Ryerson University students and Toronto-based creators have an abundance to offer this holiday season. From books to TV to music, these top picks are all about homegrown talent.
Holiday greeting cards from Lead Feather Creative, for purchase at leadfeathercollective.com
These witty greeting cards are made by Lee Chapman, a Ryerson professional communications alumna.
Brown by Kamal Al-Solaylee, $33 at Chapters Indigo
Brown is written by Ryerson’s respected journalism professor, Kamal Al-Solaylee. It was nominated for the 2016 Governor General’s Literary Awards in non-fiction. Al-Solaylee writes about the meaning of being brown and delves into the social, political, economic and personal implications of being brown-skinned in the world.
Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur, hardcover edition $25 at Chapters Indigo
The New York Times bestselling poetry and prose collection is about the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss and femininity. Each chapter deals with a different pain and heals the bitter moments in life. Kaur was born in India and raised in Brampton. She is a Toronto-based poet, performer and artist.
Bliss by Shay Mitchell and Michaela Blaney, $23 at Chapters Indigo
Shay Mitchell’s debut novel is set in Toronto, Hollywood, Thailand and London. Sophia Marcus, 21, portrays a relatable life during the Age of Uncertainty: one’s early twenties. It talks about the themes of optimism and fear as well as expectation versus reality. Mitchell studied at Ryerson’s School of Performance, majoring in acting, and is now one of the stars in ABC’s Pretty Little Liars.
90s Pop Divas colouring book, $12 at Team Art:
Stop right now, thank you very much and colour in your favourite girl power phenomenons: Destiny’s Child, TLC, Spice Girls, Britney Spears, Mariah Carey, Aaliyah and more. This book is designed by art duo Amanda Lo and Charline Wang of Toronto-based company Team Art. Team Art’s other pop culture colouring books include: Parks & Recreation, Game of Thrones and Harry Potter.
United Colours of Kensington Market colouring book, $20 at Keep6:
Let your gift recipient relax and colour everyone’s favourite Toronto neighbourhood. Each illustration is matched with a clever rhyming couplet. Don’t forget to add in the menagerie of stickers on that hippy van.
Game of Thrones season six on DVD, $39 at HMV (or $47 for Blu-Ray)
Winter is certainly coming. Although season seven is premiering next summer, give this gift to a Westeros aficionado so they can re-watch the epic journey again. Fun fact: Ryerson film studies alumnus Jeremy Podeswa directed the first two episodes and will direct a couple more next season.
Sleeping Giant, $15 at HMV
Set in the northern shore of Lake Superior, Sleeping Giant is about three boys are captured in an emotional summer through the backwoods. Adam, Nate and Riley struggle to find their place in the world that exemplifies the themes of friendship, love and sexuality. An award-winning film produced by Karen Harnisch, a Ryerson School of Image Arts film alumna. It won the Best Canadian First Feature Award at TIFF in 2015.
Lowell’s new EP Part 1: Paris YK, $3 on Lowell’s website
Two years after her debut album was released, Toronto electro-pop artist Lowell returns with a new EP, Part 1: Paris YK. All three songs are worth hearing on repeat, but “West Coast Forever” is definitely a hit that will make anyone want to soak up the sun at Venice Beach and escape Toronto’s grim winter 2017 forecast.
Little Boxer’s latest EP Volume IV, $5 at Little Boxer’s Bandcamp
This Ryerson alternative rock band released their new EP on Oct. 28 which features singles such as “Hello Doctor” and “Young Lovers.” Zack Erickson, the lead singer and guitarist of Little Boxer is a Ryerson politics and public administration alumni and the bassist, Juan Udarbe is a Ryerson engineering alumni. Little Boxer has played during Canadian Music Week (CMW) for two years straight. Their first gig was in August 2014 at the Smiling Buddha on College Street. Similar to: The War On Drugs, Two Door Cinema Club, Sam Roberts Band.
The Weeknd’s Starboy, $13 at HMV
Say “XO” by gifting The Weeknd’s much-awaited release, Starboy. The Weeknd, who grew up in Scarborough, will add this album to his transition from dark R&B to the prince of pop music. He collaborates with Daft Punk in “Starboy” and “I Feel It Coming” as well as Lana Del Rey in “Party Monster” and “Stargirl Interlude.” The Weeknd’s rebrand into Starboy earlier this fall took everyone by surprise as he redefined his identity. In the “Starboy” music video, it opens with him killing the past version of himself and proceeding to destroy all of the gold and platinum albums in his house. Look for it in record stores everywhere on Nov. 25 which is also his first tour date at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre.