Toronto Life - The Goods

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The Goods

Shopping

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The Find: 11 incredibly stylish pairs of sneakers for spring

The Find: 11 unusually fashionable (but very comfortable) sneakers for spring

The running shoe is enjoying a renaissance. Sporty, heelless footwear has shown up all over this spring, on high-fashion runways and on the feet of style setters across Toronto. Whether paired with a pretty midi skirt or slouchy boyfriend jeans, runners radiate an effortless kind of cool. (They’re also blissfully comfortable, which is nice.) We’ve picked out our favourite women’s and men’s sneakers of the season: luxe cheetah-print slip-ons, pastel-hued retro runners and subtle leather lace-ups that could even be worn with a suit. These kicks are a far cry from the beat-up Asics stashed at the back of your closet, and can be worn practically anywhere (as long as you don’t actually try to exercise in them).

See all 11 pairs »

The Goods

Health and Beauty

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Get cut-rate beauty treatments during Toronto Spa Week

(Image: Holts Salon & Spa)

(Image: Holts Salon & Spa)

Toronto Spa Week is a bit like Winterlicious, except the people who participate tend to emerge from the experience feeling relaxed and gloriously groomed instead of plump and sort of cranky. This year’s edition runs from April 21 to 25 (i.e. all next week). During that time, spas and salons across the city will be offering massages, facials, waxes, peels and other types of beauty treatments, each for the flat-rate price of $50. As with Winterlicious, some deals stand out more than others—like a combination massage and facial at the Purebeauty spa in the Trump Hotel (actual retail price: $180) or a mani-pedi at the Holts spa on Bloor West (usually $110). It’s a great opportunity to live like a man or lady of leisure, if only for a little while. The full list of deals and discounts is available here. One word of advice: consider booking appointments sooner rather than later, as the best spots are guaranteed to fill up fast.

Apr. 21-25. Various locations, wayspa.com

The Goods

Shopping

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This new online shop aims to make Canadian art accessible to all

(Image: Artzila/Facebook)

(Image: Artzila/Facebook)

Artzila.com, a new Toronto-based online art shop, hopes to do for fledgling Canadian fine artists what YouTube did for Justin Bieber. The website, which launched a couple months ago, serves as a middleman between talented Canadian artists—some of whom may not have the money or connections to monetize their efforts—and the art-consuming public. Professional and amateur creators can submit their original photographs, paintings and other two-dimensional media to the site’s curators, who evaluate each piece for pure artistic merit. If a piece makes the cut, it’s listed on the site and shoppers are able to order from a limited batch of museum-quality prints, which are produced, packaged and shipped at no cost to the artist. Prices range from $40 (for a basic eight-by-ten) to $1000 (for a wall-spanning 40 by 50), making the site a genuine money-earning vehicle for talented up-and-comers, who retain 50 per cent of the proceeds. It’s also a potential investment tool for discerning collectors.

The Goods

Stores

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Store Guide: Want Apothecary, the elegant Montreal boutique’s new Rosedale location

Store Guide: Want Apothecary

Name: Want Apothecary
Sells:
Men’s and women’s clothing, shoes, bags and beauty products
Contact info:
1070 Yonge St., 416-924-8080, wantapothecary.com
Hours:
M-F 10-7, Sa 10-6, Su 12-5
See it on a map »

Residents of Montreal’s chichi Westmount district are already familiar with Want Apothecary, the clothing and lifestyle shop from Byron and Dexter Peart, the sibling designers behind chic handbag and luggage line Want Les Essentiels de la Vie, and co-founders Mark Wiltzer and Jacqueline Gelber. Their first Toronto boutique exemplifies the trendy-but-polished aesthetic that should resonate with Rosedale’s young professionals and society dames (the Peart duo boasts a history of collaborations with preppy mega-retailer J.Crew).

