EDIT: Thank You! | Help Us Raise $500 for ProEnglish Theatre, Ukraine

Help us raise $500 by participating in our matching campaign to raise money for the ProEnglish Theatre in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Donate

EDIT: We did it! Thank you to all who donated. Together, we sent $500 to the ProEnglish Theatre in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Recently we received an email from Alex Borovenskiy, the Artistic Director of ProEnglish Theatre in Kyiv, Ukraine. 

While it would have been completely understandable to be reaching out for money, he was actually asking for something even easier to give: support from fellow artists in helping to share the word about what is happening in Ukraine, and about the show they are producing from inside a bomb shelter. One that they are also being forced to live in while the city continues to be ruthlessly attacked by Russia.

Bygone Theatre is hoping to raise a total of $500 CAD to send directly to the ProEnglish Theatre, for them to use as they see fit. We are starting a matching campaign and can contribute up to $250. That means, that for every dollar you donate, Bygone Theatre will donate a dollar as well, up to a total of $250 (making for a $500 donation overall). Our Artistic Director and Chair have committed to covering any associated fees, so 100% of your donation will go directly to ProEnglish Theatre.

Every little bit helps. A donation of $1 is still $1 that will go towards helping artists, cats (they are sheltering them in the bomb shelter as well) and civilians living in Kyiv, Ukraine. Please consider making a contribution, and share this with friends, family, co-workers – whoever you can think of.

Join us in showing that as artists, Canadians, and human beings, we support the people of Ukraine and hope for a quick, peaceful end to what has so far been over a month of horror for thousands of innocent people.

To donate, simply click the link at the top of this post.

-E.D.

ProEnglish Theatre

Help support our friends ProEnglish Theatre in Ukraine.

Supporting our fellow artists as they continue to create and support their community during the war in Ukraine.

Recently we received an email from Alex Borovenskiy, the Artistic Director of ProEnglish Theatre in Kyiv, Ukraine. While it would have been completely understandable to be reaching out for money, he was actually asking for something even easier to give: support from fellow artists in helping to share the word about what is happening in Ukraine, and about the show they are producing from inside a bomb shelter. One that they are also being forced to live in while the city continues to be ruthlessly attacked by Russia.

This is a message direct from ProEnglish Theatre:

Hello, we’re ProEnglish Theatre, an independent theatre in English from Kyiv, Ukraine. We’re creating theatre performances in English, introducing Ukrainians to the Art in English on one hand and introducing Theatre created in Ukraine to world community – on the other.

Right now we are the Art Shelter in Kyiv, theatre turned into the bomb shelter housing local elderly people, parents with kids and 8 cats) We also share our personal experiences in different languages with the world. Our experience of Ukraine being attacked by russian invaders and Kyiv being shelled. Art will stand. Ukraine will stand. Stand with Ukraine

We invite you to stand with us

ProEnglish Theatre

Their show, The Book of Sirens, is a new performance by ProEnglish Theatre of Ukraine, staged and performed from the bomb shelter//theatre in Kyiv: directed by Alex Borovenskiy and performed by Anabell Ramirez.

It has already premiered on Facebook, and can be watched at any time via this link. If you would like to help support the artists and their work, both as creators and as Ukrainians who are helping deliver medicine to their fellow citizens, you can do so by visiting their Patreon. We are currently looking into the best way to collect/direct one-time donations for those who cannot currently commit to a recurring donation.

If you cannot make a donation at this time, we still encourage you to watch the show, and share the link via your channels. Plenty of incredible art has come about because of tragic or horrific circumstances, but often it is done after the fact and cannot directly help those whose suffering was the inspiration or catalyst for its creation. This is a chance to help those who need it, now.

Please join us in showing that as artists, Canadians, and human beings, we support the people of Ukraine and hope for a quick, peaceful end to what has so far been over a month of horror for thousands of innocent people.

  • Emily Dix, Artistic Executive Director, Bygone Theatre

Careers in the Arts – A Bygone Theatre Webinar

Interested in working in the arts, but don’t know where to start? This unique workshop will provide students with a realistic view into the arts world, guiding them through a host of career paths and the steps to follow to get there.

Interested in working in the arts, but don’t know where to start? This unique workshop will provide students with a realistic view into the arts world, guiding them through a host of career paths and the steps to follow to get there.

Bygone Artistic Executive Director Emily Dix will cover topics such as;
– Post-secondary programs here and abroad
– Skill building without formal education
– Unconventional arts related careers
– How to network in the arts
– How to build a resume or portfolio, and more.

