Toronto represent!
January 22, 2014 7:49 AM   Subscribe

I need to put together a small gift that represents my home region: Toronto, Canada. Help me come up with ideas.

The set up:
Several people from all over North America are meeting in person for the first time on a cruise and will exchange gifts representing their home town/state. I think I will be the only Canadian, so my gift can include national specialties as well.

$25 spending limit

Thoughts so far:
Tim Hortons coffee
Coffee Crisp, Smarties, Sweet Marie chocolate bars
Ketchup chips
Maple syrup or other maple products
Something related to hockey, specifically the Toronto Maple Leafs (a toque would be perfect, but some of these people live in hot climates)
CN Tower magnet?

A Rob Ford bobblehead doll would be funny, but those are hard to find and well over the $25 limit. Any other ideas? Out of the box suggestions are welcome!

This previous question helped me with the above ideas but I'm having trouble with Toronto- or even Ontario-specific ideas.
posted by yawper to Travel & Transportation around Toronto, ON (24 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Speaking as someone from near Proper Maple Syrup Country but still very much outside of it: It is absolutely magical and utterly precious. It's hard to get anything real even here, never mind elsewhere on the continent. Some cousins gave out holiday gifts of maple syrup from Up North and they were received like vials of pure gold.
posted by Tomorrowful at 8:02 AM on January 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

Maybe include some educational info as well as to WHY you would pick something like maple syrup? Sweet stuff is good, feeling at home hiking through the woods and seeing rubber tubing running from tree to tree is context. IMO, the best place in the city to actually buy syrup is from the Brickworks farmers' market or the guy in front of the St Lawrence North Market building on Saturdays mornings.

Maybe a Leafs ball cap instead of a toque? Do you know in advance the M&D of warm weather and cold weather folks? has some subway station pins. I know you can also get them at the Brickworks among other places. You can still get "Bike Riding Pinko" pins, but you may need to explain the reference. And explain Don Cherry.
posted by TORunner at 8:06 AM on January 22, 2014

Blue slicker from the Maid of the Mist?
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:08 AM on January 22, 2014

Materials for making a Timmy's double double (INCLUDING THE CUP! bonus points if you can get a Roll Up The Rim one), maple syrup seconded, Spacing's subway pins seconded, a TTC token, A photograph of the city taken from the top of the CN Tower, a crack pipe, guidebooks/brochures from the ROM and AGO, Ketchup chips!
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:12 AM on January 22, 2014

Toronto has the Ice Hockey Hall of Fame, with an unbelievably enormous gift shop. Something - anything - emblazoned with that would be unique.
posted by citygirl at 8:28 AM on January 22, 2014

Some Drake OVO stuff. The Raptors x OVO shirt is probably too expensive but I know they made keychains, lighters, pens etc for a tour a while back; maybe you can find something similar.
posted by acidic at 8:34 AM on January 22, 2014

When I think Toronto, I am most proud of its multi-culti mix. As in, after traveling in Europe for 3 weeks I said to my bf that I was really craving some "down home Canadian food" and we went out for East Indian food. God that hit the spot.

So I would put in spices and food mixes from all over (Middle Eastern place like Adonis in Mississauga or Chinese stuff like from TnT or Oceans as well as Canadian classics like maple syrup and salmon jerky and crottes du fromage aka cheese curds).
posted by St. Peepsburg at 9:02 AM on January 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

Maybe a Scott Pilgrim graphic novel?
posted by Seboshin at 9:59 AM on January 22, 2014

Maybe a Scott Pilgrim graphic novel?

Or Being Erica DVDs?
posted by St. Peepsburg at 10:28 AM on January 22, 2014

A TTC token?

Depending on the person's sense of humour: Include a note that you've included some food so the recipient has "enough to eat at home"?
posted by gohabsgo at 10:39 AM on January 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

I love my Toronto map coasters!
posted by kanuck at 10:44 AM on January 22, 2014

Following up on St. Peepsburg's thoughts (which I 100% agree with - Toronto's brand of mostly peaceable multiculturalism sets it apart from any other city in the world, afaic - Toronto is pho, jerk chicken, roti, pierogies...), you could grab bits and bobs (agree with spices; canned/jarred goods) from the Polish places on Roncesvalles, Chinatown... maybe throw in a Leafs cap, sure.
posted by cotton dress sock at 11:20 AM on January 22, 2014

(And/or from the flip side of the T-Dot, a used copy of anything by Margaret Atwood.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 11:38 AM on January 22, 2014

A transit map? Or something with the Toronto Island Ferry boats on it? Your City Counselor/MPP may have some small 'giveaway' items (pins, etc) which can be fun to include as well. Otherwise, for more Ontario focused, anything to do with Algonquin Park might be a hit with folks who don't have anything like it nearby.
posted by Northbysomewhatcrazy at 11:47 AM on January 22, 2014

How about a vintage TTC poster?

Or something from the Spacing store?

Maple syrup is always good. Maple sugar is better.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:19 PM on January 22, 2014

Kozlik's Mustard? It runs about $6 a jar, so you could get four varieties.
posted by Clandestine Outlawry at 1:41 PM on January 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Big Turk chocolate bars are uniquely Canadian. They seem to confuse or revulse my American friends, but I'm not sure how universal that is.

For guaranteed confusion get some Rockets to go with your Smarties. Americans know them as Smarties, which causes no end of amusing confusion.
posted by Kowh at 2:21 PM on January 22, 2014

Ah,'s hard to take it with you.
I would have say the single most worldwide recognizable symbol is indeed the CN Tower.

Of course, while those Rob Ford bobbleheads are kinda classic, i've seen quite a bit of other "RobFord-abilia" in novelty shops downtown.
posted by Soap D. Spencer at 3:22 PM on January 22, 2014

2nding Kozlik's. Especially the Rye mustard. I always give that to American friends as a Toronto-specific thing.

You could also go to the Drake General Store and pick up something Toronto-ish. How about a Toronto Public Library tee shirt?

How about an old-style CBC bag?
posted by Miss T.Horn at 4:34 PM on January 22, 2014

As a non-Canadian who (briefly) lived in Canada, I'm going to speak up for ketchup chips. That shit is crazy and you will hurt their brains, especially if they are Americans who know nothing of Canada. I promise. We know about hockey and maple things. Ketchup chips, though, who would imagine?
posted by dame at 5:16 PM on January 22, 2014

Dont forget pickle chips and spruce beer. I always pick those up when I head over into Quebec, not sure if you can find them in ontaria, I wasn't able to get the spruce beer when I was in Toronto but also I didn't look very hard (only 1 grocery shop)
posted by koolkat at 1:11 AM on January 23, 2014

(And/or from the flip side of the T-Dot, a used copy of anything by Margaret Atwood.)

Only if they come from the Land Without Toilet Paper. Sorry, I have a visceral loathing for her writing.

The Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay is set partly in Toronto, if you're going literary. But that might bust your budget; I don't think I've ever seen very many of his books in used bookstores.

Timothy Findley also sets some of his stuff in Toronto--Headhunter was spectacular.

You can get free Canadian flags (and official portraits of The Queen if that's your thing) from the Governor General.

As mentioned above, guaranteed your city councillor, MPP, and MP have free swag to give away.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:21 AM on January 23, 2014

Response by poster: Thank you for all these great ideas!
posted by yawper at 7:09 AM on January 23, 2014

« Older Help me pick a cardio activity and stick to it!   |   Best small, cheap HDMI monitor on Amazon? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.