Port Credit Emporium – Insauga.com

Port Credit Emporium – A Gem in the Making

by Ann Ivy Male on December 7, 2012 – 9:07am

The word emporium originates from the Greek word emporos meaning “merchant” but, it can also be used to describe a store that offers an array of specialty goods.

A few weeks ago, I was drawn to Port Credit Emporium when I was out for a walk along Port Street. Upon entering the store, I was greeted by a lovely lady who invited me to have a look around. The store was incredibly chic with its vignettes of houseware and jewelry – there was even a nook dedicated to a sample of one-of a-kind fashion pieces.

I then happened to look up to the open-concept second floor where my eyes were attracted to some vibrant, original artwork. So, now I was curious and asked the lady about the store’s design; there appeared to be an attention to detail for all things unique and hand-crafted. She explained that the store owner was her daughter, Karen Ferguson, and as small as this world continues to get – it turns out that Karen and I had crossed paths in the past through our children’s school.

A week later, I met with Karen so she could tell me about the vision for her new store. I asked her, first of all, why Port Credit for this kind of store?  She explained that she had been planning this store for many years “in her head,” therefore when she was ready to finally open for real, she explored the possibility of several different locations but Port Credit was always her first choice. She elaborated, “I no longer live in Port Credit but it’s a place that calms my soul – I love being close to the water. Also, the people are wonderful here and I believe that Port Credit is a “diamond in the rough” so to speak because there is so much potential to develop a selection of retail and specialty stores that is different from the run-of-the-mill- ones.

I then asked Karen to tell me about her eclectic taste in merchandise and how she has successfully brought together her interests in fashion, art, jewelry and houseware. “I lived in Paris for a year and I have also spent time in the Bahamas, where I worked in a book-store. What more can be said about Paris – it is an incredible city. Every shop and boutique draws you in like a magnet. French women love fashion but they buy fewer pieces with the emphasis on quality, and for them, an outfit can be enhanced with the right accessories.

In the Bahamas, there is a huge focus on the arts and literature. The bookstore where I worked would often bring together writers and artists for an evening of culture.” Inspired by her travels, Karen felt it was her calling to create a place encompassing all these ideas into one store. She also has aspirations to evolve the shop as a community space for artists, artisans, book clubs etc. but for now, Karen says, “My focus at the store is the artwork and the merchandise; the rest of my vision will grow with time.”


(Karen Ferguson with her mother, Barbara)

Now, I suppose I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you about some of the great items this store has to offer. The merchandise comes from a variety of local and international suppliers and artisans.


Jewelry:

Jewelry includes handcrafted pieces by: Kurve Jewelry and Alskling Design – both Toronto jewelry artists. Alskling Design uses recycled items to make one-of-a-kind jewelry and they even re-work vintage or heirloom jewelry to create contemporary pieces. Another designer, A&C is out of Norway and offers both, manufactured and handmade jewelry. Ubaté Designs, out of Burlington, works with semi-precious stones and sterling silver. Karen has tremendous respect for these artisans because they are all passionate about their craft just like she is about her store that features them.


Fashion:

In the fashion nook, you will find a rolling rack with a limited number of items from Montreal designer, Concubine and Mississauga designer, J Trove. The pieces are funky and really different from what you might find elsewhere. There is also a great selection of scarves by Kemi, which are made from top quality blends of silk and wool, and to complement any outfit, stylish clutches created by a Norwegian designer, Zita Chic, are made in Paris. You can also find a variety of handbags made by Joanel of Montreal. Karen mentions that she chooses fashion pieces that are timeless and comfortable so they would appeal to women at any stage of their life. The shop even offers some items for men such as hats, gloves, watches and scarves.


Houseware:

Hand-crafted pottery, J Trove’s personalized cushions, La Rochere glassware, with their trademark Napoleon bees, hand towels, organic soaps by Soap Utopia made with an all-vegetable base and shea butter, laptop and i-pod cases made out of silicone by WAKA designs and imported coffee beans from the Blue Mountain region of Jamaica – all offer wonderful gift ideas this holiday season.


Original Art:

The art gallery at the shop features local artists and will be a rotating show. Karen mentioned that during her time abroad, she found that greater emphasis was placed on the arts and artists and she really wanted to bring that back home to Canada. She is pleased that Mississauga is doing a great job already by supporting  art through the various galleries in Streetsville, Clarkson and Port Credit, Visual Arts Mississauga and The Mississauga Art’s Council to name a few.  Currently at the store, you can view original art by artists including Diane Lynn Segger of Segger Studio ( www.seggerstudio.com ) , Leslie Buckle, a local Port Credit artist, Ivan Papazov-Vanche (www.vancheart.com) and Joan Butterfield.
And there you have it – just a sample of all the specialty items to be found under one roof at Port Credit Emporium. Throughout the year, Karen plans on hosting different community events, seminars, art classes, etc. so “Like” them on Facebook for more information.

