If you love a bargain or finding yourself a one-off vintage item then pack a bag and head to Toronto. This metropolitan city with its high-rise towers and slick financial district is home to some of the best fashion finds in the world. If new is your thing you can get lost in the sprawling Eaton Centre but if you want something a bit more one-off or individual then you are in fashion heaven.
Shopping starts in Queen Street for you, heading North the street develops from boutique designers to thrift stores, and bargain basements and climaxes in Parkdale with its many eclectic vintages finds. Most noteworthy on this street are Black Market, Kind Exchange and Public Butter.
The Canadians proudly recycle pretty much anything from placing sofas on sidewalks to see they’ve been adopted overnight by a new owner to household DIY making use of the lost and found and carefully separating their green goods from non-recyclable in the garbage; so it’s no surprise to see that their approach to clothing is the same. You’ll see locals load wire fences with random vintage pieces on Saturday mornings to sell their odds and ends to each other but the real business is in Queen Street.
Black Market is located downtown on Queen Street and is hard to find to a novice Toronto explorer. The sign is subtle and points downstairs to a large basement which holds hundreds of rails collecting the biggest assortment of vintage jumpers, t-shirts, glasses, belts bags and more. Moreover Black Market has introduced a range of new items such as scarves of simple fabrics and designs, jewellery, bags and other apparel which are incredibly cheap. In fact, the whole store is incredibly cheap! A retro Christmas jumper will set you back $10 and scarves $5. Amazing choice, a great store soundtrack and really quirky staff.
The Kind Exchange has also located in downtown Toronto but has several stores in the city. It is a unique recycling system where customers can buy, sell, trade or donate clothes so purchases in this store are truly one of a kind. This store hands profits to local charities which help the local community and when located in such a fashionable district the finds in here are bound to be good. Prices vary depending on the item, condition and quality of similar items, definitely worth checking out for all kinds of finds from men’s, women’s, apparel, accessories and more.
Public Butter can be found in the uber-cool area of Parkdale Toronto at the top of Queen Street. Public Butter is truly and utterly vintage with anything you could ever imagine buying from a vintage store including; prom dresses, fur coats, leather jackets, karate suits, classic 80s bomber hoodies and tonnes more. You can also get yourself an absolute steal as often the items are really cheap. You could spend hours in this shop alone and some items are perfect for a costume dress.
These three are top picks but Toronto is an ever-evolving city open to constant change and development, more and more of the stores pop up weekly. So grab yourself a take-out coffee and put on some comfy shoes for an entire day walking Queen. Enjoy.