Yonge-Dundas Square can be a polarizing intersection for many Torontonians: for some, it’s a great place to take in a free concert; for others, an obnoxious tourist trap surrounded by too many billboards. Regardless, pedestrians can usually count on some sort of entertainment, whether it’s a flash mob or an art show (or an angry soapbox rant). On a midweek lunch hour we took in an Afro-fusion dance-off followed by a rock show from the Tyler Shaw Band as part of FIFA Fan Fest. Milling about the square were retired people-watchers, off-duty mascots dressed in head-to-toe rainbow print and, of course, professional-looking nine-to-fivers grabbing a bite to eat. Here are some of the most diverse looks we came across.
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Sully Wong, the Toronto-based footwear brand comprised of partners George Sully and Henry Wong, makes sleek sneakers for skater kids, urban dwellers and anyone who’s into the athletic trend. Last year, a collaboration with the designer and interior architect Karim Rashid resulted in some funky patterned kicks. Now, the brand has paired with the organization Onexone to create a limited-edition “Hope” sneaker: a simple unisex shoe designed in Onexone’s signature red-and-white, with fifty per cent of proceeds going toward funding a paediatric wing for Haiti’s Hospital Mirebalis. Three hundred and fifty pairs were produced—if they sell out, that means over $25,000 for the Haitian hospital. Plus, an understated white sneaker paired with blue denim is a staple look for fall. $150
Available at shop.sullywong.com
Yet again on Wednesday, the New York Times did that thing it periodically does, where, apropos of nothing, it publishes a travelogue of the exotic city of Toronto, located somewhere in the wilds beyond Western New York. The piece focuses on the shops of the Queen Street West and Ossington Avenue area, singling out worthy spots like StyleGarage and BYOB. “I saw a neighbourhood caught between the twin attractions of latte and graffiti,” observes the writer. Queen West certainly does have both those things.
Pop-Up Pick: a temporary Queen West vintage boutique with over 5,000 items from the Quebec government’s costume archive
Jack Lux Vintage is a Montreal-based boutique that’s setting up shop in Toronto for the next three months. When it opened last week, the pop-up boasted upwards of 5,000 vintage finds. (Although retro-loving Torontoians have probably snapped up a few already, the place is regularly replenishing stock over the course of its stay.) The enormous collection is courtesy of a costuming trust established by the Quebec government, which amassed an extensive vintage archive for filmmakers and production houses. When the organization was dismantled nine years ago, Jack Lux was able to get its hands on over 200,000 pieces of clothing and accessories from the 1920s–1990s. At the temporary Queen West location, there’s an entire lower level devoted to footwear, while the main floor is packed with well-priced vintage apparel (everything is between $10 and $80) for men and women, including hippie shirts from the ’70s, demure paisley dresses from the ’50s and funky floral pantsuits from the ’80s.
Until Oct. 23. 536 Queen St. W., jackluxvintage.com
John and Juli Baker, owners of the cultishly popular Mjölk, built a home that’s as starkly beautiful as their shop below
John and Juli Baker met by chance seven years ago at the Cloak and Dagger pub on College Street. She was studying art curation and photography at OCAD. He played guitar in a folk-rock band. They were both obsessed with modern design, and they sparked immediately. Their first collaboration was a blog where they gushed over graceful chairs, well-proportioned teapots and other striking examples of Japanese and Scandinavian design. It proved so popular that, in 2009, they bought a Victorian storefront in the Junction and started selling the rarefied products they’d been blogging about. They married in the showroom a year later and set about gutting the two-storey living quarters above the shop. The couple’s minimal aesthetic—all white or wood, with no ornamentation—is the kind of thing that looks great in Dwell, but can seem impossible for people with pets, kids or both. And yet they’ve made the look work in a busy household that includes a two-year-old girl, a newborn baby boy and a cat (Elodie, Howell and Isha, respectively). Working with architects Peter Tan and Christine Ho Ping Kong of Studio Junction, the Bakers chose durable materials—copper, soapstone, white oak—and used them throughout the 2,000-square-foot space. The cohesive palette helps to maintain the streamlined effect. So does having really nice stuff: when the kids’ shaggy rocking sheep gets left out, it looks more like a sculptural statement than clutter.
Joe Fresh, Toronto’s go-to destination for chic basics and wallet-friendly wardrobe finds, is venturing into the skincare game. Come August, shoppers will be able to browse the brand’s debut line of cleansers, toners and moistruizers at its instore Beauty Bars (which already peddle stuff like colourful lip glosses and scented body sprays). The new line includes nine products designed for a variety of skin types: there’s a citrus facial cleanser that refreshes dull skin, a gentle clay mask for purifying pores, an oil-free moisturizer for acne-prone skin, a nourishing face serum and a nighttime eye cream for preventing fine lines. Skincare enthusiasts can rest assured that the line, while affordable (prices range from $12—$19), is free from parabens and synthetic fragrances—all products are made with naturally derived ingredients like green tea, aloe, rose hip oil and chamomile. For Joe fans, this news could mean one less stop at Shoppers for quality skincare essentials.
