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The Canada Art Shop Directory Truly Canadian Made - The Visual Art, Artists, and Artisans of Canada

by Sally Jennings

Come find the webshops of artists and artisans, galleries and cooperatives from across Canada displaying handmade art: from glowing glasswork, to finely worked gold, silver, and gemstone jewellery. Decorate your world with unique pottery, paintings, drawings, photos, graphic art, woodcraft, sculpture, and metal art. Relax with colorful textiles, quilts and knits, luxurious soap and candles, and gourmet food and drink.

Canada's Best Art Shop Directory Truly Canadian Made


The visual arts in Canada celebrate a distinctive Canadian style and sense of place. Canadians don't fit the cliché, that they are all Eskimos who live in igloos, although a small number of Canadians do live in the far north, where it is colder part of the year. Canadians are a diverse people, from native peoples who have been here for centuries, to British, French, Irish, Scottish, Scandinavian, and European settlers who came from the 1600's through the late 1900's, to the most recent immigrants who come primarily from Asia and South Asia. We come from all over the world, yet we are all truly Canadian.

Canada has many world-class artists, some who went abroad to learn, and some who were educated in art and became accomplished in their craft here at home in Canada. If you look through the art studios, galleries, and craft shops across Canada, you will find beautiful art made by incredibly gifted and accomplished artists. In the last few decades, we have gained new artists who came with the waves of immigrants settling in Canada. They brought with them the artistic techniques of their home countries, and have enriched our art scene with their masterful work and fresh creative vision. Through the centuries, our talented artists have been creating art that is truly Canadian made.

Which distinctive visual arts and crafts do Canadians create? Which forms are the most popular? What might I buy for a unique gift, you may ask. Glass work, especially fused glass, ceramics, and pottery are very popular forms of artistic expression, as well as woodcraft, wood turning, sculpture, and jewelry making (Canadians often spell it jewellery making) with fine gold, silver, and semi-precious stones or precious stones. Fine art, that is painting, drawing, printmaking, and graphic art are also popular. Quilting, needlework, knitwear, and leatherwork are often intricate and functional forms designed to keep our people warm. Much of this artwork is very portable; smaller pieces may be packed in a tourist's suitcase easily, and almost all galleries and studios will arrange for shipping larger pieces. Then there is mixed-media, which persistently refuses to be categorized. Is it part sculpture? Sometimes. Is it part painting? Sometimes. Is it part fibre art? Sometimes. Is it interesting? Always.

Gourmet food is also a newer art form that is gaining wide acceptance, even outside the restaurant scene. Fine chocolates, gourmet antipasto, condiments and preserves, and fudge, are available from Canada's many chefs. Sought after regional foods are maple syrup from the hardwood forests of the East, chanterelle mushrooms from Vancouver Island's rainforest, and smoked salmon and seafood treats from the Atlantic ocean and the Pacific ocean. Organic foods are widely available, whether farmed produce like garlic or lavender, or wild foods like berries.

Added to this delightful mix is the native artwork created by Canada's original people which often portrays the mythical world: carved totems, button blankets, woven baskets, hammered gold, silver or copper jewelry, argillite carvings, and carved bone, to name a few forms. In Canada's north, the Inuit peoples have used man-made stone landmarks called inuksuit for centuries. The representational human form, inukshuk (or the more correct spelling, inuksuk) is a sub-class popularized by virtue of being stylized as a logo for Canada's XXI Olympic Winter Games (the 2010 Winter Olympics), hosted by Vancouver, B.C., taking place in Greater Vancouver and the ski resort, Whistler. The XXI Olympic Winter Games Inukshuk symbol is named "Ilanaaq the Inunnguaq". Ilanaaq is the Inuktitut word for friend. You can see a picture of this Ilanaaq on the official Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games (VANOC) site.

Photographers from around the world come to Canada to capture the wide open spaces of the Canadian prairies, the picturesque fishing villages of the Atlantic or Pacific coasts, and the magnificent peaks of the Canadian Rockies. Others find interesting material in the urban centres, whether old Quebec City, or the soaring modern architecture of Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto or Montreal. Rural and small-town Canada offers photographers visual material that is often of great historical significance: from old ghost towns like Barkerville in British Columbia's goldrush northern Interior, to historical sites like Black Creek Pioneer Village in Toronto or Lunenburg's Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic.

Canada's art forms are luxurious and vibrant. Her artists are fired by the creative vision of the rich landscapes they see, imagine, and dream. They also bring the dreams of others to life in their commissioned work. Many of their creations are available for viewing and purchase online. To taste a small sip of what Canada's visual arts can offer, you are invited to visit the Canada Art Shop Directory Truly Canadian Made.