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Fashion Stores

Community 54

Posted by Robyn Urback / Posted on December 2, 2011

Community 54Community 54 is not a video arcade, per se, but so it will serve for me from now on when I have time to kill in Parkdale. All of the glorious, highly pixelated games of my past are there in standup arcade form, including Galactica, Pac-Man, NBA Jam, and Terminator: Judgement day. No, that $0.25 slot is not just for show, so yes, you have to deposit a quarter to play a game.

Community 54And for those who hate to give up their turn, the entire machine can be brought home (though good luck getting it in your car) for somewhere between $950 and $1500, depending on the game. Since I don't have the space, money, or--most importantly--any good excuse for buying an entire system, I plan on showing up at Community 54 in my snapback hat and khakis full of quarters and pretending it's 1993.

Community 54Community 54-the-original is actually located in New York on the Lower East Side. I meet one of the Toronto partners, Trung Hoang, at the new Toronto shop and he tells me the decision to open in Parkdale was a deliberate move, made to mimic the atmosphere of the New York shop. "Parkdale, sort of like the Lower East Side, is a changing community," he says. "There are still areas that are a little rough, but there's also a vibrant and growing art and family community."

Community 54The Community 54 space, located on Queen west of Dufferin, beautifully merges old with new, starting right at the front door. Trung points out the original "Parkdale Business Men's Association" sticker pasted at the foot of the front door, which dates back to 1957. Inside are walls of exposed brick and an awesome restored tin ceiling. And just to throw you off (and perhaps make you think you're in Calgary, rather than Toronto) Community 54's makeshift change room hangs mid-space, comprised of a draped Canadian flag. "We have the same thing in New York," Trung says, "except with an American flag."

Community 54There are other decidedly Canadian touches throughout, including a pair of wooden snowshoes ($300) hung on the wall behind the cash table (which is actually an old sewing table) and rows of "Eh Life" t-shirts ($40) made by a collaborating brand. Most of the clothing at Community 54 is streetwear and almost all of it is men's, though Trung says women's clothing is on the radar for the near future.

The vibe is very 80's and 90's (obviously hinted at by the games in the front) with snapback hats ($40), varsity jackets (one with the name "Curtis" carefully stitched over the right breast, $225), and Levi's denim and Ralph Lauren plaid polo shirts.

Community 54There are also little vintage items scattered around the store--a collection which includes old Coke memorabilia, a license plate from 1943 ($15), and a few of those terrible boom boxes that appeared in nearly every '90s rap video. If there's something worth reliving about that decade, I say we stick with Galactica.

Community 54Photos by Alex Rao



Tim / December 2, 2011 at 09:20 am
Nice photos. This looks like a great new spot, but is that Zubaz I see? Please keep the zubaz in the 90's where it belongs.
Monica / December 2, 2011 at 09:29 am
The important question is: what video game do they have there specifically?
Brandon / December 2, 2011 at 09:36 am
This place is going to be a hipster's wet dream. Of course it's in Parkdale, too. I'm more interested in the collection of games they have, as I miss the old arcades.
yazflute / December 2, 2011 at 09:53 am
The game selection is garbage. It's basically what you see in the first pic: Galaga, pacman, T2.
mike in parkdale / December 2, 2011 at 10:02 am
Hey video game nerds... there's an old school video game hall of fame across the road from this shop. If you peek though the window, you'll get instant 8-bit flashbacks.

this shop looks pretty nice, I'll be checking it out for sure.
mike in parkdale / December 2, 2011 at 10:03 am
ps. If that Houston Astros jersey in the pic is an XL, I'll be buying it tonight!
John McDermett / December 2, 2011 at 10:13 am
Overpriced clothing in Parkdale. Good Luck!
jameson replying to a comment from mike in parkdale / December 2, 2011 at 10:29 am
What is this place you speak of?

I really find it disturbing that people have generalizations about Parkdale, it's a nice place, it's cheap, and it's great seeing new businesses in the area to take up some of the empty store fronts. Now shut up and stop saying petty-minded hateful garbage.
Graham / December 2, 2011 at 10:39 am
Checked out the store yesterday and was really cool to see many of the things I grew up with. Also have some nice new things there from local designers, nice shop!
Guy / December 2, 2011 at 12:31 pm
FYI, if you're interested in actually buying the arcade cabinets, don't do it from this place. Over $900 is ridiculously overpriced for anything except a pinball machine. You're better off looking into the Starbust coin-op auctions that happen out in Etobicoke or Mississauga, or wherever they are now. You can find full working machines for $300, sometimes much less. Hell, I bet that's where they got theirs from.
No replying to a comment from mike in parkdale / December 2, 2011 at 01:01 pm
What is this place???? For the last few months I've looked in every time I've walked by and never seen a soul in there. There's no signage, no phone number, no online presence, but man it looks like they have some crazy ass games in there. Anyways, this store is pretty cool, nice to see more cool(ish) stuff popping up in pdale
No replying to a comment from mike in parkdale / December 2, 2011 at 01:02 pm
(first part is in ref. to mike in parkdale)
Kevin Steele / December 2, 2011 at 01:05 pm
jameson: I believe that mike in parkdale was referring to 1334 Queen W:
That's the window to peek through to see a room full of old machines, mostly in a state of disrepair.
mike in parkdale / December 2, 2011 at 02:04 pm
that is the place (kevin) It's a game rental company that uses the store for storage. I've seen people moving machines in and out, but it seems like the newer machines are in the back, so the ones closest to the window are the most beaten up.
Roger / December 2, 2011 at 02:13 pm
If you're into pinball machines, there's a new cafe coming to Parkdale in the new year that will spark your interest:
Tilt / December 2, 2011 at 03:29 pm
I hope they have the Twilight Zone pinball machine. Also acceptable: Tales from the Crypt and Guns N Roses pinball machines.
guy replying to a comment from Roger / December 2, 2011 at 04:57 pm
Roger, awesome! BlogTO, review that place when it opens
Mike replying to a comment from Guy / December 2, 2011 at 07:26 pm
Starburst coin-ops is now The Playdium Store ( around Martin Grove / 401
ece replying to a comment from mike in parkdale / December 5, 2011 at 01:29 am
RE: 1334 Queen St. West
Mike, Kevin:

This use to be my grandfather's arcade from the late 1970s till about 2000.
We've recently gotten back into the business of selling our equipment. If interested, shoot an e-mail - our prices are pretty reasonable.
JoshP / February 6, 2012 at 01:06 pm
Been in the shop a few times now.
The vibe of the shop is always so welcoming.

Love how they are supporting local artist and clothing designers.
Just bought a members only jacket there.

Will definitely continue to keep coming back.
Matt Servo replying to a comment from ece / October 27, 2012 at 04:01 pm
I peeked in the window just yesterday wondering what all the games were there for. I'm VERY interested and would love to know what you've got for sale. email me:
AG / August 15, 2013 at 07:44 pm
Awesome store, Justin was super friendly and helpful. Loads of local Parkdale/Toronto clothing which I'm down with.

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