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Design Stores


Posted by Sarah Kelsey / Posted on August 19, 2009

Cubeshops TorontoCubeshops has finally opened and Toronto is better for it. Let me explain....

There are people who travel the world uncovering cool designs. I am not one of those people. Don't get be wrong, I'd love to be a jet-setter who can rummage through the cool finds of other cultures finding key pieces along the way that accentuate my IKEA bookshelf, it's just not exactly in this writer's budget.

CubeshopsWhat I can afford, however, is the TTC fare to get to the just-opened art gallery-cum-design store Cubeshops. Located on the restaurant-filled strip that is Baldwin Street, Cubeshops looks very much like an art gallery from the outside, painted all white with a big glass window. It takes a trip inside to realize Cubeshops is much, much more.

CubeshopsLining the whitewashed shelves is an eclectic mix of household, office and just plain fun products from Japan. Carefully chosen by the store's owners (I had the pleasure of meeting the very charming Sid, KC and Robert the night of my visit), the objects are as much fun to look at as they are to play with. Not only that, most of the products at the store are making their Canadian debut, making this a must stop spot for anyone fascinated with distinct design.

CubeshopsThere are the +d umbrella stands ($52) or the hilariously malleable accessory stands ($24). I loved the paint tube doorstoppers ($8) as well as the collection of vases they have on display, including +d's michi-kusa vase for arranging wildflowers ($23) as well as the stands for individual daisies ($20). The store seemingly has it all, even an array of ninja pins ($5), graphic ties ($30) and cellphone holders ($10).

But the pièce de résistance? A line of coffee makers from Hario (the guys gave me a sneak peek of the pots while pulling them from storage). Exclusive to Cubeshops, the line (from $50) brews the kind of coffee connoisseurs dream of (I'm not even a coffee drinker and I want to try it). They hit store shelves this week.

CubeshopsAll in all, I don't think it's an understatement to say Cubeshops is one of the most unique stores to have opened in Toronto in a long, long time. And because new product will be rotating through the store's shelves every few weeks, it's a pretty safe bet to say it'll stay that way.




chenyip / August 20, 2009 at 10:26 am
Toronto so needed a place like this. I mean even Vancouver has Vancouver Public.

I like to think of this place as something like the MoMA Store as if it were ran exclusively by Japanese eccentrics.
ddt / August 20, 2009 at 10:27 am
Wonderful design....Seems like a blend of Japanese,Korean, and swedish......which to my glutonous Italian eye looks terribly sterile and lacking of soul....some neat concepts but a subconcious rehashing of early 70's design without the brown and rusty orange....i never did understand how people can say that they want their home to be a warm reflection of their own character, and then turn around and fill it with anticeptic elements, making it look like a weird logans run movie set , white with flashes of amoebic shaped color.
jack / August 20, 2009 at 11:23 am
we are soooo behind for cool stores like this.. i hope we are going to get a clothing store called Muji to open one in toronto soon .. they will just blow Gap, Banana Republic, club monaco, H & M, Zara all away..
Luciano / August 20, 2009 at 11:47 am
This store looks cool. I'm definitely going to have to check it out. Not that I need collect anymore stuff but I always like adding cool things to my apartment
Luciano Galasso
Richard / August 20, 2009 at 11:58 am
Hello cubeshop, please answer your phone. Or change the hours of operation you have posted.
dennis / August 20, 2009 at 12:05 pm
mondayjane / August 20, 2009 at 12:51 pm
Walked by this place the other night before dinner at John's Italian - after peering in the window and giggling at all the stuff on display, we surmised that it looks FABULOUS and can't wait to go in during store hours.
Rachel / August 20, 2009 at 01:01 pm
I can't wait to get off work and go shopping! This is exactly the kind of store I have been waiting for to pick up fantastic gift items and stuff for myself.
Kent / August 20, 2009 at 01:02 pm
I hope to never have anything sold in this store in my home
Darlene / August 20, 2009 at 02:07 pm
The website lists their hours of operation as M-F 10-5, which has them entirely shutting out the sizeable market of folks with day jobs.

Brilliant plan. Good luck with that.
Richard / August 20, 2009 at 03:26 pm
I went by the store twice today. The signage on their store front says that they are open from 1pm - 8pm. I waited outside with another curious potential customer for them to open. Didn't happen. Stopped by on my way home from errands at 3pm and they are not open.
Joey / August 20, 2009 at 06:30 pm
I think their Online store is m-f 10-5. Their actual opening hours are as the front window says. Mon-Thu 1pm till 8pm Fri -Sat 1pm till 9pm Sun 11am-6pm I also came by the store at around 3.and it was closed, but I went around 5 and they were open. I asked them why they didn't open on time and they explained that some of the shipments got held at customs and they went to clear it so that they would have time inventory in time for the Baldwin festival this weekend and apologized for the incovinence. Overall friendly people and patient, they probably had a bad day not knowing the review was coming up this morning. Nice products very cool.
Ken1978 / August 20, 2009 at 07:28 pm
Cubeshops has a lot of unique products. I've never seen anything quite like that bunny bag. The girlfriend loved it!
Angela / August 20, 2009 at 07:59 pm
This is a cool shop. The stuff are so fresh and unique. The staff are actually very helpful. I loveeeeee the bunny tote bag it's so cool!!.
Jason / August 21, 2009 at 12:18 am
I discovered this shop on my way home after being drenched in the downpour. I couldn't figure out what it was. Now I know. Thanks BlogTO!

Knowing is half the battle. Yo Joe!
Darlene / August 24, 2009 at 11:27 am
They were open on Saturday after all! The website must list head office hours.

