The Birds Are Here!

Thank you to everyone who made our opening night a success – you can see The Birds onstage at Hart House Theatre from now until December 10, 2022. Visit Hart House Theatre or Bygone Theatre for tickets and more information.

Anna Douglas as Daphne Daniels and Alex Clay as her brother David Harper. Photo by Kiana Josette.
“It isn’t for me, David, it’s for you!”. Anna Douglas as Daphne Daniels and Alex Clay as David Harper.
Oliver Georgiou as Mitch Brenner.
Anna Douglas as Daphne Daniels.
Kiera Publicover as Annie Hawthorne and Oliver Georgiou as Mitch Brenner.
Chad Allen as Hank and Anna Douglas as Daphne Daniels.


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.


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.


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.”


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!”


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 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.


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!”


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.


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!”


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!


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.


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:

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.


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.”


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.


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.”


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.

Vintage-Inspired Gifts for the Music Lover

Vintage-inspired gifts for the music lover on your list!

1. Vintage Instrument:
Paul’s Boutique

If your budget allows, something like this 60s MIJ Pyramid Electric is sure to be a showstopper ($399).

ABOUT: “Paul’s Boutique buys, sells, trades, rents and consigns the finest in vintage musical instruments, amps, effects and recording equipment.”

Run by Paul Babiak, he writes: “After spending seven years in San Francisco and Los Angeles playing in bands and selling vintage guitars, I came back to Toronto in 2000 to open my own shop. I try to specialize in unique and funky gear but occasionally I’ll run across some nice classics!”


SOCIAL IMPACT: We always support buying vintage and local – sustainable in many ways.

WHAT WE LIKE: I don’t know a lot about instruments, but the stuff Paul stocks looks super cool. People like Paul who specialize really know their stuff, and I feel like even those of us who don’t really know what we’re looking for could find what we want with his help.

2. Vintage Records:
She Said Boom

ABOUT: “We sell new and used vinyl records and CDs, focusing on Alternative, Electronica, Jazz, Reggae, Roots, Afrobeat and other great music. Book lovers will adore our used book selection, which specializes in Literature, Philosophy, Art, History, Political Science, Graphic Novels, Cookbooks, Kids’ books and more. Explore a new world of wonderful music, literature and culture. New arrivals every day!”

PRICE: $-$$

SOCIAL IMPACT: This is one of those Toronto staples, She Said Boom has been around forever because they stock quality stuff. Once again, buying local and buying vintage keeps our community strong and saves stuff from landfills!

WHAT WE LIKE: They have a HUGE assortment of stuff, and last time I was in there the person I talked to was very aware of their stock. They regularly get in new products so you can go weekly and browse away. For a gift, if you don’t know what they like or want to try something different, pick up a few albums based solely on the cover – they can hear some new tunes & if they don’t like them, at least they’ve got some artwork for their walls!

3. Acoustic Speaker:
ReAcoustic and Handmade Speakers Hub

Acoustic Speaker iPhone Speaker Phonograph Speaker Wireless image 1
There’s no doubt ReAcoustic makes the most beautiful versions, but their prices put them out of reach for a lot of us. Like this walnut base and early 1900s gramophone horn priced at $863.15 CAD.

ABOUT: These simple speakers work in the same was as a megaphone, amplifying the sound that goes in through the small end and comes out the large. Your phone is placed into a base so that the speaker on the bottom sends its sound through the box and through the horn. The first place I saw make these was ReAcoustic, and theirs are beautiful, but pricey. If you check on Etsy you’ll find some cheaper versions that work in the same way, but use less decorative horns.


SOCIAL IMPACT: Reusing vintage materials, often scrap pieces of wood, and they don’t require any power – very green!

WHAT WE LIKE: They are so fun. I love the look of old gramophones but admittedly they aren’t very practical. Honestly, for years I saw the old horns come up at auction and thought, gee, I need to think of something to make with one of those, so I was pumped when I first saw these. Good for a party if you throw on someone’s playlist, and it looks a lot nicer on a shelf than most iphone docks.

4. Old School Swing or Jazz Night:
The Toronto Vintage Society

Toronto Vintage Society
THE source for vintage Toronto.

