The Best New Design Stores in Toronto, 2013
The best new design stores of 2013 were welcomed with open arms (and wallets) this year by the art lovers, decor enthusiasts, and stuff-collectors of Toronto. Many of these newcomers opted to focus on a wide range of goods and gifts unified by a rustic-yet-modern, hand-hewn aesthetic.
Still, these shops are by no means cut from the same cloth (or molded from the same clay, or printed on the same screen). With each boasting diverse, wide selections of creations from around the city, the country, or the globe, you're bound to find the perfect piece you didn't know your life was missing.
Here are the best new design stores that opened in Toronto during 2013.
The former owner of coffee shop/clothing boutique Lost & Found opened her new gift shop just further down the road at Dundas and Gladstone this year. There's still coffee and sweet snacks, but the product offerings have expanded way, way out to accessories (from lines like Catbird, In God We Trust and Dieppa Restrepo), blankets, kitchenware, and even cleaning products.
This Roncesvalles shop sells pretty much everything - from pottery to accessories to all-natural personal lubricant - and all of it is gorgeous, with whimsical, vintagey overtones. Many products are unique to the store, and there are regular workshops if you'd like to learn to make your own handcrafts (or read tarot cards, or draw comics).
The couple behind Spruce, who are longtime Cabbagetown residents, took over a former video store in the area this year, stocking the shop with pieces from around North America (including many created by friends) and a few vintage finds. You'll find paint-dipped bowls, candles, pottery and glassware. They also fly the flag for their hometown with some Toronto-centric merchandise.
An Albertan couple with tons of cross-Canadian travel under their belts settled in a storefront at Danforth and Coxwell. The result is a shop full of Canadiana-influenced design (read - plenty of wood and antlers). There's everything from jewelry and stationery to candles and cheese boards, made by crafters and designers from all across the country.
Artist Christine Flynn reopened her beloved Leslieville decor shop at Yonge and Summerhill earlier this year - her outdoorsy-glamorous vibe is a perfect fit for the neighbourhood. Flynn combines her own artwork with vintage pieces and home goods emblazoned with antlers, anchors, arrows and other heritage-inspired motifs.
If you were one of those kids who loved organizing their brand-new coloured pencils before the first day of school, this is the store is for you. A schoolteacher and banker opened this shrine to the fountain pen earlier this year, first as a web store, then a brick-and-mortar shop at at Dundas and Bellwoods in July. Since then, it's become a favourite supplier of local artists and stationery fans seeking high-end notebooks and ink in plenty of colours.
This shop-within-a-shop is remotely run by photographer Peter Ash Lee, who moved to Brooklyn years ago and wanted to bring the treasures he's discovered in his travels back home. The resulting pop-up occupies a corner (see what he did there?) of More Than Words, a greeting card store deep within the Manulife Centre at Yonge and Bloor. Look for well-designed knick-knacks with a dose of humour.
This collectible toy shop shares a space just off Richmond and Spadina with street art supply store Homebase. What shelves aren't stocked with all manner of spray paint are piled high with action figures and art toys, including customizable blanks. You can book a toy-customization workshop on their site for up to 10 people (and hey, if you need supplies, there's tons of paint right there).
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