The shop was delightful.
AJ replying to a comment from jack / October 2, 2009 at 09:09 am
I too agree that Muji is a great store but don't think it compares to the likes of Zara and H&M. Maybe it blows Grand & Toy out of the water.. office supplies and organization is really their forte.
As for other comments on Cubeshops, it may not be everyone's taste and that's the beauty of it. No need to knock it. It's nice to see stores open up in Canada that aren't specifically for the masses.
Good on you Cubeshops!
bumba butterfly / October 10, 2009 at 03:30 pm
the owners are not even japanese! that's why in today's globe (oct 10 '09, ), syd, one of the owners, refused to give his last name. the globe said syd "demurs when asked for his surname."

it saddens me that people try to exploit japanese culture and heritage for their own financial benefit. shame on you, cubeshops!
Do Dat / November 13, 2009 at 01:38 pm
Looks like a cool spot!
Some of the stuff from the pics looks like a fun,cooler version of Ikea stuff...

Glad to see that Toronto has some fun stores like this around to spice up your home

Great job!

Do Dat
CandleTower replying to a comment from bumba butterfly / November 16, 2009 at 11:22 pm
@bumba butterfly

In all honesty, I don't see how it is an exploitation of Japanese culture when consumer culture in general a national or without a nation. These products could very well be designed in Japan, made in China and now sold in a Canadian shop with non-Japanese owners. How does that differ from an iPod designed in the U.S., made in China and sold in a small electronics/computer store in Canada owned by Russians? Is that now an example of exploiting American culture? What does it mean to "exploit" a culture anyways?
And since when did inventing quirky items become an exclusive part of Japanese culture/heritage?
In most cases, I usually lurk rather than make comments that are potentially rude but as one of my pet peeves, your comment sadly reveals a lack of knowledge to the true extent of how globalization has affected our everyday lives and an ignorance of the fact that culture is not a fixed and unchanging.
Seriously, I'm asking you to please think about what you're saying before you post them on the internet. There are enough morons as it is already.
laurie replying to a comment from jack / January 15, 2010 at 01:55 pm
I've been waiting for aaaages for a Muji store to open in Toronto! The sooner the better.
piccola replying to a comment from bumba butterfly / January 16, 2010 at 07:19 am
What, so you have to be Japanese to appreciate Japanese design? Does it make it any less Japanese if a white guy sells it?
parameba replying to a comment from jack / January 18, 2010 at 03:09 pm
Muji is NOT clothing store. their clothes are not even considered trendy or fashionable. Their product range is so wide, how can u even compare to H&M, Zara or Gap??
rdr replying to a comment from bumba butterfly / February 10, 2010 at 11:19 am
You don't have to be Japanese to love and share the culture. Just because he may or may not be of asian decent doesn't mean he's exploiting the culture for financial benefit. Don't knock the guy before you even know what his intentions are for opening the store...

for all you know, he could be a fan of the aesthetic and just wants to bring it to Toronto.
Sakiko Ichihara / April 12, 2010 at 03:12 pm
I am one of the owner of CUBESHOPS, my name is Sakiko Ichihara. I find it is unfair how some people put down our staff instead of appreciating the designs. Not all our staff is Japanese, we have Japanese staff also. The main point of CUBESHOPS was brought to Canada so people can be exposed to foreign designs and build an understanding between different cultures. CUBESHOPS deals directly with designers from Japan and we work with an artist network there. Just wanted to clarify this point, one of the partners of this project is Sid and he is Canadian and is responsible for the Canadian side of the operations. I hope this clarifies any misunderstandings.
manpukulover / June 7, 2010 at 09:07 pm
I know Sid personally and I can tell you that he is 100% japanese, although born in Canada
He goes back to japan VERY often... so please don't doubt his authenticity
He's also a nice guy!
kelly / June 11, 2011 at 04:39 pm
I love this shop! While I browsed the store I chatted with the friendly guy who was working there at the time. When I asked, he enthusiastically told me interesting stories about each and every product; which made me even more excited about the find! All my friends will be getting birthday presents from cubeshops this year!
Flopenor / February 27, 2012 at 05:35 pm
get cheap chanel bag 2010 for more detail
Frank / December 15, 2012 at 06:27 pm
The glutinous Italian eye also created the gaudy monstrosity called The Venetian casino. I can't believe how ugly and overdone that place is. Give me sparse Japanese and Scandinavian design any day.
Fhris / February 21, 2015 at 11:34 pm
Since there's very little trsinat traffic on Yonge Street, would you support longer green phases for Dundas Street?Steve: Probably yes, but I would want to see the stats first. This also needs to be examined in the context of operations at Bay and at Victoria because the whole thing is one unit.I am not yet convinced that the extra pedestrian crossing time is of greater value than the loss of green time for trsinat service. However, the frequency of the Dundas car is such that one isn't always at the intersection. This could give the impression that Dundas does not need more time, but the streetcars can spend a while stuck in the backlog of auto traffic waiting to get through at Yonge.A related problem is the frequency with which curb lanes are impassible east and west of Yonge. This funnels all of the traffic single file through the shortened green time. I have a take no prisoners attitude to a lot of downtown traffic either roads are for storing cars or they are for moving them, and we can't do both. A fleet of tow trucks should remove vehicles, especially those making deliveries complete with their contents, as often as possible to drive home the message.
Joyo / March 27, 2015 at 03:48 pm
I totally agree with all your smatetents! There is nothing more rewarding and healthier than a brisk walk in the fresh snow! Too bad you live downtown and far, else we could have some fun for sure!

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