How to find the perfect gift for dad

By: Yuki Hayashi

Author: Canadian Living


How to find the perfect gift for dad

By: Yuki Hayashi
Need the perfect gift for the special dad in your life? You could go the gift card route, but if you want to pursue the perfect "Wowsers, that's perfect!" moment, you need to dig deep into his 'Dad psyche'.

How does your special guy like to see himself? The right gift will address his self-identity, and the best part is, you can find it at a whole range of prices, from recession-savvy "saves" to bigger ticket "splurges."

The active dad
What makes him tick: He sees himself as someone on his feet and on the go, whether he's coaching soccer, building a deck in the backyard, or hiking in the woods on the weekend.

What to get: Gear that caters to his active lifestyle.

• Mark’s Work Wearhouse has new-and-improved driWear tees and polo shirts. These soft, breathable summer shirts offer athletic-clothing-style moisture wicking technology, minus the shiny finish of workout shirts – perfect for when he's on the move. $29.99-$49.99,

• A classic Swiss Army knife is always useful. Match his office-to-hills personality with a Swissflash style that includes a built-in USB stick (available from 1 GB to 16 GB). From $40, see for retailers.

Outdoors Canada will give him hours of enjoyment as he soaks up the latest and greatest news on alfresco adventure. $19.95 for a one-year subscription.

The creative dad
What makes him tick: He retreats inside his head to relax and recharge. He likes to read, write or sketch, jot down thoughts or musical compositions, whether among his family or when hanging out alone in his office or studio.

What to get: Something that caters to his love of self-reflection.

• Moleskine have been the go-to makers of notebooks, diaries, sketchpads and planners for creative types from Vincent Van Gogh to Hemingway. has a great interactive website and online community, and you can find select notebooks at or your local book store or art supply shop, from approximately $15 and up.

• Creative dads will be charmed by the abstract aspect of these shadow silhouette pictures. You pick the background colour, poses and number of kids in each picture, and personalize the names. Just frame it and he's got the perfect artwork for his office. $26,

• Does he love getting his hands dirty in the garden or the workshop? He'll find inspiration in Canadian Gardening or Canadian Home Workshop magazines. $22.95 and $28.52, respectively, for a one-year subscription.

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The java dad
What makes him tick: He's a man of simple pleasures and a great cuppa coffee (or espresso, or cappuccino, or latte) tops his list.

What to get: What else? Anything coffee or coffee-related!

The Nescafe Dolce Gusto single-serve coffee machine is just the thing if he's the type of guy who'd turn his nose up at… well, a single-serve coffee machine! It's made by Krups, one of industry leaders, it looks super stylish, and it delivers both hot and cold coffee beverages from caffé lungo to iced cappuccino with ease. And he can customize the strength and intensity with the flip of a switch. $249.99, available at The Bay and Home Outfitters or check out for more retailers.

• Kicking Horse Coffee is roasted and packaged in Canada's Rocky Mountain town of Invermere, B.C. It's organic, fair trade, and darn fine coffee to boot. Java fiends will definitely approve. From $13.95/lb, to buy or to find local stores.

• Is he a Tim's man or a Starbucks kind of guy? A gift card to either allows him to enjoy his gift for weeks to come. Tim Horton's gift card from $20, Starbucks gift card from $15.

The hot papa
What makes him tick: He's the counterpart to a yummy mummy: Just your everyday metrosexual dad.

What to get: A product or service that will help him look his best.

• Help him keep his pearly whites gleaming with a new electric toothbrush. The Oral B Pulsonic delivers over 27,000 sonic vibrations per minute! $80, sold at mass retail, drug and grocery stores across Canada or see for more info.

• Book him in for some spa time. A scalp treatment massage, facial or old school barbershop shave will have him looking and feeling like new. From approximately $30 and up.

Some spas and barbers to consider:
Toronto: Truefitt & Hill
Montreal: Mann
Calgary: The Getaway Spa
Vancouver: Aqua Terre Spa

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The grill-meister
What makes him tick: Firing up the barbecue and feeding his family burgers, shish kebab and beer can chicken satisfies a primordial urge deep within him.

What to get: The tools of his trade.

• True grill aficionados know gas or propane is fine, but for slow-cooked ribs or chicken, nothing beats charcoal. A classic kettle barbecue or combination smoker will bring his game up another notch. From $60, at Home Depot.

• A new set of grill tools should make him happy enough to whip up an alfresco feast – or three. This five-piece set from Lagostina is made from durable, heavy-gauge stainless steel. $50,

The sports nut
What makes him tick: He lives for the big game, but mostly sticks to the sidelines.

What to get:
TiVois finally available in Canada. This tuner/digital video recorder will record his big games, fave weekly shows and more. Best part: he can easily export the game to his iPod or computer so he can watch it during his morning public transit commute. $190,

The Hockey News will keep him posted on all the news fit to print (for rink nuts). $49.96 for 30 issues.

• If he's ambling to move from couch potato to man of action, get him a heart rate monitor so he can track his progress. $99 to $350,

Hipster dad
What makes him tick: He sees being a dad as a great means of extending his, um, youthful approach to life. (Okay: his major fear is of becoming old and un-cool.)

What to get:
• Whether it's to the playground or a trendy locavore bakery/café, he'll be chuffed to hang out in a sporty 'athleisure' jacket from Adidas, Fred Perry or Puma. $49.99 to $134.99,

• Supermarket grooming products? Not for him. The Body Shop's For Men Maca Root skin care and shaving line uses maca root, an ingredient ancient Inca warriors were said to consume before battle for strength and endurance. Plus this conscious shopper will love that the product line pays fair prices for ingredients harvested in the developing world. $10 to $18, see for locations.

• He never got rid of his old-school vinyl. Yet he does love his iPod. Solution: Stanton's T.55 USB turntable that transfers records to MP3s on your PC or Mac. The best of both worlds – and plenty stylish to boot. $333, for retailers.

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Read more:
Our favourite ways to celebrate Father's Day
3 Father's Day feasts
Father's Day Gift Guide

Check out: Relationships Friends & Family Life

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How to find the perfect gift for dad