Locally crafted items are the best kinds of souvenirs, and thankfully, Toronto is home to a thriving artisan community. While you can find a number of souvenir shops in the Eaton Centre downtown, here are some other spots where you can find unique gifts and local crafts in the city.
Arts Market has three locations in the city: one in Leslieville, another on College, and the third in Riverside. The concept is to offer a permanent space with affordable rent for artistic entrepreneurs to sell their goods. Since first opening in 2011, Arts Market now showcases thousands of products and around 175 local artists, designers, and other creatives, and it can rightly be called Toronto’s first year-round artisan market. You can find items from pottery to jewelry, photography, gift cards, and other unique gifts.
Since 2003, Distill has offered a large collection of Canadian-made designs, from ceramics to glass, jewelry, wood and metal work, mixed media and textiles. By their own description, this eclectic store showcases “well-crafted and curated fashion and home décor objects reflecting contemporary material and visual culture.” Located in the popular Distillery District, you can easily spend hours exploring the unique items that Distill has on display.
Distill, 24 Tank House Lane #103, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 304 0033
Blue Banana Market
Blue Banana Market is in the Kensington Market neighborhood, taking up a wide three-story space filled with a range of gifts and items that span from creative to goofy. You can find locally handcrafted goods alongside coffee and teas, mugs, magnets, clothing, holiday kitsch, souvenirs, and far more—with an emphasis on brands and artisans from around Toronto and Ontario.
Blue Banana Market, 250 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 594 6600
Labour of Love
Located in Cabbagetown, Labour of Love is a treasure trove of gifts and artisan items that range from jewelry to paper goods to kitschy Canadian-themed home décor. Calling itself a “one-stop shop that can cater to every personality, age group and budget,” here you’ll also find Toronto-themed gifts like streetcar T-shirts and city map coasters.
Labour of Love, 223 Carlton St, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 923 8988
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Located in the vibrant west-end neighborhood of Roncesvalles, Scout is a cozy independent gift boutique that specializes in local, independent, and handmade goods. You can find products that include hand-stitched pillows, natural bath and body products, wood-carved jewelry, key chains, cards, and much more. The shop opened in 2011, and in 2016, Scout opened their online store.
Scout, 405 Roncesvalles Ave, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 546 6922
Also in Roncesvalles, Likely General takes its model from old-fashioned general stores in the days of yore. You can browse creative accessories, apparel, floral objects, paper and textile goods, and apothecary items. They also host various workshops, events, and exhibitions that take place in the small gallery in the back of the shop.
Likely General, 389 Roncesvalles Ave, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 647 351 4590
Waterfront Artisan Market
If you want to browse for crafts and gifts in an open-air setting, you can head over to H2O Park for the annual Waterfront Artisan Market, which runs every Saturday from May to October. This market showcases a selection of around 75 local established and emerging crafters, artisans, chefs, and bakers.