Whiskeyjack Boutique Grand Opening Came With Mystery on Maiden Lane

(Whiskeyjack Boutique storefront in downtown Windsor’s Maiden Lane during the shop’s Canada Day grand opening on July 1, 2019. Photo above by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.)

There’s a mystery on Windsor’s downtown Maiden Lane. When the staff of the city’s newest gift and souvenir boutique arrived on Canada Day morning to officially open the shop, they noticed two stuffed animals outside one of its windows peering inside. No one knows where they came from or even how they arrived but the good money suggests they are a sort of a possible omen of success.

Whiskeyjack Boutique

Two stuffed animals were placed by an unkown person outside Whiskeyjack Boutique as a grand opening surprise for the shop owners on July 1, 2019. Photo by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.

Under the heading of the “World Needs More Canada” the little shop on the popular lane, with the great Canadian name Whiskeyjack, is chock-a-block with a curated selection of quality, and mostly hand-made, Canadian gifts and personal care products sourced locally and from across the country.

Katie Stokes founder of Whiskeyjack Boutique

Wiskeyjack Boutique founder, Katie Stokes, smiling at the shop’s Canada Day grand opening in Windsor, Ontario, on July 1, 2019. Photo by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.

Proprietor Katie Stokes tells Eyes on Windsor the two most popular items on offer at the new venture are candles and scrunchies. Its candles are nothing if not rather unique, each has a message, which makes them sort of combined candle and greeting card for some of life’s moments. Most are also somewhat irreverent. In fact, the store has a certain whimsy about it as well as being light and airy, which makes perusing its shelves nothing less than a delight.

Candles at Whiskeyjack Boutique

Candles, each with a message written on them, on display at Wiskeyjack Boutique in downtown Windsor’s Maiden Lane during the shop’s Canada Day grand opening on July 1, 2019. Photo by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.

Whiskeyjack Boutique Hair Scrunchies

Hair scrunchies on display at Wiskeyjack Boutique in downtown Windsor’s Maiden Lane during the shop’s Canada Day grand opening on July 1, 2019. Photo by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.

It has in fact been operating since May. Its soft opening, as retailers call it, was on the first Saturday of the Downtown Market which made for a rather good day exposing its wares to thousands of shoppers walking down the Lane.

People shopping at Whiskeyjack Boutique

Following the Canada Day Parade people browsed products inside Wiskeyjack Boutique in downtown Windsor’s Maiden Lane during the shop’s grand opening on July 1, 2019. Photo by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.

Its name, like its products, is pure Canadian. Canada’s national bird, says National Geographic, is the Canada Jay, whose nickname is Whiskeyjack. These feathered creatures can be found nesting in every territory and province within the nation. On its website, the retailer says the bird is friendly and smart, “who chooses not to migrate in the winter, and braves the Canadian cold better than most of us! The name Whiskeyjack came from the Indigenous for Wisakedjak, who was a known trickster in Anishinaabe legends.”

There it is again, trickster, a word that certainly equates with the style Stokes has created and the types of products she sells including an actual replica Whiskeyjack created and produced by a local artist.

Sarah Fram at Whiskeyjack Boutique

Staff member Sarah Fram displays an item for sale at Whiskeyjack Boutique, during the gift and souvenir shop’s grand opening on July 1, 2019. Photo by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.

When Stokes says her shop is all about local, she backs up the statement by being an outlet for RARE – Real Authentic. Real Etiquette – a Windsor-based clothing company started three years ago by Tam Nguyen & Scott Bisson. Not only was Monday the shop’s official opening it was also the launch of a new RARE product, a T-Shirt with a graphic representation of the maple leaf, the trillium and a rose, symbol of the Rose City, an affectionate name for Windsor.

Brian Yeomans wearing a RARE Apparel T-Shirt at Whiskeyjack Boutique

Brian Yeomans of the Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association wearing a RARE Apparel T-shirt design, exclusively available at Whiskeyjack Boutique, during the gift and souvenir shop’s grand opening on July 1, 2019. Photo by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.

Whiskeyjack certainly adds a new element to local retail scene and is light years away from past souvenir shops and their style of what some, particularly comedians, would call tacky merchandise. But there’s more. It is not just for those looking for a city memento that is not run-of-the mill but is also a source of home décor and related personal care products, including those from Ottawa’s Bathorium. As such, the venture is a new breed of retailer for the downtown and well worth a look see.

For more information about Whiskeyjack Boutique visit https://whiskeyjackboutique.com

Robert Tuomi

Article by Robert Tuomi

For over a decade, Robert has covered local news and community events. Initially as a contributor to CBC Radio’s local morning show and then as the long-time producer and host of CJAM’s The Rest of the News and as a journalist at the Windsor Square. A graduate of the Nikon School of Photography he enjoys illustrating his reports with what he sees through his camera’s lens.