Posts in Toronto
Love It | Coffee

This love it list is an obvious one. A love for all things coffee which is pretty much a universal love. Speaking of which, there are days for that. Tuesday, September 29 is National Coffee Day in many countries, and Thursday, October 1 is International Coffee Day. What a week to celebrate. We have a fun giveaway coming up in honour of our favourite drink. Stay tuned! If you have one of our coffee prints, tag it #swellmadecoffee. We'd love to see the prints in your spaces!

Here is a quick list of fun things for yourself and your home that profess your mad love for coffee, whether it's drip or espresso.

  1. But First, Coffee art print by Swell Made Co
  2. Moscow Copper Mule Mug available on Giftagram and West Elm. Take your love for coffee into the evening with a cold coffee cocktail in this mug.
  3. Chemex Coffee Maker
  4. Design Letters Mug by Arne Jacobsen
  5. That Hot Barista Candle by Coal and Canary from Little Blue Canoe
  6. It's Better Pure Coffee art print by Hatch Show Print. I was given this print as a gift and I LOVE it. 

To top off this fun list of goods, we also have a list of our favourite coffee shops in Toronto to celebrate National Coffee Day. 

  1. Rooster Coffee on Broadview - Great coffee in a quaint, but bustling spot. Stunning views of Toronto too. Take a seat inside, on the patio or across the street in the glorious park.
  2. Reunion Island in Roncesvalles - A bright spot with delicious coffee in Roncy. 
  3. Bar Raval - Known for tapas and nightlife, Bar Raval is also open early and serves up fine coffee and breakfast to go (or stay). 
  4. My House - I make a mean latte. Iced or hot. When you're up before the coffee shop, you're required to have some coffee making skills. 

Other Notable Spots: Te Aro in Leslieville, Dark Horse Espresso with multiple locations throughout Toronto, Balzacs Coffee throughout Ontario, and Dineen Coffee in the financial district. 

Enjoy your cup!

Adventure - A Guide to Claude Cormier in Toronto

Back in May, we were part of Q&A Letterbox's stationery subscription. It's so dreamy if you're a paper lover. Check them out! Q&A Letterbox asked me "Who are some of your favourite Canadian Designers/Artists?". You'd expect me to give a typical Graphic Designer response like Marian Bantjes (who is also fabulous - huge fan), but I didn't hesitate in saying Claude Cormier

Claude Cormier is a Montreal based Landscape Architect and Urban Designer, amongst other unofficial titles. His work is fascinating and multidisciplinary, graphic and playful. An example that good, accessible design prevails when you can stand behind your concept and cut through bureaucracy. Claude and his team are very familiar with that.

The projects transform neighbourhoods and landscapes through introducing happy spaces for everyone to enjoy and take pride in. Want to watch a video to learn more? Check out this Vimeo on the topic of Happy Design

It's distinct, and lucky for us, Toronto just happens to have some of the best examples of his work. His work is seen throughout the world and internationally acclaimed. In this post, I'll take you through a brief tour of Claude Cormier projects that you may already know quite well if you're from or have spent some time in Toronto, but will come to appreciate even more. 

Within each project, we navigate webs of political, environmental, historical, social, and economic entanglements, seeking to extract a simple, clear idea that encapsulates it all. Once this single concept is identified, we meticulously unfold it to guide all aspects of the project, from global organization to the finest construction detail. This results in complex, consistent environments that communicate loudly and clearly. We believe that a bold landscape image can brand a company, define the identity of a city, or simply entice passers-by to take a closer look.
Four Seasons Hotel and Residences. Photo by Claude Cormier + Associes.

Four Seasons Hotel and Residences. Photo by Claude Cormier + Associes.

First up, you might recognize this space in Yorkville which is inspired by the Victorian era and homes in the neighbourhood. You'll see playful ways in which they depicted icons like an urban rug, a "traditional" cast iron fountain and a rose-less rose garden. 

"Known for its nineteenth century Victorian houses, Toronto’s historic Yorkville neighbourhood is poised for the new millennium with the arrival of a metropolitan scale skyscraper and world-class hotel, The Four Seasons. The contradiction between these two eras and scales is reconciled in the landscape, where stylistic elements from the former period are amplified to fit modern day perceptions."

HTO. Photo by Claude Cormier + Associes.

HTO. Photo by Claude Cormier + Associes.

Next, we'll visit Toronto's ever-changing waterfront. Claude has designed two fun and very engaging, if not iconic, Toronto spaces.

HTO was the first to be completed with a landscape that gently slopes up and away from the city and down to the lake where you'll find a restful urban oasis.

