Vintage clothing shops are an important part of the Toronto fashion and clothing scene. Some people even say that we boast one of the best vintage store selections in Canada and fashion tourists often spend days touring the right parts of the city to discover aged treasures with special attitude. Without them, Toronto would be missing a great deal of the atmosphere of the bohemian boutiques and little hippie shops often run by their passionate founders. Throw away your clothing prejudices and hit the city in search of vintage goodies and check out some of the spots mentioned on our list of the top vintage clothing shops in Toronto:
Bungalow is a vintage store that gets as close to regular boutique as it gets, so there’s no danger scouring through the racks of smelly used clothing here. Everything is in good condition and nicely sorted out. This store (especially for fashion lovers who hate shopping in vintage stores) combines a hand-picked selection of the best vintage and thrift clothes with vintage-inspired collections and trendy lines such as BB Dakota, Lady Dutch, and Ames Bros. Besides clothes, you can come to shop for vintage housewares, furniture, lamps, and much more. The staff here are helpful and attentive, but keep their laid-back attitude, so you’re not bothered by their constant attempts to sell you something. Prices are a bit higher but still remain reasonable when you realize that you really do get the best quality. Always on top of the fashion trends, Bungalow is a must-see!
Address: 273 Augusta Avenue
Since the ’70s, Courage My Love has become an institution in the world of vintage fashion in Toronto. Customers are welcome by the blazing blue façade and iconic pink nude mannequins before they enter an intimate world of bohemia. A group of loyal fans have developed around this legendary shop and there are good reasons for that. Courage My Love has an unbelievable atmosphere and everyone certainly finds several must-have pieces here. Lots of the special goodies got here thanks to Stewart Scriver, founder and co-owner of the shop, who spends the greater part of his year travelling around the world, hunting for little treasures to offer in the store. Besides beautiful vintage clothes, people who come here find a whole range of lovely things. Courage My Love features a mishmash of purses, Mexican wrestling masks, old postcards, lamps, jewellery, and international drawings. Prices can be both reasonable and outrageous, just like the shop itself!
Address: 14 Kensington Ave.
Looking for more high-end vintage? Cabaret is the right place for you. It’s unbelievable how the managers of Cabaret manage to find and restore clothing sometimes as old as the early 1900s. It’s not possible to find anything poorly made or not in perfect condition — you will feel as if you’ve entered a time machine. The main floor showcases the top pieces (for not so cheap prices), but the so-called “Cabaret Backstage” in the basement is a haven for less well-off shoppers hunting for more unconventional clothes. In addition to all of this, Cabaret has even prepared its own vintage line of custom-made bridal gowns inspired by retro fashion, and they’re so beautiful that it’s worth getting married just to wear them. Even though the shop offers high-end fashion, the staff is friendly and helpful to everyone and you won’t see any raised eyebrows here. All glamorous ladies and gentlemen will love this sophisticated store.
Address: 672 Queen Street West
Gadabout is probably the most popular vintage store in the east end. This two-storey shop is filled from floor to ceiling, so don’t get too overwhelmed upon entering. All the vintage items are in top condition and the general lack of free space doesn’t affect the amount of care the staff of Gadabout delivers to keep this up. The specialty of this shop are pieces from Edwardian and Victorian era, carefully kept off the main racks. Overall, everything is ordered by size, making the whole searching process much faster and more convenient. Besides clothes, Gadabout offers an extensive collection of accessories, books, and many oddities, ephemera, and curios scattered all around the store. Take your time to dive into the filing cabinets, roam through the racks and shelves full of haphazardly squeezed stuff that hide vintage treasures, and find the perfect piece you didn’t even know you were looking for!
Address: 1300 Queen Street East
69 Vintage is not a single store; it’s a small chain of three different and unique shops owned by vintage fashion magician Kealan Sullivan, who alone launched her business for the joy of fashion recycling. 69 Vintage is full of perfectly wearable things for reasonable prices. Attentive customers might spot Sullivan’s guilty pleasure when it comes to choosing pieces for the shop: a slight inclination to what could be called “pioneer style.” 69 Vintage Collective is slightly less refined, but probably more fun to shop in, as those who have to shop on budget can find their paradise in the back of the shop in the popular by-the-pound section, where you get a pound of clothes for just $15. Furthermore, all of the Vintage 69 stores are known for having extremely nice and polite staff. Kealan Sullivan’s empire rocks!
69 Vintage: 110 Queen Street West
69 Vintage Collective/Buy The Pound: 1207 Bloor Street West
V by 69 Vintage: 198 Walnut Street
For a while, it seemed that the Toronto vintage scene lost House of Vintage forever, after its closure a couple of years ago. However, this amazing shop made it back and reopened its doors at a new address, but with its old, excellent taste for clothing. House of Vintage’s offer mostly consists of top-notch, designer pieces and true one-of-a-kind treasures, which also explains its higher prices. While it’s possible to choose a gorgeous Jean Paul Gaultier sweater or a dress by Dior, more budget-conscious customers still have plenty of exquisite clothes to choose from lower-end fashion. The collection is supplemented by used jewellery and accessories and you won’t be able to tear yourself away. The owner of the shop, Dennis Adamidis, has a perfect eye for getting the top pieces that some would die for.
Address: 1239 Queen Street West (Parkdale)
If you happen to wander into Black Market Vintage Clothing, be prepared to spend a couple of hours in there, picking the best pieces. Although the store and the clothes don’t seem as polished as most on this list, their huge selection includes hip clothing and accessories for both men and women, including an amazing offer of leather jackets, band T-shirts, hoodies, blazers, and purses. However, what makes this store really special are the rock-bottom prices and crazy deals on a daily basis. Clothes and shoes for $9.99 or scarves for $2.99: thanks to these kinds of prices (before the sale!), Black Market Vintage Clothing is known as one of the cheapest yet most fashion-conscious spots in the city. One of the store’s additional services is custom-made silk screening at a minimum order of 60 shirts. Come and discover your rock n’ roll fashion!
Address: 256a Queen West
Founded in 2007, Philistine is a tiny, developing shop run by co-owners Aaron Doucet and Colleen Ramage. If Fleet Foxes fashion could be defined, Philistine nailed it in the men’s section of the store. Even though the collection might seem a bit unified, the good ol’ boy work wear including a huge selection leather oxfords, windbreakers, flannel shirts, and down-filled vests certainly has an amazing spirit, and outdoorsy guys will be very satisfied. The women’s side of the store is less clearly defined by a certain style, but magnificent pieces can be found here as well, including beautiful floral dresses and high-waisted suede shorts. Philistine also features an impressive range of vintage footwear in perfect shape, located in the narrow hallway in the rear. Both owners are thinking about introducing their own line and mixing up the vintage fare with their new items.
Address: 1349 Queen West