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Conestoga River Pottery’s Phil Yordy: An Original St. Jacobs Artisan

It was 1979 when Milo Shantz, the visionary behind the redevelopment of downtown St. Jacobs, approached Conestoga River Pottery’s Phil Yordy. Recognizing Phil as a talented potter, Milo offered him an opportunity to develop a pottery studio in St. Jacobs. Fortunately for the village, the rest is history and Conestoga River Pottery has been creating high-end, handmade pottery in the village for 38 years.

As one of the original artisans in the Village Silos, Phil continues to make over 100 unique functional pottery items ranging from tableware to teapots. Conestoga River Pottery offers a wide variety of work in style, shape, and colour, with many different glaze finishes. Phil’s pottery is sold in complementary sets and as individual pieces. 

With the kiln, potters wheel and bisque room all onsite, you can see new unique pottery items in production all year-round. We welcome you to visit Conestoga River Pottery located in the historic silos in downtown St. Jacobs.


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The Silo Weavers’ Elsa Brigden Elliott: An Original Artisan

The Village of St. Jacobs has embraced the art of weaving for 37 years and Elsa Brigden Elliott is the reason why. Elsa was one of the original three weavers that started their business in The Village Silos in 1980; she continues to contribute to the variety of downtown shops as one of the original artisans remaining from that era.

Today she specializes in high-end textiles such as table runners, scarves and throws, unique items that are functional and yet colourfully intricate. St. Jacobs shoppers are impressed with her design expertise and the quality material with which she weaves. 


Elsa remains passionate about her work in part because of the expressed appreciation and conversations with shoppers supporting her craft.  She has a friendly, authentic personality, and claims she is always learning something new.

The Silo Weavers is an example of St. Jacobs’ commitment to the textile field and just one example of the community's support of unique local artisans and independent businesses. 


Elsa also plays an important role with the "Quilt & Fibre Art Festival, Waterloo Region & Beyond" held annually each May, by inviting important visiting textile artists to showcase and demo their work at her studio.

Sadly for St. Jacobs, Elsa will be retiring and closing her store at the end of May 2017 after a long and successful run as artist, shopkeeper, and business woman. Make sure you experience her artistry and pick up original handcrafted pieces before it's too late.

You can find The Silo Weavers in the silos of the historic flourmill adjacent to the Conestogo River.



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Massive Model Railway in St. Jacobs is one of North America's Finest

The Village of St. Jacobs may not be where you'd expect to find North America's finest O-scale model railway, but that is exactly where it is!


Covering around 3,000 sq. ft. of handbuilt landscape intertwined with city and rural scenes, several Canadian Pacific and Canadian National trains travel the rails with both diesel and locomotive engines, as was the case in the late 1950s.

Operations of the trains and their intricate travels are operated manually by skilled volunteers from the control booth overlooking the scene, and there is even a magical dusk to dawn scene in which tiny lights illuminate the buildings and coach cars as night falls.


Due to the intensive amount of volunteer time to run this massive model railway, show dates are typically limited to Saturday and Sundays from May - December,  plus Thursday afternoons throughout July, August, and other special show dates announced outside of that period, such as Family Day and March Break, and April 1, 2, 29, 30, 2017! 


OPEN Saturday & Sunday, May - December;

OPEN Thursdays 12 noon - 5 pm throughout July, August

For more details and ticket information click here and visit St. Jacobs & Aberfoyle Model Railway's website.


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Valentine's Day is Sweeter in St. Jacobs

When Valentines Day visits St. Jacobs, Olde Tyme Kettle Kitchen rolls out sweet holiday treats. 


You may have heard of Olde Tyme Kettle Kitchen for their fudge or soft peanut brittle. Or perhaps you have tracked down the smell of their fresh sponge toffee as you walked into the St. Jacobs Outlet Mall to enjoy a hand-dipped ice cream cone. Regardless, if you have tasted their treats you will not forget where they came from!


