The One of a Kind Winter Show is a Toronto institution, an inspiring winter shopping wonderland featuring over 800 artisans, makers, and designers from across Canada. Torontonians flock to the largest and best-attended craft show in North America for the unique handmade goods, as well as to meet the talented, dedicate artisans who make them.
Three artisans have been chosen as this year’s Hilton Picks for their creativity, using the great city of Toronto as inspiration for their most popular pieces.
Jhonattan Bonilla, Co-Founder – Printing Life Canada
From adversity comes joy. From a simple idea born around a kitchen table comes hope. Jhonattan Bonilla of Printing Life Canada started this inspirational graphic arts company for the love of family, wanting to stay close to his wife and two young boys. He is a designer, and his wife Sandra a creative at heart, and they knew they could use their skills to design inspirational pieces that could help people lead happier lives and remind them of life’s wonderful moments. Founded in Mississauga and now run out of their home in Burlington, the Bonilla-Duarte’s designs are all inspired by Toronto and by Canada, the country that took Jhonattan in as a refugee in 2005. Born in Colombia, he arrived with his parents to a shelter in Toronto, and ever since has used this opportunity to share a message of Canadian pride and positivity. “Canada means new beginnings. Opportunity. Safety.” he explains, “I want to show the deep love I have for this country, for letting us stay in this wonderful place”.
The 2018 One of a Kind Winter Show will be Printing Life Canada’s third show. “We knew this was the show that we wanted to launch all our designs to market, if we fail we fail big!” he laughs, “but the moment everyone loved our style and message we thought, ‘we need a bigger booth to fit more designs in!’” Printing Life Canada will be bringing their handmade collection of pillows, tote bags and note books to the show this November, all of which are designed, manufactured, and sewn in Canada by the family. “People really value handmade and Toronto-made at One of a Kind” he explains. “Mum hand sews the pillows. Dad helps with building our booth. Me and my wife designing and printing. It’s a family operation. The kids will probably go into the creative field too.” Their most popular piece is anything printed with their inspirational phrase “Someone in Canada Loves Me”, getting orders from around the world, helping anyone missing home.
Last December the family received a blow when Sandra was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Still, the positive message they place on every pillow, bag and book inspires them to hope and dream. They recently teamed up with the MS Society to donate a portion of their sales to the fight against Multiple Sclerosis. “Life is fleeting” Jhonattan muses, “every design we produce is another opportunity to inspire, to reach out and give people hope. We want to show the world that anything is possible if you believe.”
Visit them at: www.printinglifecanada.ca
Rose Chang and Stephanie Drabik, Founders and Co-Creators – Crywolf
Friends since high school, Rose and Stephanie founded their first company in 2005 while finishing art programs in University. Starting with designing and screen printing t-shirts, they rebranded as Crywolf in 2008. With a storefront on Ossington, north of the trendy Queen West, they still make almost everything in the store by hand. With a DIY vibe and aesthetic, their buttons, shirts, bags, and accessories embody the spirit of the vibrant city. Their best sellers are their raccoon and blue jays shirts, which are always in very high demand in Toronto. “The imagery resonates well with residents” says Rose, “there is a huge movement of people loving to rep the city right now.”
But what is it about Toronto or Canada that makes them want to wear it on their chest? “There are some pretty terrible things happening all over the world” explains Stephanie, “but there is a pride in the way that Canada is conducting itself, that we are very multicultural, progressive, and accepting. We have customers that buy these items for people who live out of country and give them a feeling that reminds them of home.”
This will be Crywolf’s seventh year at the One of a Kind Show, which is no mean feat given the rigorous screening process the artisans are subject to before being accepted. “Everyone who is at the One of a Kind Show has a well-made product” Rose explains. “They make sure everyone makes their crafts themselves, they care about the quality of the items, there is a jury process of acceptance. They want to keep the handmade nature of the show.”
Constantly evolving, Crywolf will celebrate their tenth year with new product and a big party in 2019.
Visit them at: www.crywolfclothing.com. Enter hiltonlove upon checkout for 15% off your order!
Morgan Jones, Artist – Morgan Jones Art
Morgan Jones has a fan following. “Each year I learn something different about what people want and love to look at” he says. “The One of a Kind Show has a very strong following, and the artists and vendors have clients who come specifically to talk to them and find new pieces for their collection. I love talking with supporters”. After 12 years in the corporate world, Jones left five years ago to pursue his artistic passion full time. His work has to be seen in person to be believed, but is best described as mixed media that is photography based. After the photo is mounted he adds mediums such as collage, paint, charcoal, pen, and metallic leaf to get the dreamy, whimsical qualities he is known for.
It was not a linear progression for Jones. “I’d always painted but lacked the technical ability to execute on some of my more fantastical ideas” he explains, “so when I discovered photography it gave me the ability to stage and shoot some of my more elaborate concepts, by applying other mixed media elements I enjoyed working with, I was able to marrying the two mediums to create my vision.” His three collections are individual and unique, but share the dream-like artistry. His main collection shown at the One of a Kind Show features very specific characters: Gnomes. “I was taking a photography course and my sister gave me a gnome as a housewarming gift” he laughs, “so I used the gnome as my depth of field subject and that’s where this idea came from”.
His collection features Toronto heavily, using the unique backdrops of the mundane to create a sense of scale, wonder, and whimsy. “I have a great love for the city, and I wanted to see what Toronto looks like from a gnome’s perspective. You can walk past the Leslieville Stockyards, a traffic jam, the streetcars, it’s all very ordinary, but put a gnome in front of it and you see it from their point of view. It puts a humorous spin on everything.”
This will be Morgan Jones’ sixth One of a Kind Show. “I always wondered about what an amazing experience it would be to show at the One of a Kind Show. I never thought in a million years that I would be here.”
Visit him at: www.morganjonesart.com
The One of a Kind Winter Show arrives at the Enercare Centre, Exhibition Place, Toronto on November 22nd and runs until December 2nd. Guests of the Eat, Shop, Stay package receive discounted entry, as well as other valuable shopping and restaurant offers, breakfast for two, cocktails on arrival, premium wifi, and late checkout. Book your stay now and start shopping!