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Destination Niagara Falls News - August 2019

August 2019: Spotlight on Arisan Woods

In Niagara, we are home to a variety of makers all around the Region. Whether you are shopping for a unique gift or adding something unique to your home, the craftsmanship and quality of our talented Niagara artisans can never be matched. 
This month we feature Aaron and Corné from Arisan Woods. They are a husband and wife duo who specialize in beautiful, custom-made, wood products and furniture - all while ensuring their products are sustainable and ethically sourced.
Tell us a little bit more about Arisan Woods and how you got started?
Aaron has been designing and making wood items for most of his life, his father was a hobby carpenter that made furniture, and passed the passion onto him. Corné has been a crafter and artist all of her life. A little over two years ago, we decided that it was time to start our business full time, combining our two passions of artistic, handcrafted and well-made furniture and decor. We were looking for a way to teach our children how it was possible to give back more than they took, without the consequences of hurting themselves, their family or their community. This is how the idea of Arisan Woods was born. "Arisan" is an old English word for "arise, renew or regrow". Because of the nature of our business (wood products and furniture), it made sense that we would plant trees as well as our way of giving back.
Each piece you create is made from "Fallen Wood" – what does that mean and what makes your products sustainable?
We use the term "fallen wood" in regards to wood that either fell down naturally, or had to come down due to endangering people or the environment around them. An example of this would be all of the Ash trees that have had to come down due to the infestation of the Ash Borer beetle. Another example would be a Black Walnut tree that we recently harvested from a property that had come down in a wind storm. All of the woods that we use are sufficiently air dried, and then kiln-dried to kill any infestations. We absolutely LOVE the odd pieces from a tree that have different textures or voids, as we can inlay them with different mediums such as pigmented resin or a different type of wood. These accents serve to complement a gorgeous piece that another woodworker might toss in the burn pile, but for us are a beautiful piece of art made from nature. These pieces serve to tell a part of the story of the growth of a tree that might otherwise be lost.
In regards to sustainability, this means that each and every item we make was ethically sourced, rather than clear cut just for the purpose of using the wood. In addition to this, we've partnered with a couple of "Not for Profits" that endeavor to reforest areas throughout the world that have lost forest due to devastation. Our focus is mainly on Canadian and other North American areas that have seen forest fire or other types of a disaster such as Northern Ontario, BC, and Alberta. For example, 500 of the trees that we had planted last year were planted in BC in the wake of the devastating forest fires of 2017. For EVERY single item that we sell, a portion of that sale is donated to organizations like One Tree Planted. This is what makes us sustainable. Last year, for instance, we actually operated at a carbon deficit, offsetting not just our own carbon footprint as a business and family, but for many other homes and business within our community.
Can you tell us about the process you use to create your pieces?
It all starts with the wood! We go to a variety of areas from Niagara to the Bruce Peninsula to the outskirts of Toronto to source our wood. We've managed to build a full network of Canadian suppliers and fabricators for all of the materials that go into our items, from the wood to a Canadian made epoxy made by Quebec manufacturer Polymerés Technologies. Even the steel legs that we have made for many of our furniture items are made by a local couple that fabricates steel bases and legs to our specific designs. After sourcing our wood, and finding the inspiration for an item, the build process begins. As an example, for us to build one of our river tables, it can be about 3 times more cost and labour intensive than building a regular table. Once the design is worked out, the wood pieces that will fit into the table are essentially "pre-finished", sanded, flattened and squared up. Next, a mould is built for them to fit into. Think of it like building another table, for the table. The mould must be completely water tight, and level. After fitting the pieces into the mould and securing them down, we start mixing and pouring our resins. This part is one of the most interesting, as the resins and pigments sometimes take on a life of their own. While other makers that do resin pouring typically prefer just one or two pours in a project, we usually do as many as 5-6. This gives us a little more control over the pigments, layering and how our design gets laid out. Once everything is cured (about 2 weeks total time), the rough piece is removed from the mould. At this point, we begin the finishing process that usually take another week or so. Most of our furniture pieces take about 4-6 weeks total time from start to finish.