The Olde Tyme Kettle Kitchen has been operating as a family business for 23 years and makes their special recipes from scratch on site at their store in the St. Jacobs Outlet Mall. You may even see candy being dipped in creamy chocolate as it travels along on their chocolate conveyor belt while you order delicious artisan sandwiches, soups and salads at their food counter in the food court.

artisan sandwiches, hand made fudge, muffins, lunch counter

Looking for chocolate covered strawberries and other goodies for valentines day or other special occasions? Then this is your store! Each holiday comes with its own specialties so stop by the Olde Tyme Kettle Kitchen for chocolate boxes of hearts, strawberries dipped in chocolate and other packaged goodies as great gift items for your special someone.

chocolate covered cookie wafers, lunch and supper menu

Olde Tyme Kettle Kitchen is open daily at St. Jacobs Outlets, 2nd floor. And did we mention there is always a free sample of their creamy fudge?!

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Annual Quilt & Fibre Art Festival Scheduled for May 23-27, 2017

You don’t have to be a quilter to enjoy the vast array of shows, exhibits and events that make this festival so vibrant and inspiring! Held during the last week of May each year in four communities across Waterloo Region, this festival celebrates the best work of quilters and fibre artists, both from the past and the present.

More than eight of the 2017 festival’s thirteen collective events will take place in St. Jacobs, a village of Mennonite and pioneering heritage where quilting, needlework and textiles played such an important role – for both practicality and beauty.


Expect to see a variety of exhibits and shows featuring everything from historic collections to the work of contemporary guest artists and guilds.  Work may be inspired by modern or traditional patterns, be handstitched or machine-quilted with free motion, feature linear or digital designs, or it may be experimental using new techniques and trends for remarkable outcomes.

In St. Jacobs - during the festival - you'll also have opportunity to attend a “trunk show”, enjoy afternoon tea, chat with an artist, watch a demonstration, sign up for a workshop, take a mystery bus excursion into the St. Jacobs countryside, or browse through a guest vendor area.


Consider shaping your visit into a memorable getaway and book an overnight at Homewood Suites by Hilton, St. Jacobs; take in all the shows, as well as the shops and attractions including nearby St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market.  


Plan to attend: Click here for 2017 FESTIVAL DETAILS  and  see the  2017 CALENDAR of EVENTS

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Make the Holidays Merry Relaxing...with Music!

A quick Google search reveals numerous studies and theories on just how much benefit and calming effect can be derived from listening to classical and choral music.


At this time of year, it may be tempting to think one is too busy to attend a musical concert, or perhaps it's a new genre for you. But relaxing with an hour or two of music might be just the ticket to adding some richness and rest for the soul into the season.  


The tradition of holding holiday and Christmas concerts is strong in St. Jacobs; a list of several is assembled below.  Visitors old and new are always welcome. You might even decide to tag on some leisurely shopping in the village, which is decked for the holidays too.


village of St. Jacobs at dusk with holiday lights

Saturday December 3: Twin City Harmonizers at Calvary United Church 48 Hawkesville Road, St. Jacobs, 2 p.m. Tickets $15 at the door or call 519-664-2311.


Sunday December 4: Vivaldi's "Gloria" with choir, soloists, and small orchestra assembled from within the community. At St. Jacobs Mennonite Church, 1310 King St. St. Jacobs during 10 a.m. service. Free will offering.


December 10: Mennonite Mass Choir presents Handel's Messiah, at the Centre in the Square, Kitchener.  Click here for ticket information.


December 11:  At the "Christmas Homecoming" concert, you'll hear the voices of The Grand Philharmonic children's, youth, and adult choirs in a variety of Christmas favourites with 200 singers on stage, the KW Orchestra, and a chance for the audience to sing along!

3 pm at Kitchener's Centre in the Square. Click here for more information.


Christmas Eve December 24:  All 3 churches in St. Jacobs hold services. At St. Jacobs Mennonite,  "A Township Nativity" ponders what a modern day Christmas Eve Nativity might look and sound like in the townships of South Africa. 7 p.m. Free admission.


