When a property is truly remarkable, selling it requires a certain refined approach. That’s where the Garage Sale comes in. Turning the traditional real estate process on its head, the luxury auction house, based in Kelowna, British Columbia, deals primarily with homes and properties above the $4 million mark, provides bespoke marketing and media and sells a limited number of tickets to its auction events for prospective prequalified clients. As if to demonstrate the unrivalled calibre of their service, the Garage Sale even offers an optional live-in experience – complete with gourmet chef and 24-hour concierge service – that allows buyers to test drive the property before the bidding begins.
Built to Specs
Born out of a desire to offer fashionable and affordable prescription eyewear online, BonLook is the brainchild of Sophie Boulanger. The Montrealer, who has worked for the LVMH Group and Groupe Germain hotels, brings her flair for design to four fashion-forward collections a year, plus capsule collections every six weeks. After enjoying a healthy launch in the United States in 2010, BonLook specs are now available in Canada. The brand’s 50 fresh shapes and designs for women (available in three colours apiece) are now joined by a full new men’s collection. Interested in a pair? Use the site’s virtual Try-On feature to see what style suits you best.
Raising the Bar
Every 15 days from January to August, a ritual takes place in the Piura region of northern Peru. White cocoa beans are handpicked from trees as old as 150 years and are then transformed into coveted Illanka chocolate. For 2014, Chef Nadège Nourian of the famed Nadège patisserie shop in Toronto has developed the Illanka Collection, a Canadian exclusive-edition line made up of 63 percent of this grande cuvée cocoa. The distinct macarons, bonbons and tablets are infused with notes of blackberries, blueberries and black grapes, and feature a decadent creamy texture. Find them in retail shops or online.
Mix it Up
If you’ve ever been to Le Lab in Montreal, you’ll recognize it as the place to go for creative cocktails. The endless menu is full of libations, from the whimsical to the wicked, and the bar recently branched out to start selling artisanal syrups. Celebrated mixologist Gabrielle Panaccio started building Le Lab’s handcrafted, small-batch and 100-percent natural collection with four syrups: Tempête d’Épices, Gingembre Infernal, Fraîche Récolte and Tonic Ancestral. The latest additions to the lineup include Tiki 1930, a special blend of spices, ginger and lime, and Orgeade, a French almond syrup.
Downright drab chef uniforms are what sparked Calgary restaurant owner Cam Dobranski and former chef Andrew Dallman to launch Medium-Rare Chef Apparel. In 2006, the pair started the brand as a low-cost uniform company but soon began offering premium products. Their list of items – which includes sturdy aprons and waxed-canvas-and-leather knife rolls – has grown well beyond traditional chef gear. By working with designers across North America, they’ve homed in on what makes sense in the culinary world. Their latest offering, launched this fall, is a full lifestyle line – think T-shirts, hoodies and hats – that can easily transition from the kitchen to the street.
Against the Grain
If there’s one fashion item that announces a man’s confidence and sense of adventure, it’s the bow tie. Recently, a Vancouver-based company has upped the ante on this audacious menswear accessory. Bö by Mansouri, headed by the father-and-son team of Mehran and Saman Mansouri, takes its cues from reclaimed raw materials. Wood cut-offs from North American mills serve as the main body for the Bö ties; soft leather offcuts are fashioned into adjustable neck straps; and artisanal paper twine from Austria is dipped in natural dye and added to the pieces for a pop of colour.
Italian-trained, Nova Scotia-born designer Matthew Gallagher has been quick to catch the eye of the global fashion industry. After training at the Istituto Europeo di Design in Milan, he launched his eponymous line of women’s wear, with attention to detail being his focal point. Gallagher has only been on the scene since 2013, but he previously did a stint as a freelance illustrator for Canadian luxury brand Ports 1961, and his collection debuted at World MasterCard Fashion Week in Toronto last year. Collection availability is only through private consultation or custom order with a made-to-measure, atelier experience: Gallagher imports only the most exquisite fabrics from Italy and will create your perfect fit by hand.
Best Case Scenario
Inspired by travelling chests, the Quartermaster carry-on case from Ebby Rane is carefully crafted to elevate the travel experience. Toronto’s Sonja M. Salmon, a former corporate lawyer and frequent flier, designed the leather-trimmed valise, which helps direct your packing through a clever patented system of carryalls, each one embossed with gold lettering. There are bags for laundry and beachwear, sleeves for footwear and soft cases for cosmetics, jewellery and liquids, as well as a stylish document pouch that can easily double as a clutch. Available in three colour combinations, the Quartermaster turns heads whether your runway is the catwalk or the pedway to Terminal 2.
Ripe for the Sipping
In the summer of 1938, tomatoes grew like weeds in Omer Miche’s garden in Belgium. Perplexed about what to do with his overabundant harvest, he eventually put the fruit through a process of pressure, steeping and fermentation that transformed it into a wine-like elixir. The recipe has been closely guarded for four generations – until now. At Domaine de la Vallée du Bras in Quebec’s Charlevoix mountains, Pascal Miche, inspired by his ancestor’s inventive technique, is producing an heirloom-tomato aperitif wine called Omerto. The standout Moelleux vintage, light and golden with vegetable notes, is one secret worth sharing.
Calgarian Rebecca Klemke is a descendant of the city’s first family of food – her uncle, Pat O’Connor, is the founding owner of Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts and a champion of Western Canadian cuisine. So when she released Decades of Decadence in 2012, a compilation of 300 family recipes, the cookbook was an instant hit. Decades of Decadence was named Best Culinary History Book in Canada, then was shortlisted and named Best in the World in the historical recipes category at the 2014 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in Beijing, China, this past May. Klemke’s next literary foray: a mouth-watering dessert cookbook.
Old Montreal just got a facelift – no surgery required. Earlier this year, cult skincare line Dermalogica selected the neighbourhood for its first Canadian “hybrid” Learning Centre, a spot where skin therapists can train, but also where clients can come to shop, get complimentary Skin Bar consultations and book a MicroZone treatment, which focuses on one specific issue (tired eyes, chapped lips, breakouts) and targets it in 20 minutes. But just because the brand is cutting-edge doesn’t mean you should expect a clinical atmosphere. The centre’s design reflects the area’s famous old-world charm, with accents like exposed brick walls and vintage medicine cabinets.
Celebrate in Style
Whether as a hostess gift – or for yourself – festive pieces from the Mercedes-Benz Collection make a home glow with holiday cheer. Made of hand-blown glass, star logo tealight holders cast subtle Mercedes-Benz shadows and create an intimate ambience for dinner parties. The star-patterned porcelain mug makes an elegant addition to winter’s hot-cocoa ritual. Surprise a Mercedes-Benz lover with the set of four glass ornaments, gold with star detailing and logo, while decorating the Christmas tree.