HTO - Toronto Waterfront
"HTO reveals, honours, and celebrates Lake Ontario, source of the identity and cultural expression of Canada’s largest city. We developed an urban beach that encourages residents and visitors to rediscover the water, luring them from the hustle and bustle of the city. The atmosphere: a modern re-enactment of Seurat’s Un dimanche après-midi à l’Ile de la Grande Jatte (1884-1886), with its bright colours, play of light and shadows, and sense of peaceful refuge."

Sugar Beach. Photo by Claude Cormier + Associes.

Sugar Beach. Photo by Claude Cormier + Associes.

Head a bit further east and you'll find the loveable Sugar Beach. This is a sequel to HTO, but pulls it's inspiration directly from it's surroundings and neighbour the Redpath sugar factory. 

SUGAR BEACH - Toronto Waterfront
"Tinted by sugar spray carried on westerly breezes from the neighbouring Redpath Sugar Factory, a series of hard rock candies with coloured stripes and dozens of pink umbrellas are scattered across a sandy wedge of beach along the Jarvis Slip. Integrating the future Waterfront Promenade, along with a plaza for programmed and unprogrammed events, the design playfully adopts some of the most enduring elements from Toronto’s emerging landscape identity — beaches, bedrock, trees, and water — as well as the urban horizon and a trace of the city’s past industrial mood."

Evergreen Brick Works. Photo by Claude Cormier + Associes.

Evergreen Brick Works. Photo by Claude Cormier + Associes.

In Toronto's Don Valley you'll find the environmentally based community centre, Evergreen Brickworks. It's one of my favourite places in the city. It's hidden away, but accessible, immersed and engaged with its natural surroundings and pays homage to its gritty industrial background. All, while being a welcome and whimsical place. 

"Our conceptual approach focuses on the transformation of this post-industrial ruin into a “green” site. Seeking to transcend the overused term “sustainability,” the proposal emphasizes the idea of trajectories of movement through the site – of water, cars, electricity, trains, and wildlife. The plan addresses a need for higher site porosity as a means to create a free-flowing system of sustainable components in, around, and through the area.

That concludes the Toronto tour. There are MANY projects still in the works by Claude Cormier and Associes. You'll see them emerge as the city transforms over the years including Berczy Park behind the Flatiron building, Garrison Point and additional waterfront spaces. 

Watch for another post with projects featured from Montreal, including my two favourite (seen above) Lipstick ForestLes Boules Rose (Photos by Claude Cormier + Associes). 

Adventure | Toronto's First Post Office + Paper Fair

Next week, on June 16, 2016 from 6-9 pm we'll be taking part in Toronto's First Post Office's Paper Fair. In anticipation of this unique event, Kat Akerfeldt, the Assistant Curator At Toronto's First Post Office (The Town of York Historical Society), is kindly taking over our blog today to tell you everything you need to know before you visit. Thanks so much Kat for sharing about gem that should surely be on your list of urban adventures in Toronto. 

Toronto’s First Post Office is neatly tucked into Toronto’s Old Town neighbourhood, behind two flags and a Canada Post box.  It often comes as a surprise to discover that this demure little museum is not only an operating post office, but a National Historic Site and one of the oldest buildings in Toronto as well. 

In fact, the Post Office pre-dates the city. In 1833, the town of York was booming, and letter-writing was booming too. The Postmaster, James Scott Howard, had bought land in the center of the town, between mighty Bank of Upper Canada and the home of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and built York’s fourth Post Office.  On March 6, 1834, it became Toronto’s first.


Then as now, the Post Office is open 7 days a week, and features a Canada Post outlet, post office boxes for rent behind hand-painted windows, and a reading room supplied with paper, quill and ink. Then as now, visitors and townsfolk alike gather to share the latest news, shoot the breeze, or, as one of Canada’s earliest and most prolific letter-writers said, to “take advantage of the happy and marvellous invention of transmitting thoughts on a sheet of paper over any distance imaginable.”

Admission to the museum is free, including our permanent exhibit on the Royal Mail in Upper Canada, a model of the Town of York in 1837, changing exhibits on the buildings and the people of York and early Toronto, and all kinds of writing equipment! If you would like to send a letter using 19th century materials (cotton paper, goose quills, ink, and sealing wax), our Postmistress will supply you with instruction and everything you need for only $2.

Letter-writing is enjoying something of a renaissance, and Toronto’s First Post Office is a regular destination for those who love stationery and unusual writing equipment, and appreciate a Postmistress who knows her business. We hold regular letter-writing and mail art meet-ups, and now, with Paper Fair, we’d like to introduce some of the best paper goods makers in Toronto to our community, and to our gift shop!

Paper Fair will be held at Toronto’s First Post Office, at 260 Adelaide St. East, on June 16, 2016, from 6-9pm. Bring a bag for your new stash of beautiful stationery and paper goods!

Toronto's First Post Office
260 Adelaide Street East
Toronto, ON M5A 1N1