Aimed at secondary students, this webinar is open to all, and is being subsidized through anonymous support so we can offer it FREE to all who are interested.

While you do not have to be from a specific geographic area to participate, it will be focused primarily on opportunities and practises from South Western Ontario, specifically the GTA.

No experience necessary, just an interest in learning about arts related careers, particularly those related to theatre and film.

WHEN AND WHERE:
Saturday February 26, 1-3pm.
Online via Zoom: https://yorku.zoom.us/j/93663931843 

ACCESSIBILITY: 
The webinar is being delivered in English, with visual aids and automatically generated captions. If you require specific accommodation, please email us in advance and we will do our best to provide you the full experience.

INTERACTION:
We encourage participants to turn on their cameras, at least for the discussion section at the end, but this is not required. Questions can be asked via your mic, the chat, or sent by private message if you’d like to ask anonymously.

DIVERSITY & INCLUSION:
This webinar is being hosted by our Artistic Executive Director Emily Dix, a white woman with an invisible disability. She will share her personal experiences working in the arts and will provide info for programs and opportunities that exist for marginalized people as well as those open to all.

If you have any questions prior to the webinar, or to request accommodation, please email emily@bygonetheatre.com.

1940s Makeup & Evening Routine

Learn how to do a simple 1940s makeup routine and evening skincare regime with these handy videos.

With a bit of time off for the holiday season, I decided to make a couple video tutorials inspired by the 1940s – a simple day makeup routine and a nighttime routine inspired by classic Hollywood.

What ones should we try next? 1920s, 30s, 50s or 60s? We can also get Conor to do a proper shave and show what the men went through back in the day! Let us know in the comments.

Vintage-Inspired Gifts for the Kid At Heart

Vintage-inspired gifts for the kid at heart.

1. A Very Fancy Grown-Up Toy:
LEGO Typewriter

Typewriter 21327 | Ideas | Buy online at the Official LEGO® Shop CA
Admittedly, this would be an expensive gift ($269.99 CAD) but I couldn’t not include it – how cool is this?

ABOUT: Designed by Steve Guinness, a lifelong LEGO gan who combined his passion for brick building with a love of vintage typewriters, this mid-century modern inspired piece is based off one used by LEGO’s founder, Ole Kirk Kristiansen.

PRICE: $$$

SOCIAL IMPACT: N/A for this particular item, but while browsing the LEGO site I found that they make braille bricks as a fun way for seeing-impaired kids (or their friends and family) to learn how to read! A great way to introduce some diverse learning styles in a way that feels like what all the “other” kids are doing, I definitely think they should get some of this in elementary classrooms.

WHAT WE LIKE: I loved playing with LEGO as a kid, and I would likely still do it today if I had some around. They have a whole series of more “adult” projects that make beautiful, displayable pieces, and I think this is one of my favourite.

2. Candies From Their Childhood:
Candy Funhouse

You’re probably not buying for someone born in 1893, but this is just one of many examples of the classic candies you can buy at Candy Funhouse.

ABOUT: “Candy Funhouse is the biggest online candy store in the world that sells candy and chocolate by the bar and by the box. We are a 1-shop-for all candy store, and we are on a mission to make sure that everybody in the world has access to every candy and chocolate bar ever made! Whether you’re looking for the historic candies of the 1800’s, or the latest and greatest chocolates that were only just released yesterday, we’ve got you covered.” Read more here.

PRICE RANGE: $

SOCIAL IMPACT: There are lots of great candy stores online but this is easily the best in Canada. Some places sell decade gift boxes that include popular candies from a certain era, but I suggest you get inspiration from some of those and shop here and support Canadian!

WHAT WE LIKE: I love retro candies because I think it’s really interesting to see how flavour interests have changed over the years. I also like knowing I can get some authentic looking stuff for shows, rather than painstakingly making reproduction labels myself (though I sometimes do still do that).

3. A Day At The Fair:
Scarborough Holiday Street Market

Toronto's holiday street carnival will have unlimited rides & epic  attractions

ABOUT: Located at the Scarborough Town Centre, it includes everything from unlimited rides for adults and kids, a hot cocoa bar, live entertainment – check out the website for all the details.

PRICE RANGE: $

SOCIAL IMPACT: Check out and support some local vendors and entertainment!

WHAT WE LIKE: From the pictures it looks like a real old-timey fair, and it’s family friendly without being totally kid-oriented.

