A gift guide for the Toronto-lover
If the person you love happens to love Toronto, picking a gift could be easy this season. There's no shortage of locally available (and in many cases locally produced) merchandise that celebrates our city, Julien Gignac writes
The gift of history (City of Toronto Archives)
The City of Toronto Archives has an accessible database that can provide the back story of every city home. With minimum cost and a few hours, you could give someone a history lesson on their property. The archive includes old assessment rolls, insurance plans and building permits. There are also aerial photographs and atlases. To collect records, peruse the database, make lists to identify needed documents and swing by the Archives Research Hall on Spadina Road to file a request. Alternatively, you can complete a request form online. There is a small cost is attached for making copies of archival documents, while photo reproductions are more expensive.
Street-sign sale (Platinum Liquidations, $30 and up)
Most people have a favourite street in Toronto – maybe you're biased and it's your own. The city's Transportation Division has an online auction of roughly 1,750 decommissioned street signs. There's an endless supply of options with the city replacing about 1,800 damaged or old signs every year. Among the signs currently up for bid are John Garland Boulevard, Antioch Drive and Talgarth Road.
Embrace, don't chase, a raccoon (Crywolf, $15)
Anyone who produces garbage knows Toronto has an irrefutable raccoon problem. Whether or not you find their antics a pain, there's a path to fuzzy acceptance: a mousepad with our brazen, masked friends on it. Toronto-based printmakers Stephanie Drabik and Rose Chang, who have a store at 91 Ossington Ave., offer several Toronto-themed items on their Etsy shop, including blue jay pins and patches.
A "Views" pin (diamonddonatello.com, $20.67)
Whenever Drake drops an album, it reverberates throughout Toronto. What better way to remember his latest than to sport a lapel pin of the man himself? Artist Diamond Donatello, a self-described "designer of fun," also makes custom Drake balloons ($4.92) and cards.
Stay inside the lines of Kensington Market (keep6.ca, $20)
Kensington Market is a world of colour in and of itself. Restore the neighbourhood's panache in the pages of a colouring book. It's interspersed with short poems and free space for personal drawings.
Take the TTC home (ttcshop.ca)
The Toronto Transit Commission revamped its merchandise offerings this year. From a shower curtain with Toronto subway stations listed on it ($90) to a onesie with a picture of a streetcar spread across the chest ($13.95), the TTC's online store has many reasonably priced products both large and small. If you want to splurge, grab the Gladstone Hotel painting for $175.
Cut the cheese on Toronto (spacingstore.ca, $88)
This handmade, solid bamboo serving board will turn Toronto dinner parties meta. They are Vancouver-made by Love My Local. Spacing, at 401 Richmond St. West, may be the ultimate space to shop for Toronto lovers. From subway magnets to Corktown tuques, it offers hundreds of unique city-focused gifts.