North Standard Trading Post
By Alicja Gzadkowska

Made in Canada

Finding a Muskoka-like cabin in the middle of Toronto might be impossible, but clothing retailer North Standard Trading Post on Queen Street West comes pretty close to capturing the cozy vibe of a northern Ontario cottage.

From the wood paneling on the walls to the decorative canoe oars hanging around the store, all you need to complete the rustic cabin atmosphere is a warm wool blanket and a pair of camp socks — luckily you’ll find those in the shop as well. Husband-and-wife owners Pamela Hopson and Francesco Fiore first opened their cabin-inspired Parkdale boutique in 2013. Today, the cottagey space is the perfect setting to show off their curated collection of Canadian must-haves.

That doesn’t just mean that the goods are appropriate for Canadian weather. “We try as much as we can in each commodity to have something made in Canada,” says Pamela, adding that some brands are made even closer to home. Muttonhead gear, sourced from Roncesvalles, is sold alongside Smells Like Canada candles that are made in Parkdale, just like the Parkdale Butter Company hand cream, which is one of the many brands of homemade personal care products available at the store.

Even the store’s name was inspired by a piece of Canadian history. The “north” is obviously a nod to Canada itself, while “standard” is “something well-made, a little bit more on the utility side,” says Francesco. But more importantly, the “trading post” refers to the traditional trading posts that were established to exchange goods between the inhabitants of early Canada.

The tradition continues at North Standard Trading Post, where many of the goods — from durable denim to weather-resistant puffy jackets — are manufactured close to home.

We love helping our customers and giving them a background on everything. We’re basically just here to help guide people to get what they need and want. - Pamela Hopson, co-owner
North Standard Trading Post, Outerwear, Personal care products, Toques, Footwear, Denim
Owners Francesco and Pamela are most often wearing clothing sold right in the store — a nod to their belief in the products. Photo by Alicja Grzadkowska.

Long-Lasting Brands

When deciding what to stock on the shelves at North Standard Trading Post, Pamela and Francesco scour social media, flea markets and local craft shows for new items. No matter what they’re looking for though, the main priority is quality. The brands sold in-house are “brands that will last,” says Francesco.

The duo’s considerable efforts to find the best merchandise have certainly paid off. In 2014, North Standard Trading Post was named NOW Magazine’s best unisex clothing store in the Reader’s Choice Best of Toronto poll. “That was super touching,” admits Pamela, especially since the couple found out about the recognition the morning of their wedding day.

The pair remains humble, despite the obvious success of their business. “Although we had a really good feeling before we opened, we’ve been pretty moved about how nice people have been,” explains Francesco. “We have a lot of repeat customers, and it’s awesome seeing people again and again.”

North Standard Trading Post, Outerwear, Personal care products, Toques, Footwear, Denim
Shelves are stocked with winter-resistant jackets, soft scarves, and cozy sweaters. Photo by Alicja Grzadkowska.

A Full Family Shop

A major draw for many of the customers at North Standard Trading Post is the wide range of clothing available for every member of the family. And that literally means every family member — there’s even a canine section in the store devoted to dressing the four-legged family members .

“We’re a full family shop,” says Pamela. “People will come in with a stroller and their dog tied onto the stroller.” The couple has a French bulldog at home, too, so it’s fun for them to bring in doggie-sized sweaters and accessories that they sometimes try out on their own pooch, Olive.

With North Standard Trading Post, the couple strives to make shopping enjoyable for every customer. “We love helping our customers and giving them a background on everything,” says Pamela. “We’re basically just here to help guide people to get what they need and want.”

The exterior of the clothing retailer hints at the cabin-like vibe inside. Photo by Alicja Grzadkowska.
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