4. A Roll Down Memory Lane:
Shamrock Bowl

Vintage east end Toronto bowling alley reopens — GOODHOOD
In Toronto’s east end.

ABOUT: “Shamrock bowl is a historic 5-Pin Bowling alley that has been fully restored to the look and feel of the days of its inception (the Late 1940’s). It is the oldest and largest 5-pin bowling alley in Toronto, the city in which this popular sport and team building activity was invented! Come today to enjoy our eight bowling lanes.”

PRICE RANGE: $-$$

SOCIAL IMPACT: You’ll be supporting a vintage piece of local history!

WHAT WE LIKE: A classic game in a space with a classic look, it’s a great group activity and you can go for a game, for dinner, for drinks – a nice flexible night (or afternoon) out.

5. A Touch Of Fun:
Floorplay Socks

Hot Wheels - White
Hot Wheels socks by Stance ($30.00)

ABOUT: “Welcome to Floorplay Socks, Canada’s sock store since 2013.

Home to the largest Stance collection in Canada, including Stance Infiknit and boxers, we also carry a wide variety of socks from brands including Socksmith, Solmate, Main and Local, Lemon, Bioworld, Fun Socks and more.

In 2013 our founder, Janet Wright, had the brilliant idea to source the best socks from Canada, the United States, and all over the world. She set out on this mission and continues to search far and wide for unique, well-made, amazing and wonderful socks. 

Floorplay Socks is all about having fun, and letting your personality shine with fashionable, unique, and comfortable socks for the whole family. Your feet will thank you for it!”

PRICE RANGE: $-$$

SOCIAL IMPACT: This female-run local business carries primarily products made in North America, and the socks are all high-quality, meaning they take longer to wear out and that keeps textile waste out of our landfills.

WHAT WE LIKE: If your someone has a job that requires wearing a suit, or, possibly worse, business casual, they may find their creativity a little stifled. Funky socks are a great way to show a little personality in even the strictest of offices – Conor ONLY wears bright patterned ones, and I’ve gotten him many pairs from here!

Have something you think we should add to the list?
Let us know in the comments.

Vintage-Inspired Gifts for the Drink Connoisseur

Vintage-inspired gifts for the drink connoisseur.

1. Classic Cocktail Recipes:
The Book Wardrobe

Cocktails of the Movies
Take a journey through Hollywood’s lifelong love affair with cocktails, celebrating the greatest characters and their iconic drinks through original illustrations and easy-to-follow recipes.

ABOUT: ” It was February 2017 in Fatima, Portugal when a Book Lover wrote about the dream of having a bookstore. To this day, The Book Wardrobe’s story continues. One summer afternoon in July 2017, something magical happened when the unsuspecting Book Lover stepped inside the 2nd floor of the Robinson-Bray heritage house: the photography studio office suddenly transformed itself into a charming bookshop. It was like entering a familiar wardrobe leading to a secret space with lots of natural light, a focal wall of centuries-old bricks, and shelves stacked with colourful spines. The Book Lover serendipitously imagined a walk-in closet of stories.”

PRICE RANGE: $-$$

SOCIAL IMPACT: This bookstore is in Mississauga, Ontario, and is AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) owned and operated. To find other Asian run bookstores, check out this handy list.

WHAT WE LIKE: I’ve only browsed through the cocktail books listed so far, but there are SO man. Most are under $20 and they have some really cool concepts. Honourable mention to Booze Over Broadway a cocktail book for theatre lovers.

2. Modern-Vintage Glassware:
Cocktail Emporium

1890 Retro Fizz Glass
The decadent 1890 Retro Fizz Cocktail Glass exudes vintage charm. The floral swag style etched pattern accentuates premium cocktail presentation. This coupe has a flat base bowl and flared sides, perfect for cocktails or champagne and sparkling wines.

ABOUT: This female owned and operated store carries a variety of barware and accessories as well as the essential non-alcoholic necessities of any good cocktail: bitters, olives, syrups – you name it.

PRICE RANGE: $-$$

SOCIAL IMPACT: They carry products from all over, including a lot of locally made ones – great way to support your local community! Plus, some of their barware is vintage, which helps keep things green!

WHAT WE LIKE: They have a beautiful selection of products and very knowledgeable staff. I’ve often gotten friends gifts from here and it’s my first stop for ingredients if I’m looking to try out a new cocktail recipe.

