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the guild shop

Staff Picks: 10 Stores for Unique Gifts

Whether you’re looking for gag gifts or one-of-a kind collectors pieces, these Toronto stores offer creative solutions for the weary holiday shopper.

The Drake Hotel General Store features a bevy of novel products (photo by Connie Tsang)

Bergo Designs
One of the showcase retailers in the Distillery Historic District, Bergo is a hub for the latest and greatest industrial design products—both functional and decorative—for the home, by designers such as Georg Jensen, Alessi, Brothers Dressler and more. 55 Mill St., 416-861-1821.

Blue Banana Market
This eclectic two-storey space in the Kensington Market neighbourhood features a mix of mass-market and artisan-made wares by more than 200 craftspeople and small retailers. You’re not likely to go home empty-handed—everything from area rugs to gourmet food products to musical instruments is available. 250 Augusta Ave., 416-594-6600.

Bookhou
Blending modern and traditional styles, John Booth and Arounna Khounnoraj’s design boutique features their expertly crafted textiles—like bags, pillows and tea towels—wood pieces and wall art, all of which emphasize natural materials. 798 Dundas St. W., 416-203-2549.

Drake Hotel General Store
A re-imagined version of a hotel gift shop, this general store sells contemporary takes on playful and nostalgic items—think fake moustaches, DIY nesting dolls, retro-styled all-sorts jars and many other quirky items. 1144 Queen St. W., 416-531-5042; 1011 Yonge St., 416-966-0553; 82 Bathurst St., 416-703-6518.

The Guild Shop
Since 1932 this Yorkville gallery-boutique has trafficked in the finest art and jewellery handcrafted by Canadian artists. It’s also the city’s oldest retailer of Inuit and Native art, with numerous carvings, prints and tapestries from communities in Canada’s north. 118 Cumberland St., 416-921-1721.

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Hot Art: Creative Presents

The Gardiner Shop (photo by Lisa Sakulensky)

Gift-giving season is here. Instead of settling for socks, why not pick out some Canadian-crafted jewellery, ceramics or paintings from these fine gallery boutiques:

1. Art Interiors has been exposing Torontonians to emerging artists for nearly 20 years. Its annual Festival of Smalls, from November 12 to December 24, offers a unique gifting opportunity, with hundreds of small works for less than $250.

2. The shop at the Gardiner Museum features curated retail exhibitions by Canadian ceramicists, as well as functional and decorative woodworking, glassware, jewellery and more.

3. Yorkville’s The Guild Shop showcases works by Ontario Crafts Council members. The abundance and diversity—everything from silk scarves to Inuit carvings—can be overwhelming, but attentive staff are more than willing to help narrow your options.

Hot Art: Inuit Imagery

Drummer, by Feheley Fine Arts artist Idris Moss-Davies

Excellent artworks produced in Canada’s northern communities are available at top Toronto galleries.

1. For sheer volume, it’s hard to beat Eskimo Art Gallery, which offers more than 1,000 contemporary Inuit carvings.

2. Yorkville’s Feheley Fine Arts represents progressive printmakers like Itee Pootoogook and sculptors such as Idris Moss-Davies, whose works reflect a modern aesthetic.

3. The Guild Shop, the retail boutique of the Ontario Crafts Council, is the province’s oldest dealer of Inuit and Native art, with many carvings, paintings, tapestries and even Inuit jewellery.

4. The striking sculptures of Floyd Kuptana are featured prominently at Maslak McLeod Gallery alongside numerous classical Inuit carvings.

5. Like what you see amongst the extensive collection at the Museum of Inuit Art? Its adjoining commercial gallery sells sculptures, prints and more, sourced directly from Arctic cooperatives.

Hot Shops: Bloor-Yorkville’s Local Spirit

NOVEMBER 20 TO JANUARY 1 The posh Bloor-Yorkville neighbourhood is certain to sparkle this winter season, as its annual Holiday Magic event illuminates the locale with thousands of lights and a spectacular 30-foot Christmas tree. By day, stroll the streets and admire seasonal displays created by numerous stores, including Holt Renfrew and Harry Rosen on Bloor Street and The Guild Shop on Cumberland Street. But don’t just window shop—select Bloor-Yorkville businesses are offering discounts on everything from designer apparel to spa treatments all month long.