The ever-alluring activity of thrifting has only gained fans with time. The moment someone compliments your fit, a sense of pride washes over you because a; you snatched a good piece, and b; even when you tell them where it’s from, they can’t get find the same item. Some people are drawn to vintage wear because they’re tired of fast-fashion and want to look unique while others enjoy the thrill-of-the-hunt and challenge of styling. Any reason is a viable one because in doing so, they’re helping lower the mountains of textiles that go to landfills every year.
On average, each Canadian tosses 81 pounds of clothes annually (9.5 million tonnes across North America). Thats a lot of $5 tees that we’ve imported from China.
So whether you want to stand out in the crowd, score the best deal on a designer brand or help save the planet, these ten shops will have you looking and feeling great about shopping.
347 Queen West, Toronto
Home of dirt cheap Toronto vintage—everything is $10 (or less). This is one of the oldest and most popular vintage stores in the city which means it’s usually busy but not over-crowded.
They have an impressive collection of graphic tees, accessories plaid flannels, and punk necessities—including a great soundtrack for you to enjoy while browsing. If you have the time, you can certainly find some gems to spice up your fits.
COURAGE MY LOVE
14 Kensington Avenue, Toronto
Serving Kensington Market since 1975, chances are if you love vintage, you’ve browsed through their collection. With equal parts clothing and accessories it’s a great place to get lost for a while.
They offer one of the most reliable selections in Toronto and have everything from nice cashmere sweaters and hats to knick knacks for your home—don’t forget to rummage through the cupboards to find some super cool buttons.
60 Kensington Avenue, Toronto
Exile has been doing vintage well since day one. Over 30 years and it has remained a Kensington Market staple. It’s a shopping destination for celebrities, movie stylists and anyone who loves thrifting without breaking the bank!
Prices are reasonable and the place is huge so be prepared to spend some time sifting through this yellow treasure chest!
F AS IN FRANK
418 Queen Street West, Toronto
Originally from BC, they made their way to Toronto a few years ago and have been a go-to for anyone who’s in the market for brand-name streetware or graphic tees.
Coats, jackets and sweaters are in season right now (and we appreciate that! The store is well stocked and neatly organized—no digging required.
793 Queen Street West, Toronto
A Kensington Market favourite has moved south. Owner Roger De Souza is the self-proclaimed “King of Vintage,” with his shop supporting the claim. They have the basics like band tees and denim but their specialty lies in pre 80s fashion: Hawaiian shirts, 50s bomber jackets, military coats, colourful ties.
Added bonus: they’ve opened a new shop on the second floor—Victory Girl Vintage. Curated for the ladies, they have a lovely collection of dresses and accessories.
HOUSE OF VINTAGE
1239 Queen Street West, Toronto
Americana is what’s in the House: Levi’s, fringed jackets and cowboy boots. Considered one of the premier shops, they also have a flamboyant selection of shirts and dresses.
Make your way to the back of the House where you’ll find racks of band and Harley Davidson tees– which are quite affordable (most under $30). If you’re lucky, you’ll find some ultra-rare shirts but you’ll have to fork out a few more bucks for those.
IN VINTAGE WE TRUST
1580 Queen Street West, Toronto
Originally an e-bay store, this Parkdale menswear shop is carefully curated and organized according to genre—sportswear, streetwear, military jackets, work-wear, denim and classic Americana.
Much of the collection includes rare pieces. Everything is authentic and has been purchased throughout Canada and the United States.
They also have a great selection of band tees and pins.
1177 Dundas Street West, Toronto
The feel at Penny Arcade is more boutique than vintage shop, since everything is neatly arranged on racks and shelves—they even have sofas for you to kick back and get inspired while your shopping partner tries on clothes.
It’s a mix of both old and new designer pieces and prices range from low to high (the $5 rack always has some great treasures to be discovered). They also have a selection of vintage childrenswear for ages 0-12.
955 Bloor Street West, Toronto
If you’re looking for women’s fashion from 70s, 80s, and 90s check out this gem located in Bloorcourt.
Retro sunglasses, clothes, accessories, shoes, knits, and just in time for winter, Siberia Vintage is stocked up with faux and real fur coats, and a great selection of leather outerwear as well. They pay special attention to the dresses which are arranged by colour and range from fancy gowns to contemporary everyday pieces.
SUB ROSA VINTAGE
16 Kensington Avenue, Toronto
Reasonably priced with a well curated selection of top quality vintage apparel, shoes and accessories for men and women. Their friendly staff helps them stand out from the other shops in Kensington Market.
Don’t forget to look for discounted treasures on their sale rack. Check out their Instagram page to see what latest (oldest) trends they currently have in stock.
WORDS: DAVID GANHÃO
PHOTOS: JUSTYN WHITE
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