Canada’s a pretty awesome place to live (particularly Toronto). Though we may not chant as raucously as our neighbours to the south, once a year we find festive ways to showcase our pride—usually in the form of free concerts, street parties, camping trips or cottage time. It’s totally possible to sport your patriotism on your person without resorting to aggressive face paint or moose-emblazoned outfits. Here are 12 ways to flaunt your Canadiana spirit in style.
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It may have been the soggiest Pride parade in years, but revellers didn’t let the grey and drizzly day dampen their fashion sense. During the lead-up to the march, we spotted flowered hats, splatter-painted tank tops, neoprene vests and—it goes without saying—a whole lot of leather and (despite the gloomy weather) loads of colourful rainbows. We singled out some of our favourite looks so that the clothes, and the people wearing them, really pop:
Online menswear shop Park and Province has been selling well-made essentials (clothes, accessories, grooming products) to Toronto guys for just over a year, and has just opened a permanent place on Queen West, right across from Trinity Bellwoods. Inside, there’s a bunch of finely crafted basics for the modern gent: things like raw denim, retro Asics and ribbed Portuguese flannel. Says co-founder Gray Butler, “a physical shop lets us introduce new brands to the Toronto market in a way that’s tough to do online.” For summer, there’s a refreshing selection for men who are tired of shopping at Club Monaco, including casual button-downs from Hawaii-based Aloha Sunday, all-natural skincare from Aussie company Grown Alchemist and tobacco-scented fragrances from Virginia brand Sydney Hale. The location is spot-on, as guys who spend their Saturdays shirtless across the street could probably stand to take some style pointers.
Monday—Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. 927 Queen St. W., 647-338-3311, parkprovince.com
Last Sunday, teenage fans flocked to Queen and John for MuchMusic’s annual awards show. On top of a star-studded red carpet, the public was treated to performances from artists like Ed Sheeran, Jason Derulo and The Weeknd (Drake even made a surprise appearance in an overly casual grey sweatsuit). The chance to lock eyes with heartthrobs like Nick Jonas or Gigi Hadid had show-goers sporting their most attention-seeking outfits: we spotted a ton of boho looks, plenty of ’90s inspiration and an extremely high concentration of metallic flash tattoos. Here, 16 great looks from the MMVAs.
Local artist and textile designer Virginia Johnson’s colourful hand-painted prints have been a fixture of Toronto’s shopping scene for 14 years. Unfortunately, the designer is halting production of her clothing collections, saying in a note to customers: “I’ve decided to refocus on my art and textile designs through creative projects and collaborations.” But there’s still a chance for shoppers to score Johnson’s perfectly summery apparel—like this tribal caftan or versatile beach tote—before the line wraps up for good later this month. Her latest collection, Le Weekend, is particularly affordable with patterned one-pieces coming in at $50 and breezy beach coverups at $30. Everything else, even shawls and frocks hand-painted in watercolour, is 30 per cent off with the promo code “summer15.” June 28 is the last day for online sales, so fans of these playful picks (or anyone planning a tropical beach vacation) better act quick.
Up-and-coming local designers have a new place on Queen West to call home. Last month, Parkdale Flea founder Joshua James opened the doors to the Toronto Designers Market, a place where patrons can shop locally produced goods including cosmetics, clothing, furniture and jewellery. The former antiques warehouse features an ever-changing and strictly curated roster of vendors (37 of them at the moment) seeking to make a name for themselves. Booths are stocked with recognizable T.O. favourites like Parkdale Butter Company’s all-natural moisturizers and Krane’s leather goods, as well as newer labels including burgeoning jewellery brand Iccha and men’s grooming company Always Bearded. Anyone looking for an affordable grab can’t do better than Paprika’s popular bead bracelets, though there’s plenty of swag for bigger spenders—Adam Fullerton’s stunning upcycled light fixtures included.
1605 Queen St. W., torontodesignersmarket.com
The Lawrence Park strip of Yonge Street is getting another dose of high fashion: Montreal boutique Joshua David has opened its first Toronto location, just north of Eglinton. Known for shelling out contemporary designer wear to Montreal’s sophisticates, the six-year-old brand stocks big names like DVF, Michael Kors and Alice and Olivia (not surprising, since owners Joshua Fagan and David Archer hold Holt Renfrew and Harry Rosen pedigrees). But there’s a healthy lineup of Toronto labels, too: outerwear from Smythe Les Vestes, pretty necklaces from jeweller Jenny Bird, handcrafted handbags from Opelle and edgy pieces from Travis Taddeo are now on offer to the city’s uptown population. Plus, shoppers can snag celeb-endorsed staples like this Gwyneth-approved military-style jacket from Current Elliot. With its breezy basics and work-appropriate apparel, the neighbourhood’s longstanding Club Monaco could finally be getting some competition.
2525 Yonge St., 647-343-2929, joshuadavid.com
Let’s face it: part of Pride is wearing as little clothing as possible, meaning a proper outfit really depends on the details. Anyone can find a few rainbow decals to temporarily tattoo themselves with, but real Pride style comes from finding that limited-edition swag. Here are four pieces to keep you looking fab all week long.