This week-end’s event is: “Jewels on the Credit” – a pop-up jewelry show hosted by Arts on the Credit. (http://artsonthecredit.ca/jewels-on-the-credit). So, forget those busy shopping malls and make your way out to Port Credit for a unique and local shopping experience.

Port Credit Emporium is located at 42 Port Street E, Port Credit (905)-271-9679

http://portcreditemporium.wix.com/portcreditemporium

http://www.insauga.com/port-credit-emporium-a-gem-in-the-making

Words and Photography by Ann Ivy Male

© 2012 Ann Ivy Male

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Port 229 Artisan Bistro – Insauga.com

Weekends in Port Credit Just got a Little Sweeter

by Ann Ivy Male on October 12, 2012 – 3:52pm

Tired of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”? Then change the scenery this weekend and head down to Port Credit for brunch at Port 229 Artisan Bistro! This cozy bistro is situated slightly away from the main drag, at 229 Lakeshore Road East, and it’s definitely worth paying a visit. Port 229 opened in January of this year, and has since become one of my favourite restaurants for lunch and dinner. So, when I heard that they were offering weekend brunch, I just had to check it out.

It was a lazy Sunday afternoon when I made my way there with the family. As soon as we entered the restaurant, the first thing that we noticed was the dessert case – a very delicious sight indeed! Carole’s Cheesecake Co. takes care of the cakes, and with Kevin Doucette’s warm smile greeting you at the front of the house – that leaves Chef Dialo Kinghorn to his own creative devices in the kitchen. In the mood for something sweet? How about “Sinful Cinnamon French Toast” – cream cheese-filled Texastoast, spiced apples, walnuts and real Maple syrup dripping off each forkful of goodness.  Chef Dialo also whips up his signature crêpes – thin pancakes stuffed with ricotta cheese and fruit compote. But, to keep things interesting, he serves them with a brown butter lavender caramel sauce… “Heaven on a plate,” I’d say. (Both dishes are reasonably priced at $10.00 each.)

This particular brunch, however, had me in the mood for something savoury and nothing beats the traditional Eggs Benny or in this case, “Eggs Benedialo” ($14.00). I chose to have mine with the classic peameal bacon (you can also choose smoked salmon or spinach) with hollandaise as the perfect topping. The creamy, slightly tangy sauce was undoubtedly home-made (I confirmed that with Kevin) and drizzled over perfectly poached eggs – it was delicious!

In addition, I could not get enough of the hash browns that were served alongside the eggs. Those cubed morsels of golden brown potatoes were fried in rich butter, then finished with a sprinkling of sea salt and fresh dill and thyme – so good that I had to order another batch just for sharing. Brunch portions are very generous and they don’t have a specific children’s menu, but Kevin suggested checking in with the server to request a smaller portion if required. Cappuccino, latte, espresso or organic teas will fill the caffeine void, and if you feel so inclined to indulge (hey it’s 5:00 o’clock somewhere in the world) then go for the Mimosa (sparkling wine and freshly squeezed orange juice) or one of Kevin’s Caesars.

Port 229 is truly a gem in the village of Port Credit. And now that the weather is getting slightly colder, it’s comforting to have a cozy place to go to for a leisurely weekend brunch – just to sweeten things up a little.Port 229 Artisan Bistro>
229 Lakeshore Road East
Mississauga, Ontario
(905) 271-4667

http://www.insauga.com/weekends-in-port-credit-just-got-a-little-sweeter

Back to School – The Ultimate Field-trip

Back in May, I wrote an article about a YMCA Youth Exchange trip that took place between Netsilik P.S. in Nunavut and Riverside P.S. in Mississauga. The article was published in the Mississauga Life Blog. That article was written from the  teachers’ perspective, but I also wrote another article describing the kids experiences. As this new school year commences, I hope that this may inspire other kids who are offered such a trip to consider it as an opportunity of a lifetime.

The Ultimate School Field-trip

Words by Ann Ivy Male

Photographs by Paul Officer and John Cicci

Riverside/Netsilik YMCA Exchange Students and Teachers

Just for a moment, imagine yourself back in middle school and the Principal announces the “ultimate field-trip” – a journey above the Arctic Circle to build igloos, to hunt for seal and caribou, to carve an Inuksuk or an igloo out of dense blocks of snow and to immerse yourself into the culture of a community of warm-hearted people whose respect and connection to the land is an inspiration to us all. Would you jump at this chance?

