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The 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

Everyone has their own idea of the perfect holiday. Some like to cook up a storm, others head for the hills. And then there are those for whom holidays mean dressing up and hitting every fabulous party. No matter how you like to wile away the time, our holiday gift guide has you covered.

Party Time

Diamond Earrings at Howard Fine Jewellers, 220 Sparks St.

Sparkle like a red-carpet star with these stunning dangle earrings, which feature round and yellow enhanced diamonds. $19,500.

Dirty Jokes at Stomping Ground, 728 Bank St.

Take your cocktail party banter to a new level with this collection of adult jokes. $11

Ace Face Shoes at John Fluevog Shoes, 61 William St.

These fancy lace-up derbys by the celebrated Canadian designer will ensure that you step out in style. $349.

Appliqué Minaudière Purse at Nordstrom50 Rideau St.

Add texture and shine to an evening outfit with this pint-sized purse. $169.

Silk Ties at E.R. Fisher199 Richmond Rd.

Dion neckwear has been making high-quality silk ties ($95-$135) and pocket rounds ($65) out of Toronto for 40 years.


Cheese Board at Boogie & Birdie, 256 Elgin St.

Show your national pride with this made-in-Canada bamboo cheese board. $106.

Reusable Bags at terra201304 Wellington St. W.

Be a wise owl and use these cute reusable bags, which come in a package of two. $15.

Japanese Blade at Knifewear, 800 Bank St.

The Mugen Santoku is a multi-purpose knife perfect for slicing, dicing, and mincing vegetables. $500.

Wood Finish at Maker House Company, 987 Wellington St. W.

Enhance and protect your wooden utensils and cutting boards with this all-natural beeswax product. $8.

Food Storage at The Chef’s Paradise1314 Bank St.

This alternative to plastic wrap uses the heat of your hand to create a seal. $30.


Mountaineering Board Game by Family Pastimes

Watch for avalanches, overcome frostbite, and grapple with other challenges in this cooperative, locally-made board game. $21.

Poop Coaster at Maker House Company, 987 Wellington St. W.

This coaster protects furniture — and lets guests know you’re not that uptight. $22. 

Good Gorilla at The Modern Shop, 541 Sussex Dr.

Hanno the gorilla can hold poses and hook onto furniture, bringing a touch of fun to any space. $150.

Snoopy Backpack at Simons, 50 Rideau St.

This Peanuts backpack by Vans features a padded back and adjustable strap. $45.

Phone Case at Boogie & Birdie, 256 Elgin St.

Is it mixed tape or mix tape? Regardless, transform your iPhone into an icon with this throwback case. $36.

Cozy Up

Earmuffs at the Hudson’s Bay Company50 Rideau St.

These faux fur earmuffs from the Canadian Olympic Team Collection feature a cozy knit headband. Also available in red. $30.

Box of Chocolates by Bernard Callebaut314 Richmond Rd.

This collection features handcrafted chocolates, five of which are award winners. $24.

Grand Teapot at Le Creuset517 Sussex Dr.

This teapot has a capacity of four cups — so your reading (or Netflix-binging) time won’t be interrupted by the need to put the kettle on. $60.

Canadian Club 40 YO at the LCBO, various locations

Toast Canada’s 150th with limited-edition Canadian Club Whisky that has been aged for 40 years. $250. 

Wool Blanket at The Opinicon1697 Chaffeys Lock Rd.

Handmade in Canada, this 100 per cent virgin wool blanket is the same one that graces the beds at the historical Opinicon Resort. $195.


Weatherproof Pad at Lee Valley, 900 Morisson Dr.

The Rite in the Rain notebook will not absorb water, nor will it curl or wrinkle. $9.50.

Craft Beer at the LCBO, various locations

Get adventurous with your tastebuds with beer from Ontario’s Collective Arts and Flying Monkeys. About $3.

Rab Microlight Alpine Jacket at Bushtukah, 203 Richmond Rd.

