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Design Stores

World Headquarters

Posted by Briony / Posted on January 24, 2010

World Headquarters TorontoWorld Headquarters is my favourite new vintage decor shop in the city, a secret hideout filled with enough old treasure and fun junk to outfit your next three apartments.

The store is, to put it kindly, unassuming. There's no signage out front, and when I made my way there recently, I had to squeeze myself in beside a towering wall of greasy-black wooden boxes stacked a half-dozen tall.

World Headquarters Toronto"Those are from an old foundry!" owner Mark Taaffe told me, his eyes wide with excitement as he described how he got wrassled them away from an Amish auction. He doesn't want to sell them (they could have old factory chemicals on them), but wants to refurbish them somehow so that they can have new life.

World Headquarters TorontoThis echoes the set-up of World Headquarters, an unpretentious space crammed with bargains and oddities that Taaffe has lovingly collected for redistribution to loving homes. "Nothing with a barcode!" he cries.

World Headquarters TorontoNo barcodes means no newfangled prices, either. Nothing he priced for me was over $100, making World Headquarters a great spot to find vintage d├ęcor and accessories sans the high mark-up common in vintage home stores.

World Headquarters TorontoThere's old typewriters ($35--$60), neat old signs (including a giant lit-up Kool clock), steamer-trunks piled high ($40--$75), and antique luggage ($20--$75). The storage specialty continues with a stainless-steel bin ($25) and a shabby chic breadbox ($40).

World Headquarters TorontoOne-of-a-kind finds abound as well: why not pick up a large Indian brass shoeshine kit ($100), or a copy of the eighties-tastic Electronic Master Mind game ($25)? (Check the breathless tagline: "Your opponent is a computer.")

World Headquarters TorontoAnd if these prices aren't insanely low enough, check in with Mark about his next auction. Mark is a seasoned barker (he gave me a demo of his super-fast patter!), and is famed for the super-low prices at each of his regular auctions.

You're sure to leave with something amazing from this HQ of cool.

World Headquarters Toronto

Photos by Dennis Marciniak

Discussion

13 Comments

Colin / January 15, 2010 at 01:31 pm
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I used to go to this place all the time when I lived in the Junction! I had no idea it was called World Headquarters!!! Mark is the best.
Christopher / January 26, 2010 at 10:58 am
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Definitely a place worth checking out.
I just sent a copy of this article to my aunt in Brighton, to see if she would like to go as well.
Sidney replying to a comment from Christopher / January 26, 2010 at 12:48 pm
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Do let us know if decides to go with you!
Dennis Marciniak / January 26, 2010 at 04:21 pm
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Mark is absolutely one of the nicest people you'll ever meet - if you need something, he'll take care of you.
lily / January 26, 2010 at 11:53 pm
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I never knew the name of this store either! I love it. The Junction has such great shops, and the owners are all so nice. Such a wonderful part of TO.
Sean / January 28, 2010 at 03:45 pm
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Ha. World Headquarters and not even a web page in this day and age.
mark / January 30, 2010 at 11:50 am
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thanks for the coverage ,I am grateful and flattered- come and check out my eames era moderne auction on Thur feb 04 6;30pm(shameless self promotion)--note to Sean- do I detect irony, or is it my ironic bent you are missing?-I am the world headquarters of web page-less enterprises . Despite my lack of web presence someone has seen fit to put my store on the web- what you got?- Mark T
ShopGal / February 4, 2010 at 07:58 am
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I'm a local shopping columnist and business editor and I write about independent businesses across Toronto (Mark and his wonderful store included). I agree that we're trained to expect fancy web sites for the businesses and service providers we use - but the fact is many small independent businesses lack the time, resources, and - perhaps in Mark's case - the inclination to put up a web site. Most shop owners are too busy doing everything they need to do to keep their biz running - including minding the store for 8-10 hours a day...../Kelly Gadzala at the Town Crier
V / March 5, 2010 at 04:10 pm
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Forget about blowing hundreds of dollars at Commute Home because World Headquarters is the best shop to find the greatest treasures! I found the most beautiful floor lamp at World Headquarters for ONLY $10 and they have similar lamps at Commute Home for $500! Save your money and visit this great store in the Junction. The owner is so nice too! Sometimes he sings and plays guitar in front of his store or jams with a friend in the back. What an amazing character.
marnie / March 28, 2010 at 06:51 pm
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ask about 'Marnie'
corporate mogul / April 9, 2010 at 08:46 am
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just got back from meeting of Stonecutters and it was all about how we have to label this guy because he is different. all of the CEO's can't stop talking about this guy; he is the single greatest threat to the 'status quo' known to 'the Man'.
Jem / February 24, 2011 at 03:26 pm
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I love this store so much.
KIZMET / October 21, 2012 at 09:53 pm
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Mark Taffe is the boss!!

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