The best holiday gifts to shop local and show your Toronto pride

From restaurant merch to local business gift boxes, these 10 gifts give you the best of the city on your doorstep

Bag of Toronto & Kensington Market Grab Bag

One of the best ways to support a bunch of local businesses at once, the Bag of Toronto is a curated grab bag of items from seven stores and restaurants in a given neighbourhood. There are options from Queen West, Ossington, Bloorcourt, Bloordale, College Promenade and more. Quantities are limited per week and are delivered on Saturdays until December 12. They sell like hotcakes. Kensington Market has also launched a similar initiative called the Kensington Market Grab Bag. There’s a family-friendly one and one for 19-plus. $60,,

The Happy Box

Ribitt, an app for shopping your neighbourhood, launched a subscription box company at the beginning of the pandemic. The boxes are stuffed with local goods based on different themes: Comfort & Joy, Bored At Home and different holiday options. They’re packed with games, coffee, specialty pantry items, cheese, art, socks and more. $99-$199,

Pilot Coffee Roasters subscription

Good at-home coffee has become so important during this pandemic. If you have a loved one still living off Keurig pods, get them a subscription to Pilot Coffee Roasters. It’s pay-as-you-go with two bags of house-roasted beans per delivery, so you won’t get locked into anything. If you buy in store you also get a free coffee. $37 per order,

Friends of Henderson gift pack

During the pandemic it’s practically as convenient (and cheap) to get good local craft beer delivered as it is to buy from the Beer Store or LCBO. If you can’t make it to Sterling for a curbside pickup, you can have a gift pack sent over. There are a good handful of gift packs with different sizes, but this gives some good variety: 20 mixed Henderson brews, some Drake Commissary mustard from next door, some Ethica’s Custom Henderson Roast coffee, a snazzy toque and more. $115 (tax and crate deposit included),

Type Books mystery bag

Here’s something you won’t get at Amazon. This gift brings back the curation we all miss from the “Staff Picks” shelf at a local bookstore. Fill out a questionnaire about yourself or your gift recipient – some books you’ve read recently, some subjects you like, what kind of mood you’re in – and Type staff will build a stack. It’s usually four or five books, but you can also opt for a deluxe bag that includes the option of cookbooks, art books or twice as many books. $100,

Any Night Of The Week poster collection

All of Toronto’s concert venues are closed indefinitely, but you can celebrate them anyway. These maps are made by artist and urbanist Daniel Rotsztain to accompany the podcast adaptation of Jonny Dovercourt’s book Any Night Of The Week: A D.I.Y. History Of Toronto Music, 1957-2001 (Coach House Books). Beautifully illustrated maps of areas like Yonge, Queen West, Yorkville, the Annex and more, with all the iconic venues that have either disappeared or are waiting to reopen so we can finally go to shows again. $60 for all three,

Restaurant merch from Off Menu

Another way to support your favourite restaurant – other than ordering a ton of takeout – is to buy merch. Get tote bags, t-shirts and hoodies from some of the city’s best spots: Dailo, Donna’s, Bar Vendetta, The Federal, the Food Dudes, even the Paradise Theatre. One hundred per cent of sales go directly to the restaurants, and you can even get merch from (and for) Toronto Restaurant Workers Relief Fund. $25-$60,

Vinyl from Tiny Record Shop

photo by Janet Kimber

If you miss the crate-digging experience, Tiny Record Shop is doing it for you on Instagram. Watch them flip, see something you like, call ahead or just show up and buy. Or just show up with a list and they’ll sell you what they’ve got. Most $20,

The Zoo Floral Studio subscription

Here’s something to brighten up the space you’ve spent all your time in this winter: a flower subscription. This Toronto studio lets you pick your frequency i.e. (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly), send some of your preferences, and they’ll make you an arrangement and deliver on your schedule. $48-$68,

Chinatown & Kensington Food Tour in a Box

Culinary Adventures Co. usually plans food tours through Toronto neighbourhoods, but since that’s not possible this year they’ve put it all in a box. There are a bunch to choose from, but we’re partial to one that includes goods from Abu Hummus, Har Gow dumplings from Rol San, Apple Crumb Pie from Wanda’s Pie In The Sky and more. Comfort food in a box. $84.15,


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