Shop Local: Thoughtful Gift Ideas in Toronto
We’re taking you through some of the best small businesses in Toronto, where Aligned One Wellness lives and plays, to go through 10 of our favourite Toronto gift ideas and where you can find them. Our bright city streets are lined with stores built by dedicated entrepreneurs and business owners, each one with a backstory of hard work and humanness behind their doors. The curation of local artisans and handmade giftables comes naturally to Torontonians, with a diverse city full of talent and craft. As we approach the holidays and start shopping for our loved ones, it’s important to remember to support small businesses where you can. I hope this list gets your mind buzzing about the thoughtful (and locally supportive!) gifts you’re giving this year.
Founded by an award winning nail artist and trailblazer in the industry, Tips Nail Bar on the Danforth offers a range of services and products for their customers. A place where you can feel at home while also getting pampered, they pride themselves on knowing their customers names and giving top tier care and services. If you’re looking to gift something little, they stock a range of self-care products in store. Otherwise, we recommend giving a gift card so that your loved ones can meet the Tips Nail Bar team and be pampered with some TLC!
StudioCHA is a hair salon specifically for customized cuts, colours, and treatments for curly haired folks. Built around a core of culture and art, StudioCHA is a safe and welcoming space for people to find the best hair solutions and products for them. If you are looking for a Toronto gift idea for a curly haired person in your life, giving a gift card to StudioCHA means that you’re giving the highest-level care for their hair, making for both a thoughtful and sustainable gift.
Kemsi Essentials is a Black-owned, all natural, and Canadian-made skincare brand making affordable and effective skincare for the body and face. Made with ethically and locally sourced ingredients, their products can be gifted to the caring and kind in your life. Giving someone the gift of self care while supporting a small business, what more could you ask for? With skin products like cleansers and toners and bath products for ultimate relaxation, Kemsi makes it easy to give the gift of some “me time”.
Redefining the journey of mental wellness through a thoughtful curation of products, Crying Out Loud is a favourite of mine. They curate pretty little care packages that work really well as thoroughly planned and perfectly packaged gifts. I highly recommend gifting one of their many care packages, as they cater their packages to a variety of people and relationships, taking some of the planning out of your present hunting and making the gift a little more personal.
I am always a big fan of practical gifts, so if you’re still searching for something for your eco-conscious friend, try gifting tidbits or gift cards from their local zero-waste grocery store. Urban Bulk & Refill is a staple in the east end, and Unboxed Market is for the west end folks. They both offer most bulk grocery essentials, as well as a small curation of locally-sourced grocery items that could fit nicely into a custom gift basket or pair well with a gift card as a special treat.
What’s better than a thoughtful gift? One that also supports a good cause. Inspirations Studio provides studio access, storefront selling opportunities, and arts education for women who have experienced marginalization. Purchasing a handmade ceramic piece from Inspirations Studio supports and improves the lives of the artists behind the work, and the money you spend goes directly back into the community. Every time your gift recipient picks up their one-of a-kind mug to drink their morning coffee, they will think of and be thankful for you.
Florals are always a special gift, bringing colour, vibrance, and life into the lives of your loved ones. Blooming Flower Bar offers pre-order bouquets in many sizes, but you can also play around with a build-your-own option if you stop into the store. A Black- and woman-owned business nestled perfectly in Toronto’s quaint Cabbagetown, it’s the perfect stop on your gift-shopping walk to find something cheerful and unique.
Jewelry, home goods, body care, notebooks, knick knacks, you name it! Labour of Love is a one-stop-shop for gift giving, with a perfectly curated variety of small but mighty gift options for adults and kids. When you first walk into the store, you will be greeted by a wall of adorable cards made by local artists - perfect to pair with whatever incredible treasure that you find. I love this store if I’m not sure exactly what gift to get, because it is filled to the brim with inspiration and variation.
Hard Feelings operates as a low-cost counseling and mental-health resource center, and although their gift cards don’t cover counseling services, they offer shoppable resources at reasonable prices that would make for a thoughtful and fruitful gift. Their store is small but mighty, offering vetted books on mental health and carrying their very own locally designed apparel line. If you pair one of their cozy hoodies with a good, thought-provoking book, you’ve got a perfect little gift pairing at your fingertips.
Grounded in community and wellness, The Toronto Barre Collective is all about bringing people together in movement and mind to create beautiful experiences for everyone who walks through their doors. Offering classes in barre, pilates, boxfit, and even meditation - a gift of a visit to this studio will give your loved one an opportunity to give their body, mind, and soul the gift of movement and community.
Gifting is a joy that we often take for granted in this world. It is a way to show someone that you care, and that their soul is cared for and loved by others. Finding the perfect gift can be tricky, and making sure that you are thoughtful and intenful in your gift-picking is a great start. I hope that your search for these gifts is fruitful and filled with joy, and I know that the people on the receiving end of your kindness and care will feel thankful for you taking the time to think of them. Happy shopping!