Our First Ever Charitable Campaign

Bygone Theatre is now a registered charity, and our first ever campaign is promising 100% of funds raised directly to artists.

Bygone Theatre’s last show was in 2019. Throughout the pandemic, we pressed pause on producing live theatre so that we could develop our company and strengthen our values, preparing to come back bigger and better than ever.

We developed a diversity & accessibility mandate to promote equity. We committed to the United Nations SDG Action Plan to ensure we are contributing to a sustainable world. And we became a registered charity to ensure that we had the structures in place to grow and support our community.

Now, as we prepare for our next season, we are looking for your help to create a sustainable Fund that will allow us to guarantee our artists fair wages all season long.

Over the past ten years, we have created outstanding theatre working with phenomenal actors who joined our productions in a profit-share format. We were voted Toronto’s Best Live Theatre (Toronto Star Readers’ Choice, 2021), were runner-up for NOW Magazine’s Best Small Theatre (2021), and our last production, The Rear Window, was nominated for 10 Broadway World Toronto awards, and won 4: we have done a lot with a little. This fund will allow us to hire our actors at Equity DOT rates – whether they are union members or not.

We are a small company – we have no operational funding and no salaries, the majority of our admin and production work is done by our Artistic Executive Director and Chair; we have learned over 10 years how to generate marketing, press, and create fantastic scenic design for cents on the dollar. But now it’s time to move into the next chapter, and we want to put artists first.

$25,000 will allow us to commit to industry standard rates all season – we will commit to reinvesting the profits of every show to top up this fund and provide fair wages for every show after.

In this way, you will help not just Artists today, but those we engage with on future productions.

Donations can be made directly through our Canada Helps page.

Thank you for your time and support.

  • The Bygone Theatre Team

Bygone Theatre’s Youth Production Assistant Program 

Now looking for high school students to join our Youth Production Assistant (YPA) program!

Bygone Theatre is excited to announce our newly expanded Youth Production Assistant (YPA) program. Since 2012, we have welcomed high school students to volunteer on productions, giving them the chance to gain hands-on experience while they earn their mandatory 40 volunteer hours. This year, thanks to sponsorship by Jane Aster Roe (an artist and former YPA), we have expanded this program into a fully-fledged training position which includes assessments, a certificate of completion, and a $400 honourarium to help offset travel costs or time taken away from other jobs or commitments. It is our hope that this training program will give students the chance to see what a career in the arts entails before they make the commitment of attending a post-secondary program or jumping into the workforce. We offer a supportive, encouraging environment which highlights the students interests and needs to create a position that is truly custom-tailored to them. 

This season we will be selecting 2 students for our YPA program. Those who are not selected will still have the ability to volunteer on the production if they so choose. 

Past participants have done things like: 

  • Design and build a key prop piece for a show 
  • Build and paint scenic flats 
  • Learn how to run the tech booth and call the show 
  • Learn how to create props and help track them through a show 
  • Attend rehearsals and shadow the director 
  • Create social media content 
  • Work backstage as an assistant stage manager 
  • Run the concessions or assist with front of house duties 
  • Learn how to create a stage manager’s prompt book 
  • Learn how to build a budget in excel, and how to track finances 

If there’s something you’re interested in that isn’t on that list, let us know! 

Requirements: 

  • Must be enrolled in high school in Ontario (preferably the GTA) 
  • Must be able to attend some rehearsals or events in Toronto (note: depending on the student’s interests, a large portion of this may be able to be completed remotely, however ability to attend some in-person sessions is required) 
  • Must be triple vaccinated against COVID-19 (this is a requirement for all of our cast and crew this season) 
  • Must be passionate about theatre and be considering pursuing a career in the arts  
  • Enthusiastic and willing and learn! 

Assets: 

  • Strong English language skills 
  • Experience in theatre production 
  • Experience using social media for marketing and promotion 
  • Strong organizational skills 
  • Creativity  

In addition to being interested in the typical theatre things (acting, directing, set design etc.) those with the following interests may find this position rewarding: 

  • Visual arts 
  • Fashion 
  • Hair and Makeup 
  • Writing 
  • Business or Management 
  • Mathematics 
  • Construction 
  • Graphic Design 
  • Social Media 
  • Video Production 
  • Crafts 
  • Teaching 

This position will be highly tailored towards the participants interests and skills, so applicants should be honest in their cover letter about what they can bring to the position and what they hope to learn – in-experience is not a drawback! The purpose of this program is to give students hands-on training in a supportive environment and to help them prepare for further training or a potential career in the arts. Students will be taught a wide range of things like how to create a prompt book, call a show, sell and market a show, direction techniques and more, but their own interests and abilities will be what focus the majority of their participation.  A series of short pass/fail assessments will be given to ensure the student has gained or advanced their skills, and they will receive a certificate of completion at the end of the program. 

Diversity and Accessibility 

Bygone Theatre encourages students of all backgrounds, skills and experience to apply: the number one thing we are looking for is someone with an interest they want to pursue. Bygone is run by English-speaking artists, and so the ability to communicate in English is required, however, ESL students are encouraged to apply as we prioritize finding tasks that benefit all involved and many roles will not rely heavily on English language skills. Bygone Theatre prioritizes the selection of marginalized artists, and encourages those who identify as BIPOC, LGBTQ2S+ and Mad/Disabled to apply: feel free to share in your cover letter any ways in which you identify, though this is completely optional. To learn more about our commitments to diversity and accessibility, visit our website, bygonetheatre.com/diversity-accessibility. If you will require us to provide any assistive devices for your participation, please let us know in your application.   

