By ANA TAVEIRA
What is a Toronto gift? In a city this diverse, it could be anything and there’s a Toronto gift shop to cater to any taste. Finding that perfect item can be a challenge, so we’ve compiled this list of 10 Toronto gift shops that will take the guesswork out of your shopping experience. With their precisely curated stock of unique and amazing housewares, jewellery, toys, stationery and more, these Toronto gift shops will help you bring home the perfect present every time.
BEST TORONTO GIFT SHOP FOR COOL DESIGN PIECES: Bergo Designs
Owned by interior designer Robyn Berman, this Torotnto gift shop in the Distillery Historic District houses a huge selection of industrial design products from top international brands. Looking for a posh watch? There are many by the likes of Frank Gehry and Philippe Starck. Or perhaps you’re in the market for some chic cookware from Alessi? You’ll find it here. At the higher end of the price scale are Bergo’s range of home furnishings and even designer fireplaces.
• Bergo Designs, 28 Tank House Lane, 416-861-1821, bergo.ca, map and reviews
BEST TORONTO GIFT SHOP FOR VARIETY: Blue Banana Market
In the heart of Kensington Market sits this two-level Toronto gift shop featuring one-of-a-kind products from more than 200 artists, artisans and importers. The prices run the gamut from cheap to dear, and the knowledgeable staff ensure you’ll find something for any occasion. Choose from the vast assemblage of home accessories, art pieces, vintage goods, toys, stationery and much more.
• Blue Banana Market, 250 Augusta Ave., 416-594-6600, bluebananamarket.com, map and reviews
BEST TORONTO GIFT SHOP FOR SLICK HOUSEWARES: Cubeshops
Located near the Art Gallery of Ontario (which has its own great gift shop) and OCAD University, this minimalist nook traffics in high-quality goods—home decor, entertainment products, office supplies—with distinct cultural aesthetics from Asia, Europe and North America. We recommend the trove of unique Japanese housewares, including evocative clocks, bag hangers and lamps.
• Cubeshops, 11 Baldwin St., 416-260-0710, cubeshops.com, map and reviews
BEST TORONTO GIFT SHOP FOR CANADIANA: Drake General Store
The store associated with the trendy Drake Hotel takes the idea of the classic hotel gift shop, and turns it on its head. The curators behind this hip trio of boutiques deliver an eclectic mix of utility and kitsch, from thermal travel flasks to nudie glassware. There’s also a fantastic selection of Canadiana products, including retro CBC Radio bags, Mountie cocktail napkins and mason jars etched with the map of Canada. Prices here cover a huge range, but deals can always be found.
• Drake General Store, 1114 Queen St. W., 416-531-5042 ext. 101, drakegeneralstore.ca, map and reviews
• Drake General Store, 1011 Yonge St., 416-966-0553, drakegeneralstore.ca, map and reviews
• Drake General Store, 82A Bathurst St., 416-703-6518, drakegeneralstore.ca, map and reviews
BEST TORONTO GIFT SHOP FOR LUXURY BEAUTY PRODUCTS:
Jacob & Sebastian
A trip to this Queen West boutique that specializes in luxurious bath, body and beauty products offers endless indulgence for the senses. Inside the serene space you’ll find a wide range of exclusive lines, including Tata Harper Organic Skincare, Cup Cake bath bombs, ironically named scent maker I Hate Perfume and many others.
• Jacob & Sebastian, 622 Queen St. W., 647-345-0478, jacobandsebastian.com, map and reviews
BEST TORONTO GIFT SHOP FOR PHOTOGRAPHY LOVERS: Lomography Gallery Store
Whether photography is their job or just a hobby, the retail arm of Austria’s famous analogue camera company has something for the shutterbug on your gift list. Here you’ll find an extensive collection of Lomo-branded cameras, lenses and accessories, as well as hard-to-find film stock, and a miscellany of books, albums, apparel and even party supplies. The shop also hosts gallery events and photography workshops.
• Lomography Gallery Store, 536 Queen St. W., 647-352-6702, lomography.com, map and reviews
BEST TORONTO GIFT SHOP FOR POP CULTURE ART: Magic Pony
Blending elements of design, art and pop culture, Magic Pony is a studio, gallery and retail space that fosters a fun, uncommon shopping experience. With everything from original art, books and magazines to apparel and accessories, plus designer toys and quirky knickknacks for the home, finding that perfect, smile-worthy present is simple at this Toronto gift shop.
• Magic Pony, 680 Queen St. W., 416-861-1684, magic-pony.com, map and reviews
BEST TORONTO GIFT SHOP FOR CARDS AND STATIONERY:
Although this cozy Little Italy outpost stocks everything from bath products to housewares to kids’ toys, it’s particularly notable for its creative and colorful greeting cards, stationery and journals, as well as affordable, locally crafted jewellery.
• Red Pegasus, 628 College St., 416-536-3872, redpegasus.ca, map and reviews
BEST TORONTO GIFT SHOP FOR THE DOWNRIGHT WEIRD: Rolo
If your tastes tend toward the wackier side of things, you won’t want to miss an opportunity to visit this “realm of ludicrous objects.” An oasis of the unconventional in the midst of demure Yorkville, the shop is stuffed with offbeat interpretations of jewellery, watches, toys, bags, kitchen accessories and more, plus even zanier novelties like bacon-flavored air freshener and anime eyeglasses.
• Rolo, 24 Bellair St., 416-920-0100, rolostore.com, map and reviews
BEST TORONTO GIFT SHOP FOR QUIRKY NOVELTIES: Studio Brillantine
You’ll understand Studio Brillantine’s unique appeal as soon as you walk into its funky Parkdale space. A sizeable selection of quirky products line every wall without particular order or logic—which, of course, makes searching for that perfect gift all the more interesting. Look closely and you find all manner of colourful housewares, chic dining accessories, items for the home office and even fun figurines featuring the likes of Tintin and Godzilla.
• Studio Brillantine, 1518 Queen St. W., 416-536-6521, studiobrillantine.com, map and reviews