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Just close your eyes, imagine the smell of the boreal forest. There’s ahint of juniper berry, elderberry, organic rosehip seed oil and pure essential oils of birch. There’s fir needle, and locally grown peppermint.
That’s what Whitney Allen of Kenora has created.. in her own brand of soap.It’s called Lake of the Woods Sunrise Soap Company.
And as usual, with this kind of business.. I found it through an online search for locally produced products..
Whitney’s soap is made entirely of natural ingredients.. ingredients that grow all around her… or ingredients that she grows herself.. the website for the business is

Exposure Welcomed by Local Soapmaker to Spread Environmental Message

Reprinted from the Kenora Daily Miner & News, Feb. 21, 2008                By Jon Thompson

The local Lake of the Woods Sunrise Soap Co. is about to put making soap into the hands of the nation.

Soapmaster Whitney Allen was informed on Tuesday that she will be a guest star on CBC’S variety program, “Living Winnipeg” for an 11 minute segment teaching a do-it-yourself approach to homemade soap. Her partner Greg Sparks isn’t afraid to disclose the company’s secrets. For him, it’s about exposure and the environment.

“We firmly believe that if people learn how to make environmentally friendly products and use them at home, it will be better for the environment,” he explains. “If 100000 people watch that show and a percentage make their own product, that’s great. And if a percentage finds our website and buys product from us, that’s great too.”

Sparks hopes that should the segment be successful, they might be invited in for a season long series of home made do-it-yourself episodes celebrating going greeenly clean.

The simplicity of her product is part of the allure for Allen. She has been writing a series of articles for country living magazine Harrowsmith on how to make homemade, deet free insect spray, skin lotion, lip balm and her soaps. The products use all natural ingredients and are basically made from beeswax, olive oil and local flavour.

With soap titles like Boreal Forest, Northern Garden, ManitobaWildflowers and Wild Blueberries and Roses, the branding is intended to convey the same imagery as tourism campaigns in the region attempt to capture.

“The whole ecotourism thing, moving Kenora forward is so obvious because of what we have: the Lake of the Woods and this environment,” says Sparks. “We can create world class products in Kenora. We can partner with businesses, government and other stakeholders and we can make this city the ecologically important, dynamic centre of Canada.There’s no reason it couldn’t happen.”

Extracting the scents and skin care properties of local botanicals, wild rice and mint, sweetgrass, red osier dogwood, cedar and sage, Allen scoops her ingredients right off the land. That creates a market advantage that can’t be bought in New York or Los Angeles. These ingredients only grow in the land once know as the Great Northwest.

To take that that special flavour a step further requires the consumer to feel as though the product was made for them alone. While a kenora brand soap is in the works, four secret custom soaps are on deck to be exclusively sold at the Blue Heron gift shop this summer. Another exclusive custom soap will be sold at Pykerman’s Nursery, which will be known as “Gardener’s Bar”; a tough soap designed for people whose hands spend time taking in the outdoors.

Sparks argues that the products are better for the skin because of the absence of dehydrating synthetics. Experiencing complications from using mass produced cosmetics, Allen began making her own soaps at hime a decade ago and her perserverance has helped her rise to the top. Her soaps are now sold at 12 locations in Kenora alone, two in Clearwater Bay, plus six in Winnipeg, product reaching through Fort Frances to Thunder Bay and moving into Gimli and Steinbach this summer.

Anyone interested in learning more should look for the name in local stores, look for Allen at the Farmer’s Market come spring or check out the company website at: