art bike gallery toronto
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A.R.T. Bike Gallery

A.R.T. Bike Gallery would probably be seen as just a retail shop to some, but it's certainly a gallery in its own right to those who lust over vintage bike frames.

art bike gallery toronto

Occupying a former gallery space (go figure) on Ossington between Dundas and Queen, this shop proudly boasts its collection of Gianni Motta , Cambio Rino, Moser , Masi , and more (as you can tell, there's a heavy emphasis on classic Italian steel).

art bike gallery toronto

I meet one of the shop's owners, Aaron Torres, on a cool weekday evening as pedestrians breeze in and out of the shop. Since the guys behind A.R.T. Bike Gallery have full-time jobs (Aaron works as a researcher at Sick Kids), the shop is only open from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. during the week (with Saturday hours from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Nevertheless, the gallery/store just recently pulled off its soft opening about two weeks ago, backed by a collection of hundreds of vintage frames.

"We heard High Park Cycle was closing," Aaron says of the former shop on Dundas West . "So we went to check it out; they had an auction and we ended up purchasing a huge lot."

art bike gallery toronto

That lot supplies most of the inventory for A.R.T. Though it's mainly frames on display in shop, the guys have a full collection of seats, handlebars, drivetrain components, tires and more on reserve. Customers can opt for merely a new (old) frame (priced anywhere from $150 to $700) or get a complete build starting at $500.

art bike gallery toronto

Aaron takes me around the floor, pointing out some of his favourites; a couple of vintage Colnagos and an '80s-era Marinoni bike ($750), and best of all, a 1960's Campagnolo displayed in the window. With "Legnano" hand painted on the down tube, the bike boasts raised chrome lugs and a distinct head badge across the front. "This one is just for art," Aaron says. "We won't be selling it."

art bike gallery toronto

The frames (and bikes) that do sell will be quickly replaced on the floor, and Aaron says he plans to rotate the stock about once a week. In terms of tune-ups and repairs, A.R.T. plans to stick mostly with its own custom builds for now, but will tackle any incoming inquiries on a case-by-case basis.

art bike gallery toronto

The plan, eventually, is to be open during the day throughout the week, allowing Bianchi -fans and Cyclops Toronto -loyalists even more time to browse their vintage collection.

Photos by Denise McMullin


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