While teachers generally deserve to be showered with appreciation every June, that practice is particularly relevant in 2021. It has been one challenging school year—to put it mildly—and now parents are facing yet another problem: How do you thank a teacher your kid might not see again?
Below we round up a variety of digital-based teacher gift ideas (from local Toronto businesses) that will deliver your appreciation directly to the inbox of your child’s teacher. And since we know some kids will have the opportunity to say “thanks” in person, we’ve also included a few non-digital gift suggestions.
All of these teacher gift ideas are from local Toronto businesses, meaning your purchase won’t just put a smile on a teacher’s face. It was also directly help out another sector that has been hard hit by COVID-19.
Don’t forget to include a handwritten thank-you note from your child.
The Neighbourgood is a unique site and your one-stop-shop for gift cards to over two dozen small Toronto businesses. Scroll through its offerings or filter by neighbourhood, to find a shop or restaurant located near your child’s school. Just a few of its many options include Breathe Yoga and Wellness Centre, Rustle & Still café, and Boxcar Social restaurant.
The stretch of Queen Street West between Bathurst Ave and Gladstone Ave has some of the hottest shopping and dining in the city. The area’s BIA is now offering e-gift cards that are accepted at dozens of the neighbourhood’s businesses, including BBQ restaurant Smoque N’ Bones, shoe store Heel Boy, and natural beauty boutique Helen + Hildegard. It’s a great option for teachers who live or work in that area or who are willing to travel so that they can enjoy some of the best retail Toronto has to offer.
Regardless of where in Toronto your kids’ teachers live, they’ve likely ventured out to the picturesque Distillery District at least a couple of times. Give them a reason to go again with a gift card to the company that oversees five of the neighbourhood’s tastiest restaurants including Cluny Bistro & Boulangerie and El Catrin, which has an amazing heated patio.
Teachers with a sweet tooth will love a gift card to Stubbs Chocolates & Pastry. This beloved shop is packed with mouthwatering delicacies including all kinds of chocolate goodies, cakes, tortes and even high-end baking ingredients. Stubbs is located at DuPont and Christie, but local delivery is available, making this a gift idea that chocolate-loving teachers across the city could enjoy.
A gift card to Sweet Thrills is an ideal gift for those teachers who just wanna have fun. This Roncesvalles shop is known for its wide selection of board games and puzzles that are suitable for ages zero to 99. It’s also home to a legendary candy bar and it sells a wide assortment of hard-to-find British and Japanese food products. While this is one of those stores that’s best enjoyed in-person, it does offer a shipping option on many products.
LCBO gift cards are always a popular teacher gift but, if you’re looking for a bit of a different spin on that idea, consider a gift card from Cocktail Emporium. It stocks everything from cool glassware and bar tools to non-alcoholic cocktail ingredients like cherries and flavoured syrups that even teetotalers will enjoy. Cocktail Emporium has three physical locations, in Kensington Market, on West Queen West, and at Union Station. It also offers online shopping and delivery.
Brewery Gift Card
Another play on the LCBO gift card idea is to purchase a gift card to one of Toronto’s many micro-breweries. One of our top picks is Left Field Brewery, which has something for every (beer-drinking) one with its selection of over dozen different types of beers and hard seltzers. Gift cards can be redeemed online or at the brewery’s Leslieville bottle shop.
If your kid’s teacher is more of a westender, consider a gift card from the award-winning Bellwoods Brewery, which also sells a variety of eye-catching artwork and apparel.
That your child’s teacher loves reading is generally a safe assumption to make. Another safe assumption? A gift card to a bookstore will be put to good use. And while yes, there is a certain bookstore chain that does sell e-gift cards, Toronto is also home to some fantastic independent book shops that could use your support. Type Books has a location across from Trinity Bellwoods Park as well as shops in the Junction and in Forest Hill. Type sells a wide genre of books as well as games, stationary items and even kids’ products.
If you suspect your teacher would prefer a gift card to a shop that focuses on books for children, check out Ella Minnow Children’s Book Store in the Beach, Mabel’s Fables in Davisville, or Moonbeam Books near Bloor Street West.
We’ve heard from a few teachers that the best gift is a donation in their name to a charity that is either meaningful to your family or that helps out kids. If you’re not sure where to give, consider the Children’s Book Bank, which, “provides free books and literacy support to children and families in high-needs neighbourhoods across the GTA.” A couple of other great options are the Legacy of Hope Foundation, an Indigenous-led, Ontario based non-profit, “with the mandate to educate and create awareness and understanding about the Residential School System,” and Ontario Nature, a long-running organization that is dedicated to preserving our beautiful province for future generations.
Toronto Teacher Gift Ideas:
One of the East York’s most popular independent coffee shops has put together a bundle that any caffeine-loving teacher is sure to appreciate. For $40, this gift pack comes with a bag of coffee beans, a mug, a $10 gift certificate, and even a card that your little one can personalize with their artistic touches.
Some of the cutest gift ideas in Toronto can be found inside this boutique, located downtown at 401 Richmond St. All kinds of Toronto- and Canadian-themed products are sold here including shirts, mugs, and that item no teacher can get enough of: Tote bags. In addition to being open for in-person shopping, the Spacing Store is also offering curbside pick-up.
Plants & Garden Items
Gardening and plant parenting are two of the pandemic’s hottest trends. If they’ve been embraced by your child’s teacher, consider an indoor plant from Beech Nursery. Its Port Lands location is brimming with “lush, exuberant tropicals” as well all kinds of pretty and practical plant-related accessories. Beech Nursery also sells a wide variety of outdoor greenery.
No time to visit a specialty shop? Grab a plant alongside your grocery pick-up during a trip to Fiesta Farms on Christie St. This always fantastic grocery store is also home to Fiesta Gardens. There you’ll find everything from potted herbs to outdoor hanging baskets to orchids.