Jse-Che Lam is
a Toronto-based writer who is on a (2011) one year sabbatical
from her teaching job so that she can Explore, Travel, and Play.
We're delighted to have her in our Journeywoman Network and feel
she is the perfect person to ask about where to shop for souvenirs
in Toronto. Jse-Che can spot a well-priced, practical or fun object
a mile away. These are some of her 'juicy' ideas.
Whether you live
in Toronto and are travelling abroad or you are a visitor looking
for souvenirs to bring home for your pals I have several personal
shopping guidelines to offer other JourneyWomen.
I prefer to source
out items that are locally made, preferably something small, unique,
and useful. Bookmarks, fridge magnets, jewellery, or well-packaged
snack items are wonderful choices. During tourist season, you
can also find special items at farmers’ markets, street
festivals, or outdoor events.
Need a lot of souvenirs?
Stretch your dollars by checking the store’s clearance section.
Dollar stores always have an area for tourists.
Always check your
airline’s weight restriction on luggage as well as the quarantine
restrictions at your destination. If you have a fragile item,
ask the shopkeeper to package your item appropriately or ask if
it can be shipped home for you instead.
I know that as a
traveller, my souvenir shopping is usually done at the last minute.
Unless I have found something not to be missed, I don’t
want to be carrying around too much stuff. I also want to comparison
shop since this is one of the most important rituals of retail
Here’s a rundown
of ten of my favourite local finds. These aren’t tourist
traps but places that local Torontonians frequent.
are not particularly concerned with the birthright of your
souvenir, Spadina Avenue has numerous vendors selling logoed
t-shirts that you can buy in bulk. Look out for
B&J Trading (378
Spadina Avenue), an awesome spot that is chock full of Asian
keepsakes, housewares, handmade paper, and last minute gifts.
It’s like an Asian themed dollar store but better!
University of Toronto Bookstore
(214 College Street): University swag is certainly cheaper
than tuition for a four-year undergraduate degree. Find
licensed U of T giftware and clothing here (don’t
forget to check the clearance section on the lower level).
The back to school rush in September is to be avoided unless
you want to feel the surge of students as they converge
to buy textbooks. Website: www.uoftbookstore.com
(507 Queen Street West): Other arbiters of cool have left
Queen Street West due to high rents or fashionista fickleness
but not this designer. Peach Berserk is for those who believe
in vibrant colours and in statement clothing. Lots of teens
sign up for their silk-screening workshops so they can design
something one-of-a-kind for their high school prom. Click
Go home with a selection of buttons to remind you of the
city’s subway system! Each adorable little button
was designed to match its corresponding subway station.
Sold by the set and wildly popular with civic-minded Torontonians.
Check the Spacing website for shop locations. Website: www.spacing.ca/store/buttons
(267 Augusta Avenue): This is a cookbook store that carries
whimsical kitchen giftware as well as cookware. Entering
this specialty boutique induces giddiness. As with most
Kensington shopkeepers, the owner and her staff are approachable
and knowledgeable. The store’s inventory reflects
the thoughtful touches of a curator who has chosen quality
items that will appeal to foodies. A Canadian cookbook would
be a lovely reminder of your travels. Website: http://www.goodegg.ca
(York Quay Centre, 235 Queens Quay West): This is a contemporary
art and design shop that showcases some of the most innovative
finds in Canadian Craft – in fact, you can watch the
artisans creating these pieces in the adjoining open workshops.
Note that the shop also includes work from internationally
renowned artisans. The selections available at Bounty have
a playful, funky vibe. Anyone who appreciates functional
art and design will enjoy this store. Click
The Guild Shop
(118 Cumberland Avenue): Various artists and different types
of mediums are represented at the Guild Shop. This is the
place for a special art collectible or sophisticated keepsake
for that splurge purchase. Different price points are represented
but this is definitely the destination for the discerning
shopper. Website: http://www.theguildshop.ca
and Café (787 Queen Street West)
as well as other several locations: Come for a coffee and
a slice of yummy cake. Take home some of Dufflet’s
pre-packaged indulgences for a sweet-toothed friend who
will no doubt be happy and grateful that you chose such
a thoughtful and delicious gift. Website: www.dufflet.com
(250 Front Street West): The Canadian Broadcasting Company
is the country’s national network. After exploring
the radio and television museum in this flagship building,
seek out the boutique. Lots of DVDs, CDs, books, and clothes
are for available sale. The top best-sellers include the
Hockey Night in Canada line of merchandise. Remember that
we, Canadians are most passionate about our hockey! Website:
more thoughts and ideas about souvenir shopping click here