Look, Amazon had a really good year. As for our local Toronto small businesses, we can't say the same. So let's change that by shopping small this holiday season and supporting the independent business we know and love in our neighbourhood. 

Going local doesn't mean breaking the bank, we've got a list of our favourite Toronto small businesses that are full of affordable gifts and unique treasures that you can't find anywhere else. From customizable bottles of Reid's gin in Leslieville to Salt Wine Bar on Ossington where you'll feel like you're at a Spanish market instead of freezing in an LCBO lineup, we've got all your foodie friends' wish-lists covered and then some. 

For more gift ideas, be sure to check our annual Foodism holiday gift guide and if lockdown has you feeling down, we've got a list of fun things to do in December. If you can, support your local restaurants by ordering takeout or delivery, because, after all, the holidays are about coming together, even though we have to stay apart. 

Local Toronto businesses: Gift boxes

Present Day Gifts

Online retailer

View on Instagram

There's no time like the present to pick up one of these curated and custom gift baskets. Made with local and artisan goods, each gift box and basket is well-designed and purposeful, so all you have to do is 'click' to make someone's day. 



Online retailer

View on Instagram

These pre-built care packages are filled with premium goods from local and emerging Canadian food makers, bakers and chefs. Want to have a virtual cocktail hour? There's a box for that. Want a taste of Toronto without leaving your home? There's a box for that, too. 'Tis the season for eating.


Local Toronto businesses: General Stores

Common People Shop

1594 Queen St. W.

View on Instagram

Could someone please decorate our apartment in absolutely everything from Common People? From small maker goods, like hand-poured candles and hand-woven pet collars, to all the essential oils to namaste away the year, Common's got you covered. 


The Green Jar

1061 St Clair Ave. W.

View on Instagram

Everything in this Midtown eco-friendly, package-free refillery is either recyclable, compostable or designed to be repurposed. The Green Jar makes living a low-waste lifestyle more accessible and less intimidating.

Stock up on household items like organic dish soap and laundry detergent from their refillery or pick up a refillable gin kit that can turn a boring bottle of vodka into your own botanical-forward gin.


Local Toronto businesses: Drinks and bar accessories

Cocktail Emporium

Multiple locations

View on Instagram

Bar accessories abound at this cocktail enthusiast's playground. Glassware, bitters and jiggers, oh my! This place is overflowing with tipple tricks and bar cart accessories you didn't know you needed. Check out their three locations across the city for pickup, or order from their 24/7 online store. 


Grand Cru Deli & Sips Toronto Wine Store

304 Richmond St. W.

View on Instagram

Look no further than Grand Cru Deli & Sips Toronto for your next partner in wine. This entertainment district deli has everything for your entertaining needs. They’ve got a long list of curated, “soul touching” (seriously, they say that) vino that you can’t find at the LCBO. Even better, they have cheese and charcuterie boards to go.


Reid's Distillery

32 Logan Ave.

View on Instagram

Love gin? Go right to the source at this east end, family-run craft distillery. They have three gin selections on offer: signature, spiced and citrus. They also have deconstructed French 75, Negroni and, of course, classic G&T packs so you can spend less time mixing and more time sipping. 


Salt Wine Bar

225 Ossington Ave.

View on Instagram

For a wine shopping experience that will make you feel like you've teleported to the Iberian Peninsula, run, don't walk, to Salt Wine Bar. With a wide assortment of imported Portuguese and Spanish wines and delectable provisions like jamón ibérico and bags of truffle chips, you'll be skipping through the mercado. 


Burdock Brewery

1184 Bloor St. W.

View on Instagram

Burdock Brewery brings wine into the brewing process. By aging their beer with grape skins left over from the wine-making process, Burdock's brews have that rich, fruity flavour we're used to tasting in vino. Check their Instagram and website for a lineup of delicious and unique beer-wine hybrids that showcase the best of both worlds.


For a list of places offering alcohol for pickup and delivery, click here.

Local Toronto businesses: Bakeries and sweet shops


8 Pardee Ave.

View on Instagram

Using grains sourced from organic farmers in Manitoba and Peterborough, Brodflour mills flour on-site for its fresh seeded sourdoughs and challah loaves, along with a popular rotating menu of Scandinavian rye bread like a dark and sweet loaf with molasses and caraway. The bakery also offers toasts and open-face sandwiches for lunch alongside traditional pastries like cinnamon rolls, brownies and cookies.


Bonjour Brioche

812 Queen St. E.

View on Instagram

This French bakery has been serving pastries and fluffy clouds of brioche to Toronto's east end since 1997. Beautiful things happen with a little bit of butter, OK? They're open from Thursday – Sunday, so make sure you get there early to get your paws on a fresh croissant or pecan tart — now, that's our kind of breakfast. 


