This year, break free from the mall and seek out unique gifts made by local artisans
It’s beginning to look a lot like the holiday shopping season. The Santa Claus parade has marched down Bloor Street, 2014’s first snowfall has coated car windshields, and only thirty-something shopping days remain until December 25.
While our annual gift guides offer plenty of suggestions for what to get the gourmand, bookworm and neat freak in your life, there’s something extra thoughtful about giving someone a present printed, sewn or carved by a local. Below, we highlight seven seasonal pop-up markets specializing in distinctive, delightful gifts.
Shown above: winter-themed blocks by Jen Bulthuis of Fidoodle ($28), available at the One of a Kind Show. For a chance to win two free tickets to the show, subscribe to our weekly newsletter or tweet a link to this article and mention @designlinesmag. We’ll announce the winners on November 26.
CABINET OF CURIOSITY Nov 8 – Dec 21
Shopping for that friend with impeccable taste? This boutique is packed with handmade objects made by some of the city’s most creative makers. Designlines readers will recognize ceramicist Grace Eun Mi Lee’s whimsical monster-shaped S & P shakers and gold-tinged critters. Quartz bead jewellery by Margaret Lim and aquamarine-hued, hand-blown glass bowls by Andrea Ripley are also on hand. Scarves, pottery and pens round out the selection. GALLERY HOUSE, 2068 DUNDAS ST W, facebook.com
UNWRAP ETSY Nov 21 – 26
This pop-up is a great chance to grab Etsy goods sans shipping fees. A selection of the online marketplace’s locally-based vendors fill Hunt Club with vintage and handmade merchandise. Shown above: tumblers by Akai Ceramic Studio, which specializes in simple, beautiful Japanese-style tableware. HUNTCLUB, 709 COLLEGE ST W, facebook.com
ONE OF A KIND CHRISTMAS SHOW Nov 27 – Dec 7
With more than 800 artisans exhibiting, this annual craft fair – the largest in North America – offers something for everyone on your list. Find the perfect mug for your dad and eclectic earrings for your wacky aunt. Attention night owls: on December 4, OOAK stays open until 11 p.m. Shown above: a cotton quilt ($850) by Lindsay Stead. DIRECT ENERGY CENTRE, 100 PRINCES’ BLVD, oneofakindshow.com
TORONTO CHRISTMAS MARKET Nov 28 – Dec 21
A 14-metre-tall white spruce and a whole lot of lights transform the Distillery District into one of the season’s most romantic settings this side of Europe. Staying true to the District’s roots, this market is an appropriately boozy affair. Warm up in the beer gardens with a cup of mulled wine or toasty hot rum. As for the vendors? Think blown glass tree ornaments, teacup candles by La Vela Bella and snuggly stuffed animals made from alpaca wool. 35 LOWER JARVIS ST, torontochristmasmarket.com
#LOCALTOMRKT Nov 29 – Dec 24
In case the hashtag didn’t clue you in, this is one hip holiday market. Case in point: food trucks will be parked onsite alongside an assortment of jewellery, card and toque vendors. Located in the former Empress Hotel lot at Yonge and Gould, a stone’s throw from the Eaton Centre, this spot offers lots of little gems to complement the brand name ski jacket your brother asked for. As one of the few markets open until Christmas Eve, it’s also a great option for last-minute shoppers. Shown above: a greeting card ($5) by Owl and Oak. 335 YONGE ST
CITY OF CRAFT WINTER Dec 12 – 14
There’ll be plenty of stocking stuffers to pick from at the well-curated winter edition of City of Craft, Toronto’s celebration of all things handmade. While the show’s jury hasn’t announced this year’s vendors just yet, we’re sure at least a few of our favourite ceramicists, woodworkers and jewellery-makers will be on the list. THE THEATRE CENTRE, 1087 QUEEN ST W.
UNION STATION Dec 1 – 7
Office Secret Santas, take note: this new, commuter-friendly craft market offers great gifts sure to please the 9-5 crowd: patterned lunch bags, laptop totes and these brightly-coloured Yo Sox socks ($10), perfect for adding pizzazz to formal business attire. Located in Union’s historic Great Hall, the market’s set up in one of the station’s quieter corners – meaning you won’t get trampled by GO train travellers during the after-work rush. UNION STATION, 65 FRONT ST W, unionstationholidaymarket.com