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Tara Crichton is the 3rd owner of Stouffville Picture Framing. Actually, she added Artephile to the store name when she bought the place 5 years ago, but she never changed the vintage sign on the front of this Downtown Stouffville store. “I wanted to maintain a consistency for existing customers,” said Tara.

I admitted to Tara that I hadn’t entered the store since I started working for the town. The vintage sign had “scared me off,” I said. I have known some vintage framing specialists that were especially grumpy in their grumpiness.

Tara just laughed it off, personally knowing framers that fit the stereotype. She’s not like that at all. Rather, she fits a stereotype of city-girl-gone-country: cosmopolitan, artistic, learned and most importantly, she’s capable of a hearty, honest laugh.

Tara is herself in her shop. She loves living and working within walking distance of Downtown Stouffville. Tara has plenty of interaction with the City, as she maintains a customer base that she has served for the past 20 years, having learned and matured in her trade there. “I’m a downtown framer,” she adds.

I look at some of her work. It’s well thought out. In this case, the piece is designed to fit a century home, but is modern with a thick frame edge of exposed wood, black painted front, and 3-dimesional layers of matting – all tastefully done. She speaks in terms of “curating the picture frames, because each piece has individual needs, and each place its own style and décor”.

Tara was the first owner in the shop to introduce home décor and giftware. It is an eclectic mixture of unusual and distinctive pieces, “that appeals to my love of pattern and colour. I bring items that I find personally interesting and artistically appealing,” says Tara. “I believe that the objects we surround ourselves with matter, so I strive to order from Canadian suppliers and local artists.” The front of the store is a constantly evolving environment.


Tara has a soft spot for half-sweatened Earl Grey lattes from Red Bulb. Bring her a large one on the way in, and you might be able to finagle a discount on your project. If nothing else, you may be treated to that hearty, honest laugh that is an essential part of this place.

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