Toronto Designers Market
Toronto Designers Market is located next door to Hideaway Antiques and the Queen West Antique Centre on Queen near where it meets Roncesvalles. The big, welcoming, bright space has the feel of an art gallery, showcasing the work of 38 local artists, designers, and entrepreneurs.
The range of items you'll find here is impressive - from natural moisturizers ( Parkdale Butter ), to concrete sculptures ( Il Cek ), to well-curated antiques (Vintage 30). I even came across some vintage Playboy magazines ($5)!
Along with products you'd expect - like new and vintage jewelry - you'll also come across really original ones, like an entire line dedicated to beards (Always Bearded).
Owner Joshua James - who also operates the Parkdale Flea and 36 Chambers - works with a lot of artists and designers. He was hearing the same story from many of them: they wanted to get their work out there, but retailers were taking too high a commission (50%) and the overhead for opening up their own shop in Toronto made that option an impossibility.
He set out to address this, creating TDM, which gives these small businesses the opportunity to display and sell their work without having to pay any commission, staff the booth, or worry about logistics.
"Parkdale has some of the most creative people in the city," says James. "All these people have something unique but no place to sell it - until now."
Each booth essentially operates as the vendor's own little shop - they set it up and price items how they like. From there, TDM staff - who are familiar with each business and their products - answer questions and handle purchases. They also help grow the brands by providing marketing support.
It's definitely a fun place to poke around, with lots of original ideas and everything, for the most part, affordable. I have my eye on a few things that will make great gifts, like a set of laser-etched cork coasters by D'Andrea Design ($25) and a gorgeous waxed canvas duffle bag ($250) by Krane.
Lord of Ties carries an array of bold, classy ties ($40) and Paprika has a range of colourful, quality yoga pants ($75).
You can pick-up one of many neighbourhood tanks at the GTA booth and show your pride for areas like the Junction, High Park, and Parkdale ($30).
Toronto Designers Market is located at 1605 Queen Street West and is open Wednesdays to Sundays from 11am - 6pm. And it's dog friendly!
Photos by Hector Vasquez