St. James Lutheran Church invites you to attend a candellight  service at 7:30 pm, and Calvary United hosts their Christmas Eve service, also at 7:30 p.m.  Free admission.


Finally, if theatre is more your cup of tea, Cinderella: the Panto  at St. Jacobs Country Playhouse, or Red Rock Diner at St. Jacobs Schoolhouse Theatre will have you laughing in your seats and humming catchy tunes until the big day arrives. 


Happy, musical Holidays!


St. Jacobs Shops are open every day. Click here to see more.



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Making Peace with Black Friday & Holiday Preparations

Black Friday has grown in popularity in Canada over the past few years and debates about the true origins of the term "black friday" continue.  Today it is generally regarded as the start of the holiday shopping season in the USA, sometimes amid images of early morning lineups for store openings and frantic crowds. After all, who doesn't love to save some money and get a great deal ahead of the holidays!?


But in an increasingly fast-paced world, for many, an added sense of satisfaction comes from finding a way to incorporate the richness of past tradition into our modern living; to pay tribute to a quieter bygone time where a few simple treats - like nuts & candy and perhaps opening one or two treasured gifts with loved ones on Christmas morning - made the day special and memorable for a lifetime.



Blogs, magazines, home décor and diy websites are abuzz with ideas on how to achieve this, much of it centered on holiday décor. And within that realm, antiques and collectible items play an important role in bringing a sense of nostalgia to your home.


Consider how an antique piece of furniture – whether rustic or refined - or a table set with lovely antique dishes and glass can in itself pay homage to days gone by. A cedar garland strung with vintage ornaments and draped over a mantle, hutch or doorway can add dramatic flair and festive mood in an instant.


Or perhaps you are a do-it-yourselfer whose greatest satisfaction comes from repurposing an old item to star in your home in a fresh new way, or to give as a gift. Think wooden boxes, jugs, and jars adorned with greens and candles; bells of every description strung with ribbon; old skates, wooden sleds, skis, or an architectural element adorned to greet guests at the front door...



And even a small creative venture can be good for the soul. So take some time to browse for ideas on line or in magazines, stroll through Market Road Antiques with its more than 100 antique vendor booths, then perhaps... get out the glue gun, greens & glitter, and let visions of sugar plums and all things Christmas dance in your head as you prepare for the holidays!



  4-day BLACK FRIDAY SALE at Market Road Antiques
  Thursday November 24 - Sunday November 27, 2016
  Open daily 10 am - 6 pm, and OPEN LATE to 8 pm
  on Thursday & Friday of this event!


  4-day BLACK FRIDAY SALE at St. Jacobs Outlets

  (across Weber St from Market Road Antiques)
  November 24 - 27; open daily.





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Village Holiday Shopping Event | Thursday to Sunday Nov 17 - 20, 2016 (Nov 16-19, 2017)

Victorian Carolers sing during St. Jacobs Sparkles event


St. Jacobs' most anticipated holiday event - St. Jacobs Sparkles - is one you won't want to miss! Village-wide, merchants throw open their doors and roll out the welcome mat to kickstart the holiday shopping season.  Some offer once-a-year savings and in-store promotions, others greet you with festive goodies, and everywhere, good cheer abounds.

Perhaps best of all, this is your one chance to shop into the evening amid 1000s of twinkling lights as stores offer extended shopping hours to 9 p.m. on both Thursday & Friday night of the event. And who knows, you may even catch a glimpse of Santa himself on Thursday eve or Saturday afternoon!? Come be our guests!


Event: St. Jacobs Sparkles

2017 Dates: Thursday - Sunday, November 16 - 19, 2017
Location: Village of St. Jacobs
Hours: (most stores)

  • Thursday, Friday 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.
  • Saturday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  •  Sunday 12 - 6 p.m.

​Sit back, grab a coffee and read on to get a glimpse of some things that took place during St. Jacobs Sparkles 2016! (2017 dates: Thursday November 16 - Sunday November 19)


Step aboard a free horse-drawn trolley as it shuttles shoppers to and fro along the streets:

•   Thursday 4:30 - 8:30 pm  •   Friday 4:00 - 8:00 pm
•   Saturday 1 - 5 pm (the shuttle does not operate on Sunday)

Listen for the strains of wandering Victorian Carolers at Stone Crock Restaurant, Jacobs Grill, and along the streets during these approx times:
•   Thursday 5 - 8 pm  •   Friday 4 - 7 pm  •   Saturday 2 - 5 pm  •  Sunday 1:30 - 4:30


Drop by Block 3 Brewing for a chance to win a prize pack, plus enjoy:
•  Thursday: Burgers Brews and Bands, 5 - 7:30 pm

•  chowdumplings pop-up  Friday 3 - 9 pm and Saturday 11 - 7 pm
•  Saturday: Live Music from 1 - 3 pm


Warm up "Burn Barrel" & Hot Apple Cider ~ hosted by Township of Woolwich Volunteer Fire Department (St. Jacobs Division) Thursday eve beginning at 6 pm in front of The Mill & Silos.

Complimentary hot cider PLUS Charity hotdog & marshmallow roast while quantities last!

UPDATE! Everyone had such a great time on Thursday evening that our fabulous Volunteer Firefighters are returning FRIDAY evening for another Charity hotdog & marshmallow roast! Come on out an support them, corner of King & Front Street starting at 6 pm.


Drop by "Magnolia's" on King St. during Sparkles for great gifts and more:

• Tealish tea sampling, Thursday evening
Booksigning by "FireHouse Chef" Pat Mathieu, Sunday Nov. 20th, 1 - 3 pm!

Save the HST on all regular-priced items (excluding crafty woodsman pieces) plus door prizes, refreshments, Christmas cookies!

St. Jacobs' Optimist Club is fundraising for the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit at Grand River Hospital. Drop by their tent outside Scotia bank and enjoy cookies and candy canes! Donations appreciated to help support the tiniest members of our community!
•  Thursday and Friday: 5 - 9 pm    •  Saturday: 10 am -  4 pm


Opening Reception at the art district gallery:

• Friday Nov 18th, 5 - 9 pm.  Drop in to see original recent work and meet the artists at this trending gallery (located on King Street near Hachborn St.)


• Visit Red Coral Christmas Store in The Village to receive 15% off all regular-priced clothing & accessories!* Offer valid Thursday through Sunday. *Some Restrictions Apply


Hop on board Waterloo Central Railway's Sparkles Express on Saturday November 19, with 2 departures from St. Jacobs Farmers' Market, and with a stop in the village where you can disembark to shop, dine and explore for 1.5 hrs before catching return trip to Market. 
Click here to Book 10 a.m. departure!
Click here to Book 12 noon departure!


NEW!  Region of Waterloo Library: Let’s Read Edmund Unravels Story Walk 
Walk with your family through the pages of the book, Edmund Unravels, displayed outside the St. Jacobs branch. This heartwarming tale, written by local author Andrew Kolb, is the Let’s Read selection for 2016-17. Come inside to make a Yarn Buddy craft and to enter the draw to win a free copy of the book!

at Region of Waterloo Library - St. Jacobs Branch, 29 Queensway Drive, St. Jacobs

•  Thursday, November 17   2 - 5 p.m.  and  6 - 8 p.m.
•  Saturday, November 19   10 a.m. – 1 p.m.


Enjoy refreshments at Hybrid Hair & Detox Spa newly-opened in St. Jacobs! Hours during Sparkles:  • Thursday 17th  10-6  • Friday 18th 10-9 • Saturday 19th 10-6.  Also at the Spa:

• Friday evening enjoy the Live Music of Ryan Dugal and Claryssa Webb From ‘A New Ground
• Saturday sign up for a Holiday Make Over:  Book a package experience $40 & receive a Wash, Style and Mini Photo Shoot to use for anything from Gift Ideas, Head Shots, to Christmas Cards!  Limited space so book early!
• Win Prizes ranging from 10% off Services and Retail to a Mini Spa Day!


