Lately I’ve stumbled upon a few places in the city that have prompted me to make a mental note to come back when I need an awesome gift for someone I heart. Something they would never buy for themselves, but would absolutely cherish for years because it’s so unique. These places all have gifts that fit the bill. Need I remind you Christmas is just around the corner?
Little Island Comics (742 Bathurst St.) This place just opened in September, but the spin off shop of the Beguiling (600 Markham St.), has already made a name for itself. It’s North America’s first kid’s comic book store – but you don’t have to be under the age of 12 to enjoy it. They have vintage comics like Archie, Porky Pig and Rin Tin Tin, and a really fun selection of locally made graphic novels. Everything in here is totally a treat for the eyes. Stop by before Halloween and get a bundle of comics to give away to trick or treaters. 5 bucks for 20!
Sweet Thrills (399 Roncesvalles Ave) The best selection of vintage UK confectionary (if you like chocolate but haven’t tried British Cadbury, prepare to awaken a monster of desire within). Sweet Thrills also has an extensive selection of board games. For being quite frivolous things in life, board games do not come cheap, but at Sweet Thrills good deals abound. I once bought a friend of mine a Settlers of Catan extension game for 14 bucks here that she is still talking about. This place is also a one stop shop for a DIY gift basket – some bulk Jelly Bellies, Pez Dispensers, a ring pop or two and maybe a vintage Twister board? KITSCH RULES.
The AGO gift shop (317 Dundas St. W) Ok, so maybe it’s not the most obscure of places, but the AGO gift shop is actually the bomb. It’s huge, for one thing, with gadgets like popsicle makers, eco friendly art supplies, postcard booklets and prints at all price points. Ideal for the DIY interior decor fan.
The Labour of Love (242 Carleton St.) This little boutique has pint glasses and carafes made out of melted and reblown beer bottles, notebooks unlike any I’ve ever seen anywhere else, and definitely the best selection of handmade cards. This shop is also in an unassuming area of gift shop excellence. Down the street is honourable mention Lennie’s Whole Foods (489 Parliament St.), a tunnelling health food shop with a selection of artisan foods and teas for the health nut in your life, or Daniel et Daniel (248 Carlton St.) also a paradise for the inspired gourmand.
Ransack the Universe (1207 Bloor St. W) In the basement of the 69 Vintage Collective building lies Ransack the Universe, a nook with second hand oddities like retro barware, kitchen things, pulp fiction books, and handmade jewellery and accessories. This place is also where one of the most memorable presents I’ve ever received came from: A framed page from the 1970 vintage porn novel, “Sensual Student” by Chastity Bell. It’s a priceless excerpt with hilariously retro terms. I could relay them here, but that wouldn’t be ladylike. Go see for yourself.