Shop local Toronto: Favourite stores

Ever since the pandemmy, I try to support local Toronto shops more often (yes, I also shop at Amazon, girl’s gotta eat, ok?). Buying local in Toronto can be expensive, but it does make me feel better when my money goes to small businesses that bring so much life and vibrancy to our city. These shops are all in and around the West Queen West neighbourhood because that’s where I live and spend 97 % of my time.

1. Cocktail Emporium [pictured], 3 locations

I want everything in here: the shell-shaped punch bowl, the bar tools, the very necessary rainbow disco ball cups. Their ready-to-mix syrups are great for those moments when you want to make a new cocktail but don’t want to spend three hours milking fennel.

2. Miss Pippa’s, 1158 College St.

Shop local Toronto | Miss Pippa’s on College St.

Miss Pippa’s feels like the closest I’ll get to Rose Apothecary (Schitt’s Creek, David). I love their dead flowers, hand-made knick-knacks and glass candle holders.

3. Balfour Books, 468 College St.

At first, I didn’t realize that Balfour is a used bookshop because it’s highly *aesthetic*, and you can often find new releases. The books are in excellent condition and organized on worn wooden shelves labelled with Scrabble tiles — it’s so Hygge, I could scream.

No updated IG or website (I know), just go in.

4. The Dog Bowl, 984 Dundas St. W.

I go here to stare at dogs.

5. VdeV, 797 Dundas St. W.

If I had a nickel for every time I sulked over all the pretty trinkets and trust-fund throw pillows in here, I would spend it all on one of their $48 ceramic candles. | @vdev_maison

6. Good For Her, 175 Harbord St.

The staff at Good For Her have created an approachable, inclusive space that feels like you’re at your best friend’s house…if your best friend has ribbed vibrators on their wall. Every body (space intentional) welcomed. | @goodforherstore

7. Shaw Flowers, 1068 Dundas St. W.

Shaw flowers on Dundas West, Toronto

Shaw Flowers was my neighbour for three years and, even on crummy days, just walking by always brought some light. Their prices are reasonable for Toronto plant shops, and the family who runs it is incredibly kind and helpful. The butterflies are my favourite.


8. Type Books, 3 locations

Shop local Toronto | Type Books on Queen Street West

I’m a big fan of Type’s themed window displays, which always showcase timely books and paper mache art that could bring a tear to Neil Buchanan’s eye. And if puzzles didn’t give me rage blackouts, I would buy theirs.

9. Olivia’s Garden, 569 Crawford St.

The dried flower bouquets from this idyllic shop (^ that’s not the shop, that’s my kitchen table) last forever and make me feel rich.

10. Philistine, 928 Queen St. W.

Philistine is my dream closet. I find the pricing comparable to Aritzia (so $$), but Philistine’s items are ~ cooler ~ and since it’s an independent shop, you won’t end up wearing the same outfit as everyone and their mother. I dig their wall of tiny sunglasses and the earrings are really reasonably priced and make for great gifts. They also have funny and original greeting cards.

P.S. If you create an account there, for every 20 dollars you spend, you earn one dollar towards store credit. Nice for you.

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