The Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) is the best place to be when you need medical help, but a little corner of the hospital is also a great place to be for the perfect gift.
Victoria’s Gift Shop is located on the second level of the RVH’s west side, near the Atrium entrance. The shop is open every day and has a wide variety of gifts for any occasion.
Victoria’s Gift Shop manager Cathy Keys tells BarrieToday you don’t have to be a patient or a visitor to one in order to shop at the store, which has its Christmas items on sale now.
“We have had our Christmas merchandise out since Oct. 20 and it is always such a festive feeling place to be,” said Keys. “We’ve noticed a trend in the last couple of years of people coming here just to shop and we quite often hear it is the best gift shop in Barrie.”
The RVH Auxiliary, which is made up entirely of volunteers, owns and operates the gift shop and the Cafe Royale coffee shop near the main entrance. All the proceeds go back into patient care at the RVH.
Keys does all the shopping for the gift store through wholesale vendors and attends gift shows to fund items that would fit well in the little shop, but credits the so-called Blue Brigade for all their hard work.
“The volunteers in the store are a big part of what we do; I call them the heart and soul of the shop,” said Keys. “People come in under all sorts of emotional stresses, whether happy, sad or worried, and the Blue Brigade are right here engaging with them and being that smiling face.”
More than 2,000 babies are born at RVH every year and the gift shop definitely sees a lot of baby gifts and lots of happy parents and family members.
However, the current Christmas items range from ornaments to pillows, coffee mugs and clothing.
Keys points out that, while big occasions like a birth tend to sell many items, Victoria’s Gift Shop can also just be a place for someone to get the downtime they need.
“I call this an oasis in the middle of a busy hospital,” said Keys. “Lots of people come in just to look because there are always lots of pretty things in here. That’s fine to us, there is no pressure to buy, because we know that sometimes the day isn’t going too great.
"Sometimes folks just need to get out of the room they’re in and walk around and clear their mind," she added. “A friendly smile and a how are you go a long way and again, that goes back to our wonderful volunteers.”
The gift shop is open Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.