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|Written by Agnes Cadieux|
|Friday, 06 November 2009 00:00|
You push your way through hordes of people and hope no one will grab that incredible piece of artwork you spotted from across the room. As you hold it in your hands, others around you ooh enviously, wishing they had nabbed it first. Music plays from somewhere above and you bounce along with the exotic beat, moving from display to display, still in awe that something so distinctive could exist in Manotick Station.Although I have known about the Third World Bazaar for a few years now, I only made my pilgrimage out to the quaint little town this October. I was expecting a quiet if not unique shopping experience, but what I got was delirious romp through a variety of cultures from around the world. The moment you walk into that barn you're swallowed up by the largest concentration of people I have ever encountered; and you've finally wriggled your way through the throng of happy patrons at the cash registers, you're greeted by a clash of items that shine and shimmer, are soft and abrasive, curious and practical in every color and texture you could imagine. It was such an overwhelming collection of unique pieces that I felt like a kid in cultural candy store. The buzz and excitement of everyone around me was infectious and the upbeat music made the occasional shove I got from an excited shopper a little less noticeable. From Egyptian lanterns to Thai dish sets and soft Ecuador knits, the variety of color, material and sizes overloaded my senses in the best way possible. Yes, it was busy and loud, but the healthy level of chaos made shopping just a little more exhilarating. I especially enjoyed the witty signs reminding you that stealing is bad karma and hand written price tags on each piece really set the ambiance.
But just when you think you've seen it all, touched it all, played with every toy and tried on every form of alpaca wool they have to offer, you find out there is more. As I made my way back around to the front of the barn, I noticed an outdoor section full of the most unusual furniture I have ever laid eyes on. "Foot" stools, stone sinks, beautifully decorated parasols, and carved canoe paddles: there was such an impressive supply of oddities and one-of-a-kinds you are guaranteed to find yourself an instant conversation piece. So I admit I spent money, a lot of it - and I intend on going back. But this time I'll be stocking up on non-perishable items and a pocketful of change to donate to the Shepherds of Good Hope and Doctors Without Borders, two charities that the bazaar so generously supports.
The only flaw I could see with the setup was the lack of advertising. There were no signs directing out-of-towners to Manotick Station and the few meager flags that flew outside the turnoff were so unremarkable I almost missed it. In Ottawa, I have only seen half-page flyers at community centers, or heard about it through word of mouth. To be completely honest, they don't do this bazaar justice. So, this is my shout out to anyone looking for a unique gift for yourself or someone you love: Go! Dig between the couch cushions and cup holders of your car for some extra change and go. Bring a friend and marvel at the wonderful things the Bakker family, who own and supply the Third World Bazaar, have brought back with them.
The bazaar runs every Friday, Saturday and Sunday until the weekend of November 13th. For direction and further information about the bazaar, please visit their website.