3. A Tiki Bar Night Out:
The Shameful Tiki

ABOUT: “The Shameful Tiki Room Toronto is an extension of the popular Vancouver location. It is located in the trendy up & coming Parkdale neighbourhood of Toronto, Ontario. Like its counterpart there is no fanfare from the street but upon entry you escape into another world.

Similar to the Vancouver location, Shameful Toronto offers an extensive exotic drink menu accompanied by fabulous dishes from the kitchen including Crab Rangoon, a truly vintage Tiki side plate made famous by Trader Vic himself!”

PRICE RANGE: $-$$

SOCIAL IMPACT: Just a great local bar – tip your servers and bartenders well! It’s been an especially tough year for those in service industries.

WHAT WE LIKE: They make DELICIOUS drinks. Great for if you want a Hawaiian vacation and can’t afford one – just close your eyes and sip away.

4. Vintage Bar Accessories:
Walnut Hill Vintage

Variety Cocktail Shakers Vintage Liquor Bottles image 1

ABOUT: Unique vintage and antique finds via Etsy.

PRICE RANGE: $-$$

SOCIAL IMPACT: Sourcing secondhand is always encouraged, and this comes from a female-run shop in Cambridge, Ontario.

WHAT WE LIKE: These glass cocktail shakers are super fun. I’ve got a similar one I inherited from my Grandpa that sits front and centre on our old bar. Gift as is, or fill the inside with a mini bottle of booze and some garnish for a (almost) ready-made cocktail!

5. Classic Looking Spirits:
LCBO

Tanqueray No. Ten Gin + FREE martini glass from LCBO

ABOUT: There are dozens of brands, new and old, that have beautiful vintage packaging, like the deco-inspired Tanqueray No. 10 shown above. Wander the aisles of the LCBO and you’re sure to find something pretty in each section.

PRICE RANGE: $-$$$$

SOCIAL IMPACT: Well, the pretty ones are usually in glass bottles! Which is better than plastic. But aside from that, not much for this one.

WHAT WE LIKE: I’m not much of a drinker, but I love the look of a stocked bar, and there are some gin brands especially whose bottles I’m more interested in than what’s inside. When the drink is finished, you can keep the bottle on display! Or, give us a shout – we can always use classic looking ones for props in our shows!

Have something you think should be on our list?
Let us know in the comments.

Vintage-Inspired Gifts for the Writer

Vintage-inspired gifts for the writer on your holiday list!

1. Beautiful Inks:
Ferris Wheel Press

ABOUT: “Located where the rat-tat-tat of the printing press meets the nostalgia of the carnival, Ferris Wheel Press is a Canadian heritage stationary company that creates extraordinary products that will be treasured for generations. Our timeless designs and thoughtful storytelling connect the world through art, writing, beauty and craftsmanship. Our mission is to help the world fall in love with writing again.”

PRICE RANGE: $-$$

SOCIAL IMPACT: Established in Toronto, Ontario in 2010, Ferris Wheel Press continues to make their products locally, despite the recent widespread success they have found after being invited to set up a display at Harrods, perhaps the most iconic luxury department store in the world. They also have a “sponsored artists” program that consists of top artists from around the globe, who are given special access to their inks to encourage their artistic creations. As they say, “it’s important that we walk the walk when it comes to inspiring the next generation of greatness by supporting artists around the world”.

WHAT WE LIKE: Their inks are beautiful, come a range of enchanting colours, and having just bought some I can say confidently they write like a dream. I love that there is a high-quality product like this made locally!

2. High Quality Writing Paper:
Wonder Pens

<img src="https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0458/9446/7737/products/L1007-2.jpg?v=1603792444&quot; alt="<center>Life – L Brand Writing Paper B5 – Ruled
Life – L Brand Writing Paper B5 – Ruled

ABOUT: “We’re a family-run shop located in Toronto, shipping across Canada and internationally. We carry fountain pens of all sorts, inks to match, pencils, stationery and notebooks and more. We have a lot of Japanese stationery supplies, including washi tape, Traveler’s Notebook and Classiky, as well as carry a range of Japanese fountain pens from Pilot, Sailor and Platinum. In this fast-paced and high-tech world, we are letter writers and journal writers, we take notes and make to-do lists by hand, and we are so thankful to have you along for the journey.”

PRICE RANGE: $-$$$

SOCIAL IMPACT: This lovely little local shop is family owned and operated, and they carry high-quality items for a range of budgets. In addition to paper like that above, they have pens, ink, accessories – everything a writer could need.

