While owning (or let’s face it, renting) a home in Toronto these days feels out of reach for many, stores selling furniture and decor are aplenty. A 2017 study from Summa Strategies, found that 78 per cent of millennials in Canada prefer to buy furniture in physical (brick and mortar) store. These vintage and antique shops around the city will help you find that one-of-a kind piece to spice up your space in a way that’s a bit more sustainable and a lot more special than big box retailers.
Passion for the Past Antiques & Collectibles
Address: 1646 Queen West
Target customer: The antique junkie
This quaint and quirky Parkdale staple specializes in antique and collectible kitchenware and jewelry. Owners John and Joe Hogan have had their shop for over 20 years, curating all sorts of interesting pieces from the Victorian era all the way to the 1960s. Items are reasonably priced and sales and negotiations are a common occurrence at this spot. If you’re looking for a unique piece to dress up your dining table over the holidays, this cluttered treasure trove is the place to go digging. Additionally, their rare wares make amazing gifts for that antique collector in your family. Unique to many antique shops, you can also search through their stock online from the comfort of your home and they offer worldwide shipping.
Address: 28 Roncesvalles
Target customer: The curious cat
From the outside, this Roncesvalles spot doesn’t look like much more than a garage sale and tiny storefront, but step inside and you can easily get lost in this maze of a store. Toronto resident Catherine Huizenga moved her tiny shop down the street from the shop’s previous location six years ago turning it into the vintage emporium it is today. The space is crammed with all sorts of unique finds from funky couches to handmade vases. Besides furniture, the one-stop shop has a wide assortment of vintage women’s clothing and nostalgic knick-knacks like old postcards and kitchenware. They have a strong local community of shoppers but also often rent or sell their reasonably priced items as props to the film industry.
Address: 11 Trinity
Target customer: The oddball
Blackbird might be one of the only vintage shops where you can find taxidermy animals, old chemistry beakers and an assortment of modern Toronto memorabilia all in one place. Nestled in the heart of the Distillery District, this trendy vintage spot with an industrial aesthetic specializes in the niche and the strange while still curating beautiful furniture any millennial would snatch up in a heartbeat, especially since the prices aren’t too steep (a piece of taxidermy goes for around $195). Owner Paula Di Renzo opened Blackbird Vintage just seven years ago and has already become a spectacle for locals and tourists alike.
Address: 1605 Queen West
Target customer: The kitschy collector
Wander down Queen West by way of Roncesvalles and you’ll pass a whole slew of vintage and antique shops. Hideaway Antiques stands out for its kitschy, unique stock of collector pieces dating back to the 1800s, with a strong concentration of Victorian era treasures. Owner Bill Jarman has been in the business for decades and is extremely friendly and helpful. He has a certain fascination for curating carnival-style pieces and if you’re meandering through the store’s nooks and crannies, you just might find a large ceramic peanut or a funhouse mirror that makes you look eight feet tall. This is definitely the place to find that statement piece for your home. Hideaway also does prop rentals for the film industry.
Address: 2880 Dundas West
Target customer: The rustic revivalist
Ever dreamt of decorating your home with porthole mirrors made from real boat parts or vintage farm signs? This rustic Junction spot is home to an eclectic arrangement of furniture, fixtures and home décor with the vibes of a homey cottage in the country. The design of the store itself oozes interior inspiration, with its exposed brick walls and hanging lights. As the name suggests, this shop “salvages” a lot of old pieces, giving them a modern twist. Pieces do often land on the pricier side but are definitely reasonable for the one-of-a-kind pieces to make all your cozy homemaking dreams come true.
A Changing Nest
Address: 572 Annette
Target customer: The pretty and prim household
This charming consignment store is the spot for all those sweet home additions you didn’t know you needed. They carry an assortment of reupholstered and upcycled vintage pieces making them look just like new. They also offer design services which include interior decorating or helping you upholster and freshen up that vintage piece you already own (consultations go for about $350). As a consignment store, it has an assortment of pieces old and new but all their vintage is carefully curated and great quality – there’s no “junk” here. It may appear tiny but delve into their basement for hidden gems like vintage typewriters and teapots.
Address: 2906 Dundas West
Target customer: The modernist
This Junction spot is where vintage meets contemporary. Home to a plethora of 20th century pieces, the space is curated to fit a fresh yet nostalgic vibe. Phil’z is a great place to look for unique lighting fixtures as they have a wide range to choose from hanging from the ceiling. Their furniture is among the more reasonably priced as the pieces are not exceptionally ancient.
Address: 529 Parliament
This Cabbagetown spot is one place you can find an exciting range of beautiful vintage furniture as well as jewelry specialties like gem polishing and sizing. Green’s collection of bronze statues and grand clocks really stand out if you want to give your home that Victorian look. They will also do refinishing and repairs on your pre-loved vintage pieces with prices ranging depending on the product.