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The Goods

Stores

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Queen West shoe shop Heel Boy comes to the Distillery

(Image: Heel Boy/Twitter)

(Image: Heel Boy/Twitter)

The Distillery District, once a retail dead zone, has morphed into a veritable upmarket shopping destination, thanks to new entrants like Gotstyle and John Fluevog. The latest retailer to set up shop along the cobblestones is Trinity Bellwoods shoe shop Heel Boy. The store has earned a loyal mix of devotees with its ever-changing selection of stylish-but-affordable designs from brands like Nine West, Steve Madden and Ted Baker (we love these retro two-tone brogues). The new location boasts the neighbourhood’s characteristic high ceilings and exposed brick walls, making it feel roomier and fancier than the Queen West location. It could be just the place to pick up a pair of sweet summer espadrilles—or, for now at least, some unusually stylish rain boots.

M-F 10-9, Sa 10-8, Su 11-7. 49 Tank House Ln., 416-363-2794, heelboy.com

The Goods

Health and Beauty

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Korean beauty brand Holika Holika opens shop on Queen West

Holika HolikaProduct hoarders, take note: this new Korean beauty boutique will likely test your resolve. Holika Holika, a popular South Korean cosmetics brand, recently launched a new downtown Toronto location at Queen and John, near the MuchMusic building. (Its first Canadian outlet opened in Markham’s Pacific Mall in 2012). The little shop carries all the components of a traditional multi-step Korean skincare routine: cleansing oils, sugar scrubs, toners, “essence” (i.e. concentrated serums) and fabric facial masks infused with ingredients like snail secretions and placenta extract. Makeup junkies will find lip glosses, BB creams and rainbow-hued eye shadow palettes, most priced on par with mid-range drugstore brands. There’s even a special BB cream for men (minus the candy-coloured packaging), because who ever said guys shouldn’t flaunt flawlessly even skin?

M-Th 10-8, F-Sa 10-9, Su 11-8, 311A Queen St. W., holikaholika.ca

The Goods

Stores

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Parkdale’s newest boutique sells hand-picked vintage and breezy, West Coast designs

(Image: Three Fates/Facebook)

(Image: Three Fates/Facebook)

Browsing the racks at Three Fates, a new women’s boutique in Parkdale, feels a bit like shopping in a giant, well-stocked closet. The shop, which carries a 70/30 mix of hand-picked vintage pieces and unworn apparel, specializes in breezy, boho looks that would fit right in at Coachella: floral ’90s dresses, leather lace-up booties and casual separates from up-and-coming West Coast designers like L.A.’s Mustard Seed and Vancouver’s Gentle Fawn.

“I wanted the store to reflect how I dress,” says owner Robin Vengroff, a Ryerson grad whose vintage love affair began when she raided her grandmother’s wardrobe at age 18. Her most popular pieces are casual but eclectic, like a soft, black floral kimono form L.A. brand Sage ($58), or delicate, stackable rings from Toronto jeweler Karatoya ($25). Vengroff sources most of her vintage gear out West, for reasons both aesthetic and totally practical. “They don’t have our weather out there,” she says. “Their shoes and boots are in much better condition.”

M-Sa 11-7, Su 12-6. 1394 Queen St. W., 416-901-1533, facebook.com

The Goods

Shopping

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Pop-up Pick: Holt Renfrew celebrates India with a colourful new shop-within-a-shop

Pop-up Pick: Uncrate India brings cultural treasures to Holt Renfrew

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 new pop-up shop is as colourful and fun as a Bollywood dance party. Uncrate India is the first in a series of cultural pop-ups at Holts’s store-within-a-store, H Project. The products were all sourced from Indian artisans encountered by Alexandra Weston and designer Waris Ahluwalia (founder of House of Waris) on their weeks-long journey across the subcontinent, with stops in New Delhi, Udaipur, Jaipur and Mandawa. The curated collection includes a mix of clothing, accessories and home-decor items, like woven rugs, hand-printed summer throws and intricately patterned lampshades. Our favourite pieces? The silky batik scarves and funky statement necklaces, both good choices for livening up a basic spring outfit.

