GREAT INDEPENDENT BOUTIQUE IN TORONTO

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GREAT INDEPENDENT BOUTIQUE IN TORONTO

GREAT INDEPENDENT BOUTIQUE IN TORONTO

GREAT INDEPENDENT BOUTIQUE IN TORONTO

With so many independent stores in Toronto, it’s simple to shop ethically, sustainably, and locally. Many of them are owned by individuals who create their own designs and manufacture their products locally, and they are chic and astute.GREAT INDEPENDENT BOUTIQUE IN TORONTO

 

If there’s a theme to these clothing and houseware designs, it’s modern Canadiana, espousing a pride in the people and places that give the Great White North its distinct outlook (think non-kitsch nature motifs or a winter parka imagined in vegan materials). Ready to explore? Here are 10 independent boutiques to visit in Toronto.

Birds of North America

GREAT INDEPENDENT BOUTIQUE IN TORONTO
GREAT INDEPENDENT BOUTIQUE IN TORONTO
Pick up new—and quality pre-owned—pieces at Birds of North America.

Courtesy of Birds of North America

Founded in Victoria, made in Montreal, and based in Toronto, Hayley Gibson’s sustainable, vegan clothing line, Birds of North America, is as Canadian as you can get without wearing a maple leaf. Items with bold patterns reflect the label’s roots, like a baby-doll dress printed with loons, Canada’s unofficial national bird, or a fresh cotton blouse in a blue “ice storm” motif. At its Queen Street West boutique, the company’s “ReNests” program sells preowned Birds styles from previous seasons, making its pieces truly sustainable.

Coal Miner’s Daughter

Forget Loretta Lynn—Coal Miner’s Daughter is named after co-owner Krysten Caddy’s great-grandma Rosilla, a 1930s Toronto garment worker. Her memory inspired Caddy and partner Janine Haller to launch a boutique celebrating Canadian creators, with their first store opening in 2009 on Queen Street West. Today, four locations offer homegrown brands like Toronto’s Pink Martini, Haller, and Amanda Moss. Carefully chosen lines from further-flung locales include Denmark’s Atelier Reve and Barcelona’s Mus Bombon.

Encircled

GREAT INDEPENDENT BOUTIQUE IN TORONTO
GREAT INDEPENDENT BOUTIQUE IN TORONTO
Encircled’s clothes are built to last.

Courtesy of Encircled

Kristi Soomer’s minimalist Junction Triangle boutique, Encircled, displays its ultra-versatile “workleisure” clothes manufactured within an hour’s bike ride of its offices. But this is not your typical activewear: Encircled offers sharp separates, from jackets to joggers to jumpsuits, with multiple styling options for maximum versatility. Using exceptional fabrics like modal and merino wool, her pieces promise longtime wear.

Ethel 20th Century Living

Shauntelle LeBlanc’s east-end emporium is a riot of midcentury-modern kitchenware, art, furniture, fabrics, and toys. If you can’t fit a fabulous 1950s boomerang coffee table or a reupholstered Adrian Pearsall Kroehler sofa in your suitcase, you’ll still find one-of-a-kind souvenirs like an art deco ceramic cat sculpture, vintage Chinese porcelain figurine wall plaques, or a 1976 Montreal Olympics tray at Ethel 20th Century Living.

Logan & Finley

Everything in Julie Skirving’s eco-conscious general store, Logan & Finley, is measured by three standards: Built to last, local, or natural. Inside her loft-like Queen Street West shop, that means Canadian-made clothing from brands like Fig and Brenda Beddome; natural body-care products from Toronto’s Wildcraft Skincare and Montreal’s Bkind; and goodies from domestic purveyors—think tomato jam from Toronto’s Manning Canning and irresistible brown-sugar shortbread cookies from Alberta’s Real Treat Pantry.

Toronto-Boutiques-MonkeysPaw.jpg

Courtesy of the Monkey’s Paw

 

The Monkey’s Paw

Stephen Fowler’s west-end temple of print, The Monkey’s Paw, specializes in “uncommon books and paper artifacts.” That’s an understatement. You might find bizarro tomes on tin-can toys, cockroach feeding habits, British heraldry, or astral projection, along with a thoughtful selection of more conventional literature from Jane Austen and Ian Fleming. Do not leave without dropping a $5 token into the Monkey’s Paw Bibliomat, which dispenses random old books; Fowler claims it’s the only vending machine of its kind.

Muddy George

After a decade in banking, Altaf Baksh opened Muddy George in the west-end Bloorcourt neighborhood in 2015. Judging from the brilliant selection of hard-to-find menswear brands in this compact shop, he’s having more fun in fashion than finance. Label geeks will fiend over Japan’s Jackman and Momotaro, Korea’s Catch Ball, and French workwear brand Vetra. Baksh also spotlights Toronto creators, with Outclass Attire casualwear, Persons of Interest scents, and Arctic Bay outerwear.

Spacing

With its Toronto-centric merch from independent local makers, west-side Spacing is the city’s smartest stop for souvenirs. You’ll find ceramic coasters with Toronto’s YYZ airport code, tea towels emblazoned with city street names, die-cast models of Toronto Transit Commission buses, CN Tower enamel pins, and a smart selection of books about the city. Spacing’s own imprint publishes The Signs That Define Toronto, with terrific photos of the city’s iconic marquees, and Souvenirs of Toronto Sports, a compendium of team memorabilia through the decades.

The Wanderly

Sarah Gelfand and Katie Nicholson mix gorgeous vintage pieces with “sustainably sourced” wearables and home goods at their airy shop, The Wanderly, just west of Little Portugal. Hand-knit Moroccan pillowcases come in dazzling patterns; ceramics from Los Angeles’s Danny D’s Mudshop or Oaxaca artisans are one of a kind. Beautifully curated vintage pieces might include porcelain wine goblets or a handmade clay plate. You’ll find ethically made clothing from Vancouver’s Bohème Goods, baubles from Barcelona’s Levens Jewels, and the Wanderly’s own Gatsby-ish dead stock vintage caps with pink brims.

Wuxly

No one does parkas like Canadians, and few Canadians do them like Wuxly. Its animal-free, high-performance materials are recycled and bio-based (like corn-derived Sorona fiber), and everything’s manufactured in Canada. If the men’s quilted Passage bomber seems like a splurge at $595, remember it’s water-repellent, snow-proof, filled with incredibly warm vegan insulation, and priced in Canadian dollars—which makes it approximately US$436 and a relative bargain for border-crossing shoppers at its Queen Street West flagship.

 

GREAT INDEPENDENT BOUTIQUE IN TORONTO

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