Public Butter

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1290 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6K 1L4

Meet the owner

By the time Tracey Opperman, John Christmann and Bernard Chung opened Public Butter in the winter of 2008, they already had more than half a century of experience in Toronto’s vintage fashion scene between them.

But, while Black Market, their popular thrift store founded by John in 1982, is a veritable treasure trove of affordable clothing and accessories for $10 or less, the launch of Public Butter meant that the trio now had an outlet for their other interests: furnishings, architectural salvage and vintage items that would’ve otherwise been too pricey to hang on Black Market’s discount racks.

Of course, just as at Black Market, there are countless cozy flannels, vintage tees and army surplus flack jackets to sift through at Public Butter. Plus, shopping here won’t break the bank ― a price tag of about $20 is the store’s average. But more eccentric pieces such as analogue stereos, typewriters and even the odd mantle salvaged from an old home join the store’s array of clothing, too.

“There’s a little something for everyone,” says manager Kendall Coontz of Public Butter’s diverse stock. “You come in here not looking for something particular, you’re gonna leave with a lot of stuff. If you come in here looking for something particular, you’ll leave with something.” Or, as Tracey puts it, it’s a one-stop shop for customers looking to “outfit bod and abode.”

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Appears in 2 Smart Lists

Editor’s Pick
Toronto's best vintage shops for winter gear

Toronto's best vintage shops for winter gear

Public Butter is a mainstay on Queen West. Opened in 2008, this large, eclectic shop has a decidedly San Francisco vibe. More Haight Ashbury in atmosphere than Queen West, Public Butter has everything from quirky long sleeve Bee Gees tees, to motorcycle jackets to fedoras (not to mention an extensive assortment of retro accessories). Word has it that Public Butter also selects some items from the granddaddy shop Black Market Vintage. With the motto “fresh vintage goods daily” this place is sure to have whatever you need.

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Ballin’ baseball hats for the Toronto urbanite

Ballin’ baseball hats for the Toronto urbanite

This vintage emporium at Queen and Dufferin is a go-to for dead stock baseball hat gems. You’re most likely to find something good and plain here – that basic snapback-meets-security-blanket that you’ll never leave the house without. Top off the trip with a pair of frames and a one-of-a-kind vintage tee and still have enough left over for a drink at a nearby Parkdale pub or cocktail bar.

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