I was pretty proud of myself this year because, not only did I have all my gifts bought and wrapped almost two weeks before Christmas, but I also managed to avoid stepping foot in a single mall. I won't lie, part of why I was able to avoid the mall-madness was thanks to a little online shopping. But the biggest reason was because I bought most of my gifts at local independent shops on Queen West.
The day started out as nothing more than window shopping as I walked along Queen St. I wasn't necessarily on a mission to get all my shopping done that day but I was in the neighbourhood and thought a little browsing could spark a few gift ideas. Little did I know that after a single stroll I would have most of my shopping successfully completed.
Now that Christmas is over and everything is unwrapped I can share my new favourite gift shops with you without without fear of spoiling anyone's holiday surprise.
Philistine (928 Queen St W)
Philistine is a fabulously hip shop with the perfect mix of new and vintage items. Stop in here for clothing, accessories, and jewellery for both men and women. Most things here have a classic vintage feel which make them timeless and trendy all at the same time. They've also got a fine collection of housewares for anyone in the market for a retro lunchbox or leather-care kit.
The Paper Place (887 Queen St W)
The Paper Place is exactly what it sounds like: a shop full of paper. But who knew that paper could come in so many forms? The Paper Place is the ultimate scrapbooking shop but they've also got plenty of great gift ideas for the crafty one in your family. They've stocked everything from calendars and day planners to stamps, stickers and more! There's a dedicated section for kids with lots of crafts and game kits where I found some creative gifts for the little ones in the family. The Paper Place also stocks one of Toronto's best selections of greeting cards.
Type (883 Queen St W)
I'll be honest, Amazon is amazing and I love Chapters as much as the next girl, but you really can't beat the traditional local book shop. Type stocks all the latest bestsellers and highlights a few unique finds that get lost in the mega-bookshops. It's a great place to shop for specialty cookbooks, travel guides, and hidden gems published by small presses. As their slogan says: "Find not only the book you want, but the book you didn't even know you wanted."
Rec + Art History (1080 Queen St W)
Lastly, I give you Rec + Art History, a tiny little vintage housewares shop. This is the place to find all your mid-century glassware, kitchenware, and furniture. The entire space is packed full like a treasure chest and no two pieces are alike. It's a lovely place to go hunting for something really unique and plenty of beautiful pieces come at a spectacular bargain. This is also a great alternative to IKEA for anyone to needs a few household items and wants to add a touch of unique history to their home.
The biggest shopping season of the year may be over but these shops keep great gifts in stock all year round. Keep them in mind the next time you need a birthday gift for someone special; and next year, why not challenge yourself to shop local as much as you can? Trust me, it's way more fun than a crowded mall!