Friday, December 9, 2016

Toronto, ONT

Toronto, Ontario, Canada. With 50 record shops in Toronto, most of them in and around downtown you may want to set aside some time to get to these. I am unsure how 50 some shops can all co-exist but they somehow manage. Vinyl pricing around town is generally CAN $7-8 and up for a clean LP. There are some $5 LP's to be had and I even found some $1 and $2 bargains. The exchange rate vs the US dollar is currently quite favorable at CAN $1.32 for one USD. Considering the current exchange rate I did OK in Toronto and you should too!

Toronto is a beautiful well balanced international city, you will find all sorts of great places to eat and shop. The record shops are pretty much walking distance, sometimes a long walk, you will definitely get some serious steps in if you do chose to walk. There is a pretty good subway, bus and light rail system. Traffic in Toronto is awful and parking is about $20 a day near downtown. With that in mind your best bet may be to either book a hotel walking distance from a bus or other public transportation and get into downtown that way or pay the $20 to park all day in a parking structure and then take a subway into downtown.

Toronto light rail and Kops Records

June Records - June is a nice shop with good prices. New and used vinyl. They had an excellent selection of 45's with good pricing on those as well. Friendly staff. I picked up lots of nice 45's and quite a few LP as well, this was in the late afternoon and my vinyl record backpack was already getting heavy, I stuffed a bunch more vinyl from June in my bag and bounced to the next shop. I will be back to June Records for sure. Recommended. 662 College Street.


Good Music - This shop is really cool and the lady who owns it was super nice and helpful. Located in the little Portugal district. Good prices here on used vinyl. I picked up some Led Zep, Stones, Queen and lots more. All Canadian pressings of course! The shop looks like they could pack up and bug out in a few hours if they had to, not a lot in the shop other than the vinyl. This shop is definitely on my hit again list next time I am here. Recommended. 1611 Dundas Street West.


Rotate This - A decent shop, mostly new vinyl and newer artists. They also serve as a ticket outlet for local concerts. In the back of the shop I found a dollar bin and did amazingly well digging through there.
186 Ossington Ave.


BMV Books - I wasn't expecting too much from a book store, but downstairs I found a very nice selection of used vinyl, all genres and a small but cool selection of 45's. Canadian pressings of course. Good pricing on par with the rest of Toronto. I bought a bunch of records here. I had a nice conversation with the clerk about other shops that I should be visiting in Toronto, very helpful. Recommended. 471 Bloor Street West.


Kops - 3 locations around Toronto, I went to 2 of them. I did pretty good at the Bloor street location and so-so at the Queen st location. Good prices, some mark down bins, the 45's are on the high end starting at 4 bucks. Both of the shops I went to were well stocked with all genres and friendly staff.

592 Bloor Street West
229 Queen Street West

Upstairs 45 room at Queen st.
Sonic Boom - Chain store. Very good selection of both used LP's and 45's. Decent prices as well. I found a Tubes Canadian promo for 2 bucks and a bunch of cool 45's. Located in Chinatown area. Recommended. 215 Spandia Ave.

Neurotica - This shop is very close to Kops on Bloor street, when I was here the owner was having a 35% off moving sale. So he is moving to another location in town, not sure where. The condition of his records are not as awesome as some of the other shops in town so check condition. I did manage to find a couple of Robert Fripp 45's from the UK, a Queen 45 (Canada) and some Cheech and Chong LP's (Canada). I would surely go back if I were in town. Recommended. 585 Markham Street.

Cosmos - Nice little shop. Pretty good prices. Friendly owner. I bought a few LP's, some 45's and bounced out. Cosmos have 2 locations the 607 Queen W has all genres, the 652 shop specializes in Jazz.  607A Queen West / 652 Queen West.

On my walk from Cosmos to the next shop on my list I found a cool fish n chips joint called Chippy's. I looked at my watch, it was noon, time for lunch!
Chippy's Fish and Chips. 893 Queen Street W

Grasshopper Records - I stopped by at 1pm, Grasshopper was closed. I was told by another shop that they keep odd hours, try 1am and maybe they will be open. I understand they sell Hip Hop mostly. 1167 Dundas Street West.

Henry's Records - I didn't really have lots of time to shop at Henry's so I made a 15 minute pop in to check things out. Henry's is off the beaten path, not in downtown (not even Toronto technically) and located in the rear area of an industrial park complex. Henry is a super nice guy. I was looking at 45's, he asked what I was looking for I told him at that moment Canadian 45 company sleeves. He said pick some out and we'll talk. I picked some out, handed them to him and he GAVE them to me! He said 'those are a Canadian gift from me to you'!  Wow. Thank you Henry, I will be back when I have more time. 'Henry, do you mind if I take a picture of your shop for my blog'? No, go right ahead'! Henry is cool.
130 Shorting Road, Scarborough


Here is a link where you can find a comprehensive list and address of all the record shops in Toronto:

Happy hunting!!