Shop the city for the best planet-friendly mementoes to bring home from Toronto.

Let’s be real: have you ever gotten good use out of the keychain and t-shirt souvenirs you’ve picked up in the past? For mementoes that won’t immediately end up in a landfill, it’s time to level up your shopping. 

Whether you’re buying for yourself or loved ones, finding sustainable souvenirs is easy if you know where to thrift or shop local for products that won’t cost the earth. Here’s where to go.

Fashion finds at every price point

Toronto is a fantastic spot for consignment and thrift shops (where you might even score a vintage Versace dress for $13). Start your own big-name hunt around Bloor Street West and Lansdowne Avenue, where you’ll find a large Value Village and a Salvation Army Thrift Store within a few minutes walk of one another. 

For thrifting that’s more central, hit up boho Kensington Market, where you’ll find used clothing institutions, including Courage My Love (a local fave for its upcycled vintage clothing and jewelry) and Exile Vintage (where the focus is apparel from the 40s, 50s and 60s). 

If your mission is to score high-end designer goods on consignment, two of your best bets are just west of downtown. Chances are strong you’ll find something to covet at VSP or Fashionably Yours. Think: luxury handbags and pieces from the likes of Marni, Prada and Loewe.

Housewares that spark joy

Look for Baltic Marché at markets around the city this summer for wonderfully scented vegan candles and sustainable bamboo plates sporting graphics by Toronto designer Xenia Taler. 

At The Apartment Life on Queen Street East (just north of Old Town), find an expertly curated collection of vintage accessories and furniture that’ll have you wanting to completely revamp your living space.

Next, head to Logan & Finley. This store offers charming tea towels printed with water-based dyes from Toronto brand Ten and Co. and Bergamot and Lime Hand Soap (made with sustainably sourced essential oils and in a refillable glass bottle) from Burlington-based brand Bare Home. 

For the candle-obsessed pal, plan for a pickup at Real Talk Candles. This BIPOC-owned company sells hand-poured, soy-blend wax candles with responsibly sourced wooden wicks and messages in bold type on the labels (think “Smells Like: Warden Station and Jamaican Patties,” in honour of Scarborough). 

If you find yourself on the west side in Roncesvalles Village, hit up zero-waste Ecotique for a preppy organic-cotton Amiga Tote Bag from Ontario’s Rather Green to tuck all your shopping into.

Also see: 12 Hours: Where to Eat, Shop & Play in Toronto's Roncesvalles Village

Foodies gifts to share (or stockpile)

For snacks redolent of your trip to Toronto, make your way to Dear Grain on Ossington Avenue for an array of planet-friendly, local artisanal pantry finds, including condiments from plant-based Seed to Surf seafood, fantastic local honey and Toronto’s cult miso chili oil, Abokichi Okazu. 

If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll want to prioritize a stop at bean-to-bar SOMA Chocolate (they’ve got three locations in the city, including the Victorian-era Distillery Historic District), where they use organic and certified fair trade cacao beans to craft their to-die-for micro-batch chocolate and truffles. 

A greener shade of beauty 

Snap up some green beauty goodies for your cosmetics kit while in Toronto. You’ll feel like a kid in a candy store at the Detox Market (the Toronto flagship is on Spadina Avenue near King Street West) and Health Hut (with locations in Little Italy and Leslieville).

At Detox Market, you’ll find makeup, skincare, haircare and wellness products from clean-beauty brands like Ilia and Kosas. Over at Health Hut, discover goods from Toronto-based vegan darling Graydon Skincare and Everist, the local brand famous for its just-add-water, concentrated, plant-based hair care (to name just two). 

If you’ve got time in your itinerary, book a Province Apothecary facial (available at select Detox Market and Health Hut locations) and pick up some self-care products from this 100% plant-based, organic skincare brand, which hails from Toronto and is made with ingredients sourced from each province in Canada.