WHAT WE LIKE: Seriously, have you ever seen a prettier pack of paper? Those of you who enjoy writing with fountain pens know that a quality paper is necessary to properly hold the ink. To not smudge, or seep through. There are several different styles and weights of paper available here, but the packaging on this one immediately caught my eye – who would’ve thought paper could make such a perfect gift?

3. Quality Office Supplies:
Squibb’s Stationary Store

ABOUT: “Since May 5th, 1927, Squibb’s has been committed to offering our customers excellent quality, service and price. We are a 100% Canadian, privately owned and operated business. Our mission daily is to keep to the original values of our founder, Arthur T. Squibb and then his son Gordon, building on what was created 90 years ago.

The original Squibb’s.

Our strengths are: product knowledge, ability to custom order and fair pricing.  We are proud to say that we are the oldest bookstore in Toronto and one of the oldest stationery stores in the GTA. 

We strongly believe that old fashioned and personal customer service is a lost art and that our clients appreciate what we can do for them.

We stock the following:

  • Books for all ages & subjects
  • Textbooks & Educational Material – our specialty!
  • All grade levels – K to 12, ESL
  • Bible & religious/spiritual books
  • Unique and fun gift items
  • Office/School/Art Supplies
  • Our own ‘Squibb’s Organic Honey’
  • and much more!

And, if we don’t have it in stock, we would be most pleased to order it in for you! This includes university and college textbooks.”

PRICE RANGE: $-$$

SOCIAL IMPACT: You’ll be supporting a true piece of Toronto history, a small, family-run, specialty shop that consistently carries high-quality items. While they mostly stock new material, they have some old stock as well, so you can snatch-up some retro pieces for your office space.

WHAT WE LIKE: We lived in Weston for a few years and this store was just down the block. Unlike many new stores that go for a vintage “feel”, Squibb’s is clearly the real deal, in part because they are packed FULL of items. Every shelf is crammed full of all types of papers and pens and sealers and books, and while it may initially feel a little overwhelming, their staff know it like the back of their hand. You could put together a little writer’s gift basket (maybe throw in some of their honey to “sweeten” things a bit) and add a card about the history of the shop – I know that’s the kind of gift I’d love to receive!

4. An Old-School Typewriter:
Williams Design

Their stock is always changing, so give them a call or drop by to see what types they have in store.

ABOUT: “We have been collecting almost everything for years, and stockpiling cool furniture, lighting, pottery, art, and architectural salvage in our warehouse and barns.

Our little store is small, hence this website to show the scope of our inventory and to act as a resource for those on the hunt for a particular piece.  Speaking of that, if there is something that you are looking for, please let us know.  We may have it or know where to find it.

In 2015, Williams Design was named seventh of the Top 15 Salvage and Reclaimed Furniture Stores in Toronto by blogTo!

Launching soon, is our own line of handmade furniture.  We have been re-inventing, re-using and re-claiming lost pieces for years.  Now, we have decided to design our own modern pieces with the intention of using only antique lumber or fallen trees from our own forest.

We are happy to rent to film or television productions.  In the past we have rented set pieces to Orphan Black, 12 Monkeys, Rookie Blue, It, See, Heroes Reborn and many more! If there is something that you would like to rent, please contact us in advance so we can ensure that the item is available for pickup for your schedule.”

PRICE RANGE: $-$$$

SOCIAL IMPACT: Locally run shop that sells quality used-goods and salvage pieces, how sustainable is that? Some people really love the clicking of old keyboards or typewriters, and they can be a green gift as they don’t require the use of any energy (except that you generate yourself – typing on these is tiring business!)

WHAT WE LIKE: These local guys really know their stuff, and they are oh-so friendly. Go in when the owner’s there and you’ll find yourself chatting for hours, but regardless of you who see you’ll be able to get some good advice in finding whatever you’re looking for. They are one of my first stops when I need vintage school or office supplies, especially old desk chairs.

5. Classic Wax Seals:
Artisaire

If you don’t want to commit to making your own, you can buy pre-made adhesive wax seals, like these.

ABOUT: Based in Victoria, BC, this online shop carries everything you need to create those gorgeous, classic wax seals you can add on your letters or documents.

PRICE RANGE: $-$$

SOCIAL IMPACT: The products are handmade in their studio in Victoria, using materials sourced from North America. Even their melting spoon is handmade!

