Toronto Thrift Guide
We went out for dinner with my in-laws last night. My sister-in-law’s nephew was visiting from Vancouver. I asked him what he was doing in Toronto and he replied that he was in town to visit friends, go see a concert and to go thrifting.
I consider myself knowledgeable in this subject so I offered to send him a list of my favourite hunting neighbourhoods. It’s not the most detailed (every thrifter is looking for something different, I sensed his aesthetic was much more “Perfectly Imperfect” 20-year-old), but all of these locations offer enough variety that there will be something for everyone.
Bloor and Lansdowne
Brockton Village is Thrift Town. There’s Value Village, Salvation Army, 96 Tears, NTS By The Pound, and Lucky Tiger. The Value Village is a little overpriced and picked over but because it’s big, good finds fall through the cracks. The Sally Ann is small and the guy’s selection isn’t great but the prices are reasonable and you can usually find one good thing. 96 Tears is more like true Vintage and they have a great sales rack. NTS is hit and miss. Lucky Tiger has a great curation but is expensive.
Expo Vintage and Expo By The Pound
Two locations. One is the curated boutique and one is the warehouse where you have to dig through bins. If you like true vintage and not last season’s H&M, and you like the thrill of the hunt then the Buy The Pound is heaven. I got some great t-shirts, a Lee Rider jean jacket, and some incredible snap front denim cowboy shirts there last summer. There may be some conditions issues (usually tiny holes or missing buttons but not stains or weird smells).
There are a couple of other good vintage shops within walking distance but they are not so thrifty. Most have $10 racks though. I get a lot of Pendleton shirts this way.
Public Butter a big ol’ shop at Queen West and Dufferin-ish.,not unlike Black Market (it’s actually owned by the Black Market people). Especially good for finding vintage sweaters, work wear etc. Lots of new old stock stuff too.
If you keep walking west on Queen there’s a Salvation Army with a really good selection of men’s things. Like 50 percent of the shop. And there are a bunch of not thrift necessarily vintage shops. They can be pricey but most have $10 dollars racks.
Orfus Market By The Pound
I haven’t actually been here because it’s not that transit-friendly. I’m told it’s quite a scene though. It’s like a weigh station for donated clothing with tables or bins filled with unsorted things that buyers pounce on as soon as they bring them out. Bring gloves and a face mask because I don’t know how clean these garments are.
No website but there is an Instagram.
Dixie and Dundas
Slightly out of town but pretty accessible, the intersection of Dixie and Dundas has four major thrift shops: Salvation Army, Talize, Goodwill and Value Village. You could spend all day out there. I wouldn’t say these are the best thrift shops in town (the clothes tend toward fast fashion) but you can get lots of t-shirts and sweats of the family reunion, fund raiser, camps, vacation variety. If you want a sweatshirt with a wolf or loon on it, you won’t be disappointed.
This neighborhood used to be vintage central. There are still a few really good shops. My favourites are Courage My Love (especially good for boots and shoes) and Vintage Depot (t-shirts, shirts).
PS. I did do some thrifting myself last week. I got a Katsina doll and an incense burner (both require some TLC), a cool Studiocult flame-shaped purse and a true vintage corduroy hockey jacket.