Hamel Brooms, St. Jacobs, Ontario, Travel, Canada

VIDEO: Swept away in St. Jacobs

ST. JACOBS, ONTARIO — Endure long enough and you just might become a tourist attraction. That’s what John Davenport has discovered. The owner of Hamel Brooms, a unique store in the tiny village of St. Jacobs has broom-making demonstrations each week in his shop that has been around for more than century. You don’t find many handmade broom shops any more and Davenport thinks his may be the only self-sustaining one in Ontario, if not the country.

Hamel Brooms, St. Jacobs, Ontario, Travel, Canada

John Davenport in his Hamel Brooms shop in St. Jacobs. (Julia Pelish/Vacay.ca)

Each Saturday, Hamel Brooms attracts kids who want to see how brooms are made. Many of these wannabe Harry Potter wizards and witches are fascinated by the machinery that hasn’t changed much in the past half-century. While the store also has antiques and a glass-making facility in the back, it’s the brooms that are its most unusual and eye-catching aspect. A steel divider is set up between the machines that create up to 150 brooms a day and the spectators who peer through from behind the cage.

“If the broom stands up on its own, then you know you’ve got a good one,” Davenport says, adding that the material from his brooms comes from sturdier corn stalk from the States than what you’ll find in many stores that import brooms from Mexico.

You’ll find Hamel Brooms products in Home Hardware, whose first store is next door in this tiny village home to a large Mennonite community responsible for much of the agricultural development of southern Ontario. — Adrian Brijbassi

Address: 1411 King Street, St. Jacobs, ON in Waterloo Region
Phone: 519-664-1117

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Adrian is the editor of Vacay.ca and his articles are frequently syndicated by the Huffington Post and appear in the Globe & Mail. He makes regular appearances on CTV News, TSN Radio and CJSF Radio, talking about travel, sports, creative writing and journalism. A former editor at the Toronto Star and New York Newsday, Adrian has won numerous awards for his travel writing and fiction, and has visited more than 30 countries. He is also a judge for the World’s 50 Best Restaurants and spearheaded the Vacay.ca Top 50 Restaurants in Canada list that debuted in April 2012.