What inspires you for your pieces?
Anything and everything! We both find inspiration from the woods that we work with and nature itself obviously, but the world around us inspires us as well! We get a TON of inspiration from our clients. We specialize in Custom, so our clients will often come to us with an idea. When they allow us to expand on it, and "be the artist" as it will, we've done some pretty amazing pieces. Prior to having a family, we both traveled extensively, so you can see from our maps that this was a big influence. Our kids are a daily source of inspiration, and we constantly scour interior designers, home magazines, colour palettes, and the internet for new inspiration and ideas. Some ideas are completely out of the blue, some are brought on from a small idea that we will bounce off each other until it becomes a reality. Some inspiration never sees the light of day, as once one of us describes an idea to the other, that person will play devil's advocate in trying to see if it would work or not. The greatest part of working together is that somehow we ended up complimenting each other and making up for the other's deficiencies in a specific area. We rarely have arguments, rather we will discuss something, write or draw down ideas and draw inspiration from each other. We always say that we can get three times as much done together as either of us can as an individual.
As a husband and wife team, what advice would you give other entrepreneurs and creators who are looking to go into business for themselves?
Do it. If you have an idea that you think will work, and that you will find a passion in every day, do it. You'll have days where it might be hard to find the motivation but just do it. You'll have naysayers, and not everything is blue skies. There will be difficult roads, from figuring things out to financial - plug through it. DO NOT undervalue yourself, your time or your work. Some may try to take advantage of the fact that you're a "newer artist". Remember, if they value your work, you are worth it! We can honestly say that we've never been happier than we are now. We've finally started forcing ourselves to take at least one day off a week for rest and family time, but all of the hard work that we've been putting in is starting to show. Get an accountant to help with finances if that's not your bag. You'll need it, and it will help to alleviate a lot of unnecessary stress that you may not see right now. If you can, get a mentor. While this isn't something that we did, it is something that looking back would have been a good idea, to give advice, and help to motivate. Luckily, from the motivation side of things, we've always had each other, but that's not always the case for many entrepreneurs. Research! If you think your idea is a great one, figure out why, and will it work in your area? If not, can you take it somewhere close by where it will? We can tell you wholeheartedly that our product and the way we do things has evolved in a huge way since we first started! If there are others in your area that are doing something somewhat similar, reach out to them and see if there might be a way to learn from them, or even collaborate! We're strong believers in community over competition, and you'd be surprised at how many others in your community are as well. If you can, it's always wonderful to have others that will help to motivate you, and are more than willing to lend a hand. 
Are there any events coming up or places where people can purchase your pieces?
Yes! We've just recently put a few pieces into Mori Gardens, a local store in Niagara on the Lake, but we will also be at The Huronia Festival of Arts and Crafts from August 3-5 in Barrie, ON and we're really looking forward to being a part of the Fall Handmade Market at 13th Street Winery Sept 13-15. For other dates and locations, we have everything on our website. As we mentioned earlier, we specialize in custom work, and can always be contacted through our website, or reach out to us via Instagram or Facebook!
You can find more information on Aaron and Corné's work at or find them on Facebook @arisanwoods. 

