MEC North York
Mountain Equipment Co-op serves North York with a location near Sheppard and Bayview. The store has origins in British Columbia but we here in the east have slowly become obsessed with the feel-good brand and arguably need their assistance more equipment-wise with much colder temperatures to brave.
Mountain Equipment Co-op (or MEC as those in the know usually say) is named as such because it’s always operated on a co-op system wherein you have to purchase a cheap membership in order to buy anything from the store. In return, however, MEC has always offered top quality products made ethically.
The best MEC stores come off like an outdoor adventure playground with plenty of opportunities to look, touch and ask about the products. This is a carbon neutral high performance green building.
The “Spicy Jacket” ($270) is perfect for the Canadians who can easily reach this central location from Oshawa, Peterborough and Guelph, with an ultralight downproof ripstop nylon outer shell and an 850 fill-power white and grey goose down.
Even more amazing than all this lightweight coziness: it actually is possible to pack this jacket down into its own pocket.
Mountain Equipment Co-op has evolved into an outdoor mecca with modern sensibilities where technology that aids rather than distracts meets function and style. BioLite provides them with cool camp stoves ($165) and cook stoves ($125) that burn kindling rather than gas to power unique compact camping equipment, some of which also charges phones.
Or maybe you’re missing the trails, and want to bring the feel of great outdoor exercise into your home for everyday use. Tacx makes motion trainers sold here that you can hook up to your bike, including a smart version ($499.50) that you can hook up to a specialized app that allows you compare rides against friends, and sends you on pre-programmed routes through the Alps.
MEC loves hardcore old-timers and newbies to sports alike here, and they recommend climbing as one of the cheapest activities to get into. It may surprise you to learn that it only costs about $150 for all the equipment you’ll need, and you can get a great climbing shoe for as little as $100 here. The toes are curved down specially to make your foot into a hoof-like shape.
This MEC features an epic shoe wall with shoes for all types of shoes especially for running in any season or weather. They organize community runs, and expert marathon runners like Jim Willett are often in store to help you pick out the perfect shoe and layered outfit.
The space has an industrial feel with plenty of concrete and plain wood. The store is divided into two levels with various different functional spaces.