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Design Stores

The Drake Hotel General Store

Posted by Tim / Posted on November 21, 2008

The Drake General StoreSince almost the day Jeff Stober sunk millions into rejuvenating the Drake Hotel, gossip has been following him around as he sought to buy up real estate in the area. And while he didn't manage to acquire all of what he wanted, he did snap up the spot right next door to the hotel at 1144 Queen St. West. It was a restaurant called the Queen Star. Tomorrow, after a long period lying dormant, the space will be brought back to life in the form of a well stocked general store selling everything from Popeye cigarettes to socks, to over-sized shot glasses.

The new store, which goes by the name Drake Hotel General Store, packs in a lot more than what you'd expect to find at a typical general store. Store designers and directors Carlo Colacci and Joyce Lo have done an amazing job coming up with fun and interesting things to sell. They've imported snacks like Hostess Yodels. They've stocked the shelves with interesting reads like Martin Parr art books, the Le Cool guidebook series, and naughty colouring books by local artist Mallory Diaczun.

The Drake General Store Queen

There's also black and red toilet paper, giant Niagara Falls match books, mustache kits, Sunshine Girl playing cards, Montreal Expo badges, iconic Hudson Bay blankets, Malin + Goetz bath products and t-shirts from their Shared clothing label that were on sale at their now disappeared pop up store that lived a few doors down earlier this year.

The place is so well-curated and so fun to browse in that it immediately becomes a serious contender as one of the best design stores in the city. It's not a place you'd go to buy furniture, lights or stuff to put in the kitchen. But it's the kind of store that is just so darn interesting, brings back memories from years past and incorporates such a wide assortment of affordable stuff you'd never find under one roof anywhere else.

The Drake General Store Queen West

The product selection in the store centres around themes to do with travel, art, The Drake and Canadiana; and the execution takes inspiration from many of the nearby galleries. The Drake General Store will showcase a monthly art wall curated by the hotel's in-house visual arts curator, Mia Nielsen, that will feature affordable art, primarily from Toronto-based artists.

The just-completed interior features reclaimed wood cabinets and mismatched tables crafted from aged materials sourced from Timeless Materials in Waterloo. There are lights from Aristocrat Lamps and Lighting across the street. And out front there's a neon cross sign, reminiscent of what you'd see at traditional European pharmacies.

Today the front window of the store was still papered over as they applied some final touches, but here's a look at some more of the photos I was able to take when I scored a sneak peak at the inside:

The Drake General Store Toronto

The Drake Store

The Drake Design Store

The Drake

The Drake General Store Shot Glass

Sex Colouring Book

Popeye Cigarettes

Placemats

Canada Book

Art Books

Altoids

The Drake General Store Outside

Discussion

8 Comments

/ November 22, 2008 at 05:00 am
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Antique Asylum at Queen & Parliament is better
Buffalopundit / November 22, 2008 at 11:33 am
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I'm a total sucker for tchotchke shops like this.
Christopher King / November 22, 2008 at 02:52 pm
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"Antique Asylum at Queen & Parliament is better."
Anonymous: How can you say that with any force or honesty, considering the Drake Hotel General Store hasn't even been opened yet to the general public so that you could form a genuine opinion?
aggy / November 23, 2008 at 10:13 pm
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congratsss joyce !!!
it looks A-mazing ' cant wait to check on it.. luvs, and the best fr argentina.
Janet / November 24, 2008 at 12:39 am
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Congratulations to the Shared team, the store looks amazing. I cannot wait to stop in on my next visit to Toronto. Whatever you guys are doing, keep doing it because it's working.
Jack / February 15, 2009 at 10:41 pm
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Kitsch, as an aesthetic, is the denial of shit. Which is what this store is.
Diane / October 13, 2009 at 11:20 am
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Is the D.H.General Store interested in some great 1970's art pieces by Irene McKim? I would like to sell them or place them on consignment. I can email images of the pieces to you. Unfortunately, arrangements have to be made quickly BUT I am WOMAN with TRUCK and I could drive them to you for your consideration in the next 5 days. There 12 remaining McKim pieces available, they include op art, string art and collage, some are large. Contact me asap: 1-613-484-4667 See bio next:

Irene McKim, a prominent Kingston-based artist who had exhibited her work locally and internationally. McKim passed away from bone cancer in 2001. Those who knew her describe McKim as a vivacious, bubbly, petite woman who kept her age a secret even after her death. Every year she would go to New York to study the latest techniques and bring them back to the artist's group here in Kingston. She always had an amazing range of styles from realism early on to modern and abstract work to string and fibre art and she shared what she learned in Paris or New York with the artist's group. McKim was born in Kingston and began her art studies at Queen's University under the direction of Andre Bieler and Ralph Allen. Over her lifetime, she travelled the world, studying techniques and taking part in exhibits from Paris to Russia, South America and the U. S, among other destinations.
She had more than 38 group and solo exhibitions throughout the world during her life and was a member of the Art Student League in New York City. She is listed in Artists in Canada and A Dictionary of Canadian Artists. McKim was a member of the Ontario Society of Artists, the Sculptors' Society of Canada and the Society of Canadian Artists. Her early works were more realistic oils and watercolours and also included landscapes, but she grew to experiment with string and fibre art, collages and art creations made from found and reclaimed materials. Some of her pieces have obvious influences from New York post-modern geometrics, Jackson Pollack and the work of Piet Mondrian. Queen's University has two of McKim's pieces on display in public areas.

Judy MacLean / November 29, 2009 at 01:29 pm
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Globe and Mail featured in its 'Wish List 2009' a heart-shaped flask. I cannot see it on the website --- how do I obtain info on this product???
J. MacLean

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