Apr. 1-May 31. Holt Renfrew locations, holtrenfrew.com

The Goods

Homes

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The Suite Hereafter: four of the most impressive master bedrooms in Toronto

Oversized and opulent master bedrooms are the busy Torontonian’s favourite new indulgence. Here are a few of the city’s best

The Suite Hereafter: four of the most impressive master bedrooms in Toronto

The master suite in Vivian Reiss’s Annex home

The Person: Vivian Reiss, a 61-year-old visual artist and renovator
The Place: A 5,000-square-foot house in the Annex with an 800-square-foot master suite

When Reiss moved into her Romanesque Revival mansion 26 years ago, it was a dilapidated warren of small rooms and gloomy corners. The woman who built it in the 1880s was the widow of a prominent Upper ­Canada politician and had 11 children; Reiss only has two, both of whom have now moved out. She’s an artist and she wanted her home to be as brightly hued and full of light as her exuberant oil paintings. Unafraid of taking on a top-to-bottom overhaul (she now renovates apartment buildings and offices professionally), Reiss immediately started tearing down walls. She turned three bedrooms—two on the second floor and one on the third—into a two-storey master with a sitting area, and filled it with salvaged fixtures from old Toronto buildings and curios from frequent trips abroad. Her dressing salon was formerly a porch, which she glassed in, adding curtains for privacy. Finally, Reiss repurposed the library to create an enormous tiled ensuite inspired by the Moorish tiles of the Alhambra palace. Her reasoning: she loves books, but enjoys bubble baths by the fire even more.

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The Goods

Stores

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The huge downtown Chapters is closing (which means another iconic Toronto retail space is up for grabs)

(Image: Chapters/Facebook)

(Image: Chapters/Facebook)

Yet more evidence that physical bookstores are the Blockbusters of the 2010s: yesterday, Indigo announced that it will be shutting down the big Chapters store next to the Scotiabank Theatre at John and Richmond. The store is slated to close on May 30.

“After lengthy negotiations, we have made the difficult decision not to renew our lease,” Indigo vice president Janet Eger told the Star in an email. “We believe there continue to be opportunities for us to better serve our GTA customers.” Toronto Chapters locations seem to be a dying breed: earlier this week, the Indigo-owned World’s Biggest Bookstore called it quits, and in mid-February the company’s Runnymede location did the same. (Eger says Indigo is already on the hunt for a new downtown lease, so readers and wicker-basket collectors need not despair entirely.)

All this brings us to the real question, though: who’s moving in? The space is big and well enough located to attract some serious retail contenders—provided they can get see beyond the gargantuan red Rubik’s Cube perched awkwardly on the roof—so it should be interesting to see what happens next. With any luck, the replacement will be something equally useful to moviegoers looking to kill time before a show.

The Goods

Shopping

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Amazon.ca steps up its game

(Image: Amazon.ca/Screenshot)

(Image: Amazon.ca/Screenshot)

America, for all its flaws, has a few things on Canada. White Castle, for one. And they invented The Simpsons. And for a long time, their Amazon selection was a lot broader, with The Everything Store carrying all kinds of stuff, from bestsellers and Blu-Rays to 55-gallon drums of lubricant and a stegosaurus costume for your dog.

According to the Globe, Amazon.ca is closing the gap, with the online mega-retailer now stocked with wireless accessories and musical instruments. So if you’ve ever envied Americans for being able to buy a guitar, online, without having a chance to even play it, you can breathe a sigh of relief. The increase in product lines sees Amazon raising the stakes in the turf war against comparable retail giants like Wal-Mart, Canadian Tire and Target.

It may also mean tough times ahead for mom-and-pop wireless accessory retailers everywhere.