This lightweight down winter jacket is ideal for when the temperatures drop and weight is a concern. $350.

Eton Grundig Executive Satellite Radio at MEC, 366 Richmond Rd.

This device receives AM, FM, long and shortwave, VHF, marine, and HAM signals. $200.

The Bripe at Equator Coffee Roasters, 412 Churchill Ave. N.

You don’t want to lug a coffee pot to the great outdoors but need a caffeine fix. This copper apparatus and its kit allows the user to brew up an espresso in just a few minutes. $99.

Summer Fun Guide: Take a Bite out of Toronto


R&D_Lobster Chow Mein_Image by Allison Woo

R&D’s Lobster Chow Mein. Photo by Allison Woo

The expansive St. Lawrence Market is packed full of specialty food items and made-to-order meals. St. Urbain Bagel is known for its Montreal-style bagels, which are baked fresh daily, are best hot out of the oven with a generous dollop of cream cheese. The peameal bacon sandwich from Carousal Bakery has been a market staple for over 30
years and is well worth the line up. Or, if you’re extra hungry, bite into a hearty deep-fried veal and eggplant sandwich at Uno Mustachio Sandwiches.

Join The Culinary Adventure Co. for a guided tour of some of the city’s most exciting neighbourhoods. Learn about the history and heritage of Chinatown and Kensington while enjoying everything from Mexican tortas to dim sum; adults $79, kids $59. Savour Toronto (1-855-472-8687; savourtoronto.com) offers a Best of the West tour for a taste of the hip and trendy dining scene along along Dundas Street West and Ossington Avenue; $75.

Treat yourself with Tasty Tours, which offers two excursions: The Kensington Market Sweet & Savoury food tour includes food samples from Chinese and Latin American eateries; $49 adults kids ages 7-12 $35, children age 7 and under free. Enjoy the chocolatiers around Trinity Bellwoods Park while learning about the history of chocolate and a chocolate-making demonstration in Toronto’s Ultimate Chocolate tour; $39 adults, kids ages 7-12 $25, children age 7 and under free.

Toronto’s vibrant dining scene is flourishing with world-class chefs, unique restaurant concepts, and innovative menus. Below are some dining highlights to whet your appetite.

 MasterChef Canada winner Eric Chong, along with one of the competition’s judges, Alvin Leung, has created a “modern Canadian Asian” menu at R&D. Dive into dishes like fried chicken with glazed cronuts, and venison spring rolls, complimented by intriguing drinks like the 510 Caesar made with garlic and shiitake-infused vodka. Chef Rob Gentile is known for his attention to detail and his obsession with using the freshest seasonal ingredients for his authentic Italian cuisine; try the hand-made pasta at Buca to find out what the fuss is about, or stop by Bar Buca for small sharing plates and a nightcap.  —Karen Stevens




Niagara is for Everyone: A Kid-Friendly Itinerary


Hornblower CHP_4974

No visit to the region is complete without seeing the falls. The sight is awe-inspiring from afar, but it’s even better to feel the thundering spray aboard Hornblower Niagara Cruises, which carries poncho-donning passengers to the base of the Horseshoe Falls and past the American and Bridal Veil falls. Or experience the action from the observation decks of Journey Behind the Falls, which traverses 45 metres down through bedrock to the foot of the falls where 2,800 cubic metres of water crashes to the ground every second.

Feel like diving right into the water instead of just watching it? Waves Indoor Waterpark is an expansive playground with kiddie pools and slides that are as tall as three storeys.

Butterfly Conservatory NPC_6067Immerse with nature at the Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory or Bird Kingdom. The former is home to more than 2,000 tropical winged creatures, while the latter is the largest indoor free-flying aviary in the world. Experience animals of the amazon at the Rainforest Café, a family-friendly restaurant adorned in a canopy of trees and animatronic elephants and gorillas serving up pint-sized portions of hot dogs, burgers and pasta.


hershey-milkshakeHershey’s Chocolate World is a perfect spot for an afternoon pick-me-up. All manner of cocoa confections can be found here from chocolate-dipped strawberries and pretzels to cookies and milkshakes. Of course, there’s a lot of goodies to take home, too, including Kisses, Reese and Jolly Rancher products.

