malabar toronto closing

Iconic Toronto costume store up for sale after nearly 100 years in business

One of the most-storied and successful costume houses in all of North America could be yours, dear friend, along with the historic building it's been occupying since the 1930s for only $21.5 million.

This, according to a real estate listing for 10-14 McCaul St. — home to Toronto's oldest costume shop, Malabar Limited.

"The property is the first building north of Queen St.," reads the listing on realtor.ca. "Has very good potential to be re-developed to high rise residential or office building."

Indeed, it's a prime location in the heart of Queen West — one that is likely appealing to condo developers ("Costume Store Lofts," anyone?).

Interestingly, however, it's not just the building that's for sale, but Malabar itself.

"Existing business includes retail sale of dance supplies and costume rentals and is included in the price," continues the listing, which draws attention to the three-storey building's robust 110-foot frontage.

Staff at Malabar's Toronto location (the brand has one other store in Ottawa) were aware of the listing, but said that they weren't really sure of what's going on.

It is of note that the company did shutter its opera department on Brock Street at the end of July.

Someone from the company's corporate office said she was unable to disclose any information about the potential sale of Malabar and its building at 14 McCaul St.

Whether the business closes or stays open under new ownership, regulars of the costume sales, rental and dancewear store will surely be alarmed to learn of a forthcoming change.

Malabar moved into its home on McCaul Street in the 1930s, according to the company's website, but actually started as a business back in 1923 with a shop on Spadina Avenue.

It has since become a go-to spot for theatre companies around the world, as well as for locals who flock there for Halloween costumes each October and legions of ballerinas who've been known to take advantage of Malabar's excellent slipper and leotard collection.

Lead photo by

Malabar Ltd.


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