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Last Minute Shopping Ideas

Thu Dec 22, 2005 Miss Vicky 

Shockingly, no one has written to ask Miss Vicky for gift shopping tips. She can only assume everyone is leaving it to the last minute, so here are some unsolicited ideas for Kitchissippi shoppers. I'm going to take a more-or-less geographic approach, starting at the O Train tracks and heading west.
Bargain hunters might find some kitchen items with an Asian flare at the 168 grocery market on Somerset just as you enter Hintonburg. I haven't been there in a while, but it's a fascinating place and worth a visit.

For antiques or quirky secondhand items, check out June's and A Fine Thing. (Hint: folks with Fiesta collectors on there list will find great deals on dishes at A Fine Thing).

Levonian makes high quality custom shirts; I haven't asked but a gift certificate might be a nice gift for someone who appreciates the finer things (or for someone whose wardrobe could use a little sprucing up).

A little further West on Wellington is Christie's, another good spot for antique-hunters. In the Parkdale Market district is one of my favourite gift shops, Ravensara. They sell some unique items, including handknit puppets by a very talented woman who lives in the 'hood. They've also got funky ornaments, essential oils, interesting folk art and great jewellry - a real range of choices in different price ranges.

The CUBE gallery's Great Big Smalls show continues to December 23. Next door to the gallery on Hamilton is BeadNik, a new bead store that is bound to be a hit with kids and crafty folk.

On the corner of Wellington and Holland is the World of Maps, which offers a fantastic range of maps, globes, travel books, atlases and fun stuff for the geographically-inclined. A few doors down is Heavens to Betsy, a regular destination when Miss Vicky needs to find a funky gift. They have amazing baby stuff, fun hats and scarves and bags, retro toys, jewellry and wallets, and more tchotchkes than you could ever want.

Across the street you'll find Collected Works, a wonderful independent bookstore with a great kids section.

Wild Willy's florist offers some great arrangements, and Miss Vicky has found fresh holly there in the past. And Nectar has tea and teapots for the tea granny in your life.

Continuing west on Wellington....Thyme and Again offers interesting tableware, candles, ornaments and other items, both edible and non-edible. Bridghead is selling fair trade gifts, including bags made from recycled materials, gift baskets for caffeine addicts and great travel mugs. For originally-designed clothing and accessories for women, check out Clothes by Muriel Dombret. Fresh Air Experience is a good spot for skiers and outdoor enthusiasts, and Tim's across the street has a wide selection of used sports equipment.

Further down in Wellington Village are a couple of funky furniture places that also sell home decor items, Blueprint and Alteriors. Flowers Talk has some cool vases, and Bija Bijoux is a highly reliable destination for funky jewellry. Foodies might enjoy a basket from the Bagel Shop or any of the other spots on this strip. The Weekend Reader has a huge selection and good prices for new and used books.

In Westboro are a number of great stores... Kitchenalia, Mrs. Tiggywinkles and Lost Marbles for toys for kids of all ages, the Village Quire for paper, lululemon for the yoga-obsessed, Bark & Fitz for furry folk, Ten Thousand Villages for lots of fair trade fare, MEC, the Expedition Shoppe, Bushtukah.... need I go on?

Why hit the malls when a stroll through our mainstreets offers so many possibilities?

Some people were moved to reply

amckay Dec 22, 2005 12:21 PM said:

Why hit the malls when a stroll through our mainstreets offers so many possibilities?

Yes, indeed! My last minute shopping tip for anyone planning to hit the malls : don't do it!

Last time I made that mistake was probably 5 or 6 years ago, just before moving into the neighbourhood. It was a nightmare which consumed a few more hours of my time than it should have because of excessive traffic both on the roads as well as in the malls.

The best way to avoid that madness is to shop right here in the hood! Or alternately if you are shut in for whatever reason, just surf on over to some place like Lee Valley where you'll definitely find something for everyone, and can even have it shipped directly to the recipient.

amckay Dec 23, 2005 03:03 PM said:

And while on topic, liss76 has been out strolling the 'hood for the last hour or so buying last-minute stocking stuffers for moi, while I'm here taking advantage of a mild day to brew some smoked porter.

[Edited By amckay Dec 23, 2005 03:11 PM]

peabody Dec 23, 2005 10:18 PM said:


Or alternately if you are shut in for whatever reason, just surf on over to some place like Lee Valley where you'll definitely find something for everyone, and can even have it shipped directly to the recipient.


Lee Valley is a goldmine for unique gifts! And surfing over there is much better than physically going there, especially this time of year.

And the asian market is always a fun place to shop.. watch out for the pig head in the bucket in the back though ;)

dave Dec 23, 2005 11:30 PM said:

A few people are answering here that they
aren't buying presents +/or Xmas Cards because they simply don't have any money, and the shops sound genuinely worried here in Edinburgh, they've announced the 'January' sales half-way through December.
Maybe the same sea-change is rippling through your zone if they've not asked for your shopping hints......I've been caught up in technical modification of these compueters here in this Indymedia office, so I've not been so able to watch these spaces for a while.
Love and Merry Xmas,

andrea Dec 27, 2005 09:11 PM said:

The hands-down favourite gifts came from Lee Valley this year: a pair of old fashioned gyroscopes and a top with an electronic display.

Info here... [argh! can't seem to link directly... it's an iTop]

Related: who writes their catalogue text? I love it: "An appealing toy for both adults and children — you might want to get more than one to ensure domestic peace." Ha ha!

[Edited By andrea Dec 27, 2005 09:13 PM]

Miss Vicky Dec 28, 2005 11:15 AM said:

The Lee Valley wasp and spider trap and telescoping campfire forks were big hits this year!

amckay Dec 28, 2005 12:30 PM said:

yes, we've given that campfire fork a few times and it seems to be a hit with all ages. This year's big hit in our household was the slinky that my newphew gave to our almost 4 year old!

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