— Linda Luong Luck






Romance at the Falls

Hot Shopping for April

Editor’s Choice

web Acadian-Maple-SyrupIt’s the time of year when nature produces its sweet treat of sap, which is turned into maple syrup. And Acadian Maple (page 50) on Peggy’s Cove Road in Upper Tantallon has all kinds of maple-flavoured treats. The former hobby farm now produces numerous gourmet maple goodies, including butter, brittle, wine, barbecue sauce, and, of course, pure syrup. The space is also available for bus tours or events.


Chocolate & confections

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Head down to Rousseau Chocolatier on Hollis Street to watch as the team creates handmade chocolates, gourmet brownies, French macarons, and artisanal chocolate bars. But don’t leave without some sweet treats in hand. The chocolates are made in small batches and with real fruit and natural ingredients. Or stay in and enjoy a cold drink, cup of fair-trade coffee or mug of house hot chocolate.
Sugar Shok Candy Boutiqueon Portland Street in Dartmouth is as colorful and fun on the inside as it is on the outside. In this funky store, find more than 50 types of bulk candy, along with greeting cards, magnets, home décor, and ice cream.

Breaking News

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Readers of news and current events will enjoy an afternoon at Atlantic News on Morris Street. Search the racks of magazines, newspapers and periodicals that cover countless topics and regions around the world. Look for titles on music, sports, crafts, religion, and more. It’s a readers’ utopia.

Just for the kids

web Halikids 2
Situated on South Park Street, is a boutique designed just for kids. Parents will have just as much fun as their kids will when shopping for high-quality clothes, toys, games, linens and more. Find traditional favourites
such as scooters and trains, plus educational toys, including science and detective kits.




All about art

Art 1274 Hollis is a downtown collective of 24 artists showcasing their art in various media. Learn about emerging and established talent in the region. Peruse pottery, watercolours, stone, jewelry, and contemporary pieces.
Carrefour Atlantic & The Puffin Gallery in the Historic Properties features literature, original art, and traditional handcrafts from artists from Atlantic Canada, the Canadian North, and First Nations artists. It’s an eclectic mix of colourful and unique works by Canadian talents.

Strange days

web Strange-GN
Fans of comics and all things sci-fi and fantasy must visit Strange Adventures on Prince Street in Halifax and in downtown Dartmouth on Portland Street. Look for classic titles like X-Men, the Amazing Spiderman, and Captain America, alongside the hottest new graphic novels. The huge selection also includes toys, board games, card games, clothing, and more.


Indulge: Five Luxury Items that are Worth the Splurge


Treat yourself to a day of indulgence in the nation's capital.

You work hard, it’s time to enjoy yourself! From small splurges to big-ticket items, we’ve highlighted five luxury items that — bonus — also make great souvenirs from your trip to Ottawa.

Nothing says luxury like taking time for yourself (why is that?). In this day and age of smartphones, laptops, and nonstop digital communication, there is no greater feeling than turning off and tuning out to curl up with a magazine. The glossy pages, beautiful photographs, and scintillating stories offer an escape — if only for a little while. Whether you’re reading fodder for the mind or guilty pleasure rags, this act (and its inexpensive price) is one of life’s simplest pleasures. While in Ottawa, a trip to Mags & Fags on Elgin Street is a must. In business for 30 years, this shop carries 4,000 magazine titles that range from obscure and special interest to mainstream favourites. 254 Elgin St., 613-233-9651.

koko chocolates: delicious, rich, and local, too!

