a peek inside the fishbowl

23 Oct, 2010

Birds of a feather and all that jazz

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Ottawa|Publishing/writing/career stuff

My latest article for SavvyMom is about Flock Boutique, a new addition to West Wellington.

I’m happy that our West Wellie friends have a sweet new place to shop, but we need more little indie stores here in Westboro too. Sadly, we aren’t getting many because of the insanely high rents on this side of Churchill. *sigh*

But that is neither here nor there. Here’s a view:

 Flock Boutique

As I mentioned in the article, Flock is the kind of shop that gives me heart palpitations. This is my kind of store. A rare bird indeed. It is Small Box, not Big Box. And everyone knows, the prettiest things come in small boxes.

Quirky and beautiful, it’s chock full of stuff I want to bring home with me.

Damned Dollies at Flock Boutique

Flock Boutique

I’ve known Christina Ballhorn, one of the two owners, about 10 years (we tried to calculate). I met her when we were both taking a colour photo printing class at Algonquin. (I think we were the last group to take it, there is no more colour printing going on at the Gonk.) Anyway, as we putzed around with film and enlargers, made our prints and ran them through a processor, we had lots of time to chat.

She was working in a job that was sucking the creativity right out of her; turning her into a 9-5 zombie. I won’t get into details but it did not seem like the kind of job a creative person should be doing. If I’m remembering correctly, she was just starting to sell her line of bags and screenprinted t-shirts (her label is “Loot by Stina B.”) and had just rented out some space in the Byward Market to try to make a go of it. It was, of course, a huge risk. And here she is, a decade later, co-curating the contents of two stores and giving other women (many of whom are local!) the opportunity to pursue their own creative endeavours.

When I hear a story like Christina’s it inspires me to no end. Here is a young woman who wanted to do something SHE LOVED and she did it. I hope it inspires you too.

Anyway, yes, FLOCK. It’s a great place to visit for the happy and charming. There is cool clothing and lovely gifts to be found here. So go!

Flock Boutique

Flock Boutique

Flock Boutique

Flock Boutique

2 Responses to "Birds of a feather and all that jazz"

1 | Victoire

October 23rd, 2010 at 7:14 pm


Yay for Flock!! We are so so excited to have such a beautiful new shop on our block!

2 | Another Andrea

October 24th, 2010 at 3:25 pm


That space used to be The House of Staples. When I walked by the empty store once it had closed (where am I gonna get my name & address embossed stamp now?), I thought it would be cool if someone opened a new business there but kept the old name.

Just for the record, the fellow that ran House of Staples would give each customer a plastic comb.

The next to go will no doubt be Rideau Tailors (“Fine Quality Clothes – Prop. A. Micucci”) — in the block just to the west whose store looks like it hasn’t been entered in years.

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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