WHAT WE LIKE: I’ve been on a real wax seal kick lately, because we got talking about our company’s official seal as we are in the process of doing our charitable registration. So I’ve spent a LOT of time looking at stuff like this the past few weeks. There aren’t a lot of Canadian made wax sealing kits, so I recommend making this your first stop. If you’re buying for a letter-writer, what could be sweeter than their own seal to mark their correspondence? How very Victorian.

Have something you think should be on the list?
Let us know in the comments.


Vintage-Inspired Gifts for the Gamer

1. Retro Arcade Experience:
Tilt Toronto

Funhouse pinball game.

ABOUT: Toronto’s largest retro arcade features over 50 games, a draft beer selection, lots of deep-fried food and ice cream! What more could you want? The cover is $5 and all games are set to free play, so you can go for dinner and drinks or just hit the arcade.

PRICE RANGE: $

SOCIAL IMPACT: A local watering hole offering some good ole’ fashioned fun, you’ll be supporting a small Toronto business.

WHAT WE LIKE: They have a huge selection of video arcade, pinball and console games, as well as some classics skee ball. You can really go and feel like a kid again, and while drinks are an option, it’s one of the few things where you can go out with friends and have some indoor fun that doesn’t require drinking. There are times when kids are allowed in, but as they serve alcohol this is mostly for grown-ups, so you don’t have to worry about a 10 year old beating you at Street Fighter.

2. 18th Century Reproduction Playing Cards:
Toronto History Museums Shop

A reproduction of a deck from c.1750.

ABOUT: “Toronto History Museums are a collection of 10 historic sites owned and operated by the City of Toronto with the mission to collect, preserve, research, interpret, exhibit, and enhance the understanding of Toronto’s diverse stories through engaging and exciting experiences.

Toronto’s many pasts, presents and futures meet at our museums. The collection of sites include: former homes of key historic figures, a British Fort, a City Hall Council Chamber, a Tavern and Inn and a Brewery and Papermill.

Toronto History Museums Shop carries a wide range of products including Indigenous crafts, artisan jewellery, books, games, local and handmade goods as well as unique items inspired by the City’s artifact collection and historic sites such as stationery, cookbooks and reproductions. Whether you’re looking for accessories, home décor, or educational items, you’ll find what you’re looking for here!”

PRICE RANGE: $

SOCIAL IMPACT: Every purchase you make supports the operation of the City’s historic sites as well as the local authors, artists and artisans whose products we sell.

WHAT WE LIKE: I just discovered this shop exists and I love it. In addition to reproduction items they have vintage-inspired toys and decor, apparel, and it all goes to help support our local museums. These could make a great stocking stuffer, or you could go all-out and have an old-school poker night! You’re only limited by your imagination.

3. A Day or Night at a Board Game Cafe:
Snakes & Lattes

ABOUT: There’s a few board game cafes in the city, but I’m pretty sure Snakes & Lattes is the biggest. They have a HUGE selection of games, all styles, for as few as 2 players, and you can go in and play to your hearts content. Bring your friend to play some classics or try out something new – you can purchase some of the newer ones there as well. Check out their nostalgia list for their retro games.

PRICE RANGE: $-$$

SOCIAL IMPACT: Aside from being a local business, I think S&L can be seen as a sustainable alternative to buying games. How many of us have a stack of board games at home that barely ever get played? Not only are they pricey, but buying more things that will one day likely end up in the dump isn’t good for anyone. Places like S&L give you the chance to not only try before you buy, but to choose not to buy at all, giving you the option to play as few or many times as you want, without having to add to the heap in your closet.

WHAT WE LIKE: I’m not a big game fan, but Conor is, so places like this are great. He can try all the new ones that have caught his eye and I can dissuade him from buying them – win/win! For people that aren’t major Grinches, it’s a great activity to do with some friends, something low-key and fun that doesn’t require drinking.

4. Retro Console Games:
Retro Game Bros

ABOUT: “This family friendly video game store is run by 2 local Bros, Evan & Matt ! Together they buy, sell, & trade everything retro to next gen! Come check out Toronto’s largest stock of retro video games, accessories, consoles, & more!”

PRICE RANGE: $-$$$

SOCIAL IMPACT: Support a local family-run business and keep things green by buying secondhand!

WHAT WE LIKE: They have a super wide-range of products and really know their stuff. Great if you’re trying to buy a gift but aren’t much of a gamer yourself – they can help you pick out the right thing.

