City Living: Toronto Gift Shop Guide

April showers bring May flowers and often lots of engagement parties, weekends at cottages, baby showers, housewarming parties and more. All happy occasions to bring a cool prezzie for a host. Today we’re sharing a few spots to pick up great gifts.

For Your Quirkiest Friend – Drake General Store 
4 locations: 1144 Queen Street West, 1140 Queen Street West, 1011 Yonge Street, 92A Bathurst Street or online.

This is as close as you’re going to get to ‘Ye Old Curiosities Shop’ in Toronto. Drake General Store has a little bit of everything: some Canadiana, select food items (Drake Granola – great gift if you’re an overnight guest), a few body products and some quirky items for the home. If you’re looking for something that no one else will bring to the party, this is your place. If you live outside of Toronto, lucky you, Drake General Store will deliver to wherever you are.

We all have that one friend who would really appreciate an Earl the Squirrel stacking acorn game/decorative statue.
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For the Girliest Girl You Know – Chatelet

2 locations: 717 Queen Street West, 2207 Queen Street East
Primarily a decor store specializing in French Country, Shabby Chic and Hollywood Glam, Chatelet also carries the loveliest home accessories and gift items. Intricate picture frame? Napkins inspired by Paris in the springtime? A little dove to hold your rings? If you’re shopping for a girl who loves Brigitte Bardot, mirrored jewellery boxes or iron birdcages, go here.
Help your friend create her own little chateau at home.
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For People Who Love to Laugh & Aren’t Easily Offended – Outer Layer 
2 locations: 577 Queen Street West, 430 Bloor Street West

Having this awesome gift shop just steps from our office has definitely got us out of a few pinches. It’s small, but crammed with fun jewellery, great bath & skincare lines (hello, Consonant in the downtown core!), funny books, cards that will make you blush, and random little items that make you giggle to yourself while also feeling ashamed for laughing at something so inappropriate or childish.

We know a few craft-loving cat owners who could use this.

For People You Don’t Know Especially Well – Teatro Verde
2 locations: 98 Yorkville, 2901 Bayview Avenue or Online

We’ve all been there: visiting the cottage of a friend’s distant relative, going to the shower of the boyfriend’s friend’s girlfriend, a house-warming party for a casual acquaintance… sometimes you just have no idea what the guest of honour likes. For inspiration, check out the gift ideas at Teatro Verde. They have plenty of suggestions for gifts that are tasteful and classy, but still interesting.

If the host doesn’t like this lovely scented candle, why are you even there?

For a Special Friend on a Special Occasion – Made You Look
2 locations: 1338 Queen St. West, 1273 Queen Street West or online

For a really special gift, pick up a thoughtful, one-of-a-kind, hand-crafted piece from a local artisan. The two locations are across the street from each other, with the North store specializing in finer jewellery and the South store packed with funky accessories and some really amazing, affordable pieces.

Love these Bop & Dani Bubbles earrings, made of laser stained wood for $27

For the Lazy Gift-Giver or When it’s Raining Outside – Drysdale & Co.
Online, but based in Riverdale

A visit to the Danforth was never complete without a stop at Drysdale & Co. Unfortunately this fun store closed its doors in January, but the same great selection of products is still offered online. Owner Susan Drysdale has an amazing eye for selecting fabulous jewellery, cool accessories and interesting gift items. Plus, you can shop from your couch and still support a local business. Win-win.

Great gift suggestions under $25.
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Yum, yum: Yogurty’s froyo

It didn’t take us long for us to hustle down the street when we heard a new frozen yogurt shop had set up in our ‘hood! Today we give you the scoop on Yogurty’s, where you can get soft-serve, serve-yourself frozen yogurt, a.k.a. the latest and greatest place for a cool treat in the city. 

The cute shop at 652 Queen Street West.

The hook at Yogurty’s is that you get to serve yourself, choosing exactly what you want. Start with the yogurt from the soft-serve machines lining the walls. Choose from a variety of delicious flavours, including banana split, peanut butter, red velvet, vanilla and chocolate. There’s also a “twist” handle for a combination of two from one machine!

Anticipating a first taste of Yogurtys.

Next, stroll past the toppings bar and create the ultimate sundae from your childhood fantasies. Fixin’s include fresh fruit, nuts, candies, coconut, chocolate, cookies, cheesecake bits, sprinkles… all the usual suspects, plus many more.

This topping bar is dazzling.

Don’t get too excited by all the toppings: you’re paying by weight! Once you’ve finished, the lovely cashiers will weigh your customized creation and tell you exactly how much you owe.

Dessert by weight.

This delicious sundae (tart and red velvet yogurt, topped with strawberries, kiwi, peanuts & fresh coconut) cost around $5:

Red velvet + fresh fruit = love.

The verdict from the fourth floor? Love! Nearly all of us have made the pilgrimage down the street at least once. This treat isn’t too damaging for your waistline either: all the yogurts are non-fat or low-fat, with calorie counts starting around 35/cal per oz. Just watch your toppings (opt for fruit), and you’re good!

Our only complaint? It definitely takes a while. We stopped by on a (beautiful & sunny) Thursday afternoon, and there were about 6 people in line. To move each person through the line, making their selections and serving themselves takes some time. Not sure how that will work out in the middle of a heatwave in the summer, once the word spreads. Despite that, it’s a definite must-go and we think it’s worth the wait. The yogurt is delicious, store and toppings bar are clean, and the staff is friendly and helpful.

Getting a chocolate fix.
Not in our neighbourhood? Not a problem! According to their website, there are a ton of locations opening across Toronto, including Bathurst & Bloor, Bloor West Village, Liberty Village, The Beaches, and more. Make sure you stop by! Say hi to the rock-it promo staff when you inevitably bump into us indulging in an afternoon treat. 🙂

Find them on Twitter @yogurtys or Facebook here.