Spot Prizes!  Keep your eye on Facebook @StJacobsVillageShops or Instagram @StJacobsCountry at these times while shopping:  Friday 1 pm and 3:30 pm.; Saturday 2 pm.; Sunday 2 p.m.  to learn a surprise location in the village where you could WIN tickets to Red Rock Diner (at St. Jacobs Schoolhouse Theatre 'til Dec 24), or to "Christmas Homecoming" Concert by Grand Philharmonic Choir (Dec 11 at Centre in the Square) or a $50 Dining Voucher from Stone Crock & Jacobs Grill, by being first to the spot!


Storewide Sale at Toy Soup: 10% off storewide during Sparkles!  Plus game demonstrations daily by local game expert during these times • Thursday 10-6  • Friday 2-9 • Saturday 10-6 • Sunday 12-5  Complimentary cookies from local bakeries too!


Is there a new coffee gadget you are dying to try?  At Eco Cafe & Coffee Roastery, try out the various coffee gadgets they sell, ask questions...while finding the perfect gift and of course enjoying the coffee used to demo! Learn about their Specialty Coffee Gift Basket Program too!  


Come into Angel Treasures for heavenly gift ideas! Chance to win in-store giveaway daily Nov 17 - 20. Details in store along with complimentary chocolate samples.


At Xclusive Elements: Save the Tax all 4 days of Sparkles (Thurs-Sun)! Plus instore promos,
prizes, festive treats, complimentary coffee


At Taste the 4th Sense:  20% off store wide Thursday- Sunday, and special samplings too! Hot sauces, oils and condiments galore for the foodies in your life! 


At Lizzy R Fashions: Sparkle with Joy! Save the tax on your purchases, Thursday - Sunday! (half price merchandise excluded)


Home Furniture launches evening revelries on Thursday beginning at 6 pm! (note the store will be closed 5-6 pm on Thursday only to prepare; full details in store)

Door Crasher specials of Reindeer Pairs, Christmas Aprons and Oven Mitts, 70% off!

Spend $50 or more before taxes – Receive $10 HH Gift Card

First 50 Customers receive voucher for discount and gift (to be used at time of Thursday evening purchases only) 


Also at Home Furniture on Thursday & Friday: 70% off clothing & jewelry all day, and more!


On Saturday at Home Furniture (8 am - 5 pm)
•  "Taxes in" on ALL purchases, including appliances, bedding and special orders

• "Wildly Delicious" Gourmet food tastings on Saturday afternoon
•  local radio live broadcasting on site 9 am -1 pm!


Visit the Timber Barn showroom to find trending home decor items and exclusive Timber Barn gifts built in our shop onsite!


Home Hardware Thursday Night Festivities 6 - 9 pm:
• "Play to Win!" •  Tax-free evening  •  Treats  •  Live music!

(please note the HH store will be closed from 5 - 6 pm to prepare for Thursday evening's activities)




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5 Kitchen Trends to Watch for Right Now

Timberbarn, St. Jacobs


Trends are evolving quickly and nowadays we are all about pushing the limits and taking bigger risks in our kitchens. Not only do we live in our kitchen but we also invite guests into this space, giving us an opportunity reflect both our life and design style. Here's a look at what's trending in kitchens right now.

1. Tuxedo Kitchen Cabinets

tuxedo kitchen contemporary kitchen

Expect to see a rise in two-toned kitchens, or tuxedo kitchens, the combination of mixing dark and light cabinetry by engaging monochromatic colour-blocking. The timeless simplicity of this style appeals to a variation of designers with it’s high contrast fixture and accessory opportunities.

2. Hidden Appliances

contemporary kitchen with hidden appliances
You may have to look twice to find the dishwasher as appliances are now integrated into seamless cabinetry to maintain a consistent style and texture.


3. Cast Iron Apron-Front Sinks

cast iron kitchen sink in rustic yet modern kitchen
Though commonly associated with farmhouse or vintage spaces, cast iron sinks with a front apron extension are finding themselves in a variety of interior styles offering their colour opportunities and shape variations. Cast Iron sinks are known for their appealing enamel coating with long lasting durability.


