The Best Video Stores in Toronto
The best video rental stores in Toronto are among the best anywhere in the world, and reflect the city's stature as a global movie Mecca. In Hot Docs and TIFF, Toronto is home to two of North America's most prestigious celebrations of cinema, while a rich variety of regional, religious, and sub-cultural festivals attract enthusiastic audiences on a year-round basis. Video stores, in turn, are important custodians of Toronto's cosmopolitan, film-obsessed culture, providing voracious local cinephiles with the regular sustenance that informs their diverse but discerning tastes.
As the advent of digital distribution continues apace, there is increasing concern that these independent operations may come under threat, particularly as their large-scale counterparts continue to struggle. Indeed, four popular establishments have recently closed (Mr. Movie, West Side Stories) or announced plans to liquidate their inventories - either immediately (Marquee Video), or in the near future (Ammo Video).
Despite these unfortunate exceptions, Torontonians continue to enjoy an enviably vibrant video rental community, in keeping with our proud cinemagoing traditions.
Here are the best video rental stores in Toronto.
Top photos by Michelle Chiu.
Note: This list was previously published in 2008. Comments below made up until February 6, 2011 are in reference to the old list. We've purposely kept 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.
Now nearing its 30th year of operation, Queen Video remains the reigning monarch of Toronto's indie video scene, thanks to an astronomically large library, and an empire that has grown to encompass both the Annex and Little Italy. With a DVD collection that already dwarfs the competition, Queen Video continues to age gracefully, and has also amassed the city’s largest selection of Blu-ray discs. More »
Adjoining the southwest corner of Honest Ed’s, the storied Suspect Video is Toronto’s original genre emporium. Since its founding, in 1991, Suspect has accumulated a hugely extensive and wildly eclectic inventory that caters to most every taste, though classic horror and vintage exploitation remain its lifeblood. Comprehensively steeped in cult film culture, Suspect also offers limited edition action figures, genre-related books, and a selection of graphic novels. More »
Imagine that TIFF's Midnight Madness program (circa its Uptown heyday) had coalesced into a physical form and set up shop above Rotate This. That’s essentially Eyesore Cinema. Fiercely disdainful of most Hollywood fare, owner Daniel Hanna has lovingly curated Toronto's finest selection of obscure cinematic oddities, for rental and purchase. Lovers of live action futanari take note, Hanna is also happy to place special orders. More »
Located in the heart of the Church and Wellesley Village (with a second location in Parkdale), 7-24 Movies & More boasts Toronto’s largest collection of LBGT-oriented films, and, indeed, one of the city’s largest film libraries of any description – including some 2,000 Blu-rays. A valuable tip for second-hand shoppers - surplus recent releases (both DVD and Blu-ray) are regularly made available for sale at very reasonable prices. More »
Tucked away between an optician and a Tim Horton’s, and at the end of an inconspicuous corridor, Bay Street Video is a genuine cinematic treasure trove. It’s the definitive destination for Toronto film collectors, with over 22,000 DVDs and 1,500 Blu-rays available for sale as well as to rent. In practice, those figures are far larger. For titles not in stock, but still in print, speedy special orders are a Bay Street staple. More »
Spacious, family-friendly, and supremely well-organized, Videoflicks has been serving midtown movie lovers for more than 25 years. A comprehensive inventory, helpful staff, up-to-date reference materials, and complimentary popcorn all contribute to a browsing experience that’s second to none, while rental rates and durations are, respectively, among the lowest and lengthiest around. More »