The Best Tattoo Parlours in Toronto
The best tattoo parlours in Toronto are a pack ahead of the competition in a passionate community where everyone's got an opinion. Loyal living canvases can get heated when a favourite shop has been seemingly neglected, and with so many established and up and coming artists in Toronto - not to mention tattooed citizens - competition is definitely not in short supply. However, some shops have indisputably gone above and beyond, establishing themselves as truly trustworthy stops for ink.
Here are the best tattoo parlours in Toronto.
The jewel of the Kensington market, now in its fifth year of existence, holds the distinction of being our readers' favorite shop. It's easy to see why - Pearl Harbor is a beautiful space that turns out incredible, traditionally-inspired, one-of-a-kind pieces. In-demand shop owners Bill Baker and Daniel Innes are not currently taking on new work, but there is a wealth of talent and experience to tackle any custom project.
This down-to-earth shop remains as unpretentious as it did when it first appeared on the scene in 2009. Owner and tattoo veteran Lizzie Renaud brings her considerable experience and traditional know-how to the Harbour Street space. Professionalism is guiding principle of the shop; clients know that their ideas are treated seriously and each artist works hard to make them a reality.
The shop, owned by world-renowned artist David Glants, has not lost any of the magic that got them recognized when they first opened in 2008. Glantz is a highly sought after artist for his unique mix of classical and contemporary style. A small shop with two other artists in the fold, Archive has a dedicated and supportive clientele.
Part of the transition in popularity from street shops to custom shops, Imperial Tattoo has earned its reputation as a go-to for any number of styles. Owner Ronan Gibney is a recognized talent in black and grey realism and has held his artists to the same standards of excellence. The shop at Queen and Ossington has built its reputation on strong word-of-mouth, with Gibney booking up to 6 months in advance.
Far away from the hustle and bustle of Queen Street's tattoo corridor, Jay Decator's Passage Tattoo stands on its own - by location and by merit. Known for his amiable personality, his Church St. shop resonates the same kind of personable attitude that keeps clients coming back. A monster with a tattoo machine, Decator has happily shared his expertise with his artists, past and present.
Though the Yonge and Eglinton area is not known for tattooing, Seven Crowns owners Matt Ellis and George Brown III have added considerable colour to the otherwise staid neighbourhood since opening in 2008. With clean line-work and solid techniques, both Ellis and Brown ensure that the work coming out of Seven Crowns is created with one thing in mind
Toronto's reputation for stellar black and grey work is ever-growing and one of the main reasons for this is Mike Storey. A relative newcomer to the Toronto tattoo community, he opened Black Pearl on the Danforth in spring 2014 and quickly gained recognition for his unparalleled portrait work. In addition to handling a number of styles between the shop's three artists, they also run $60-100 flash days on Friday and Saturday, tattooing unique shop designs.
The Okey Doke recently relocated to Dundas St. West from its original home on College. Owner Eric Newstead quickly filled the expanded space with new artists and has continued with his mission to create a shop unlike any other. With a playful attitude - one reflected in his much-talked about Tattoo Vending Machine - the Okey Doke sets their clients at ease while paying full respect to their needs.
Chronic Ink quickly grew out of its unusual Pacific Mall location, opening a second shop at Yonge and Eglinton. With a focus on Asian-based styles, the shop has gained recognition through the convention circuit - owner Tristan Zhang has won several prestigious awards for his impeccable freehand style. The Pacific Mall location recently relocated to the Kennedy/Denison area in Markham and continues to ensure that Chronic Ink's influence is far reaching.
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