4. Consider Grey

beautiful grey and white transitional kitchen
Grey is creeping up on white to offer an alternative to the ever-popular white palette. It has become complimentary to a two-tone approach which can contrast richly stained wood and light cabinetry.


5. Technology Efficiency

kitchen mixing reclaimed wood with high tech hydaulic doors
Kitchens in the 21st century offer many different gadgets and integrations for maximum use and storage capacity. Opportunities range from hydraulic cabinets, double layered drawer storage, and appliances controlled with your smartphone. 


These five items are only the beginning. The Timber Barn in downtown St. Jacobs displays a high-profile kitchen showroom with professional designers onsite. Book an appointment today to meet with a designer and see for yourself how timber tells a story.


Timber Barn serves the Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph, and greater Toronto area. Its showroom is open daily in St.Jacobs.  Enter from either King Street across from the Stone Crock Bakery or from Spring Street. 


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Thoughts on Making Fashion Your Own

Guest Blogger Tina Schank, Vivah Jewellery, St. Jacobs Outlets


When asked to define “fashion”, the mind goes in many directions.  Images of what you feel are “fashionable” and even “unfashionable” may start popping into your head. Perhaps you will reminisce on your most fashionable moments, those times when your outfit and jewellery came together so well that you truly “rocked” the day, event, or meeting!!

Webster’s dictionary defines fashion as “a popular way of dressing during a particular time or among a particular group of people….” well I call that balony. Fashion is expression.


In today’s world, fashion cannot be defined by what’s “popular”, or what is “in” right now, or even by a group of people.  It is only defined by you, the wearer! Your choices, not only in clothes but also your accessories, jewellery and presence in time, make up YOUR FASHION. This is still just the tip of the iceberg, as fashion cannot even be limited to one great outfit or theme. Fashion is within you, and as you grow, so does it.  Fashion is an individual expression of growth, where you’ve been and who you are today. It is in the blink of a moment that your “fashion” is captured by another and in that moment in time. With time, moments change and so does perception. Your fashion encompasses your energy, whether positive or negative. Exterior fashion always complements with your interior. The perfect dress and sparking jewellery are best perceived in a positive light, when the wearer is smiling from ear to ear.

Therefore, fashion is created and grows through your exterior and interior evolution and expression.  It will change often and cannot be defined by a lifetime. It is yours… NOT the world's.


Looking back, you will remember fashion expressions from when you were a young teenager, as you were starting to find your individuality.  Your friends fashion or expressions were hints for your expression, but they were never all encompassing.  You always managed to put some personal flare into YOUR fashion.  As you matured and your knowledge and expression continued to grow, so did your sense of fashion. Which brings us to today.   Think about your fashion as a whole, now can you define it?  I bet your answer is “NO”.

From day to day, our fashion evolves, some days we even have a secret theme to our outfits, such as the “rocker” on a Friday night out where we are meeting up with the girls, or business professional – with our pencil skirt and work heels (the ones we can walk in for 8 hours). Other days our expression is to simply be comfy and casual, with our yoga pants and Tee.

Fashion is no longer the industry telling us what to wear, but you and I telling the industry what we want.  What do we want?  We want, no, we demand choices, we demand options, we demand that the industry work for us and not the other way around.  Trends last weeks, and what we’re wearing this week does not influence what we will be wearing next week. Even a repeat outfit has a new element of expression, as we change up our jewellery, shoes or other accessories.


Fashion is our outlet to expression, choices, position in time, diversity, and ones love for self and choices. It cannot be grouped, categorized or bought in any “fashion marketing”.  So when it comes to clothing, accessories and jewellery, we ask for choice, change and evolution.

We change, we evolve, we express, not as a group but as individuals and our fashion is our reflection in time and place.

Tina Schank is Director of Sales and Operations at Vivah Jewellery. Vivah Jewellery at St. Jacobs Outlets is open every day. 

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April 7, 2017
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