2021 One World Bazaar spotlights originality and variety

The 2021 One World Bazaar in Manotick Station is, once again, the most joyous cavalcade imaginable of jewellery, furniture, clothing, glassware and countless other items by international artisans.

Celebrating its 40th anniversary and open for seven weeks only, the much-anticipated event formerly known as Third World Bazaar is housed in a sprawling converted barn on Mitch Owens Drive. The spaces are crammed to the ceiling with delights from artisans in Bali, Mexico, Thailand, Nepal, Kenya and elsewhere.

With its multiple themed areas, including niches for Halloween fare, whimsical Christmas decorations and dozens of gift-worthy small fry like scorpions made of recycled spark plugs ($9.95), this bazaar pays tribute to the colourful marketplaces of the ancient Islamic world, where the term “bazaar” acquired its current connotation.


Artisans are at the heart of the 2021 One World Bazaar

Thanks to One World’s commitment to fairness, the artisans of everything from tiny, perfect hand-painted glass elephants to stunning teak furniture and fine linens are paid an equitable price with which they can properly support their families.

“That’s why the business exists and what gets me up every day,” says Anneka Bakker, who’s running the business her parents — Dick and Peggy Bakker — operated for many years after taking it over from Peggy’s brother and sister-in-law, Paul and Evelyn Gervan, who launched it in Seeley’s Bay, Ont., in 1981.

That deep respect for the artisans shows itself everywhere, including the tags on some items, which introduce the artisan and tell the story behind the product. “Customers love to hear the stories behind the pieces,” says Anneka.


She says some of the artisans have supplied the bazaar for years. “I think we’ve been working with one of them for 38 years.”

COVID a blessing and a curse

Anneka may now be running the event, with her brother Case also a long-time key contributor, but that doesn’t mean her parents have retired. You’ll spot them on site, greeting newcomers and veteran visitors, answering staff questions, and, when it’s necessary, stooping to tidy up garbage.

“It’s so much a part of our family,” says Peggy, “and there have been such big changes as the business has evolved.”


Those changes include COVID.

Normally, the Bakkers fan out across the globe to purchase goods for the upcoming bazaar, to meet new artisans and to reconnect with existing suppliers. COVID limited travel in 2020 but completely shut it down this year, so everything was done online.

“The silver lining of COVID is learning how to do this, and it will add sustainability to the business in the future,” says Anneka. “We also ended up finding things we wouldn’t have found otherwise.”


Customers have benefitted in another way from the pandemic: they can now buy from the bazaar online.

At the same time, Anneka notes the pandemic has driven home how precarious life can be for people in countries less-privileged than our own.

“When you think of how we’ve been impacted by COVID and then you think of how a country like Bali has been impacted, that the social support system we have here doesn’t necessarily exist there. For some of our artisans in Bali, where they rely on tourism, our order was the only one they’ve had all year.”


Something for everyone

The pandemic has not reduced the seemingly endless inventory or sweeping variety at the 2021 One World Bazaar. From exquisite necklaces to warm alpaca sweaters and blankets, glassware from reclaimed materials, and striking artwork, there really is something for everyone.

“We try to price things so even a little five-year-old who’s saved up her pocket money can buy something,” says Anneka.

When you visit the 2021 One World Bazaar, wear warm clothing because the barn doesn’t have a lot of heat. And make sure to check out the big moose made of recycled oil drums by Javanese artisans. An impressive fellow who commands the grassy area outside the western entrance, he’s the proud beneficiary of a naming contest: “Maple.”


The bazaar is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday. It’s also open noon to 7 p.m. some Thursdays (check the website). Pandemic safety precautions are in place.

About the Author

Patrick Langston All Things Home Ottawa homes

Patrick Langston

Patrick Langston is the co-founder of All Things Home Inc. and a veteran journalist. He has written widely about the Ottawa housing industry since 2008.



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