Enjoying the End of Summer

With September fast approaching and the thought of your to-do list getting longer each day, we have put together some great ideas for you to get out and enjoy the final weeks of summer. With family friendly options, date ideas and more, soak up the sun and explore Niagara! 


Shop for handmade treasures at the Made It Artisan Market:
Local artisans, vendors and crafters come together just outside the gates of Fort George to show off their beautiful creations. This is sure to be a great day with the family so don't forget to bring your picnic blankets and arrive hungry so you can take advantage of all the great food trucks! 

Date: August 10, 2019

Time: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm 
Price: Free Entry
Enjoy a thrilling experience with Niagara Falls Zip-Line Adventures:
Soar 670 metres (2,200 feet) as you ride the zip-line into the mist towards the Canadian Horseshoe Falls and get picture-perfect views of Niagara Falls. Want to avoid the crowds during the day? Now you can zip-line after dark to see the Falls up-close and illuminated in a cascade of colors. Watch the seasonal Falls Fireworks display directly overhead at 10 PM.
Hours from August 6-September 2, 2019:
Daily Early Bird: 8AM-9AM
Daily: 10AM-7PM
Daily Night Zip: 8PM-11PM
Price: Starting from $49.99 per person
Celebrate the End of Summer Bash at St. Catharines Museum & Welland Canals Centre:
Get a final taste of summer excitement at this family friendly event filled with ice-cream, games, activities, and fun!
Date: August 27
Time: 6:00 - 8:00 pm
Price: $5.00 donation
See the Falls from Above with Niagara Helicopters:
Take a once in a lifetime trip above the Falls! This is the perfect experience to take a date or share a special memory with a loved one. Now offering wine tours and wedding packages. Don't forget to bring your camera! 
Trips operate year-round from 9 am - sunset (weather permitting)
Pricing Starting at : Adults: $149.00, Children (ages 3-12, under 2 is free): $92.00, Couples: $288.00
Party in the Vineyard at Peller Estates:
Country-music fans rejoice! The Washboard Union is playing the hottest part of the summer. With line dancing, a mechanical bull and mouthwatering country-inspired food, a pig roast and a variety of food trucks for you to try. Of course, no party in the vineyard would be complete without award-winning VQA Peller wines! 
Date: August 17, 2019 
Time: 6:00 pm - 10:30 pm
Price: $65.00 per ticket (Wine Members save 50% on Eventbrite
Cheer on the Crews at the 2019 Royal Canadian Henley Regatta:
2019 marks the 137th Royal Canadian Henley Regatta. Participants travel from all around the world to participate and spectators are welcome to watch from the Grandstands. 
Henley Masters: August 4, 2019
Race Week: August 6-11, 2019
Opening Ceremony: August 5, 2019 at 7 pm 
Whether you venture out or stay in, make sure to enjoy the summer sun, breathtaking outdoors and beauty that we call home! 

Long Weekend in Niagara

The long weekend is fast-approaching. Here are a few family-friendly ideas for you to spend your extended weekends:
Celebrate the 41st annual Canal Days Marine Heritage Festival with lots of fun activities and events from August 2-5 in Port Colborne. With youth entertainment programmes, bike races, fireworks, children's area, celebratory fireworks and more, there are endless activities throughout the weekend at different venues.
Every year the Tall Ships gather for the celebration of heritage. Thousands of people visit Port Colborne during Canal Days and celebrate with the community. 
Festival guests can ride the free Canal Days shuttle to the West side indoor Craft Show. Festival food and shopping kiosks fill historic West Street, and the Market Square concert venue features top notch entertainment nightly.
August 2-5 marks St. Catharine's Rib Fest at Montebello Park! This is the biggest and best summer festival. Admission is free and there are delicious ribs, great music and activities for the whole family. This year, crafters and vendors will be participating with many booths to shop and best of all? Thanks to the generosity of sponsors and volunteers, Rib Fest has become one of the signature fundraising events for the Rotary Club of St. Catharines. Each year, proceeds from the event go directly back to help our local community! 
Enjoy the best fireworks show in Niagara Falls on your long weekend. The bottom of Clifton Hill is one of the best spots to capture the fireworks at Queen Victoria Park. Arrive early to enjoy the free concerts in the park and explore Clifton Hill. 

What's Cook'n Niagara?

Scattered throughout the Niagara Region, Supper Markets are booming with locals and visitors wanting to taste the very best that our food trucks have to offer. They're a great way to get out with friends or family and enjoy the beautiful weather. 
Here's the round-up of all Supper Markets taking place in 2019:
Fonthill, in Pelham, is known for its scenic landscape and fruit orchards. It also hosts the Pelham Supper Market, held at Peace Park. Wine & beer from local wineries & breweries are also offered. There's even live music at the Market!
  • Every Thursday
  • June to September
  • 4:30 pm - 9:00 pm
At Lakeside Park for the Port Dalhousie Supper Market, in St Catharines. With its lovely waterfront location, the park is an ideal place to relax and enjoy the supper market in the evenings. This Supper Market is family, kid and pet friendly! Bring your own picnic mats or chairs to truly enjoy the outdoor ambience and entertainment.
  • Every Tuesday until end of August
  • 4:30 pm - Dusk (approx. 9 pm)
On Merritt Island, the market comes to life with local food, wines, craft beer, cider and musical entertainment. 
  • Every Friday in July and August (except July 12th & July 19th)
  • 4:30 pm - 9 pm
The Niagara-on-the-Lake Supper Market has been in existence for more than 5 years and offers a variety of food and drink from over 20 vendors. The Supper Market also conducts various contests and encourages donation in the form of non-perishable food items for the local food bank!
  • Every Wednesday
  • Running until September 18, 2019
  • 4:30 pm - 9 pm
Dig in and don't forget to tag your photos #WhatsCooknNiagara to share with our followers



See our August Events Calendar for more exciting events this month!

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