Kara Langford and Warren Lewandowski started <a href="http://www.teadot.ca/index.html">tea dot</a> less than a year ago, an online business specializing in creative blends of loose leaf tea. They came up with their name out of a brainstorm, hoping to find something that could relate back to the city they're hoping to grow from. <br />
"It is a kind of an inside joke," Langford said, hoping that non-Torontonians will still be intrigued by the name.
This was the first Spring show for Montreal resident Allison Desouza and her line of designer soaps, philo-soapy. She started around 11 years ago by selling all-natural vegetable oil soaps only, but has started another series of glycerine-based, funky soaps of different colours and textures, even some shaped like ice cream cones, cupcakes, and popsicles. <br />
And the name? "I like to play with words, it just came to me," said Desouza. "People in Montreal don't really get it. 'Philo-so-appy?' Sure! 'Feel so happy.' Great."
Pauline Dickison, from Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, turns old blown-out sails into messenger bags, duffel bags, bucket bags, wallets, aprons, cushions, and more. But with every item comes a story about the boat it once belonged to. "<a href="http://www.windbagcompany.ca/">Windbag</a>" not only refers to its nautical use, but a "windbag" is another storyteller of sorts, says Dickison. The motto "blew to green" addresses the company's eco-friendliness.
Tamar Drushka and her husband John Hannah run their stoneware business, The Philosopher's Stone, from Rosebud, Nova Scotia, and have for about 18 years—long before J.K. Rowling wrote a book with the same name. <br />
"I read about it in Jung's work, actually. It represented 'great good' to the alchemists. It was a plain stone, a piece of the earth. It really fit with what we wanted to achieve with the stones," said Drushka, who researched the then-obscure term. "Now more people have heard of it."
Leona Knaup began her cookie business 20 years ago out of Liberty Village as a fundraising effort for her kids' school (the kids now work for the family biz). Knaup says they thought of the name <a href="http://madbatterbakers.com/">Mad Batter Bakers</a> from a Montreal restaurant called The Mad Hatter, not directly because of <em>Alice in Wonderland</em>. But she still gets compliments on it.
Marnie Lynn Sennett (The Lobster Dainty) and her husband Mark Hoch (The King Crab) are just about as passionate about wordplay as they are about seafood. <a href="http://www.littleshopoflobsters.com/">Little Shop of Lobsters</a> boasts their "sea-licious" products are "for all your shellfish needs," which you can order by mail or at their "re-tail" stores. To learn more about the company, read their rhyming homepage or sign up for the "Mousse News" newsletter.
Alfie Bernadette (A.B.) Galda got the name of her 29-year-old knitwear line because her husband would parade her creations around and announce "This is my A.B. Original suit" or "This is my A.B. Original tie." We doubt she intended for us to do a double-take when we first saw her sign.
Did you think we were finished scouring the city for its most pun-derful businesses? We’ve covered the streets already, but there’s still a treasure trove of pun-discovered titles in the world of trade and retail shows. Leave it to one of Toronto’s biggest, the One of a Kind Spring Show and Sale, on now until Sunday at the Direct Energy Centre, to bring together some real pun-expected gems.
Because we can only get excited over hand-painted silk scarves for so long, the hunt ended up being our full-time commitment on our annual trip to the show. Browse the gallery to see some of our favourites.