Precious Gifts

After my sad commentary on shopping a couple of weeks ago, I decided I needed to redeem myself. So I did some research for you, dear readers. Since many of you live in Toronto, I checked out some websites for you on unique holiday gifts that celebrate our great city. For sure you are going to want some of these!

First, there are always tickets to the Raptors or the Leafs, if you are a millionaire. These tickets are precious even when the teams are losing, for heaven’s sakes! If that’s a bit beyond the budget, you can go for a traditional snow globe featuring the CN tower. How wonderful if we could capture all the Toronto snow this year and put it inside a globe!

Of course there are Toronto-themed clothes. As I mentioned in a recent post, the TTC online store is full of wearable goodies, including hats and socks with little streetcars on them, for the “boys” of all ages on your list. The most useful piece of apparel I found was a tee-shirt with a list of tourist attractions, (including Chinatown, the Path, Casa Loma, and …the Gardner expressway. Really?). This is so handy when you are out wandering around and get bored. Just read your shirt and figure out where to go next.

From the AGO you can purchase Phil; a bottle meant to be filled up with good safe drinking water at Toronto’s outdoor drinking fountains; as in Phil the bottle – get it? From Indigo you can purchase candles that smell like Toronto neighbourhoods. For example, a Rosedale candle smells like roses, duh. High Park smells like cherry blossoms. The Beaches candle smells a little fishy to me, but maybe that’s just my imagination. And there’s actually a Gastown candle, from a well-known Vancouver neighbourhood, but I don’t know if it comes with a gas mask.

My very favourite Toronto gift is a mug: a mug in the shape of a city garbage bin, all grey and square. And out of the top pops, you guessed it, a raccoon! He is really quite adorable, for only $19.

But the most precious gifts are always time, time spent together with family and friends. Last Christmas we were denied this; forced to sneak around, going on walks in parks, 2 meters apart. We searched frantically for parks with open washrooms, and picnic tables where we could sit together for a few precious minutes. Or we shared the garage with the kayak and the bikes and a few family members bundled up in warm coats. But all that seems to be behind us this year, at least so far.

So this year, let’s enjoy our freedom while we can. Get out there and do things together! Take the family on the GO train to Niagara Falls. There’s a special package that includes the train both ways and the Hop on-hop off buses that travel along the Niagara parkway. Or visit one of the many drive-through and walk-through light shows that have popped up this year. There is a walk-through in Vaughan called Nights of Lights, close to Pioneer Village. In downtown Toronto Casa Loma is all decked out in festive lights day and night.

As for Peter and me, we are taking our entire family to visit Little Canada. I wrote about this in a blog post in October; a place in Dundas Square where Canada is represented in miniature. Even us. Yes, Peter and I have been “little-ized”! You can see us in Ottawa, at the Chateau Laurier Hotel, dancing near the piano. Come and visit us over the holidays.


Little Sue and Little Peter

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