Local chocolatier Jen Winter has created quite a reputation for her gourmet sweets, koko chocolates. A perfectly grown-up treat that won’t break the bank, her tasty truffles have creamy ganache centres and are dipped or molded in premium Belgian chocolate. Find fine flavours such as Thai Chili, Triple Chocolate, Margarita, Passion Fruit, and more, as well as seasonal offerings. Retails for about $5.25-$6.50 per 3-piece sleeve. Available at The Candy Store, 350 Richmond Rd. in Westboro, and several other locations in Ottawa.

Top 5 Easter Chocolate Shops

This Easter check out out John Gilchrist’s list of must-try chocolate shops around the city for an extra decadent treat…

One of Epiphanie's many hand-crafted Easter goodies


Anna Tolazzi Artisanal Chocolates—Kitchener, Ontario

By Kat Tancock

Stop in Saturday mornings at the Kitchener Market, about a 90-minute drive from Toronto, and you’ll find a bustling hall packed with food, crafts and produce vendors that spills into the (covered) outdoors. Kitchener’s easy access to Ontario farms means an always-good selection of local produce. On my visit I found countless pounds of Ontario squash, apples, broccoli and other fall goodies.

But for something more unique, head indoors and up a small flight of stairs to the corner of the market building and the stall of Anna Tolazzi chocolates. Chocolatier Katharina Ortner creates organic, fair-trade truffles and bars with eclectic inspiration. Some truffle flavours are enhanced by the hyper-local: the Wilhelm Tell is made with market crabapples, the Kimono blends wild elderberry from Ortner’s own garden with sage and lemon in a dark ganache.

As for bars, flavours range from Canadiana (the Sugarbush bar mixes milk chocolate with roasted pecans and maple flakes) to the exotic (the Maharaja, a tamarind- and cinnamon-infused dark chocolate), all packaged in colourful wrappers based on vintage wallpaper patterns.

Fair warning: you may have trouble choosing—all told, Ortner has upwards of 300 varieties of chocolates.

If you’re picking up gifts, buy more than you think you need—the bars have a habit of becoming unwrapped.

Where to buy: Kitchener Market, Kitchener, Ontario; Saturdays, 7 am–2 pm {map}

Staff Picks: Our 10 Choicest Chocolatiers

The great part about trick or treating is that you get sweets for free. (Wait, didn’t you hear? Halloween happened!) Sadly though, bite-sized candy bars can be unsatisfying for the devoted chocoholic. That’s where these 10 boutiques come in.

Soma's Distillery District café location offers numerous chocolate indulgences

Chocolates & Creams
This shop inside Queen’s Quay Terminal has a direct pipeline to Belgian chocolates made by Brussels-based Manon. The imported sweets are flown in weekly and available in individual pieces, gift boxes and baskets. 207 Queens Quay W., Queen’s Quay Terminal, 416-368-6767.

Delight Chocolates
Decadent, organic, handmade chocolates are offered at this store in the Junction, which is dedicated to using as many fair trade ingredients as possible. Ice cream, cookies, and brownies are up for grabs too, and you can wash them down with Alternative Grounds Coffee and Fair Trade Organic Tea. 3040 Dundas St. W., 416-760-9995.

Moroco Chocolat
Imagine a trip to Tiffany’s, but one where all the jewelry was edible. That’s what you’ll find at Moroco Chocolat, a luxury confectioner and lounge. Their delectable sweets are on display within glass showcases, and if you need more than a nibble, salads, omelettes, sandwiches and soufflé are also on the menu. 99 Yorkville Ave., 416-961-2202.

Odile Chocolat
Hand made truffles are Odile’s specialty, created with unexpected combinations of spices, herbs and flowers from around the world. Their traditional selection of truffles includes cognac, bourbon vanilla and espresso, and they also offer candied lime, lemon and orange peels. 829 Dundas St. W., 416-538-1016.

Richard Carmon Purdy opened his first chocolate shop in Vancouver in 1907 and, thankfully, his company eventually found its way here. Purdy’s sweets are made with Belgian chocolate, Australian ginger, Indian cashews and dairy products fresh from Canada. Don’t leave without having their trademark Hedgehog. Union Station, 65 Front St. W., 416-703-3437.

