Designer Fabrics toronto

Toronto's favourite fabric store is closing

At the corner of Queen West and Brock, right across the street from Parkdale's branch of the Toronto Public Library, sits an absolutely massive yet nondescript fabric store that insiders have been raving about for decades.

Designer Fabrics, regularly ranked as the top store of its kind in Toronto, is a Parkdale institution — a "mecca for those who make their own clothes or are planning an interior design project," as it's been said.

Happy Place

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The sprawling space isn't showy on the outside, but inside awaits a world of wonder with more textiles, trim and tassle than you could ever imagine seeing in one place. Their selection has been described as "mind-blowing" and staff members as actual saints (of fabric knowledge and customer service).

It's a busy place and a fun one to visit, but sadly, the days are numbered for Designer Fabrics: It's shutting down for good on August 4 after more than 65 years in business.

General manager Angie Clarke said by phone on Tuesday that the family-run business is closing because both of its owners, who are elderly, want to retire.

"We're all sad," she said. "It's like the end of an era. Our staff, our clients, we're a family."

The silver lining here is that you can get all kinds of fabrics, from inexpensive cotton broadcloth to high-end luxury silk, at a discount until the store closes in roughly two weeks.

Everything is currently 50 per cent off inside the Designer Fabrics store at 1360 Queen Street West, though online sales have already been shut down.

As for what's coming next to the space, Clarke has no idea.

The store is gigantic for something in the city that isn't a Shoppers Drug Mart (or similarly well-funded corporate venture), stretching halfway to Cowan Avenue, west of Brock, and all the way north to Abbs Street from Queen.

my happy place

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It'll likely be leased or sold for a pretty penny, though, given how much property values have been rising in the fast-gentrifying neighbourhood.

Don't blame the messenger, Parkdale. I said "likely."

Lead photo by

Jeremy Vandermeij

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