by Erin Torrance February 03, 2020
Chances are, if you’re here reading this, you’re at least somewhat a fan of Valentine’s Day. We get that it’s not for everyone but we’d like to change that, because if you’re into celebrating love everyday in every way, well, we’re here for it! Marking February 14th as Valentine’s Day is simply a good excuse to spread some kindness, adding a little light and love to a typically dark and dreary season. Nothing against winter, we love snowglobe days as much as sunny summers but when the sun dips down earlier in the evenings, we feel the effects.
This Valentine’s Day, we’re into bringing more joy to your life or to those you love, whatever your relationship, and adding a bit of a boost to those winter blues. Here, we’ve gathered some of our favourite picks for your partner, your bestie, your kids, and yourself—because we’re here to spread the love around to all. As always, we have lots more in store, so if you don’t see the perfect little token of love here, come visit us on Roncesvalles or in Leslieville.
While you can certainly pass this idea along to anyone on your list, having a little jar of love notes that remind your partner why they’re simply the best (and better than all the rest) can be the perfect thoughtful Valentine’s Day gift to help them see themselves from your rose-coloured glasses when theirs are a little dim. Pick up Adamjk’s Feelings jar ($29.95, in-stores only) and fill it up with short handwritten compliments they can read on the tough days. For the record, this jar is also a great spot for chocolates.
For those looking for a gift that’s a little lighter, offer some constructive feedback with a pair of Blue Q Pretty Decent Boyfriend socks ($17.95, in-stores and online) or show just how lost you’d be without them with a lighthearted book like Me Without You ($14.95, in-stores only). Things I Love About You fill-in-the-blank books from Emily McDowell ($18.95, in-stores and online) offer a playful custom creation to show them all the tiny details that make you love them all the more. Of course, jewelry is a Valentine’s Day gift classic and a wallet makes for a practical option. Add an extra personal touch for your partner with a little photo or keepsake tucked inside a Toronto-made Lisbeth locket ($110–$125, in-stores and online) or a Bellroy leather wallet ($79–$109, in-stores and online).
Staying in this Valentine’s Day? Pick up a Connect game ($40, in-stores and online) or Pillow Talk conversation cards ($23.95, in-stores and online), both from The School of Life, to dive a little deeper into more meaningful conversations with your partner. Even when conversation flows easily with your other half, we often forget to dive into the topics that may not come up so naturally, the conversations and topics that really count. Connect and Pillow Talk are designed to bring those topics to the surface, to share intimate details, to reintroduce fun, draw us together, and make us remember what is really special about the relationship while we continue to explore each other’s feelings and desires. It’s the perfect way to make a deeper connection and further cultivate your love on Valentine’s Day.
When it comes to friendships, the Golden Girls are straight goals. These silver-haired lovelies taught us all about the ups and downs of relationships and how our better halves—that is, our besties—can help pull us through it all, calling us out when we need a reality check or coming in for the cuddle when we need some support. Gift your friends with the sage wisdom of the Golden Girl quartet with the Thank You for Being a Friend book ($19.95, in-stores only) that includes life knowledge on all the important stuff, from Blanche Devereaux’s Guide to Sex & Dating to Dorothy’s Guide to a Witty Zinger and a “Which Golden Girl Are You?” quiz.
Alternatively, form your own unofficial club with all your friends with matching patches from Antiquaria ($14.95, in-stores only). Upgrade your matching bestie necklaces with a rainbow of matching Moonlight for Violet brass hexagon stud earrings ($22, in-stores only). A cute Blue Q Double Wonderful coin pouch ($6, in-stores only, additional styles available) makes the perfect little token of love and doubles as an eco-friendly gift wrap option. Tuck your earrings inside, add some Badge Bomb buttons ($2.25, variety available, in-stores only), or add a little handwritten note in each pouch for an added surprise.
For friends who could use a little pep talk or wisdom on the topic of relationships, gift them the advice of the Love Oracles. A set of 50 cards new to the shop, Love Oracles ($24.99, in-stores and online) features a little wisdom and bedroom tips inspired by the lives of oracles like Laverne Cox, Britney, Jonathan Van Ness, Mary Shelley, Einstein, Marilyn Monroe, and many more. Each card has a different take on one-night stands, long-term relationships and breakups, and family and friends to check off all the relationship boxes.
Help kids learn all forms of love and kindness with a good book. Lots of options are available in stores for kids of any age. Some of our top Valentine’s Day book recommendations include Daddy Cuddles, Mommy Loves, In My Heart, and Love Is Love, among others. For teaching self-love and care, we particularly recommend I Like Me and I Love Me by Abby Zaitley. Independently published and beautifully accompanied by Begüm Manav’s watercolour illustrations, Zaitley’s book encourages kids to foster self-love and acceptance in all their forms, just the way they are now but also as they learn and grow—a lesson even us adults could use a little reminding of now and then.