The Goods

Designers

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Slideshow: 36 shots from the celeb-studded Dare to Wear Love fashion show

Dare to Wear Love Gala

Last Friday, the Stephen Lewis Foundation held its fifth-annual Dare To Wear Love gala, a fashion show and fundraiser for HIV/AIDS relief efforts in Africa. This year’s batch of models once again included some familiar names, like supermodel Stacey McKenzie, The Social co-host Traci Melchor and songstress Divine Brown, who opened the show with a musical number. (Also spotted sashaying down the runway: condo mogul Brad Lamb, sporting a rather extravagant hairpiece.) They wore designs from Canadian talents like Mikael Derderian, David Dixon and the duo behind Greta Constantine. Altogether, the night’s festivities raised an impressive $270,000. Here, 36 shots of the colourful, feel-good event.

See all 36 shots »

The Goods

Shopping

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The Find: Monocle’s five-piece menswear line for the sophisticated gentleman-traveller

The Find: Monocle's new menswear line for the sophisticated traveller

Monocle, the creators of the Guide to Better Living, have launched a simple, sophisticated menswear line aimed at the jet-setting gentleman. The capsule collection, called Monocle Voyage, distils the male wardrobe down to five key pieces: a casual, partially lined blazer, sharp enough for dinner with clients but designed for optimal airplane comfort ($525), a decidedly un-sloppy monogrammed crew-neck sweatshirt in Japanese cotton ($155), and an Italian-made Oxford button-down ($190). The collection is capped off with a white cotton T-shirt ($100) and a pair of lightweight cotton-twill trousers ($255). While the prices certainly aren’t cheap for basics, these clothes have an added benefit: temperature control. Monocle founder and editor Tyler Brulé says that the collection was specially designed to keep men comfortable in multiple climates: “We came up with a series of pieces that will work in Montreal in January as well as Auckland in the high summer.”

Available at The Monocle Shop, 776 College St., or at monocle.com

The Goods

Shopping

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Fashion trucks are on the move in Toronto

(Image: Fashion Truck/Facebook)

(Image: Fashion Truck/Facebook)

Move over food trucks: this spring, the fashion industry is venturing into roving-retail territory. It’s not a new concept—Henry Holland hocked clothes out of a re-vamped ice cream truck in London last year, and the movement has been gaining momentum in cities like San Francisco and LA—but due to Toronto’s persistently frigid weather, curbside shopping hasn’t really been top of mind.

Now that the city is (kind of) defrosting, at least two shops-in-motion have emerged from the woodwork. Life of Manek, the Dundas West boutique that carries a colourful variety of vintage and contemporary pieces, is launching a mobile outpost this spring, and plans to peddle its collection from a redesigned mail truck. (Its first stop will be the Field Trip music festival at Fort York on June 7.) There’s also Fashion Truck Canada, a moving offshoot of Liberty Village’s Vocado boutique. It debuted its summery mixture of casual maxi dresses and distressed denim in the neighbourhood last weekend. Today (that is, March 28), shoppers can catch the truck parked at the corner of the Esplanade and Church Street.

We’re big fans of the store-on-wheels concept. That said, we hope these fashion trucks have built-in changing facilities—because shimmying into an outfit on the side of the street could take some of the fun out of shopping.

The Goods

Stores

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Upscale Belgian brand Sarah Pacini is coming to Bayview Village

(Image: Sarah Pacini/Facebook)

(Image: Sarah Pacini/Facebook)

Toronto is soon to join the exclusive list of North American cities—including Los Angeles, New York and Montreal—that host upscale Belgian brand Sarah Pacini. According to Facebook, the label has already confirmed a location at Bayview Village, and shoppers can expect it to open sometime this year. Known for innovative knitwear and a contemporary, layered look, the Italian-made pieces are bohemian without crossing over into hippie territory. It’s the kind of clothing a sophisticated artist might wear, like architecturally structured tunics, metal statement bracelets and modern, minimalist booties. While prices aren’t cheap (a long skirt is $425, and most sweaters clock in at upwards of $300), the brand has as unique, European look you that you’re unlikely to find anywhere else in the city. Our favourite item: these amazing panelled sarouel pants for $525.

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