The holiday season is fast approaching (as it must) and York Durham Headwaters merchants want you to know they’re open for business. Mindful of pandemic precautions, many of our vendors are offering special products and packages for online ordering and delivery. Businesses that provide outdoor adventures or special accommodation have adapted to the restrictions required and they hope you’ll take advantage of the opportunity to get out of town, take in the grandeur of our beautiful YDH landscapes, and have a little fun.
Here are some of the out of town adventures that are worth the trip and would definitely make a memorable holiday gift:
Jungle Cat World in Orono features exotic and domestic animals—lions, tigers, lemurs and monkeys, along with wolves, foxes and cougars—as well as a petting zoo for young ones. Visitors must book tickets or gift certificates in advance at www.junglecatworld.com. The special “Behind the Scenes” program allows visitors to get up close and personal (some restrictions apply) with three different animals under the supervision of a staff member (https://www.junglecatworld.com/programs.html#BehindTheScenes). Park memberships are also available. Masks must be worn indoors, but are discretionary outside.
Live theatre in the world of COVID-19? Theatre 3×60 / Theatre on the Ridge is presenting special matinée productions of The Christmas Tree by Norm Foster on December 19 and 20 at Scugog Arts Space in Port Perry. For tickets and information, go to http://www.theatreontheridge.ca/. Performance will take place outdoors with appropriate pandemic measures.
The Toronto Marriott Markham, in the heart of downtown Markham, is offering a “Suiten Your Stay” complimentary room upgrade or discounted suite through April 4, 2021. Go to Marriott Booking for the promotional code to book your getaway.
Meanwhile on the internet
In person shopping carries risks, thankfully relatively low in YDH, so many of our thoughtful business owners have adapted with online commerce models.
Treetop Trekking offers a variety of outdoor adventure activities for all ages. “Adventure seekers aged 9+ can climb, swing and zip through the forest canopy on suspended bridges, balance games and ziplines. Kids aged 5-8 will love the junior-sized Discovery Courses. The youngest explorers can let their imaginations lead the way in Treewalk Village, a network of tree-houses connected by net walkways, ramps, and slides.” The Park is now closed for the season and reopens in May. Gift certificates are available at https://treetoptrekking.com/promotion/gift-certificates/.
Mark Kolb, Brainy Games creator, designs and builds all kinds of crazy, clever, fun-at-home puzzles, board games, word games and educational games with custom made versions available. Find his work on Etsy at www.etsy.com/ca/shop/BrainyGames.
Eagle’s Nest Golf Club in Maple
Book your holiday listers a relaxing day out on the gorgeous 18-hole course at Eagle’s Nest Golf Club in Maple. In addition to 2021 Season Passes and Gift Cards, the club has put together a seasonal Holiday Gift Basket full of goodies to have nearby while you practice your putt at home. The 2021 golf season begins in April. Go to www.eaglesnestgolf.com/events to inquire about club memberships, tee times and about club house facilities for special events both private and corporate.
Heartwood Farm & Cidery in Acton has embraced the stay-at-home ethos with The Spirit of Heartwood at Home Gift Subscriptions. “Delight a loved one with Heartwood Farm & Cidery’s simple wonders delivered right to their home this winter. Each subscription package includes farm-crafted alcoholic ciders, and treats from the pastures and orchards of our regenerative farm along with some useful Heartwood merchandise.
“Our subscriptions include interactive opportunities to go behind the scenes (virtually) with our cidersmiths and farmers. Gift recipients will be invited to exclusive livestream tours and tastings. If they choose to add extra products to their boxes, they will receive a 5% discount on any additions. Three options are available (2, 3 and 4 month subscriptions) from $80 to $160.”
Audrey Morgan is the designer and maker of Little Magpie Jewellery, one-of-a-kind pieces—rings, necklaces, earrings and shadow boxes (We had to look that up: wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadow_box). Browse and order online, or visit Meta4 Gallery in Port Perry to try things on. Audrey also has e-gift cards for the outliers on your holiday list.
The McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg has several unique gift ideas for this holiday season. First, a splendid coffee table book, A Like Vision: The Group of Seven & Tom Thomson: “This definitive publication on the Group of Seven is lavishly illustrated with 200 full-colour images, making it a charming holiday gift for anyone’s coffee table! A companion to the McMichael Canadian Art Collection’s centenary exhibition A Like Vision: The Group of Seven at 100, the book includes a lead essay by Executive Director Ian A.C. Dejardin and contributions by Canadian artists, curators and writers including Tarralik Duffy, Charlotte Gray, John Hartman, Robert Houle, David Macfarlane and Gerald McMaster.”
Second, the McMichael Collection Tom Thomson Icewines, “This limited edition red-and-white Icewine duo pays tribute to the life and works of pioneering Canadian artist Tom Thomson. The Vidal Icewine is luscious, zesty and spicy with notes of honey, ripe melon, peach and pineapple. Equally delicious is the Cabernet Franc Icewine with its suggestions of sweet strawberry, cocoa powder and red pepper jelly. Together, a superb gift!” Available in a gift pack through the LCBO: McMichael Collection Tom Thomson Icewine Gift Pack
And finally, embracing the zeitgeist, the perfect stocking stuffer: “Made-in-Canada Group of Seven and Tom Thomson [pandemic face] masks—exclusive to the McMichael! Collect them all (to gift or keep) and don’t forget one for the canoe!”
An extraordinary Canadian art adventure, The McMichael Collection is currently open to the public Thursdays through Sundays and holiday Mondays. Visitors are asked to book timed admission tickets in advance. Pandemic protocols are outlined on the General Admission Tickets page. Memberships are available here. The gallery is only twenty minutes north of Toronto.
The Second Wedge Brewing Co. in Uxbridge is known for its inspired collection of craft beers. They also have holiday gift items on offer:
Spice Factory winter warmer – This year for the first time Spice Factory will be sold in 473 mL cans. Winter warmer is a rich, warming, spicy strong ale that’s been brewed specially to complement the flavours of the season. At 7.5% ABV, this is a heady marriage of rich specialty malts, ginger, nutmeg and allspice. Spice Factory will be available in our onsite retail store and select LCBO stores across Ontario. It can also be purchased on our website after Nov. 17 for home delivery throughout Ontario.
The Second Wedge’s 2020 Brewery Toque – This year’s custom-knit toque with vegan leather appliqué patch is produced in two colours, both matching the blue of our Rain Maker porter can. The toque is available now in-store and can be ordered online closer to Christmas.
The Bridge Social in Uxbridge is offering a large selection of favourite body care products in their Bridge Box . Generous gift boxes are filled with products from local artisans, all-natural beauty and bath products, eco-friendly Canadian products, organic coffee and teas, gourmet food items. Submit a profile and The Bridge Social will create a one of kind, customized box. Bridge Boxes start at $50.
This Is Made, in Vaughan, is a collective boutique, featuring the work of more than 50 Canadian makers. With such a huge variety of items for sale, This Is Made will be a one-stop holiday shopping bonanza. Click here: This Is Made.
Historic Main Street merchants in Unionville, just north of Toronto, invite you to stroll, browse and dine all while keeping an eye out for the perfect gift for the perfect someone on your holiday gift list. Settled in 1794, and known for its picturesque downtown area, Unionville welcomes visitors with historic tours, colourful shops and relaxed dining. Pandemic precautions are in place, of course, but take your time and enjoy!
Written by: Rob Morphy
For more gift ideas, visit our 2020 Featured Finds article below
For more gift ideas, visit the YDH Virtual Market