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Magic Pony bids farewell to Queen Street

Posted by Aubrey Jax / February 24, 2014

Magic Pony West Queen WestMagic Pony has closed the doors of their West Queen West shop in a move that's taken Toronto's art community off guard. The vibrant, downright magical shop was the first designer toy store ever to open in Canada, and has been a creative hub on the street for the past 10 years. Citing changing times, Magic Pony is "looking forward to new adventures in the next dimension," which will hopefully include a new shop on the horizon, though no location has been announced as of yet.

A heartfelt blog post on the shop's history and decision to close the Queen St. location reads in part:

"As a business fueled by creative projects, we've always found a way to survive, but there's been a harshness to the last few years in small business that has taken it's toll and threatened our existence. We've found that there are compromises we don't want to make in order to remain on Queen Street and we'd rather take this somewhere new, where the sky is open with possibility. And so, with the inevitable development of Queen Street, our time has come to leave."

Read the post in its entirely here.

The shop will live on online via their webpage, and in their Design Exchange (234 Bay St) pop-up shop for the This Is Not a Toy exhibition until May 19.



KT / February 24, 2014 at 09:15 am
Rent on Queen west is at least $6500 a month. This is why you'll see more and more business closing down every week.
Jax / February 24, 2014 at 09:53 am
And more and more successful businesses moving in. A designer toy store was not sustainable on Queen St with those rents
jeff / February 24, 2014 at 09:53 am
That section of Queen West is completely shutting down. Bluebird, Robber, Preloved, Magic Pony, and a number of other places between Bathurst and Bellwoods shut down this month. I wonder what will come next?
Liv replying to a comment from Jax / February 24, 2014 at 10:13 am
Doesn't really mean that's a good thing if the spots are being rented out as office space or generic stores.
Colonel / February 24, 2014 at 10:22 am
That part of Queen is hardly shutting down. It's changing. Hard to tell where it will go, and I am hoping as a resident for more green grocers, butchers, shoe repair what-have-you.
Stores like Magic Pony are great, and everyone relishes a place that presents art. But they are still a store, and oriented toward consumers who want to buy more things. I am pretty sure that the owners realize they can continue to sell their things via the internet without the increasing overhead of rent. And as long as people keep buying things on the internet the brick and mortar model will only make sense for grocers, but hers etc...
Chad / February 24, 2014 at 10:33 am
Enough with the adults with mommy and daddy issues collecting toys and pretending to get tat same high from toys they did when they were 12. Grow up, your just being marketed to every time they release a new line of limited edition collectors toys -and you buy it up like its some kind on in club.
Sandy / February 24, 2014 at 10:42 am
If office spaces and generic stores are needed then its a good use of space. A toy store for adults that has some unique items and others you can get at different stores around the city is not a good use of the space.

Let's face it when the store opened 10 years ago people were buying this stuff up at a much higher rate then today. Those 20-30 something's that were buying are now the 30-40 something's trying to get by in the city, having families and not buying cute little high priced collector knick knacks. I know a lot of people that fit the profile, friends that have those toys, the Pete fowler collections all bought up 5-10 years ago and are now knick knacks that their toddlers are playing with.
deezee replying to a comment from Sandy / February 24, 2014 at 11:13 am
I agree with you Sandy. It's too bad it closed as I used to buy many of my Blythe dolls there when I still collected them but yeah, I have a child now and spend money on her. My Blythe dolls sit in a box where I will either let her play with them one day ( I cringe at what she would do to a $500 doll), sell them, or display them.
okbuddy replying to a comment from Chad / February 24, 2014 at 11:17 am
How do the hobbies of others directly affect you? Sounds more like you are just bitter and angry at everyone who isn't as miserable and alone as yourself.
Elle Em / February 24, 2014 at 11:38 am
It's a real shame to see the smaller shoppes close up and the big boxes come in.
Kate / February 24, 2014 at 11:43 am
In other words, the rent's gone up wildly and we have to close/relocate. Hey, the Junction's open for business, please!
$$$ / February 24, 2014 at 11:48 am
"Rent on Queen west is at least $6500" if true, then there's no way you'll get an influx of butchers and shoe repair joints at that price point. Only big brand name stores or the most exclusive boutiques would be able to afford prices that high. Remember, Yorkville was once a hippie haven...

