Ecotique is Roncesvalles' very own eco-minded boutique. While the Roncy community does have more than a few green options in its neighbourhood — Sweetpea's for seasonal florals, Scout and Fresh Collective for unique local designs, for example — Ecotique is the first that is exclusively and explicitly about eco-friendly gifts, housewares, and beauty.
The boutique was launched in November by Anna Pinchak, who previously operated Dexterity Gifts & Decor on Queen West. I don't meet Anna when I stop by the store, but I do chat with Sarah, who relays Anna's initial intentions for the shop. "Her goal," she begins, "or, the goal of the store, is to provide greener choices without compromising good design." I take that to mean no hairy hemp shoulder bags, and indeed, there are none to be found. The store is lightly stocked — something the easily overwhelmed will surely appreciate — with pretty speckles of wood, white, and metal along the shelves.
"The products are either recycled, reusable, sustainable, local, or any combination of those qualities," Sarah continues. We walk through the store, and she points out the locally made line of Crawford Street Skin Care products (made, of course, over on Crawford Street by hand, using only natural ingredients), a set of Nkuku stainless steel cups ($12/e) painted by hand and sourced from a fair trade co-op in India, and, my favourite, a line of Phasha leather notebooks and journals (average about $30) made from hand-dyed and hand-tooled leather with paper made from recycled cotton.
"I have one," Sarah says, as I pick up a mini sketchbook and examine it more closely. "I love it. It's great for notes and sketches."
Another item that quickly catches my eye is a coat hook made of a plank of reclaimed wood with bent silver spoons acting as the hooks ($45). The spoons have been imprinted with the words "peace" and "love" at Anna's request, though Sarah says the shop will look into asking the supplier for custom imprints at the customer's request.
I soon realize the reclaimed wood is plentiful at Ecotique, available as cutting boards, serving planks, and even a pieces of jewellery, designed by a Northern Ontario couple who only use pieces of fallen wood. Perfectly paired with the couple's handmade wooden earrings ($28), are the Mistura wooden watches made from recycled leather and wood from sustainable forests. The watches are on the pricier end — about $200 a pop — but the designs are spectacular and strike me as a perfect unisex gift.
There's plenty more to see at Ecotique including natural linens, bathrobes, lotions, and other toiletries, and Sarah says the shop is constantly getting in new items. "We're always on the lookout for locally crafted products as much as possible," she says. "If it's green and of great quality, that's what we want to offer to our customers."
Photos by Nick Warzin