ABOUT: “A home for Toronto’s (GTA) events, photos, shops and shows that celebrate the vintage/retro lifestyle. We want to inspire you to feed this community and get out and meet others who love all things vintage/retro!”


SOCIAL IMPACT: Varies depending on event.

WHAT WE LIKE: Since events are always changing I’m just linking to the best place to hear about all vintage music events in the city – the Toronto Vintage Society. They post about concerts, swing dance nights, all sorts of things that would make a lovely gift or night out. You can support local artists and meet like-minded people.

5. A Walk Through Toronto’s Music History:
Friar’s Music Museum

ABOUT: “Toronto’s celebrated music history is now on permanent display in the free Friar’s Music Museum™, with curation rotated twice a year!”

PRICE RANGE: Free! Maybe grab a drink before or after?

SOCIAL IMPACT: This museum is helping preserve a small but important part of our art history. Admission is free but I’m sure donations are welcomed!

WHAT WE LIKE: I love local history and really specialized exhibits. Toronto is often referred to in how it compares to other bigger cities, like NYC or Chicago, but we really do have a culture all our own and I think it’s important we all know that.

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

Vintage Inspired Gifts for the Foodie

Vintage-inspired gifts for the foodie in your life!

1. Vintage Sodas & Sweets:
Nostalgia & Co.

Some of the retro sodas available at Nostalgia and Co. His stock varies, so call ahead if you’re looking for something specific.

ABOUT: This Cambridge, Ontario shop is packed full of reproduction and retro inspired products. From 1950s diner booths to Elvis clocks, gag gifts, t-shirts – you name it. But what brings me out there every time I’m headed to KW is the wide selection of vintage sodas and candies. It’s near impossible to find this stuff in Canada, and the shipping and duties make bringing it in from the US costly, but Nostalgia & Co. has classics like Moxie, Frostie, Brownie and more right there in their cooler. Plus, they’ve got a wide selection of vintage candies. So, shopping for someone with a sweet tooth? Why not make a gift basket? Or fill that stocking up with something sweet?

PRICE RANGE: $ (for drinks and snacks) $-$$$ (other items)

SOCIAL IMPACT: This place has been around a long time, which is difficult to do when you sell novelties like this. I got my first ever record player from them for my 16th birthday (before vinyl became popular again and it was easy to find a new turntable, back then it was the only place we could find one that didn’t cost $500+), and I visit there whenever I’m in the area. They really know their product, and I’m always in favour of supporting local specialty stores.

WHAT WE LIKE: That they have such a wide range of “new vintage”. Being able to try a pop that was popular when my grandparents were the age I am now is something I really enjoy, and there’s no where else you can get this variety without going to the US.

2. Recipes from First Peoples and Settlers:
Out of Old Ontario Kitchens

49th Shelf is a website for Canadian literature that links to places to buy the work, including small, local shops.

ABOUT: “Out of Old Ontario Kitchens is a window into the past, exploring the stories of the First Peoples and settlers. It pays homage to all those who trapped and fished and hunted; to those who cleared the land and planted crops; and most importantly to all those women — our mothers and aunts, our grandmothers and great-grandmothers and great-great grandmothers — who got up and lit the fire; who toiled and stirred and cooked and baked and who kept families alive through long hard winters, through plagues and depressions, famines and wars. Work every bit as important as agriculture, commerce, mining, politics, and the development of infrastructure.

With over a hundred historically sourced recipes as well as scores of old photographs, early artworks, botanical prints, and illustrations, Out of Old Ontario Kitchens is both a visual and virtual feast. If you want to know what life was really like in early Ontario, come to the table with us. Food stories are, after all, the real stories of our lives.” Get a copy for a special someone and encourage them to add to their own list of family recipes.


SOCIAL IMPACT: Lindy Mechefske is a Kingston-based writer and food columnist for Canada’s oldest newspaper, the Kingston-Whig Standard. You can support a female Canadian author, learn more about our history (from a range of backgrounds), and if you find a local shop using 49th Shelf, support a local business as well!

