The Spice Trader & The Olive Pit
If you love spices, this store will not disappoint. The Spice Trader & The Olive Pit has the good stuff.
In past lives I was a total skeptic about overpriced specialty food items, spices falling directly in my cynical line of fire. However, I've since come around to the idea of not all spices being created equal.
The first time I visited the store it was solely to challenge the owner to give me any reason to believe their spices were any different than the far cheaper versions I can pick up at Loblaws. I have, ahem, gone about a bit of a turnaround.
I'll declare my bias- this time visiting the store I had just finished reading Jack Turner's The History of Spices . So walking in I was fully primed to investigate the aromatics of some high quality spices.
I was not let down. Try smelling some ground Ceylon cinnamon (from Sri Lanka, this is the original "real" cinnamon- the less expensive Cassia cinnamon is what you'll find in most shops), roasted paprika, garam masala, or rosemary.
Then you'll know that what you're smelling might be worth the higher price tag. Averaging $5-7per 50g ain't cheap. But I guess you get what you pay for.
You can find some extra value shopping here by engaging with the owner to get exactly what you need. Try letting them know what you like to eat and cook with and go from there. Rarely will you have the chance to check out three different varieties of oregano or cardamom.
Products are pretty narrow but cover the range of dried spices, blends, dried peppers, and salts. They do most of their business via bulk purchases (presumably to restaurants) and claim that they maintain such high quality by sourcing each spice individually and ordering in small batches.
Other noteworthy features of the store are the nice little tin containers the spices come in (you don't want light getting in) and higher end accessories (pepper mills, mortar and pestles, etc.).