Last minute Toronto gifts
The are two keys to a good last minute gift: 1.) it has to be readily available and easy to acquire and 2.) it shouldn't appear as though no thought went into its selection. Toward the latter's end, gifts about Toronto are often work well insofar as they tend to strike a perfect balance between the general and specific, the all-purpose and the unique. While buying someone a book about the city in which they live may not mark him or her as an individual -- there are after all over 2.5 million people who reside here -- it's still a hell of lot more personal than the consumable gifts that people often choose when the time crunch has gotten to be too much.
As such, I've gathered together a short list of Toronto-specific gifts that should be easy enough to locate before the stores close on Christmas Eve.
There are loads of Toronto-based books available at bookstores like TYPE, Swipe and Ben McNally Books, not to mention the big-box chains like Indigo. My favourites: Derek Hayes' Historical Atlas of Toronto, Shawn Micallef's Stroll and Mark Osbaldeston's Unbuilt Toronto: A History of the City that Might Have Been. More titles can be found in our post on the top 10 books about Toronto.
Two posters in particular would make for excellent gifts: the Ork Toronto map and Dave Murray's Toronto word maps. The former is availble at SoHo Framing on Roncesvalles and the latter at Kid Icarus in Kensington Market.
If posters aren't quite sophisticated enough, buying the work of a local artist could do the trick. But with very little time left, this could be a daunting task. Soltuion: gift certificates to an online gallery that carries Toronto artists. Although gift certificates may seem like the ultimate cop-out, in this case I think they're kind of ideal. The receiver will want to choose what he or she likes best anyway. Best bets for TO-based galleries? EYE BUY ART and Circuit Gallery offer email based certificates that allow you to give affordable artwork without stepping foot outside your home.
A subscription to Spacing Magazine would make a nice last minute gift for someone interested in the way that Toronto works (and ideas for how it could be better). Bonus: buy a copy off the newsstand and then fill out the subscription form and you'll have a material object to put under the tree.
Indie Coffee Passport
A steal at $25, the Indie Coffee Passport allows its recipient to purchase a coffee at each of the 24 participating independent cafes/coffee shops. And as far as availability goes, this one's pretty easy too. Since the participating shops are spread across the city, it's likely that a trip to purchase a passport won't take too long. Do make sure you call ahead, however, as not every single participating shop also sells the cards.
Images by Ork, the author, Dave Murray, Lizzie Vickery, Spacing and blogTO.
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