267 Niagara St., 416-745-5656
Homeowners like LEDs because they reduce energy bills; designers like that their slim profile and low operating temperature make unconventional forms possible. At Lightform’s showroom on Niagara, boundary-pushing options range from an Ares light shaped like a giant bulb to a polished aluminum bar by Philippe Starck. The most arresting of the lot: designer Ron Gilad’s series of ring-shaped tubes, which appear to pierce the walls like hooped earrings.
I Love Goldie is a Toronto startup that hand-makes gorgeously unique chain jewellery. Instead of standard rings, necklaces or bracelets, the elaborate pieces include body chains that wrap around the waist and the neck, stacked bracelets that loop up through the fingers, and dramatically drapey belts. Everything is made at I Love Goldie’s Bloor Street studio, and most pieces are made from recycled stainless steal, meaning they’re free from irritating materials like lead and nickel. This bold arm chain would add some serious edge to a casual t-shirt and jeans uniform. $95
Available at ilovegoldie.com
Toronto’s retail pop-up scene is gaining momentum, with new shopping opportunities emerging (and then disappearing) all the time. We’re keeping a lookout for the temporary shops you don’t want to miss.
Holt Renfrew’s Yorkdale location is currently hosting a pop-up shop for the chic Parisian label Maison Kitsuné. The temporary boutique is selling a selection of the brand’s traditional pieces, like crisp polos and classic white tennis shoes, alongside edgier graphic tees and black baseball caps with “Parisien” embroidered across the front. (Everything is priced between $90 and $290.) Kitsuné is also an indie record label (it’s signed bands like Two Door Cinema Club), so shoppers will find cool red-white-and-blue headphones and even a Kitsuné mixtape. The shop was supposed to close at the end of this week, but its stay at Holt Renfrew was recently extended until August. After that, you’ll have to travel to Paris, Tokyo or New York to get your hands on the label’s effortlessly stylish stuff.
Until August 8. Holt Renfrew Yorkdale, 2401 Dufferin St., kitsune.fr
According to Retail Insider, HBC has decided to turn all Home Outfitters locations into Hudson’s Bay Home, merging the kitchen, bed and bath superstores with the Bay’s own Home business. Most stores will be in for some serious renovations to reflect the new look, and a few, including Toronto’s Square One location, will close altogether. But there’s a bonus for brides-to-be: the gift registries will also be merging, adding more vacuum cleaners, curtains and bath towels to the Bay’s already robust selection.
Preview: Roland Mouret, designer of the iconic Galaxy dress, launches an affordable line for Banana Republic
French designer Roland Mouret’s iconic Galaxy dress has been spotted on pretty much every female celebrity, including Victoria Beckham and Cameron Diaz. Now, thanks to a chic new collaboration with Banana Republic, the designer’s signature looks will be available to a much wider audience. Anyone who admires Mouret’s flattering paneled dresses, pencil skirts and cropped sweaters—but balk at the multi-grand price tags—will be pleased to learn that the new line is very affordable, with most items priced between $75 and $185. The collection doesn’t hit stores until August 7, but it’s always best to shop with a game plan. Here are our 15 favourite looks.
In May, we reported that Jacob was going out of business, but now it looks like the Canadian chain is getting a brief reprieve. According to the Financial Post, the Quebec Superior Court has agreed to give the company one extra month of creditor protection, meaning it now has until August 22 to come up with a brilliant comeback plan. (Keep in mind that Jacob has been under creditor protection since 2010, so it’s somewhat unlikely that the additional month will be its saving grace.) According to a company spokesperson, the bonus time will be used to complete a restructuring plan and secure new financing, in the hopes of keeping at least a few stores open. If Jacob doesn’t come up with something amazing by this time next month, it’ll be curtains for real.
Cherry Beach has one of the best—and certainly most scenic—dog parks in the city. Unlike the small enclosures in many other parks, the off-leash space is enormous and rugged. For rambunctious pups, there’s plenty of forested area, long grasses and, of course, the lake to explore. (You won’t find many chihuahuas in pink sweaters here.) We wandered the area on a bright July morning and found that the same group of dog owners come here so consistently that their pooches have built lasting friendships. Among the playful pets were a trio of energetic borzois, some gorgeous huskies chasing after sticks, a few rescue dogs with heartwarming stories and a four-legged cancer survivor who had just grown back his fur.