5. Board Gamer Events:
The Guild House

ABOUT: They offer various types of strategy board games for sale and rent, as well as a selection of 3D printed accessories, and they host events like miniature painting 101!

PRICE RANGE: $-$$

SOCIAL IMPACT: I couldn’t find much on the owners of the store, but it seems like a good place for likeminded people to meet, and building community ties is important.

WHAT WE LIKE: Ok, I’ll admit, I know virtually nothing about these sort of games, but what caught my eye was the workshop/event on painting the miniatures used in tabletop role playing games: I love miniatures, so that’s something I’d go to. Take a pal to an event, or rent a game for a night at home. There’s lots of gift options and something for every budget.

Have something you think should be on our list?
Let us know in the comments.

Vintage-Inspired Gifts for the Homemaker

Vintage-inspired gifts for the homemaker on your list!

1. A Mini History Lesson:
Radical Dishtowels

ABOUT: “As a family, we’ve always been interested in the amazing stories of history’s radical thinkers and campaigners, and how much hope these stories can inspire relative to the politics of today. We didn’t have much business experience. But we realized that there must be other people with progressive values out there who wanted to give gifts that actually mean something, make you think, and give you hope. We all loved the idea that you might come across a design in someone’s kitchen, and that it would spark a conversation about an idea or philosophy. As a teacher, I imagined that children might see a design and ask, “Who was she?” Together we made the decision to start our very own Radical Tea Towel Company. We do all the designs ourselves, and get them manufactured in the UK with ethical partners.” Read the full story, here.

PRICE RANGE: $

SOCIAL IMPACT: Made ethically in the UK, the main impact is in the message on the towel. What a fun way to strike up a conversation about something important, even controversial.

WHAT WE LIKE: This is such a unique idea. I’ve seen some cool tea towels, but never anything like this. They cost a bit more than the average tea towel, but are still inexpensive enough I could justify buying it if I had a place to have it visibly hanging in my kitchen.

2. Placemats and Doormats Inspired by Vintage Tiles:
Hidraulik

Tusset Floor Mat.

ABOUT: “The first hydraulic tiles were produced in Barcelona in the mid nineteenth century.   The creativity and durability of these attractive yet functional handmade floors caught on quickly and their use spread across Europe and beyond.”

The brand is carried by Locus Vie, a distribution company for home decor products in North America.  They focus on small European design companies that are looking to make an entrance into the North American market, and you can find local retailers via their site.

PRICE RANGE: $$-$$$

SOCIAL IMPACT: The site says that they are “phthalate-free and recyclable, for an eco-friendly conscience”. While made in Spain, there are many local shops, usually small ones, that carry some of these designs.

WHAT WE LIKE: They have a vintage vibe but are super practical. They make great door mats or a runner for a high-traffic hallway, they are easy to clean and can cover up ugly rental flooring. They are a bit on the pricey side for the larger ones (I saved up and watched for sales for years before I finally got one), but a set of the placemats could make a lovely gift, and they work well inside or out!

3. Textiles Based on Traditional Indigenous Designs
Indigo Arrows

Copper and Black Moons Lumbar Pillow
This Copper and Black Moons Lumbar Pillow is currently sold out, but it’s my favourite and I had to share.

ABOUT: “For thousands of years, Indigenous peoples in Manitoba, including my Anishinaabe ancestors, created beautiful patterns to adorn their pottery collections and host of bone tools. Most of the surviving pieces are held by museums now, but I think the world needs more than exhibition- we need these patterns in our homes provoking thought; we need them bridging gaps; and, we need them inspiring our loved ones. The Indigo Arrows line picks up where my ancestors left off.

Destiny Seymour is an Anishinaabe interior designer based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She graduated with her master’s degree in Interior Design from the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Manitoba. She worked at local architecture firm in Winnipeg for over 10 years as their interior designer before starting her own design business in 2016.

Destiny started designing artisan textiles for interiors that respectfully reflects local Manitoban Indigenous peoples and their history after struggling to find materials that she could incorporate into design projects. Her company, Indigo Arrows, now offers a range of table linens, pillows, and blankets that showcase patterns from local Indigenous pottery and bone tools that date from 400 to over 3000 years old. These patterns are picking up where her ancestors left off.

Destiny formed Woven Collaborative in 2018, an Indigenous led design studio with fellow designer Mamie Griffith. Their design practice takes a critical look at the representation of Indigenous cultures within spaces. Their design mission is to respectfully reflect local Indigenous cultures & identity within architectural forms, interior spaces, furniture, and textiles. Their design process acknowledges community engagement, inclusiveness, and collaboration when creating new works.”

