Spruce is a home decor shop in Cabbagetown whose owners focus on sourcing objects made in North America and collecting fun vintage items to put up for sale. The energy in the shop has a nostalgic vibe, which makes total sense when I learn from owner Kim Alke that the space was a video store for 30 years.
I poke around the shop and discover tons of cool stuff, like giant vintage letters from old signage, pillows and other textiles with "YYZ" printed on them by local artist Nicole Tarasick (ranging from about $60 to $90), and glasses featuring the word "bourbon" stamped in bold lettering, or silhouettes of deer and bikes ($10-$20).
Alke and her partner Tate seem committed to following trends, but in a practical, not overly bandwagon-hopping sort of way. Check out their blog to see what I mean.
As I munch on a complimentary Granny Smith apple from the vase by the counter, she tells me she's trying to create the kind of shop she wished had been around the last time she decorated her apartment.
She and Tate were walking past the old site of the obviously-deceased 241 Video one night ("after a few glasses of wine," she giggles) when they saw the space and said "to hell with it, let's just do it!" And Spruce was born.
While there admittedly zillions of shops selling trendy home decor in Toronto, there are also, clearly, zillions of people trying to set up trendy homes. And Cabbagetown, especially that stretch of Parliament, could use an infusion of trendiness.
Spruce sits nestled amongst a series of restaurants and grocers, and they seem to be the only venue in sight selling doodads like paint-dipped mini-bowls and candlesticks. And DIY cheese kits.
Though the items are carefully curated (read:there aren't that many of them), Spruce is the kind of shop I could (and did) poke around in forever. Tate and Kim have am older friend who sells antique books, and some are for sale, strewn about the store.
There are candles with hidden diamonds in the wax. Yes, you heard right. Actual hidden gems. Apparently one in every 50 candles secretly houses a diamond. So each of the candles costs $50...you know, to even things out?
Ripoff candles aside, this is a shop I'd travel to from Bloorcourt to Cabbagetown, just to get a treat for my apartment. Or something for my mom, who would go apeshit over surprise diamonds.
Overall, Spruce rates four deerheads out of five.
Photos by Morris Lum