Short and Sweet Bakeshop

1945 Avenue Road

View on Instagram

This Avenue Road bakery has intricately decorated cupcakes and cakes that are almost too pretty to eat, but it's their twice-baked cookies and sammies — buttercream or cream cheese frosting sandwiched between two cookies — that steal the show.


For more sweet treats, check out Toronto's best cookies here.

Local Toronto businesses: Grocery and specialty food shops

Kitten and the Bear

1414 Dundas St. W.

View on Instagram

Artisanal preserves and buttermilk scones — can it always be tea time? Perk up your pantry and turn tea into a party with Kitten and the Bear's uber cute holiday collections and vintage treasures. From mulled wine flavoured sweets to creamy whipped honey, you and your stockings will be positively stuffed. 


The Cheese Boutique

45 Ripley Ave.

View on Instagram

You’ll be saying cheese the entire time you’re in this Bloor-West Village emporium that has over 500 varieties of the good stuff. Maître fromager Afrim Pristine’s passion is apparent in every rind, every hanging Auricchio provolone and every dry-aged cured meat. You’ll find Canadian cheese heavily represented here, too.


Sanagan’s Meat Locker

176 Baldwin St.

View on Instagram

Your holiday roast is about to get so much better with a whole turkey or bone-in smoked ham from Sanagan's. This Kensington butcher shop has a neighbourhood feel to it and the attentive staff are always there to help. They've also got a whole charcuterie program with over 35 items to deck out your next board.


The Spice Trader

877 Queen St. W.

View on Instagram

With its dark cabinets, copper accents and mural of Istanbul splashed across one wall, The Spice Trader visually captures this Old World vibe. The shop feels a bit like an apothecary, but one that dispenses culinary cure-alls rather than traditional medicine. In addition to straight spices, they also feature an extensive collection of olive oils, vinegars and a variety of pre-mixed spice blends like an Argentinian chimichurri dry rub.


Sanko Trading Co.

730 Queen St. W.

If you’ve ever strolled along Queen Street West, you’ve probably noticed Sanko's colourful mural-clad building at the corner of Claremont Street. Inside its bright walls is a cornucopia of Japanese goods, kitchen supplies and snacks. There’s an entire wall dedicated to Japanese soy sauce, or shoyu. Each one has its own unique brew and fermentation time, and the delicate paper-wrapped bottles make an excellent gift.


Pasta Pantry

1997 Yonge St.

After more than 25 years in business, this shop at Yonge and Davisville is still turning out fresh pasta and sauces – along with new items that cater to the changing clientele. The pasta here comes in all shapes, sizes and colours. Long noodles are cut to order while ravioli, agnolotti and gnocchi are prepared ahead with fillings from lobster to braised beef. No matter which pasta pleases you, the've got a sauce to suit. 


Summerhill Market

Multiple locations

View on Instagram

This foodie wonderland, now home to an incredible selection of grocery items and prepared meals, has always been a hub for local suppliers and an incubator for up-and-coming producers. All of their beef is local, their chicken is free-range, local and antibiotic-free — even their shrimp is from Ontario. Between the bakery and kitchen, Summerhill Market makes more than 700 food items in house. Their prepared meals run the gamut from quiche to chana masala.


The Epicure Shop

473 Parliament St.

View on Instagram

Since its inception in the 1980s, The Epicure Shop has matured from a neighbourhood spot to a foodie temple that Toronto’s gourmands would travel across town to worship at. Pilgrims are rewarded with over 100 kinds of cheese, bread from Blackbird Baking Co., Italian kalamata olives marinated in-house, Montreal bagels on the weekend, jams, mustard and honey, plus a huge selection of olive oil from France, Greece, Spain and Portugal.


Maison Busatti

136 Avenue Rd.

View on Instagram

Attention purveyors of the finer things in life, this Avenue Road shop is home to beautiful Tuscan textiles and Canadian-Italian treasures. If your holiday dinner table is looking a little bare without all the usual guests, decorate it with custom linen or a giant Pannetone, instead. And for dessert, a gold box of imported Toscana chocolates. 


Local Toronto businesses: Kitchen supplies 

Tap Phong Trading Co.

360 Spadina Ave.

View on Instagram

From novice cooks searching for chopsticks, bamboo steamers and rice cookers, to industry pros outfitting an entire restaurant, Tap Phong has been serving the people (and kitchens) of Toronto on a budget since 1984. As well as the usual culprits (cutlery, glasses, dinnerware), Tap Phong sells signature dishes from their Royal Classic line. Their stock is constantly evolving to keep up with the diverse communities coming into the city.