For a smaller addition to a Valentine’s card, we have a variety of Tattly tattoos ($8–$15) in store alongside fun cat and dog buttons from Badge Bomb that always make our little visitors laugh and light up. Finally, for those looking for a locally-made option, a new quirky stuffy friend from Toronto’s Leikey ($35) is a fun find. We have a few in-stores and online that are looking for homes and we hear they like lots of hugs!
Class Valentine’s Day cards are also available in store for the kids to take to school and spread the love to all their friends. Space cats, jungle cats, astronauts, pirates, dogs, unicorns, butterflies, and little love monster options available at both locations in packs of 16, 24, and 28 cards ($10–$25, selections vary in-stores and online). For a little extra cuteness, the Meri Meri boxed Valentine’s card sets come with coordinating temporary tattoos! For more personalized little notes, Little Letters of Love ($14.95, in-stores only) are an economical option for those with a couple kids to pass out cards. Each book includes 75 little letters to write your own messages on and three sheets of stickers to seal them up.
Valentine’s Day isn’t all about partnerships or other people—it’s also a day to celebrate a little self-love, too. Whether you’re in a relationship or not, take care of yourself this Valentine’s Day. Find a little self-care ritual to check in with your mind and body or treat yourself to a little something you’ve been eyeing.
A couple of our recommendations? Start with a Happy Alone beanie ($18.95, in-stores only and currently 30% off!) and a “Solitude” heart enamel pin ($10, in-stores only) by Montreal’s Stay Home Club to showcase your status or just the fact that you’re a proud introvert. The 52 Lists series is a great option for those looking to get to know a little more about themselves. The 52 Lists for Togetherness ($16.95, in-stores and online) edition is a particularly interesting way to explore all the relationships in your life and all the communities that surround you. The School of Life’s Know Yourself prompt cards ($20, in-stores and online) also offer unique questions and methods to get to know you even better—after all, it’s hard to understand how we can lead a fulfilling life full of meaningful relationships when we don’t know ourselves first, from what motivates us to what we rank as most important.
Finally, if all you really want is to be left alone—we get it! This day isn’t for everyone and can be especially tough. Give everyone the message without having to send a million messages with a very clear sign for your door from Emily McDowell ($16.95, in-stores only). Doesn’t “Currently Feeling My Feelings, Please Do Not Disturb” say it all, after all? Hang the sign and take the night for yourself to do whatever you want to do—or just fall asleep early. Get an extra restful snooze with a bit of Calm Balm ($13, in-stores only) and a cushy luxe Potpourri Getaway eye mask from Ban.do ($26.95, in-stores and online)
For those unsure of what to get, a card is a safe pick and also the perfect option for personalizing your gift. In fact, according to the Greeting Card Association (yes, there’s a body that tracks greeting card giving rates), about 145 million Valentine’s Day cards are sent annually, making Valentine’s Day second only to Christmas as the largest card-sending holiday. The bonus to it being such a popular card-giving day is that we have lots of unique and thoughtful Valentine’s Day card options in store and online, ranging from the super sappy to the non-committal and the comical. The majority of our cards are blank inside, leaving you lots of space to write a little note of appreciation, tell them exactly what makes them so wonderful, or harp on about why you’re not a Valentine’s Day fan but you are for them—however you choose to express your love, you can do it in your own perfect words.
If you prefer the more traditional chocolates, sweets, or flowers route, we have lots of lovely neighbours in Leslieville and Roncesvalles that we’d love to direct you to. From Bobette and Belle on Queen East and the Chocolateria on Roncy for your sweetheart with a sweet tooth to Bandit Brewery in the west and Avling in the east for your brew-loving boy, test our neighbourhood knowledge. As we mentioned in a recent post, Quince Flowers and Willem and Jools are also great stops for some fresh blooms or a green plant to brighten their day. Just don’t forget to snag your gift bags and wrap while you’re here!
Have another neighbourhood stop to share that’s particularly perfect for Valentine’s Day? Give them a little shout-out in the comments below!
Erin (they/them), a frequent shopper at the store over the years, joined the Scout team when we opened in Leslieville in November 2018 and now oversees both shops as store manager. They pride themselves on giving the perfect heartfelt card and may be considered your go-to source for brunch and coffee recommendations in the East End.
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405 Roncesvalles Ave
Toronto ON M6R 2N1
416 546 6922
1140 Queen St E
Toronto ON M4M 1L1
647 748 1140