Start your holiday shopping this weekend in Port Franks

(Click above link for a map to the Poinsettia Tour)

The 4th annual Poinsettia Tour (October 13 and 14 at 10 venues) kicks off the holiday season in Port Franks, and gives visitors a chance to see what businesses are preparing for holiday gifts. Follow the poinsettia signs to the 10 venues along the way, and remember to sign up for draws at each store.

1) Northville Convenience Store
8575 Lakeshore Road (Highway 21) – (519) 243-2050
Owners: Rebecca and Barb Losee
Fall/winter hours: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
What to expect: “We’re more like a general store,” says Rebecca Losee. “We sell just about everything: from unique giftware to groceries, movies, homemade popcorn, Shaw’s ice cream, power tools, camping and fishing equipment. We also have two other rooms; in the first room we have clothing and beachwear and jewelry, things for babies and toys. In our back room is home décor, including furniture, vases, and anything to decorate a home with.”

2) MacPherson’s Restaurant
8512 Lakeshore Road (Highway 21) – (519) 243-2990
Owners: Veronica Brennan
Hours: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sundays 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
What to expect: Restaurant and variety store offering home-cooked meals, movies, an ATM, gift shop, greeting cards and lottery. We try to have a little bit of everything.

3) Port Franks Community Centre
9997 Port Franks Road
Presented by Ausable Port Franks Optimist Club
What to expect: Tearoom and craft show. Luncheon.

4) Miss Pia Jane (see ad)
7602 Ransford Street (off Port Franks Road) – (519) 243-3576
Owner: Louise Lockney
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the tour; Wednesday to Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
What to expect: Old, new, used and vintage gifts for the home, cottage, and camp. See the store very festively decorated with lots of cool flowers and lovely holiday gifts. Bright stars and holiday balls. Lovely gifts, fabulous jewelry. Painted furniture, great artwork, home décor, fabulous flowers, jewelry and handbags. Explore the building and visit all the nooks and crannies to see the surprises in store. There’s always juice and hot cider all winter long. “It’s a comfortable place to shop, browse and meet friends,” Lockney says.
5) New Life Treasures (see ad)
7574 Riverside Drive – (519) 243-2831
Owner: Glenna Hupka
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (for the tour); otherwise fall hours (to Christmas) are Wed to Sat 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
What to expect: Treasures of yesterday, today and tomorrow. Home décor and red-hat society items. All artwork will be on sale at half-price, candles are half-price. Refreshments include apple cider and lemon and banana cake. I have a really interesting new item: wine bottle night-lights that are hand-made by Glenna Hupka, Gerda Prossler and Noreen Baker. They’re Christmas lights in a wine bottle that is decorated and one-of-a-kind. Our designer Lolita wine and martini glasses come with recipes on the bottom. Visitors can sample Wildly Delicious bread dipping oils. “Last year was my first year,” says Hupka, “and I met a lot of nice ladies who stopped by from Kitchener and Toronto, and I want to thank them for coming by.”
6) Rustic Creations (see ad)
10000 Erie Street (at corner of Riverside Drive) – (519) 243-3090
Owners: Nancy and Wayne Millman
Hours: for the tour 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; otherwise hours are Tuesday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
What to expect: Goodies and refreshments, and lots of primitive crafts and candles, Christmas items and fall items. Hand-made dolls, wooden birdhouses and angels, rustic looking crafts. Most items are hand-made by Michelle McIntosh and Wayne Millman. “Visitors can tour the property and we have lots of things in our garden for sale, too,” says McIntosh.

7) Christine’s on the River (see ad)
10070 Poplar Avenue (off Riverside Drive) – (519) 243-3636
Owner: Christine Orosz
Hours: fall hours: Thursday 4 – 10 pm, Friday 4pm – 12am, Saturday and Sunday 12 – 10 pm
What to expect: For the tour, the lunch specials will include chicken Caesar salad, a dock salad and a chicken Caesar wrap with choice of soup or fries. The menu will be available at all the stops on the map. “The tour is a great way to get more people to know about Port Franks because it’s a hidden gem that no one really knows about,” Orosz says. “If the weather is good, we’ll have a good turnout.”

8) Roadside Art – The Birdman of Port Franks and gift baskets by Birdie (see ad)
7449 Sanderson Road (off Riverside at intersection leading to Christine’s on the River) – (519) 243-3860
Owners: Doug (the Birdman) and Brenda (Birdie) Wilkinson
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. or by appointment
What to expect: Birdie will have a whole pile of gift baskets made, and the Birdman has made birds and planters. He’s making a bird made of rock right now, but normally the birds are made of motorcycle gas tanks. All of his planters are made from propane tanks. He’ll make custom orders as well. The gift baskets are all occasions, including diaper cakes for babies, gift baskets for wedding showers, dog and cat baskets. “Whatever they want is what I make,” says Brenda Wilkinson.
9) Bliss Studios (see ad)
7617 Riverside Drive – (519) 243-3598
Owners: Tony Miller and Lorraine Thomson
Hours: by chance or appointment
What to expect: It’s a contemporary art studio that shows established and emerging artists. Right now we’re showing Back in the Saddle, and it features Tamara Croxall, Sarah Kane, Kim Ange, Stephen Shellenberger, Lorraine Thomson and Tony Miller. “The most important thing is to see the art, although of course, the art is for sale,” says Miller. “We just want people to experience it. The building used to be a fishery, and it was one of the first buildings in Port Franks, so it’s an interesting place to visit.”

10) Rodgers Meat and Fruit Pies
7805 Alfred Street – (519) 243-1629
Owner: Rosemary and Gary Rodgers
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday for the tour (depending on stock)
What to expect: Specializing in individual- and family-sized frozen meat pies (ground beef, steak, chicken and turkey pies) and frozen fruit pies that are in season. “It’s a home-based business, so you’ll be visiting our house,” Rosemary Rodgers says. “We also have a yummy lemon loaf. We’ll have good samples and anyone who wants to buy, can.”

11) Thedford Arena and 12) Lambton Heritage Museum – Lambton Colour and Craft Festival
Fundraiser for the Lambton Heritage Museum