Days are numbered for a hip, affordable Queen West. The question is whether the onslaught of bare storefronts will inspire new, higher end businesses to move in, or if the empty blocks will be replaced by the inevitable condo development...
local replying to a comment from Kate / February 24, 2014 at 12:21 pm
Magic Pony did have a pop-up store in the Junction during the month of December and they do own that building so...
Oldiebutgoodie replying to a comment from joel / February 24, 2014 at 01:11 pm
We don't need anymore of those over priced plastic toy shops. What we need is cobblers and blacksmiths!
Kitkit / February 24, 2014 at 01:21 pm
Sad to see it go - it's not to often I got a chance to go there, but it's been a life saver for last-minute gifts for my boyfriend who likes collectible toys. At least the online store lives on, and there are other places to get similar items in the city - but was a nice spot to drop in and actually see the things in person.
christopher / February 24, 2014 at 01:24 pm
There are a lot of closing stores all over the city even in rich neighbourhoods. The rents have gone up to high for stores to be sustainable. You can go into any neighbourhood in Toronto and find empty store fronts. The over heated real estate market has been draining the economy for the past three years. The signs have been all around us. Hopefully something changes before it brings down the whole economy.
JamesVR / February 24, 2014 at 02:24 pm
Yes property rates in the city are extremely high whether your a business a renter or homeowner. People always need a place to live and will do whatever it takes to survive, get a second job, two inco!e family, get government assistance, people are dealing with this as well people
Need to survive even if it means taking more debt for some, business do not need to survive they can close down. Dont blame location, rents go up and you either have a solid business plan to deal with it or ypou dont.
Mandy / February 24, 2014 at 03:08 pm
It's a shame they're written up here as a "designer toy store". They're not just that! Magic Pony also sells books, jewellery, and artwork. There's even a gallery space in the back! They support local artists & designers and have held many book signings and exhibit openings in the past. I honestly thought they were doing well!
Betty replying to a comment from Colonel / February 24, 2014 at 04:15 pm
That same stretch of Queen had an excellent greengrocer - Square Fruit Market on the corner at Euclid - until four years ago, when the rent was jacked up by the building's new owner. Need to quickly pick up some veggies on the way home? Too bad, have a latte from Dark Horse instead.
rapi / February 24, 2014 at 04:29 pm
I think it's time to explore dundas st east between yonge and rents there, badly needs some tlc
TonISanchez Junior the III / February 24, 2014 at 09:30 pm
I can't afford designer toys for my kids, who cares? Toys are Toys and meant to be dispsoble NOT collectable!!!! I
NICK replying to a comment from Oldiebutgoodie / February 25, 2014 at 08:42 am
What about Axe throwing? Collect and own Adult things like Axes, your own bowling ball, tools, kitchen small appliances, knife set, roasting pan, etc. that will make you feel like a real part of this world and not in a fantasy land. Owning these things will be good for your future and will give you something to grow on.

Buying collectable trinkets is not a hobby not a challenge ITS SHOPPING. Your place and your wares are a big sign into your state of mind. Alot straight men are cautious of women when they go to their place and its full of dolls and toys. YIKES don't get to deeply involved with this chick she's got Mom and Dad issues, sure I'll still stay for the one night stand but not gonna be your boyfriend.
Greg / February 25, 2014 at 08:56 am
Our generation will never amount to that of our parents, grand parents and fore fathers because they spent their lives building a life and building this country. Our generation of adults is collecting toys, playing video games, social networking.

While we like to take our style, beards, hats, shoes and bikes from yesteryear we don't amount to yesteryear at all.
Chris R. replying to a comment from AV / February 25, 2014 at 09:36 am
Oldiebutgoodie, as a resident of the junction my entire life, I would love to see shops like this move into the area. If anything, we have enough nail salons, gyms, and used appliance stores. Further to that, there are countless stores between keele and clendennen that are empty at the moment. To add a place that supported design and art (local and international) would be a great thing.
judy / February 25, 2014 at 01:32 pm
A lot more to magic pony. Than toys. Great art jewellery books cards etc. It vwill be missed.
Thomas / February 25, 2014 at 03:05 pm
Its time had come. Anyone that's been around the city long enough that the galleries and specialty art shops move in about 10 years before the gentrification happens. Alot of galleries and specialty shops have opened or relocated themselves up around dundas and dovercourt and dundas and dufferin over the past year as the rents are still cheaper. Don't worry Junction its making its way along to you, give it a few years.

Queen St rent is still relatively cheap in parkdale just after the dufferin bridge.
Terri / February 25, 2014 at 07:10 pm
Don't know why everyone is concerned and thinking they weren't doing well. Fact is some people are smart and just know when to get out. Maybe they weren't doing as best as they had ever done but doesn't sound like it was absolutly doing terrible and they were in massive debt. Probably a smart decision by the owners.

Nothing lasts forever and business have to adapt. CD, record and book stores are closing all over the city because your all getting the art and media digitally now and not supporting them. Isn't your iPhone so easy and convienent to get whatever you want at the tip of your fingers? Well now your only option is to order off the magic pony website just like the apple store isn't this exciting?!!?
Donna / February 26, 2014 at 12:54 am
MilaCam / February 26, 2014 at 01:42 am
Not long ago this stretch of Queen St. West was an unattractive area, which made rent cheap and encouraged diversity. Artists need cheap rent and that is why galleries began to pop up. Along with interesting stores, all with independent designers. The property owners have caught on to their rise in property value and have naturally increased the rent, therefore pushing out independent stores and designers. We know for sure, wherever these artists and independent store owners go they will enrich the neighborhood. I can only think of what the Junction will be. Yorkville became a hot spot originally because of the artists and bohemians. As for the fate of Queen West... hard to tell.
Liv replying to a comment from MilaCam / February 26, 2014 at 10:32 am
This is exactly what happened in the lower east side of New York. It's funny because the artists and creative types that have no where else to go are the ones who built the street up to what it is, and now they're the ones being forced out. If you want a lot of generic sameness, then why not just live in the suburbs or GTA like Oshawa/Whitby. I'm not saying that change is bad, but turning Queen W. into a office/generic street will be disappointing to say the least. Hoping that this space will be taken over by a sustainable, yet unique and creative business.
MilaCam replying to a comment from Liv / February 26, 2014 at 12:17 pm
I can't see any way around this other than city officials revisiting zoning policies and some how rent controlling the area. Sadly, given our city officials I think it more likely that pigs will fly...
Frank / March 2, 2014 at 01:52 pm

Rent control?! HAHAHAHAHA

Billigerous / May 1, 2014 at 09:04 pm
if you wanker Hipsters would stop buying up the condos and creating an unsustainable demand in the market, then there would be more desire for smaller
retailers of all sizes, shapes and service offerings.
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