toffee Bark ($9.99), Salted Caramels ($20.99), and Hispaniola 70% chocolate bar ($7.99). My findings were conclusive: Hummingbird Chocolate creates blissful chocolate you savour with every bite. Yum!

Visit hummingbirdchocolate.com to discover their holiday chocolate collection.

Wabanaki Maple: Authentic Indigenous Maple Syrup

Wabanaki Maple is 100% Indigenous female-owned and located on Neqotkuk (Tobique First Nation). They have created a twist on traditional maple syrup with their signature line of Barrel Aged Maple Syrup products of bourbon, whiskey, and toasted oak. 

For the foodie in your life, their collection of maple products are a must-try! 

I enjoyed a sampling of their signature brand barrel-aged maple syrup (Mini Bundle Set, $33 CAD). The flavours blew my taste buds away! If you’re looking to elevate your holiday pancake brunch, make sure to order some of their maple syrups. They are truly delectable.

Visit wabanakimaple.com to shop their line of maple products.

Include Local Canadian Brands On Your Holiday Shopping List

This holiday season, I encourage you to discover and learn more about these Canadian, purpose-driven brands. Each one of them is unique and offers an exciting assortment of products. From plant-derived skincare to decadent maple syrup – you’re sure to find special gifts for everyone on your list.

Emily Smith

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