Simone Marie Belgian Chocolate
As its name suggests, this boutique carries a selection of Belgian chocolates, with over 50 varieties of truffles available individually, in gift baskets, or on party trays (the latter sounds most tempting). Sugar-free chocolates are available too, plus fruit jellies, marzipans and cookies. 126 Cumberland St., 416-968-7777.

Soma Chocolatemaker
Yes, this is a chocolate store, but perhaps “lab” would be a better description. Imported cocoa beans are roasted on-site and crafted into imaginative treats. Milk chocolates, pralines, truffles and a variety of fresh-churned gelato flavours are available. Distillery Historic District, 55 Mill St., 416-815-7662; 443 King St. W., 416-599-7662.

Stubbe Chocolates & Pastry Ltd.
Six generations of chocolate making knowledge go into the confections at Stubbe. Visitors can watch the treats being made in the store’s open kitchen, and if you want to get your hands muddy, they offer workshops with introductions to chocolate- and truffle-making. 653 Dupont St., 416-923-0956.

The Chocolateria
Chocolate dipped potato chips. Need we say more? Yes, the Chocolateria offers the salty-sweet and highly addictive concoctions, as well as sponge toffees, gooey turtles made with fresh pecans, and gift baskets filled with assorted chocolates. 361 Roncesvalles Ave., 416-588-0567.

When you scan Xococava’s stylized menu board, you just know you’re in for something unique. Adventurous palates can indulge in chocolates made with cedar, chorizo, olive oil and thyme. The store also serves up equally unusual ice cream and sorbet, many made with seasonal ingredients. 1560 Yonge St., 416-979-9918.

Hot Date: Tea and Chocolate Outing

Tea and Chocolate Pairings take place throughout the fall.

Thursday, Sept. 29. If wine and food pairings aren’t your cup of tea, then how about a tea and chocolate pairing? Spend an evening learning about the drink that is both traditional and trendy with Kimiko Uriu, one of the top 50 accredited tea specialists in the world. (She’s also the founder of the business Kimicha Tea, which is the force behind the city’s first annual Ottawa Tea Festival, taking place on Nov. 5 and 6). For this event, Uriu joins forces with Colette West from Maison Chaloin, a chocolaterie in Gatineau that’s popular with local foodies. The event offers three teas alongside complementary treats, which include the mouthwatering flavours fleur de sel, white chocolate, and milk chocolate. Can’t make it out this Thursday night? No problem! The tea and chocolate pairing event will be offered throughout the fall, see schedule for details.

Reese Mini’s Awards The Perfectly Tiny Across Canada

Charlottetown, P.E.I. winner Lori Joy and her tiny artwork. Image via The Guardian

By Waheeda Harris

Canadians appreciate the little things – with one of the planet’s biggest land masses with a small population, we know a thing or two about being the little guy.

Reese, the popular chocolate company, wanted to find the best of the small in our nation and spent two weeks in August roaming coast to coast to find those wee places or people to receive the newly-launched Perfectly Tiny Award.

Those lucky enough to be selected received a year’s supply of the new Reese minis, a large trophy and bragging rights for revelling in the small.

Five cities – Greenwood, BC, Prince George, BC, Edmonton, AB, Sackville, NS and Charlottetown PEI were the winners for five different tiny reasons. And what did the judges discover?

From a tiny fish catcher to a small dog rescuer, small horses to wee artistic creations, Canadians have pride in the petite, and congratulations to the first five to be on the award list. “We were looking for people with passion, and we certainly found them,” explained Sean Citrigno, Reese spokesperson and member of the Perfectly Tiny search team.

A special kudos to the city of Greenwood, located in the Kootenay region of BC, as the smallest city in Canada. With a proud population of 625 residents, their mighty yet tiny outlook garnered them a Perfectly Tiny Award.