We think Toronto doesn’t get enough credit as a design mecca – which is shocking, because there are beautiful things to be had and inspiring people to talk to seemingly everywhere. As the city matures, several smaller design districts have blossomed, each with their own aesthetics and cornerstone establishments. We have our favourites around town and we’ll be sharing them with you – you can check out our favourite spots on the King East strip here.
We love clean, modern furniture as much as the next guy, but there’s something about a totally unique-to-you vintage piece that adds a certain something to any room. If King East is a modern design mecca, then cozy Queen West is its antithesis. You’ll find some of the best vintage and antique finds in the city, all in fascinating shops you can spend a whole day exploring. Here’s a few of our favourites.
Just west of Bathurst, you’ll find an eclectic mix of vintage furniture and lighting, vintage-inspired new pieces, one-of-a-kind samples, and curiosities of all kinds. Looking for petrified coral or taxidermy? Pick it up here, and get a mid-century pendant light, or Japanese glassware set while you’re at it. From couches and chairs, both vintage and reproduced, to odds and ends to spruce up your desk, you’ll find it here!
We might be cheating by including this sparkly shop, as it’s located in King West’s theatre district, but if you’re a lover of fine details, it’ll be worth the detour. Though they specialize in vintage and estate jewellery – if you’re in the market for an engagement ring and the like, this is the place to be – their sculptures, pottery, diningware and trinkets are something special. You’ll always walk away with something beautiful and totally unique.
INabstracto has been a West Queen West staple since 2001, and their selection is sure to please any mid-century lover. Curated by owners Kate Eisen and Julie Jenkinson, they consistently stock rare, well-made pieces from Canada, Scandinavia, the States and Europe. You don’t need to dig at INabstracto – everything you find will be a sure bet. They’ve also recently opened a neighbouring gallery, VERSO, showcasing up-and-coming artists, so if you’re interested in Toronto’s art scene this space is a must-visit.
We’ll say it: this is the best antiques spot on the Roncy strip. Find furniture, housewares, vintage clothes, ads, prints, magazines – anything you’re looking for, from the 50s right up to the 90s, you might luck out and find here. Unlike so many shops in their area, the sprawling layout and ample space mean you never feel like a bull in a china shop. If you’re feeling competitive, stop by their live auction every third Thursday of the month, or scope out their well-maintained Instagram and call dibs.
5. Queen West Antiques Market
Doesn’t the name say it all? Right at Queen and Roncesvalles, this huge emporium has tons of great finds at a variety of pricepoints. Their space has an industrial feel, and the pieces aren’t quite as curated as some competing shops, but the huge space allows for a larger and more varied furniture selection. If you’re looking for bigger pieces, you have to check them out!
There are dozens more shops on West Queen West – do you know one we left off the list? Tell us on Twitter – we’re always looking for another hidden gem.
Click on images to visit their source. Title image from David Kaufman Photography.