art gifts toronto

10 holiday gift ideas for the art lover in Toronto

Gift ideas for art lovers in Toronto don't mean crawling at a snail's pace down the aisles at craft fairs and trying to decide which mini contemporary modern abstract canvas will offend the least (though some Toronto craft shows are a good bet for cute prints and bric a brac, no diss). Whether your dearest snob's tastes run for fine art prints, cheeky feminist shower curtains, or board games, may this guide help you avoid the look of disappointment you so often see on their troubled and under nourished face.

With a shout out to Diamond Donatello's rapper greeting cards, here are my picks for the most sensitive, world-beaten person on your list.

The majors
If you've been to the AGO's Colville exhibit, you'll know they have a special gift shop for casual and hardcore fans alike, from prints to charms and plush animals. Then MOCCA is running a special holiday promotion - learn more here.

Riot kittens
Montreal via Toronto via BC artist Beth Frey keeps things weird and wonderful, and while it's not Bieber made of poutine, her F*ck Patriachy line is a classic and cuddly way to celebrate kittens dismantling bros. I'm partial to the shower curtain, but snag phone cases, totes, and more.

Fresh prints
Many Toronto galleries sell affordable prints - including Cooper Cole (look for Sarah Cwynar, Maya Hayuk, and Geoff McFetridge). Online shoppers can snag prints from Circuit by Tristram Landsdowne and Robert Canali. Toronto Print Making Coalition is producing stellar work, and Kerri Reid's fortune cookie slip "A blonde from afar has something interesting for you" at Mercer Union is a dainty pick.

Weird Things' club house pins
If you haven't popped into Weird Things' gallery/living room/antique shop near Bathurst and Dupont, now is the time: these stocking stuffer pins are instant Toronto memorabilia for the art fan who has like, 6 unread editions of the ever-so-boring Warhol diaries. The catch? Bring something weird, these are only available for trade.

Beware of the Beast
Calling all board game fans: Jamiyla Lowe's Beware of the Beast is a special take on snakes and ladders. Creepy Medieval inspired artwork complete this finely crafted set, and limited editions are on sale at Magic Pony. Also don't miss the gaming history inspired group show of the same name at Narwhal, on until December 20.

Winter reading
The best of us know that picture books get better as you grow older, and Toronto's art book scene is booming. My favourite is Sarah Cwynar's Kitsch Encyclopedia. Of course check out Art Metropol, The Beguiling, Magic Pony, TYPE, Angell (check their Kim Dorland book), and the AGO for endless titles, plus Cooper Cole, Mercer Union, Bau-Xi Photo, and many more.

Hood Times
While time is getting pretty tight for getting a custom model of your favourite TO neighbourhood, fans of tactile art or urban landscapes will be impressed if you give them a work from rising diorama artist Chris Thomas' gritty Hood Times project. Check out a slideshow of his recent show here, and drop him a line with inquiries here.

Cinematic gifts
Early bird tickets for Hot Docs's festival are now on sale - check out packages here. TIFF sells gift-able memberships, and the NFB has put out a handy gift guide of their own, or grab aspiring film makers skill building workshops from LIFT, Toronto Animated Image Society, or Max the Mutt.

Cult kids
What will make your kids cooler than Drake onesies? Reading Spectacular Optical's Kid Power, the Kier-La Janisse edited book on kids in cult movies (written for adults and refined children) should do it. Also grab t-shirts and this Kenny: The Kid Brother skateboard deck designed by Jay Shaw for frisky rascals, and look out for Spectacular's film screening series.

Trans calendar
The Toronto/Montreal based Trans calendar project is back for a second year, and it just launched at the Steady on Blood this weekend. Support a good cause and grab a glossy 2015 calendar.

See also

The Best Art Supply Stores in Toronto
The 10 places to buy affordable art in Toronto
The best card, paper and stationery shops in Toronto
The Best Places to Buy Unique Gifts in Toronto

What amazing items did I miss? Leave your ideas in the comments.

lcboThanks to the LCBO for sponsoring our 2014 Gift Guide.

Image: Magic Pony

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