TIFF 2019: What’s inside the a-list gift bags?

We’re always so curious as to who is getting gifted what during the Toronto International Film Festival. Gifting lounges have been popular globally and the best of the best spend a considerable amount of time vetting and curating what is offered. Times certainly have changed when it comes to gifting lounges. And to be honest, no one wants anything that will go to waste and no one wants to be frivolous. We were fortunate to sneak a peek inside the gift bags and the challenge for us was to pick our absolute favourites items out of the many goodies…

gift bags

At the 11th annual BaskIt Style Lounge by Glo Communications gave us a peek at the special welcoming gift bag full of goodies that will be discreetly hand delivered to celebrities right to the comforts of their hotels. This particular goody bag offers items that are for discovering and serves as a welcome in our big city. Some of the celebrities who have been gifted in the past include Rachel McAdams, Elle Fanning, Helen Mirren, Matt Damon, Sir Elton John, and Blake Lively.  Think of it as a big warm hug.  Our absolute favourite picks from this lounge:

Every year a juicy novel is included in the assortment of goodies. This time, an advance copy of J.T. Ellison’s crime thriller Good Girls Lie is one of the most buzzed about gifts. Author was brought in for TIFF also to chat to us about her latest read ahead of the publishing date (December 30). The NYT Bestselling author tells us this is a cross between Jane Eyre and Gossip Girls. She also hints that there are many references to her own life experiences as a teen in an growing an all-girls school.

Indigena Skincare is a small batch, hand-crafted line from Newfoundland. Using locally sourced organic and all-natural Boreal extracts ingredients and North Atlantic sea botanicals, the line is rich with nutrients — smells pretty good too! The owner tells us that her beautiful line is enjoyed at the stunning Fogo Island Inn. The stars are gifted a “Glowing Travel Kit”.

gift bags

We discovered Dr. Bronner’s line of pure organic and fair trade line of products. Learning about the company’s “all-in-one” philosophy and guiding principles made us look closer when we got back to our computers. All-in-One is a full circle mentality taking care of not only what ingredients go into to the products but also caring for their staff and treating them like family, treating the earth as home, funding and supporting community, being fair to suppliers, as well as working hard to continue to grow and educate. The line includes organic soaps, toothpastes, haircare, shaving soaps and more.

OTeas, a company based out of British Columbia has created an assortment of their “Fan Favourites” package of organic teas specifically for TIFF stars. The Strawberries and Cream is a delicious transition from summer to fall. The tea comes individually wrapped tea bags, but before we gasped, we learned the entire packaging is completely biodegradable.

If the a-lister feels the need to get away from the city’s core and take a fresh air break, they can use up their credits with TURO, a car-sharing company. Think of it as the AirBnB of car rentals. The roster of cars range from family-friendly SUVs, sports cars, and all the way to unforgettable drives including the Back to the Future DeLorean Time Machine (replica) — the dream car comes complete with all the bells and whistles like the original. We were star-struck.


At the 10th annual Essentials Lounge hosted by EGPR is known for arming TIFF media with useful items to get them through the Festival days and nights. The reality of reporting on TIFF? It’s all about endurance and not getting burnt out. For us, it’s early morning story filing, rushing to press conferences, sometimes waiting for talent to arrive, rushing back to refresh in time to get to the parties and screenings in between.

For every reality show aficionado, hayu is a dream come true. This subscription-based on-demand streaming service only launched a year ago in Canada after finding success in countries like the UK, Australia, Norway, and Sweden. It’s not just about Keeping up with the Kardashians but other reality series like Below the Deck that follows the lives of a crew working on a multi-million dollar charter boat in the Caribbean. VIPs received a gift subscription that also offers up downloading shows for on-the-go or waiting in the lines at TIFF.

We’re all very interested in having a good night’s rest, especially this time of year. Last year we were introduced to a company called this works and took home a bottle of their deep sleep pillow spray. We were hooked and continued to use this product to this day and we even take it on our travels. The company has now launched an extension of the product  sleep+ pillow spray+ that has magical powers to continuously release it’s soothing scent throughout the night as you move. Alongside the new sleep spray, the company also introduced a line of skincare create to help you wake you up in the morning! We will be trying the “Morning Expert” line out shortly.

Everyone is on the go these days running from work to play and everything in between. Thursday Plantation Tea Tree Face Wipes are perfect for not only getting that city grime off our faces but ideal for refreshing midday too. Tea Tree oil is one of nature’s most powerful and effective ingredients to help also those who are acne-prone and with sensitive skin.

When you’re in behind the camera, it’s not a big deal to get all gussied up, right? But when you land in front of the camera. Well, a few simple touch-ups can help. Aveda was on hand to help us pick out a few colours for lips and eyes. They also gave a quick tutorial on how to define your brows with their latest Brow Definer. Ideal for those of us who won’t have time to get anything done now.


The Hudson’s Bay Company is also hand-delivering a package full of goodies emblazoned with the company’s iconic stripes. The instantly recognizable heritage coloured stripes are sought after souvenirs.


About Sonya Davidson 935 Articles
Covering events, openings and all the deliciousness in Toronto.