My (new) city in vintage

A guest post by my friend and new Torontonian Julia. (Not to be confused with my other friend and new Torontonian Julia.)

Toronto gets a pretty bad rap from the rest of Canada. A born-and-raised Vancouverite, I am willing to admit that I had all the popular misconceptions of the city: too conservative, too boring and too cold.

Okay so maybe the latter will always be true (at least temperature-wise). But for a city with so much culture, style, and stuff to do, I have been proven sorely wrong on the first two accounts.

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You might not have guessed it, but Toronto is also a vintage-lovers paradise. The sheer quantity of shops devoted to affordable vintage clothing, accessories and furniture makes “the big smoke” a prime destination for out-of-city buyers and resellers.  Here are some of my favourite budget-friendly spots in the city – places I am always willing to brave the elements for:

Vintage Mix 1 (186 Ossington Avenue)

Ossington Street is one of the most quick-to-gentrify neighbourhoods in the city. Amidst the shiny new bars and restaurants is the unassuming Vintage Mix 1 (for quite a while their sign was just a piece of hand-scrawled construction paper taped to the door). With a rainbow spectrum of pumps and day dresses (if you have a thing for late 70s secretary dresses, this is your place), it also carries a variety of coats, nightgowns (à la Betty Draper), fabulous accessories and sometimes an awesome furnishing find.

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Franny’s Vintage (1394 Queen Street West)

This sweet little store in Parkdale has got a refined selection of vintage clothing and some new denim too. Sometimes you can catch the owner playing her banjo when she thinks no one’s looking. Check out her etsy shop here.

Upside Dive (269 Queen Street East)

Run by four siblings, this home décor collection used to be run out of a storage space-turned-showroom buried in residential Riverdale. That’s where I picked up my most prized piece, a restored mid-century walnut coffee table. Now located just east of Downtown on Queen East, they continue to offer a unique selection of furnishings and attire at prices that can’t be beat.

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Mod Mini Metallic (834 A College Street)

I can’t take credit for discovering this one – fellow Anthology guest blogger Sabrina is the one who introduced me to this teeny shop on College. If I had a crazy aunt who smoked with a cigarette holder, this is what her closet would look like. I try to stay away from this shop at this time of year because chances are I will come out with some 1950s chiffon number that will crumble under the first snowflake that hits it. But whether you need a party dress or a conversation piece, this place has its unusual pick of frocks.

The Refinery (588 Markham Street)

Cher Thornton has got the racket on vintage in Mirvish Village with her two kitty-corner shops, The Refinery and A Vintage Bride. The Refinery has a fun collection of hats (all of which are too small for my freakishly large head), jewelry and evening wear. If you’re a bride-to-be or just want to play dress-up, the bridal shop next door has more lace, satin and organza than you could shake a stick at.

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image from 69vintage.com

69 Vintage (1100 Queen Street West)

Coats and boots and sweaters, oh my! 69 Vintage is always a great source for inspiration. And now owner Kealan Sullivan has expanded her operation to include 69 Collective (at Bloor) which includes a buy-by-the-pound option, a craft market and The Make Den, a sewing studio for those who want to create their own designs.

Thanks to the Anthology for inviting me to do a guest post!

Nonono, thank you Julia for writing one! One day I will visit Toronto (what kind of Canadian am I if I haven’t already been?) and I will have this list in-hand.

Want to know my five favourite vintage shops (four from Vancouver, one from Seattle)? Find them here. Find vintage shopping intimidating? Check out the Anthology’s guide to vintage shopping.

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7 Comments

  • Reply Abby February 22, 2010 at 7:05 am

    Thanks for sharing! We go to Toronto and I rarely have a great time, some sh*t ALWAYS goes happens! We have a love/hate relationship with Ontario because most of the people we encounter are pretty cold/rude and their weird holidays that causes IKEA to be closed but I guess it is also because of our American perceptions. But if they have awesome vintage we can definitely respect that!

  • Reply hauteworld February 22, 2010 at 8:44 am

    I’ve always associated Toronto with great shopping, food and entertainment, but found the city itself to be rather gray and cold (not just the weather) compared to Vancouver. These are fabulous vintage finds though! If I’m ever back there, I’ll know where to go…

  • Reply Kelsey February 22, 2010 at 10:15 am

    Abby — oh no! The Canadians you’ve encountered have been rude? How very unlike us.

    Seriously, the vintage shopping sounds amazing. Hopefully next time you visit you’ll have a blast.

    Hauteworld — Heavens, woman. Where have you not been? I’m just worried everyone who’s visiting Vancouver right now for the Olympics will fall in love with it — it’s been stupidly warm and sunny. But it’s typically far more dismal (weather-wise) this time of year.

  • Reply lisa February 22, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Those shoes all lined up in rows!! Each pair a unique treasure…thanks for sharing these great vintage store recommendations–they sound like treasure troves full of gems waiting to be discovered.

  • Reply irene February 24, 2010 at 8:30 am

    Hey Girl, thanks for the blog love!!! Head on over to 69 Collective if you get a chance – it’s a goldmine!!!

  • Reply vinci February 24, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    Eeks! I was just in T.O as well! I hear you sista, as a born and raised Vancouverite myself I totally dreaded the thought of Toronto & meeting Torontonians. Boy, was I sorely disappointed when I realized that I had been rivaling such an awesome city with the coolest people.

    Next time I’m there I’m going to check out all these vintage places. Thanks!

  • Reply Turf San Diego March 16, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Thanks for the info… i’ll put it to good use :)

  • Leave a Reply to vinci Cancel Reply