Last spring, fifteen students from Riverside P.S. in Mississauga  took part in a YMCA Youth Exchange that paired them with a “buddy” or exchange student from  Netsilik P.S. in Taloyoak, (pronounced “ta-low-ruaq”), Nunavut. Now, I’ve never travelled as far north as Nunavut, however after interviewing the participants and hearing about their individual experiences, it made it easier for me to get a better insight into the unique culture and traditions of this remote Inuit community.

Old Hudson’s Bay Outpost

Taloyoak (formerly, Spence Bay) translates as “large caribou blind” in Inuktitut and is the northern-most community in Canada – it is a land surrounded by vast tundra, brilliant but icy-cold, starry nights in winter and a fiery midnight sun in the summer. There are no roads; supplies such as fuel, building materials and non-perishable food arrive by barge to this community once the ice has thawed. Other fresh fruit and produce, dairy and snack items are flown in more frequently but are exorbitantly priced due to fuel costs. Just envision the shock on the kids’ faces when a case of pop at the store sported a hefty price tag of $48.00 and a watermelon would set you back $30.00. Something to put into perspective the next time you are strolling down the aisles of your local supermarket.

Cola – $23.29

Before the kids headed out on their adventure, I asked them to keep a few things in mind for us to discuss upon their return. For example; which Inuit cultural activity left an impression on them, what was their “best story ever” from the trip and what was their most memorable meal?

For Spencer and Adi, they literally got a kick out of the traditional sport of – leg wrestling. Spencer described it as “an activity where you lay down beside your opponent and you link your legs together and try to push their leg over.” Everyone participated in this amusing sport including the elders of the community and the teachers. Riverside Principal, Mr. Paul Officer, tells me – “students get to know you more personally as an educator and see that you are indeed “human” and have a sense of humour.” Christienne’s favorite activity was musk-ox wrestling, a sport involving getting on hands and knees, bending your head down and pushing on your opponent’s back to get them out of a designated area. Traditionally, these games originated when the Inuit were nomadic and activities such as these helped to develop strength, endurance and resistance to pain. Today it’s about building community spirit and having fun and this activity certainly created a bonding experience for both groups of students.

Principal, Mr. Officer, leg wrestling with a student

When asked about memorable cultural events – Scott and Madelin said that they were fascinated by a demonstration of drum dancing, quillic lighting (traditional seal oil lamp) and throat singing. Scott explains, “It’s usually two people facing each other singing with their throat and it sounds like animals noises.”  For the Inuit, throat-singing is referred to as “games in which one makes noises” and they use the voice and the throat to make deep rhythmic sounds. It’s said that this type of singing was first used by Inuit mothers to amuse their children during the long, cold winter months, when the men were away on hunting expeditions.

I asked Sean to describe a traditional meal he ate – “Without a doubt, it was the Arctic Char soup; a broth made with chunks of Arctic Char, carrots, mushrooms, celery and other vegetables. It was delicious!” Jordan also mentioned the Arctic Char jerky an elder prepared by using traditional methods. Liam goes on to describe the taste as “its texture was like beef jerky but tastes very fishy and a little greasy – still very good.” Most of the kids agreed that one of their best memories with food was out on a seal hunt expedition and an elder lovingly prepared a hearty Caribou stew made with rice, pasta, peas and carrots in an igloo. This was certainly a heart-warming gesture for these troopers who were out in -35 C weather.

Images of Taloyoak

On the topic of weather, many of the kids expressed their concern before they headed north about not looking forward to the frigid temperatures. However, they were pleasantly surprised and thanks to proper warm clothing and gear – the cold was not an issue. Adventure Canada outfitted the group with parkas and heavy boots. Some kids wore “kamiks”(boots made from Caribou skin), lent to them by the elders. Odessa and Courtney both had a minor bout of frost-bite but Odessa goes onto to say, “My best story ever was when I was in the igloo and “Kublu, a female elder, warmed up my frost-bit feet by placing them on her tummy!”

This northern adventure certainly enriched the lives of the Riverside kids by exposing them to a way of life that most of us will never get to experience firsthand. After the students returned home from Nunavut, the excitement continued because they  anticipated the reunion with their “twins” who were going to experience life in the big city. The Netsilik students arrived in April to balmy weather. Many had never flown on a plane or even taken a city train before but for P.J. because Taloyoak is situated above the treeline – he was in awe when he saw a tree for the first time!

