The Best Vintage Furniture Stores in Toronto
The best vintage furniture stores in Toronto come down to a battle of east versus west. Leslieville versus West Queen West, that is. For some reason, all the best places to find classic Eames lounges, Herman Miller shell chairs, or any number of Danish teak sofas seem to be concentrated somewhere on Queen Street, in Leslieville in the east or by Parkdale in the west. The reason may be shrouded in tweed-upholstered mystery, but for certain is that each of these stores is propelled by a keen, curating eye, one that can sort the vintage finds from the frauds.
As much as vintage furniture shopping may be perceived as an exercise in exploration, I like to step into a store and see much of the scavenging legwork already done. The stores that have made it on this list are ones that are known to deliver.
Here is the list of the best vintage furniture stores in Toronto.
Note: A previous version of this list was published on June 13, 2008. Comments below made up until February 21, 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.
Top photos by Jesse Milns
Queen West Antique Centre is a goldmine for educational miscellany. Bonus points is you can find a charming and starkly discredited overhead biology chart from decades past. On Queen West approaching Roncesvalles, the Centre is the place to find old science lab stools that suddenly become chic at a King West breakfast bar, and steel and glass medical cabinets begging for diminutive adornment. More »
While owners Phil and Cynthia Markowitz might have a reputation of being less-than-affable, their collective eye for picking out beautiful 20th century treasures is undeniable. The Queen East vintage furniture shop feels a lot more open and organized than its crowded west end counterparts, allowing room to properly gawk at its solid wood dining tables and gorgeous vintage couches. More »
A great source for modern vintage teak pieces (which sounds like an oxymoron) and other mid-century designer furniture. Machine Age Modern is Jake Keck's baby, first opened on Queen West before moving east to its present location. Think retro Danish coffee tables, vintage lounge chairs, and 1970's light fixtures. More »
Zig Zag generally stocks vintage finds from the 1950s through 1970s, including designs by Hans Wegner and Charles Eames. If you have a particular affinity for plastics (1960s, especially) Zig Zag on Queen East is probably your store. It's also the place to find retro TVs back when they came as pieces of furniture, and not just eyesores hanging pretentiously over the fireplace. More »
GUFF is one vintage furniture store where you can count on finding some steals, not the least of which might include an antique solid oak dresser for $345, or a pair of Leif Jacobsen walnut cabinets for $165 each. The people at GUFF are awesome at updating their blog regularly, saving couch-dwellers like me a trip to Queen and Jones in order to browse the new arrivals. More »
No, it's not an art gallery. Blame that aura on the creative eye of curator and owner Kate Eisen. The modern mid-century finds at INabstracto could surely stand alone as living room sculpture or discussion pieces, be in an antique airplane storage cart, a chrome bicycle-wheel storage cart, or a classic Eames lounge chair and ottoman. More »
I'm always sure to leave my big bag behind before going into Morba. One nonchalant swivel and you've knocked a vintage orange vase off a Scandinavian dining table. It's a bit of a wonderland in Morba (which makes it all the more enjoyable, of course) with funky lighting, clocks, stools, lounges, and the odd boxed toy set, packing every inch of the Queen West shop. More »