PRICE RANGE: $-$$

SOCIAL IMPACT: These beautiful linens are handmade, individually hand-printed in Winnipeg, Manitoba on 100% linen using non-toxic ink. This Indigenous-run company is making something that is simultaneously modern and traditional: these designs look like something you’d find in a magazine today while many of them are actually thousands of years old. Destiny names them in her ancestral language, Anishinaabemowin, and the pieces have a little description of what the word means and its significance, so it’s a nice little learning moment as well.

WHAT WE LIKE: If I had seen these without the context I would have thought they were totally modern, but when I read the history I knew they were perfect for this post: vintage-inspired doesn’t have to mean “old looking”, and it doesn’t have to be a perfect reproduction of something either. It also made me realize that a lot of the modern “boho” things you see in chain stores have (whether intentionally or not) designs that were used historically in Indigenous art, and so why not support the maker who shares that history? Promote the use and creation of something that comes from generations of artisans rather than buy a knock-off mass produced in China? And honestly, while some fellow artists may not have the money for a $100 decorative pillow, I think we all know that given the work that goes into it, that’s a steal. A lot of these are less expensive than things you’d find at Crate & Barrel or West Elm, and you can shop guilt-free knowing you’re supporting the artist who made them, not some faceless corporation.

4. Retro Canadian Pillows:
Persnickety Designs

Each pillow features a bright, bold design on each side: it’s like 2 pillows in one!

ABOUT: Peggy McEwan is a Toronto-based artist with a background in classic animation. These pillows are what she calls “comfortable art”, and they come in a range of retro designs – Toronto landmarks, old movie stars, vintage maps – there’s something for everyone.

PRICE RANGE: $-$$

SOCIAL IMPACT: You’ll be supporting a local female artist!

WHAT WE LIKE: I’ve been eyeing several of these for years, but found they were usually a little out of my price range. However, that was when I came across them in stores – I just realized you can buy from her site at about half of what I’d always seen them for before, and I may have to redo all my cushions! I love pop art but you don’t find a lot of it locally made, so I’m happy to add these to my already massive pillow collection.

5. True Vintage Serving-ware
Ethel 20th Century Living

This mid century piece is a great way to hint, “invite me over more!”

ABOUT: “Ethel – 20th Century Living is a vintage furniture, lighting and accessories store in the East Danforth neighbourhood in Toronto.

After helping to establish “Retro Row” in Leslieville 20 years ago, Ethel was starting to show her age. After the store changed ownersip in October 2009, it conducted business in the original location for 3 more years, and in May 2012, Ethel moved to Corktown. In the fall of 2016, we decided to close our bricks and mortar location at 327 Queen St. East, and now, two years later, we have a new home at 1781 Danforth Ave.

Owner Shauntelle LeBlanc has re-established Ethel’s brand as a store for outstanding vintage modern furniture, lighting & accessories. The store’s focus is on affordable vintage because you should enjoy your furniture, feel free to put your feet up on it and certainly not feel like you’re living in a museum (or magazine spread…unless that’s your thing, and in that case, Ethel is cool with that too).

We’re a proud Canadian indie boutique, and along with classic American & Scandinavian design, you’ll also find Canadian Mid-century pieces here. Sure, we all love Eames, Nelson & Knoll, but have you heard of Russell Spanner, Lotte Lamps or Clairtone? 

Vintage is nearly always one of a kind so our merchandise is constantly changing. You might find a complete Brady Bunch kitchen in here, or maybe a film noir detective movie set, complete with tanker desks & typewriters. Ethel has a little bit everything, from gondola sofas and teak dining sets to oddball pieces like 80s Russian propaganda posters and vintage tiki mugs.

Along with 20th century furniture, lighting and accessories, we also carry new products by RetroVerte, Umlaut Brooklyn, and more.”

PRICE RANGE: $-$$$

SOCIAL IMPACT: A local, female-run boutique selling vintage – sustainable in many ways.

WHAT WE LIKE: There are MANY vintage shops in the city (though sadly, not as many as there once were) and I have my favourites for various things. Ethel’s is where I go for mid century. You can rely on finding a lamp, vase, serving piece etc. from the 50s-60s there, likely in whatever colour you’re looking for. She often has a selection of small retro furniture as well, like card tables and chairs.

Have something you think should be on our list?
Let us know in the comments.