The Best Green Retailers in Toronto
The best green retailers in Toronto usually have most of your environmental bases covered. While it's not unusual to find an organic product or a biodegradable bag here or there, the best green retailers in Toronto find a way to address more than one environmental concerns.
These are the stores that offer organic cotton t-shirts or bamboo coat hangers, available to take home in bags made of recycled paper or shipped to your house via bicycle transport. The stores themselves are powered via Bullfrog or a clean(er) source of energy, painted with low VOC paint, and might even have an organic garden stationed out back or up top. These retailers are on the cutting edge of what's new in green, and usually try to keep cost competitive to what you'll find in mainstream.
Here is the list of the best green retailers in Toronto.
Note: A previous version of this list was published in 2008. Comments below made up until January 17th, 2012 are in reference to the old list. We've purposely kept most of the archived comments here because we believe they (mostly) add value to this topic. If you don't want to have to wade through all of them, simply hit the "sort by newest first" link at the top of the thread.
MEC is so incredibly green it has he ability to make a biodegradable cup look like Styrofoam (which, by the way, you probably shouldn't bring into the store). It offers gear made with eco-friendly, sustainable materials, emphasizes low-impact production in the making of its products, and even its building has been designed with the environment in mind. The Toronto shop also hosts an annual Bikefest event and gives tours about corporate environmental responsibilities. More »
For a plethora of organic options, natural beauty products, eco-friendly household supplies, few markets in Toronto can beat The Big Carrot. While the prices may indeed remind you that you are still shopping for specialty items, the selection and influx of new products make it seem like you're shopping at any mainstream store. Minus the awful cartooned cereal boxes. More »
Grassroots is where I head to discover what's new in green. The two Toronto shops offer lots of interesting, eco knickknacks including razor sharpeners, science kits, biodegradable pens, and solar-powered toys (no batteries, hurray!). Grassroots has everything from organic clothing, to bed linens, to cleaning supplies, as well as staff who are knowledgeable enough to break it all down. (And no, that was not a biodegradable pun.) More »
I always wander into Essence of Life when I'm in Kensington Market, only to emerge minutes later with armfuls of items I didn't know I needed. Such is the trap when natural beauty items, bulk food, and organic groceries are priced so comparatively low. The health food market also has a great selection of natural supplements. More »
Most florists can't call themselves "green" in the same way Eco Stems can. The Queen East florist offers local, organic, and fair trade flowers, as well as biodegradable packaging and recyclable materials. The business operations are also eco-focused, with an emphasis on bicycle deliveries when possible and reduced energy consumption. More »
For those who have opted for biodegradable condoms, Baby on the Hip has everything baby made with the environment in mind. The two Toronto locations offer battery-free toys, cloth diapers, soy fiber clothing, all natural rubber soothers and more, shipped in recycled boxes and bagged with recycled paper. More »
Yes, upcycled bowling alley lanes make for environmentally friendly dining tables, but for something a little sleeker there's The Zero Point at Queen and Coxwell. The furniture and home store offers products made with organic, sustainable, ethically manufactured materials, sourced with attention to fair trade and environmental impact. More »
Art.27 offers only organic lotions, creams, and other beauty products, much of which is packaged using recycled materials. While these environmentally friendly products didn't arrive at the West Queen West shop from France via bicycle, they have been sourced for their ethical environmental and social impacts. The shop also stocks a small selection of organic clothing and accessories. More »