Throughout the year, there are a number of Toronto Bead Shows run by different organizers at various venues. Almost all of these are predominantly retail bead shows, however, some bead vendors, like Stones and Findings, offer wholesale prices.
One of the favourite and most well attended Toronto Bead Shows is the Toronto Bead Oasis Show. It takes place in the North Building of the Toronto Convention Centre, and many bead vendors across Canada, from B.C. to Montreal and beyond, attend. It is well organized, and well advertised in both beading magazines and newspapers. We recently had our best Toronto Bead Oasis Show attendance ever. I don’t know if this is because the economy is bad and people have turned to their passion for jewellery making, or they’ve decided to make their own as opposed to buying readymade jewellery or accessory pieces. This show has the most exhibitors of all of the Toronto Bead Shows.
The Whole Bead Show organizers are a big force in the United States. They do a very successful bead show in Vancouver, they used to organize a Toronto bead show at the Holiday Inn downtown Toronto. However, I think the timing, which was always around Mother’s Day, caused its downfall. Eventually, due to dwindling attendance, this bead show was disbanded. The Vancouver show continues to be a success and is always held in late April/early May.
The Toronto Bead Society holds approximately 2 bead fairs annually, they also have a Garage Sale for members to trade old and unwanted merchandise, as well as merchants to clear their goods. The Toronto Bead Society shows have traditionally been held at the downtown YMCA, on Grosvenor, north of College Street. However, they may be changing venues in the near future, they used to take up the main gym at the YMCA. There is a good overlap of Toronto Bead Store exhibitors that exhibit at the Toronto Bead Oasis Show. The entrance fees are quite a bit less and the atmosphere is more relaxed. However, because of the diminutive size of the venue, the selection is smaller, and bead exhibitor booths are smaller, hence, they are unable to bring as much.
The Toronto Gem and Mineral Show is smaller and usually take place at the local skating rinks in each of the neighbourhoods where the exhibition is held. Neighbourhoods include Oriole Parkway and Leaside. The exhibitors carry largely stone beads and minerals. The selection is very small and there are few bead exhibitors. It is strictly retail pricing, but it is a great way to tide you over between the other shows if you can’t get to the bead stores.
Creative Festival is held twice a year in Toronto, usually either near the airport, or the South Building of the Convention Centre. Most of the exhibitors are cross stitch pattern sellers and sewing machine dealers. There aren’t that many bead store exhibitors or wholesalers. We’ve stopped exhibiting at the show because we found that most of the customers wanted us to make their jewellery rather than buying the components. There are some finished jewellery sellers there. But I think as a jewellery designer, you will be disappointed by the offerings. I don’t consider this to be one of the Toronto Bead Shows, however, there are a couple of exhibitors who also exhibit at the Toronto Bead Oasis Show.
Overall, there are many Toronto Bead Shows scheduled throughout the year. Each of them has something different to offer and are worth attending.
To see a list of our up and coming shows, feel free to check out our Events page or follow us on facebook!