WHAT WE LIKE: Admittedly, I haven’t read this yet, but the reviews look great and I like the concept – I’ll update after we get a copy!

3. A 50s Diner Experience:

Fran's menu from 1950
A 1940s menu from their early days.

ABOUT: “It all began in 1918 when Francis Deck and his brother opened Deco refreshments in Buffalo New York. Deco quickly grew to more than 50 locations when Francis decided it was time to expand. In 1940, Francis “Fran” Deck, along with his wife Ellen Jane move to Toronto and open a modest 10-seat diner at Yonge and St. Clair.” – check out their history page for the full story. A date to Fran’s is fun and affordable, and great to pair with something like an old movie at the Revue.


SOCIAL IMPACT: While Fran’s now has several locations, each one still really feels like a ‘mom & pop shoppe’. They serve big portions for low prices which I know is especially appreciated by the college and university students that frequent the diner all times of the day and night. Still family owned and operated, they have a long history in the city that I think was well-earned, and that we should help continue.

WHAT WE LIKE: Their “Big Breakfast” and their milkshakes. The fact that you can easily split a meal and still have plenty of food. The big, comfy booths and the fact that you can get a milkshake at 2am.

4. A Cute Retro Apron:
Black Market Vintage

ABOUT: Does your foodie like to cook? Keep them clean with a fun vintage apron. The one here is from Black Market but you can find them at most vintage shops (check Kensington Market or along Queen St.) as well as on Etsy. There’s tons of styles and colours to choose from so with a little looking you’re sure to find something that suits your someone.

PRICE: $-? (there is a huge range of prices when it comes to vintage, and of course period, style, quality and a whole host of other things affect pricing. IMHO? Don’t spend more than $40 on an apron, and that’s for one that is mint and stylish. Everyone used to have them, they aren’t hard to find, and if I were looking for myself I’d be checking the $20-30 range).

SOCIAL IMPACT: Reusing old textiles is always important, and aprons are great because they can be used until they are literally falling apart (at which point they make great rags!). Buy from a local vintage shop, ideally one you can walk or bus to, and you’ve got a green gift.

WHAT WE LIKE: Housewives of the 50s and 60s didn’t just wear aprons to keep clean, they had fancy lace ones for when guests arrived. Yes, we can analyze the sexist undertones of that, but personally, putting on a cute apron makes me more likely to clean, and anything that does that is good in my books. Plus, aprons are good for people young and old, any gender – easy gift for someone you know likes to cook, but that you know nothing else about. Hello secret Santa!

5. A Retro Inspired Slowcooker:

Retro Series Range Slow Cooker SF17021BN, BLUE, hi-res image number NaN
Swan makes a bunch of retro looking appliance, similar to SMEG, but MUCH cheaper.

ABOUT: Swan makes high-end cookware at affordable prices in a range of retro colours and styles. The benefit of a crockpot is you can dump in the ingredients in the morning and come home to a hot cooked meal.

PRICE: $-$$

SOCIAL IMPACT: Not much to new appliances or shopping at the Bay, but if a crockpot helps you eat out less it’s good for you, the environment, and your pocket book.

WHAT WE LIKE: It’s cute and practical. Some appliances I would happily buy used, but old crockpots and toasters I would avoid. Today’s power-cords are safer and the appliances use less energy.

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

Vintage-Inspired Gifts for the Top 12 Types of People on Your Holiday List

How to find vintage inspired gifts for everyone on your holiday list.

Sometimes people think of vintage lovers as a group unto themselves, but really we come in all sorts! This holiday season, check our lists for some vintage-inspired gifts for every sort you can think of, from sports fans to fashionistas, we can help you inject a bit of that retro style into your gift giving.

  1. The Book Lover
  2. The Film Buff
  3. The Foodie
  4. The Sports Fan
  5. The Fashion Lover
  6. The Makeup Lover
  7. The Music Lover
  8. The Homemaker
  9. The Gamer
  10. The Writer
  11. The Drink Connoisseur
  12. The Kid At Heart

These will be posted over the next week or so – follow us on Instagram and watch our stories to see when the next one is released!

Got a type that’s hard to shop for? Want some retro inspiration?
Let us know in the comments.