For three days starting today, Toronto shoppers will be able to snap up the ethically made works of Canadian designer Laura Siegel at a sample sale. One of the most recognizable names in sustainable fashion, the Toronto native is the star of filmmaker Jennifer Sharpe’s recent documentary Traceable, which documents the effects of fast fashion on communities and the importance of preserving traditional craftsmanship (it also spurred the hashtag #whomademyclothes). At this week’s sale, the recent CFDA eco-fashion finalist will be selling her latest summer collection, which was handmade in collaboration with artisans in rural India. It includes printed kaftans seen on the Toronto Fashion Week runway and crocheted crop tops woven with recycled sari silk. Her older pieces will also be on hand, and almost everything will be marked down from 20 to 90 per cent (full price, her pieces typically range from $250 to $1,000). Also available at the sale will be local handbag designer Ela’s super-chic, compact clutches—the perfect seasonal complement to Siegel’s bold prints and whimsical designs.
June 17–18, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.; June 19, 11 a.m.–7 p.m. 404 Adelaide St. W., laurasiegelcollection.com
There’s something about visiting an impeccably decorated home that makes you rethink your own abode’s style. Well, small-space design firm 800 SQ FT is making it easier to replicate luxe looks: it’s outfitted a new apartment on Mercer Street with home products that visitors can actually purchase, instead of simply admire. It may be tiny, but the space elicits severe home envy—and everything, including the original art on the walls, the furniture and the toiletries in the bathroom, is for sale. Authentic Turkish towels from Pamuk and Co., paintings from local artist Nicole Charles and fashionable basics from up-and-coming label Atelier Guarin all fit the home’s mod-meets-artsy aesthetic. Thoughtful touches, like coconut wax candles from Woodlot or pretty baked goods from Purple Cupcake Company, make the experience more like shopping at your friend’s apartment and less like browsing a boutique. (The entire decor scheme will switch with the seasons—visitors are currently viewing the summer collection.) Viewings are by appointment only, or you can register for one of the apartment’s scheduled shopping parties on June 25 or 26. The only thing not for sale? That head-on view of the CN Tower.
From June 25. 8 Mercer St., 800sqft.com
While treating mom on her day can be as simple as a booking a spa trip or making a brunch reservation, Father’s Day presents a unique set of challenges. If your pops is anything like ours, he’s already bagged himself the latest digital gadgets and isn’t exactly impressed with pretty bouquets or pedicures. Plus, not every dad is dying for new barbecue utensils or golf balls. Here, 24 great gifting ideas for all kinds of father figures—including the sporty, dorky and oh-so-particular.
The earth mother craze has reached an apotheosis in Toronto. To accommodate the growing demand for safe, hospital-free childbirths, the Ministry of Health recently opened the Toronto Birth Centre in Regent Park. The new $6-million facility offers a happy halfway point between home and hospital births—patients get the privacy, comfort and custom care they’d have at home, plus medical equipment like oxygen tanks, IV kits, Doppler systems for monitoring the baby’s heart rate and TENS machines for pain control. Birthing centres are considered as safe as hospitals for low-risk births.
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Union Station’s long-anticipated re-vamp is finally coming together. In addition to getting a fancy new food court next year, the retail scene will no longer consist solely of convenience stores. Case-in-point: last weekend, ever-expanding Queen West gifting destination Drake General Store opened an outpost in the new-and-improving hub. In addition to the store’s typical offering of HBC blankets and artisanal granola, commuters can also browse the brand’s new collaboration with UP Express, which consists of locally sewn sweatsuits, commemorative pins and vintage-looking conductor hats. The rest of the voyager-friendly collection includes basic travel stuff like toiletry packs, power adapters and reusable water bottles—with some stranger Canadiana adaptations like back bolsters in the shape of logs. For anyone who needs to snap up a last-minute present, the shop’s retro maple syrup candles and poutine bowls are a step up from cheesy, Mountie-adorned souvenirs.
65 Front St. W., drakegeneralstoreupexpress.com
Last weekend, dads were on duty at Dundas West Fest, the neighbourhood’s annual street party. We spotted father figures dishing out shoulder rides, buying bunches of balloons and chasing after sugar-crazed toddlers. Somehow, they managed to appear perfectly composed in laid-back T-shirts, panelled caps and sweet sneakers. (And really, throwing together any sort of half-decent outfit as a preoccupied parent is a serious accomplishment in our eyes.) Here, 13 cool-looking dads totally succeeding at the whole parenting thing.
North Standard Trading Post
1662 Queen St. W., 647-348-7060
Smells Like Canada candles made in a Parkdale kitchen (from $28), Grohmann hunting knives ($68), Pendleton camp blankets ($195).
The special touches: Married owners Frank Fiore and Pamela Hopson live a few blocks away and will send customers to their neighbours’ shops if there’s a need they can’t satisfy.
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