Best of Indie Toronto - Voting is Open

Yeah. We did it. We finally released the final nominees for our first annual Best of Independent Indie Toronto poll.

Thanks to everyone who sent in nominations back in 2005. Since that time, we've been busy narrowing down the final list to five nominees in 50 different categories. As can be expected, there were a lot of tough calls and no doubt some of you will feel that a deserving nominee has been excluded.

We think so too. Food categories like Best Cafe, Best Baked Goods and Best Pizza were among the most challenging. Best Yoga, Best Women's Clothing and Best Art Gallery weren't pretty either. Please feel free to let us know how much we screwed up in the comments below.

But for now, head on over to the Best Of Indie Toronto poll and vote!

Photo: Sam Javanrouh

More details on how we arrived at the final nominees below.

Still reading? Ok. I guess you're the curious type. Either that or you're totally pissed that we excluded your favourite book store or falafel joint. If that's the case, we have some anwers. Here's how we arrived at our final nominees:

Step 1: We asked for everyone's nominees for 50 different categories. Some of you posted your nominees in our comment section while an overwhelming majority of you decided to send us an email. Those who sent us an email got extra points. Just kidding.

Step 2: Once we sorted through all the nominees, we realized that we still had some work to do. In some categories (like Best Yoga), we had more than five nominees so we had to make some calls to narrow it down. In others (such as Best Bulk Food Store), we only received two or three which meant we had to do our own dirty work to see who else deserved a nomination. In some cases, we realized that some categories weren't quite working (for various reasons) so we dropped them and added some new ones with our own nominees. (thems the breaks)

Step 3: We circulated the list around internally. All (or at least most) of the blogTO contributors weighed in with their picks. We then made some arbitrary decisions and that was that.

Ok. Not exactly arbitrary decisions. In many cases, nominees were eliminated for one or more of the following reasons:

1. The nominee was not an independent business (such as a national chain or even a local one with franchisees) Examples here included Future Shop and Pizzaiolo.
2. The nominee had operations or stores outside of the Toronto area. Nicholas Hoare and Style Exchange fell victim to this rule.
3. The nominee imports most of the goods they sell rather than create their wares locally. This is why Up Country didn't make the Best Furniture Store (new) list while shops like, say, Commute Home did.
4. The nominee was located outside the city of Toronto such as Markham or Richmond Hill.

Finally, what would an explanation be without noting that there are always some exceptions to every rule. Ultimately, we tried our best and really hope you're ok with the results. Let us know who we missed and we'll be sure to give them consideration for next year's list.

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