Words & Photos by Traci Ward
Mandi Loo and the Auntie Loo’s crew finally found their dream space! Enough room for more baking and space for customers to walk in and pick up treats. Now Auntie Loo’s Treats is open and ready for business at 112 Nelson St, Unit 101C! They celebrated their new space — and 4th birthday — with a grand opening party on November 9th. Auntie Loo’s Treats provides Ottawa with 100% vegan goodies. Cupcakes, wedding cakes, and cookies are all made fresh with local and organic ingredients, and exclude eggs, dairy and any animal based products.
Auntie Loo’s Treats was packed from 11-4pm with friends, family and customers excited to check out the new shop and purchase the treats on hand. Birthday Cake and Maple “Bacon” Cupcakes were some of the new flavours that were being enjoyed by many. They had delicious vegan date squares, peppermint crunch nanaimo bars and regular ones too! Date squares and nanaimo bars have always been my favorite and these vegan versions are better than the traditional ones. While I’m a fan of Auntie Loo’s squares, I asked Mandi what her favorite was, “Our German chocolate cake. It’s a coffee infused chocolate cake topped with a salty vanilla topping that contains coconut and pecans. Yum yum! Also, I love our chocolate chip cookies.” Sounds delicious!
Tons of free samples were handed out on Saturday by Rideau Valley Roller Girls, and The Champagnes. LUSH Byward Market had a sweet smelling table set up with their cruelty free soaps. Cute cupcake tattoos were provided by MOD Tattoo’s Crystal Balser, a vegan tattoo artist. Some of our FGFS Ottawa ladies are now rocking some cupcakes on their skin permanently.
If you had your fill of sweet treats, and needed something to warm yourself up, a vegan BBQ with vegan chili provided everyone with a tasty lunch, and donations were made to the Westminster Pet Sanctuary.
Working out of a small shop on Bronson Ave. since 2009, head lady Mandi Loo knew it was time for a bigger space. Not only have their vegan wedding cakes become more popular, they are now supplying several Farm Boy locations across the city with their special treats.
“We realized around Christmas last year that we had just seriously outgrown the Bronson Location.” Mandi says, “Our wedding cake department was getting bigger and bigger… then we got picked up by Farm Boy in the spring. Eight employees, one oven, 600 square feet, 5 Farm Boys twice a week, plus our other wholesale accounts, walk in’s and birthday cakes and special orders… it was just nuts!”
“We’ll have more room to grow as a business at our new location.” Mandi said.
The move from Bronson was bittersweet, Mandi says “We loved the neighbourhood, the people (who were SO protective of the shop), and it was kinda cute being located in a heritage home. We won’t miss freight trucks getting stuck, folks having to back out on to Bronson in rush hour traffic, and no proper parking. As well as that we had to store our dry goods in the basement and sometimes bringing stuff upstairs could pose a challenge.”
Having a 100% vegan bakery is something Mandi is very passionate about, and being vegan is a way of life. “I’m vegan because I love animals. Love love love. I love being vegan because I know I am not contributing to the suffering of our furry friends!” Mandi says. “ Also I feel that you get a chance to be more creative and adventurous with your cooking- it’s awesome.”
Editors note: Ottawa Squad Co-leaders Kelly and MC got vegan tattoos to mark the occasion! Talk about die-hard fans!