The One of a Kind Show is an event to showcase handcrafted goods made by Canadian artisans and to put them on sale. It takes place in The Direct Energy Centre within Toronto’s Exhibition Place twice a year (once in early spring and once in late fall), and has come to be known for its unique products and lively atmosphere.
What can you expect to find at the display? ‘What can’t you?’ is the better question. Handmade soaps, leather goods, faux fur coats, chocolate covered nuts, shortbread, knitwear and jewelry are just a few examples of some of the goods at the show. Candles, ceramics, home decor, gardening tools, and handmade clothing also grace the varied stalls set up in the large hall.
The quality is fantastic and the pieces are truly unique creations no one else will have. The beautifully hand-made goods make great unique gifts and distinctive additions to any home. The most popular stands by far were the food-oriented ones. The chefs offered delicious samples to entice customers and also had less expensive products, such as $10 bags of gourmet chocolate. Glittering jewelry stands also attracted passer-bys but didn’t make as many sales, considering the triple digit prices. Truly, prices were the Achilles’ heel of the One of a Kind Show.
First, you have to make it to the show, which entails either public transit or driving. Parking was expensive at a flat rate of $13 for the day, even though most patrons were spending about three hours at the show. Taking transit could cost anywhere from $6 for the streetcar to $20 for the Go Train depending on where you’re coming from. Just getting into the show set me back another $12 for adult fare (total spent so far: $25—and I haven’t even bought anything yet!)
Once inside, I picked up a drink even though I was horrified at the price. The food court prices were completely inflated ($4 for a bottle of juice?!) so next time, packing a brown bag lunch will be a better option. Ok, so you didn’t come to eat; the products at the show didn’t offer financial relief either. An average piece of jewelry at the show cost about $100, and an item of clothing about $125. I bought a large roll of shortbread cookies for $13, some $10 soaps, and equally priced chocolates. Compared to the other items on sale, the $10 bag of chocolate covered hazelnuts was a steal.
Luckily, you really got something for your money, and i am not talking only about the products. The venue was spacious and well organized with hundreds of vendors each setting up shop to form long rows for customers and voyeurs to peruse through without causing too many human traffic jams. The atmosphere was colourful and engaging, with the space easily accommodating hundreds of stalls and over a thousand customers. Although the show took place in a warehouse without windows, warm lighting and inviting booths helped liven up the tone of the venue. The space also housed a seating area for tired shoppers and a small food court in the back to keep customers refreshed. Toilets were accessible and the entire space was perfectly clean.
Overall, the show was a lovely way to spend an afternoon, especially if you were prepared to spend some loonies on unique Christmas shopping. It had a nice atmosphere, great products, and a spacious venue.