The holidays hit earlier every year but even though Pier 1 has been pushing snowman table runners since the beginning of October, it doesn't begin to look a lot like shopping's giftiest season until the holiday windows are revealed.
Holt Renfrew's annual unveiling has quickly become the city's most decadent curtain parting party. Tonight's open-to-public opening is the flagship store's fourth year shutting down Bloor at Bay to show off lush, merch filled dioramas designed by Holts' display artists.
The street party starts at 6:30 pm and includes performances by Patti La Belle and Macy Gray. This year's windows (rendered above) are inspired by painter Marc Chagall and quirky UK photographer Tim Walker with a sprinkling of sparkly art nouveau.
Holts is obviously working with a big budget but the Ryerson University retail management students creating holiday displays for the Downtown Yonge B.I.A.'s Window Wonderland competition only get $100 to prop their windows. Until the end of November, 23 businesses on and off Yonge Street between College and Richmond including the Ryerson Bookstore, Pantages Hotel and Stag Shop are showing off student work. Vote for your favourite at wintermagic.ca.
And if your eyes can handle one more Victoriana explosion of tinsel, tulle and robotic elves jerkily hammering away at toy trains and fire trucks, the Queen and Yonge Bay store uncovers their holiday windows tomorrow.