This holiday season, spend time in your own community. Here in York Durham Headwaters, we’ve got fantastic retailers, merchants, artisans and makers who are eager to invite you into their shops and their world this festive time of year. Fall in love with the act of giving once more as you experience the joy of shopping local. As a bonus, shopping local means there are no supply chain issues or cross-border shipping. Everything you could possibly want is right here in YDH, at your fingertips.
Explore Local in York
Main Streets in York – A day spent exploring our small-town main streets is a day spent making memories. In York Region, we have several historic main streets that you have to see to believe. To start, we suggest you give Main Street Unionville or Main Street Newmarket a try.
In Newmarket, you can spend the day enjoying 150 one-of-a-kind places. Get your fix of Christmas retail therapy, and stop in at one of the vibrant and exciting pubs and restaurants to take the edge off the appetite you’re sure to work up. In Unionville, you’ll find quaint shops for those unique gifts, along with tempting cafes and unforgettable restaurants and pubs. If you’re feeling adventurous after your shopping trip, explore the trails or stop in at the Varley Art Gallery. Need more motivation to visit? Main Street Unionville is the original filming location of Stars Hollow from the hit television series, Gilmore Girls!
Redefined Finds – This friendly store in Stouffville not only saves old furniture pieces from landfills, but it also makes them beautiful again. Redefined Finds carries hand-painted furniture done entirely in-house, two different lines of specialized furniture paint, accessories and auxiliary products for the DIY enthusiast in your life, and showcases the handmade products of approximately 12 local artists and artisans.
Cottage and Crown – This unique home décor and gift shop, located on Main Street in the picturesque village of Schomberg, offers a wide array of farmhouse- and cottage-style décor with a fun mix of vintage pieces thrown into the blend. You’ll love wandering this quirky little shop as you discover one-of-a-kind items that let your loved ones know you were thinking of them.
This is Made – For something truly one-of-a-kind, this Vaughan marketplace offers a retail space to makers, artisans and online businesses so they can share their products with the community. Not only will you delight your friends and family with the perfect handmade gift, but you can feel good about supporting a business that seeks to give small merchants the opportunity to own a “store front” without the overhead costs.
Explore Local in Durham
Main Streets in Durham – Known as a rural powerhouse in Ontario, Durham’s main streets are the essence of small-town charm. You’ll adore a day of exploring the fun shops, boutiques and restaurants here. If you’re not familiar with Durham’s main streets, then we suggest you start with Brock Street in Uxbridge or Queen Street in Port Perry.
Situated in a gorgeous valley on the northern slope of the Oak Ridges Moraine, the Town of Uxbridge is a mecca for trail users—that’s because Uxbridge is known as the Trail Capital of Canada! One visit to the main downtown strip of Brock Street, and you’ll see why bikers, hikers and trail users venture off the forested paths for refreshment, entertainment and enjoyment. You’ll be amazed by all of the boutiques offering clothing, gifts, jewelry, furniture and other hand-crafted treasures, as well as the wonderful dining options—including the renowned Second Wedge Brewing Company! On the shores of Lake Scugog, Port Perry is a magical place to visit in any season… but it’s even more magical during the holidays. That’s because this historic downtown offers endless shopping opportunities, bakeries, restaurants and pubs that make Port Perry a foodie paradise. When you’re done your day of shopping, be sure to stop in at Old Flame Brewery for a taste of local refreshments!
Markets by Dream Day – With three locations in Pickering, Brooklin and Bowmanville, this boutique multi-vendor marketplace is a haven for handmade in Durham Region. Visit one—or all three—locations to get inspired with your giving, and add a sprinkle of Christmas Spirit with the knowledge that your holiday shopping is supporting local entrepreneurs.
Unique Town Boutique – Another collection of handmade vendors coming together, Unique Town Boutique in Whitby offers handcrafted creations from over 70 local artisans. Get the best of Ontario’s artisan talents in one convenient location, and enjoy the spirit of the holiday as you browse and choose and shop. This quaint setting is located in the heart of Downtown Whitby. Welcome to this “little BIG shop,” where every item is crafted with love.
Simcoe Street Market – Located in the heart of Beaverton on the historic main street, this curated marketplace brings together contemporary and traditional makers, artisans and traders. You’ll love how diverse this shopping experience is, and you’re sure to find a gift that you can give from the heart.
Explore Local in Headwaters
Main Streets in Headwaters – Make your holiday shopping merry and bright with Headwaters’ charming main streets. Start your small-town holiday adventure on Broadway in Orangeville, or on Main Street Erin.
Take your time exploring the lovely boutiques, welcoming eateries and hidden gems that Downtown Orangeville have to offer. The season may be all about giving, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the shopping. In the Village of Erin, you’ll find scenic rural vistas, quaint shops, and plenty of small-town charm. With an eclectic array of shopping opportunities that offer everything from housewares and home décor to clothing and toys, you’ll find plenty of unique treasures to wrap up and put under your tree for the ones you love.
Alton Mill Arts Centre – In the Village of Alton is a hidden gem that will raise your holiday spirits. With a diverse collection of artists, artisans and makers in one beautiful location, you are guaranteed to find that perfect gift for your loved one. Check out Noodle Gallery, Rare Threads, Gallery Gemma, The Hive, Alton Mill Art Galleries and YogaGurl for inspired finds in this historic mill that has been lovingly restored. Visit working studios, meet the artists and hear their stories. There’s nothing like giving a gift that has a good story behind it.
Rosemont General Store – A trip to Mulmur is well worth the drive when you visit the historic Rosemont General Store. Specializing in organic, locally sourced products, as well as homemade pies, entrees, tea biscuits and breads (to name just a few), you will also find many nostalgic products from the United Kingdom that so many of us yearn for—especially at this festive time of year.
Granny Taught Us How and Heidi’s Room – This is not just shopping, it’s destination shopping! Nestled in the Town of Shelburne is a shopper’s paradise filled with possibilities. Whether you’re looking for something rustic and cozy or something glitzy and glamorous, you will find that perfect gift to satisfy the discerning tastes of your loved one this holiday season. As they say, “Granny’s has always had a way of making you feel special.”
Story by Katherine Ryalen