We understand that marginalized people sometimes feel as though systemic barriers, or those specific to their identity will prevent them from participating in programs such as these. We highly encourage all those who have an interest to apply, and if there is a concern you have that you worry may disqualify you, please let us know. We are very open to adapting and finding solutions to ensure participation. 

How To Apply: 

Send a 1-page cover letter, resume, and the contact information for 1-2 references to emily@bygonetheatre.com. Your cover letter should focus on what you hope to gain from the program and what areas you are most interested in. Your resume can highlight experience and skills – don’t worry if it’s not robust, listing things like volunteer positions, personality traits (eg. Positive, focused) and any programs you know how to use (from Excel to TikTok!) is all helpful. References should be able to comment on your general attitude and commitment towards projects – teachers, coaches or bosses are appropriate, parents or friends are not. Please be sure to give a brief explanation as to what the relationship is and provide an email and phone number. 

Slots for the YPA are limited due to our limited funding, however volunteer positions are always available. Those who are not selected for the YPA may still choose to volunteer for their mandatory 40 volunteer hours required to graduate. 

DEADLINE IS FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 16, 2022 at 5:00PM. 

Now Accepting Audition Submissions for The Birds

Written and Directed by Emily Dix. Inspired by the Daphne DuMaurier short story and Alfred Hitchcock film of the same name.

SHOW DATES:

November 25 – December 11 (minimum of 12 performances)

FEE STRUCTURE:

All artists will be given a flat $400 honourarium and will be engaged in a profit-share. If union members are cast the show will be produced under the Equity Collective Agreement.

HOW TO APPLY:

Submit resume and headshot to auditions(at)bygonetheatre.com with the subject “The Birds – Auditions”. Those selected will be asked to submit a self-tape: callbacks will take place in-person at a date and time TBA. All cast and crew must be triple vaccinated against COVID-19 – proof of vaccination will be required along with self-tape submission.

SYNOPSIS:

THE BIRDS is a Cold-War Era thriller that examines what happens when the line between truth and paranoia becomes dangerously blurred. New York Socialite Daphne Daniels is headed to an old family cottage with her brother and husband for a weekend of R&R, but when her husband is unexpectedly delayed and their neighbours turn out to be Daphne’s old flame and his new girl, tensions run high. Things take a bizarre turn when reports of violent bird attacks start flooding the airwaves and the sudden crisis brings out everyone’s deepest fears and darkest convictions.

CHARACTERS:

Daphne: Female, 25-30
A young, recently married NYC socialite who is trying to bring some excitement to her marriage, reconnect with her brother, and stop the boredom of married life from pushing her to do something reckless as she would have in her younger days. Opinionated and outspoken at times, she finds herself following the pack if it seems like it will mean positive attention from those she admires.

​David: Male, 25-35
Daphne’s brother. Sensitive, anxious, and unsure of his sexuality, he has difficulty fitting in. Recently spent some time in the hospital after a botched suicide attempt, which his family brushes off as more of a retreat stay than necessary medical treatment. Attempting to reconnect with his sister who he has not been close to in many years. Feels like he’s on a tipping point.

​Mitch: Male, 30-35
Daphne’s old flame, the picture perfect version of mid century masculinity. His good looks and charm just barely cover his misogyny. Likes to be the hero, but prioritizes his own interests.

​Annie: Female, 20-25
Mitch’s new girlfriend, young and seemingly naive, eager to please and often submissive. The prototypical “girl next door”, she is underestimated by those who first meet her, but is more observant and clever than people give her credit for.

​Hank: Male, 35-50
A rough-and-tumble older man who lives alone in a small cottage and works as caretaker for those who use the houses as summer homes. Initially seems like a “good ole’ boy”, but the years spent living alone make him stubborn and set in his ways in a sometimes disturbing fashion. Old fashioned, well-meaning, but not to be messed with.

Diversity & Accessibility Mandates:

As per our mandates, 50% of all audition slots will be reserved for those who self-identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, Person of Colour). Please see our mandate in full on our website: https://www.bygonetheatre.com/diversity-accessibility

Crash Course in Indie Theatre & Fringe Festival Producing

Join us for another free workshop, a crash-course in indie theatre & Fringe Festival producing!

Artistic Executive Director Emily Dix & Bygone Chair Conor Fitzgerald run this condensed version of their popular Producing 101 workshop, with a special focus on producing for Fringe shows.

Learn about scheduling, creating budgets, fundraising, marketing, and more in this interactive workshop that invites participants to come with their own show-specific questions.

Open to all, aimed towards artists working in the Greater Toronto Area.

Participation is free, but donations towards our 2022/23 season would be appreciated.

ACCESSIBILITY:

The workshop is being delivered in English with visual aids and automatically generated captions. If you require specific accommodation, please email us in advance (info@bygonetheatre.com) and we will do our best to provide you the full experience.

REQUIREMENTS:

Access to a computer with internet connection. Participants are encouraged to turn on their cameras to ask questions or make comments, but this is not required. Questions may be submitted via text as well.

No experience necessary, but will be most beneficial to those with at least a cursory knowledge of Toronto and the indie theatre community.

Please register here if you plan to attend.

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.

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.