The Best New Design Stores in Toronto, 2011
The best new design stores in Toronto give merit to the saying that what's old is new, and what's new is.. well.. probably hand-selected and imported from overseas. Vintage as a design concept certainly hasn't become dated, as evidenced by the shops cropping up on College, in Leslieville, and in the Distillery District in 2011.
Many of the other new design stores boast well-travelled owners; those who journey to South Africa, Korea, France and beyond to find unique, visually interesting pieces that are often crafted with an artisanal flair. Yet some great design picks can indeed still be found at home, and there's at least one shop on this list paying heed to locally made. "How 2010," the rabble-rouser might say.
Encompassing new and old, near and far, here is this list of the best new design stores that opened in 2011.
Elte opened its second floor in early summer, giving customers the opportunity to walk all over Feist, Metric, and Bruce Springsteen. Uh, that is, the rugs named for famous singers as part of its new Sex, Rugs & Rock ‘N Roll collection. While Elte proper may have the reputation of furniture for high-end, middle-aged clients, its Second Floor was created with 20- and 30-somethings in mind. More colour, more modern, more edge. More »
Julien Armand was dramatically unveiled with a turquoise wall display of chairs to the ceiling and many, many months of anticipation. The showroom finally opened in October, giving the public a glimpse of what designers, hoteliers, and restaurateurs have tapped into for years. The Canadian company has a truly fantastic collection of chairs for those not afraid of high-end seats. More »
Liz Ikiriko’s vintage decor collection started with bits and pieces from her own family’s history. As her collection grew she created an online shop, and in 2011, she opened her first retail location on College. Beyond just housewares and knick knacks, The Arthur (named for Liz’s grandfather) has an awesome assortment of toys, vintage teaching materials, and army antiques. More »
An Ottawa import and Roncy adoptee, Green Light District specializes in African and Scandinavian design. Owners David and Deborah Peets scour the globe looking to make personal connections with artists and designers, bringing home limited quantities of each piece of furniture and decor. Ottawa’s loss is Toronto’s gain. More »
A much-needed gift shop new to Roncy in 2011, Scout is all about handmade, local, and where possible, natural. Owner Leah Eyles decided to leave her 10-year post at Red Pegasus to try something on her own, and Roncesvalles Village proved more than happy to receive. More »
Catherine Choi found not just a husband when teaching in English in Korea, but also an appreciation for Korean paper and art. The pair decided to open a store on the cusp of Koreatown upon moving to Canada, using husband Hyun Suk’s connections in the Korean arts community. The shop offers about every type of printed paper imaginable, as well as cards, ribbons, books, lamps, and other small gift items. All from Korea, of course. More »
King East hasn’t exactly been in desperate need of new furniture options, but 2011 saw a sleek new modern option in Thein and My Ta Trung’s Domison Furniture Boutique from Montreal. The mid-ish-range pieces are edgy yet clean, available in all sorts of custom materials and colours. A haven for the sectional-seeker. More »
A similar incarnation existed prior 2011, but it was tamer, beige-er, and up on Avenue Road. Owner Paula DiRenzo decided to retire that store in favour of something new, and opened Blackbird Vintage in the Distillery to showcase her new finds. The not-just-beige shop offers everything from antique typewriters, signs, and trophies to bubble bath in housed whiskey bottles. More »