Toronto is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world and that makes shopping fun!. There are numerous streets of attractive shops and department stores. If you are after some cheap and very cheerful souvenirs, head for ‘Chinatown’ in Spadina and Dundas Avenues. The choice there is unbelievable – and so are the prices. If you are looking for something different, the Arts Market is well worth discovering. There are three branches in the city. This company offers cheap permanent exhibition space to artisans so they can sell their work and currently 175 artists and craftspeople are exhibiting there. Blue Banana in Kensington Market has three levels of amazing gift ideas for all budgets and without a doubt, you will solve all your gift shopping problems there! The Waterfront Artisan Market takes place every Saturday between May- October and has more than 75 stalls for browsers.
Enjoy your shopping Toronto style with, the classic choice of refreshment stop for a warm doughnut and good coffee!
1. Say ‘cheers’ some craft beer
The Canadians love their beer and in Toronto, several really good craft beers are made. One of the best known is Steamwhistle which is sold in a distinctive bright green can or bottle. Steamwhistle is a light, crisp pils and to add to the fun, there is the chance to take a tour of the brewery where it is made. Another popular local beer is the Milk Street brand. The brewery is housed in a large 19th-century Victorian building and produces 13 different beers that can be bought and enjoyed at the Brew Pub on site – one of the best selling beers is the Original Organic label.
2. Pick up a bottle of Niagara wine
The world-famous Niagara Falls lie just an hour away from Toronto and the trip there takes you past several good wineries. The area is well known for its excellent Rieslings and also its Ice Wine, which is made from grapes that have been frozen to the vine. Ice Wine is a sweet dessert wine that is the perfect accompaniment to a good selection of cheeses.
3. Buy a little retail history
The Hudson Bay Company started fur trading in 1670 and is the oldest company in Canada, with a string of attractive department stores. The main store is situated in Yonge Street in the city. A great souvenir of your visit is one of the many different items that are decorated with the company’s iconic red, yellow, blue and green striped logo. The store’s range of rugs is always popular, so if you have room in your suitcase…
4. Stock up on maple syrup
Canada is the top producer of maple syrup in the world, so not surprisingly, it is the most popular souvenir to take home! Maple syrup is sold in all sizes and designs of bottle and the ones in the shape of a maple leaf are particularly popular. Maple syrup tastes good on waffles and pancakes, but ask any Canadian and they will tell you that bacon with maple syrup is the best! Maple syrup comes in various shades of gold and generally, the darker the color, the stronger the flavor. There are so many Canadian foods that are flavored with maple syrup including biscuits, butter, and candy. Toronto has a big maple syrup festival in March and early April when the syrup is being made and it is fun to visit one of the maple syrup farms and watch the production process.
5. Buy some Peameal Bacon
If you are thinking about trying out the great combination of bacon and maple syrup, buy yourself some Peameal bacon! This iconic bacon was first made in Toronto by William Davies in the 1800s. The bacon is cured, rolled and coated with cornmeal before being cooked. The result is tender salty bacon with a crunchy coating – making it the perfect filling for sandwiches or to eat straight with a spoonful of maple syrup!
6. Pack some shortbread cookies
Mary McLeod’s shortbread cookies are well known all over the city where she baked them for more than 35 years. Sadly, Mary McLeod died in 2016, but the recipe and her memory live on. The cookies can be bought in several places including Yonge & Sheppard Whole Food Market and are available in two popular flavors- traditional and maple crunch.
7. Enjoy some gorgeous homemade soap
Blue Banana in Kensington Market is a fascinating place with more than 200 artisans making jewelry and a wide variety of crafts. One of them specializes in making organic hand made soaps and this stall is always popular. The soaps are available in a variety of shapes and fragrances. Apart from being a lovely gift to take home, the soap will do a good job of making your case smell gorgeous too!
8. Choose a bottle of Canadian Club
Canada has long been famous for its excellent whiskeys- particularly Canadian Club that has been made since 1858. Canadian Club is made just outside the city at Windsor. A bottle can be bought in many stores in the city, but to add to the fun, why not visit Summerhill LCBO in Rosedale as this happens to be the largest liquor store in the country and is well worth seeing.
9. Get yourself an Inukshuk
This iconic symbol of a man with outstretched arms is usually made from a pile of granite stones. The symbol has been used in the mountains for years as a signpost/route marker and was the symbol of the 2010 Olympics which were held in Vancouver. Since then, a wide variety of Inukshuk mementos can be bought including tee-shirts, keyrings, and mugs as well ornaments that are scale models made in stone.
10 Have fun with some instant snow
If you are looking for some fun presents for your family back home, how about some packets of instant snow! The powder makes into fluffy white pretend snow that will make everyone laugh!