Welcome sign for the Netsilik students at Pearson Int’l Airport

The kids had a packed schedule with visits to landmarks such as Niagara Falls, the Hockey Hall of Fame, and the CN Tower – a thrilling site for all. They even participated in a scavenger hunt around Mississauga and went to a recording studio to sing their hearts out to “Party Rock Anthem.” When I spoke with Charlene, who was very shy and soft-spoken, she told me that her favorite excursion was the CN tower visit. I asked her about her big city experience and she says “at first I was really scared with the busy traffic, people and the tall building but soon I got used to it – I liked it.” Michael, who was Charlene’s Mississauga buddy, says “it’s interesting, when I was in Nunavut, I was in awe with the land that was flat and went on forever horizontally, and now the Nunavut kids are in awe with our tall skyscrapers that seem to go on for miles vertically.”

Netsilik students visit Mississauga and Toronto

The Riverside kids told me that it was a sad day at the airport when they said goodbye to their Nunavut buddies; the likelihood of these kids ever meeting again face-to-face is very slim however many will be using social networking and e-mail to keep in touch. For me, it was obvious to see that this ultimate field trip created some lifetime  bonds between these two very different communities and the kids’  exchange of experiences  through: the games they played, the food and the music they shared and the “best stories ever ” told will be locked away in their thoughts to last a lifetime. The next time someone suggests taking an excursion outside your comfort zone – keep in mind what these kids experienced and how it has enriched their lives forever.

© 2012 Ann Ivy Male

References :

http://www.mustrad.org.uk/articles/inuit.htm

http://www.northerngames.org/games/muskoxwrestling.html

http://www.polarnet.ca/~taloyoak/information/Default.htm

Montreal-Style Bagels – Insauga.com

“Montreal-Style” Bagels Comes to Mississauga

by Ann Ivy Male on August 17, 2012 – 10:57pm

For anyone who has ever devoured a “Montreal-style” bagel, you won’t need any encouragement from me to pay a visit to The Bagel House – soon to open its doors to Port Credit Village. Signage was posted and renovations commenced back in January but as co-owner Sat Chouhan explained, “Our goal was to open in March 2012, however due to city re-zoning and parking restrictions, we had to postpone our grand opening – but now it’s finally here!” So, much to the anticipation of many ex-Montrealers like myself and bagel fans in the neighbourhood, it’s thrilling to know that the wood oven is now being fired up, the dough will be rising and soon the intoxicating aroma of fresh bagels will be wafting through the air.

Now, what’s all the fuss about “Montreal-style” bagels, you ask? Well, Sat tells me that any other bagel is just “bread with a hole.” He and his partner, Jessi Sahdra, have twenty years of experience perfecting these bagels – they both learned from two of the best bagel shops that Montreal has to offer – St. Viateur and Fairmount.

The bagel-making process starts at 4 a.m.  when the baker creates a soft, slightly sweet dough which is then hand rolled, boiled in honey water and coated in poppy or sesame seeds. Next, fifteen bagels are placed onto a long wooden paddle which the baker slides into a hot, wood-burning oven. The paddle is then re-positioned three times to meet the varying temperatures in the oven until the golden bagels with their chewy centers are done. The process takes about twenty minutes and it’s amazing to watch these bakers at their craft.


(From left, shop manager – Jerry Rai with Bagel House partners – Sat Chouhan and Jessi Sahdra)

The Bagel House will also offer an array of sandwiches including, of course, Montreal Smoked Meat and Lox and Cream Cheese. Their selection of flavoured cream cheese is exceptional – spinach feta, roasted red pepper, basil pesto and chive, just to name a few. The dill pickles are from Moishes, another Montreal landmark, and their baked goods such as knish, rugelach, and moon cookies are brought in raw from Solly’s, and then baked fresh in the store’s convection oven. Planning a bagel party? They have a wonderful selection of party platters to choose from as well.

As I was wrapping up my interview with Sat, an ex-Montrealer and Port Credit resident named Karen came into the store inquiring about the authenticity of The Bagel House’s bagels – “I’ve been anxiously awaiting your opening,” she said. “I hope these bagels will live up to my expectations!” Sat replied, “I’m up for the challenge – you won’t be disappointed!”

The Bagel House is scheduled to open this Saturday, August 18th,2012 and its hours of operation will be from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily, with the possibility of opening 24hrs – just like their three other outlets in Toronto. They are located at 235 Lakeshore Rd. East in Mississauga. For more information, visit their website: www.thebagelhouse.com

Now the hunt to find the perfect croissant begins! Any suggestions?

http://www.insauga.com/montreal-style-bagels-comes-to-mississauga

© 2012 Ann Ivy Male