The best new record stores in Toronto

Toronto’s record store culture is fiercer now than ever before. The last few years have seen old names opening new shops in the city and fresh, young upstarts creeping into the scene to deliver entirely uniquely curated catalogues. When it comes to Toronto’s best record stores, here’s the seven-step journey through all that’s new in the city’s vinyl scene. [Feature image: Dead Dog Records]

Dead Dog Records

1
1209 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6H 1N4

Dead Dog Records is a bastion of musical knowledge. When the sun set on Sunrise Records, Dead Dog sprang up, a second head from the body of vinyl Cerberus. Dead Dog offers a wide-range of selections, and if they don’t have a record in-store, they can have it on-hand as fast as Hermes can fly. A laid-back, we’re-always-excited-about-music disposition will make the newest vinyl aesthete shopping for records at Dead Dog feel like an aficionado.

Neurotica Records And Cds

2
567 College St, Toronto, ON M6G 3W9

Neurotica is an old player in the record store game, but the re-opening of a Toronto vintage vinyl destination is like a fresh patch on an old pair of jeans. Neurotica could have opened any time in the last thirty years and still cater to at least one genre of Toronto’s complex music scene, with wooden record shelves that fit equally an ‘80s hair-rock scene, a ‘90s grunge shop, a low-fi emporium from the early aughts, or an artisanal synth-folk bar in contemporary Toronto. In other words, Neurotica has a casual, easy vibe that’s sure to sate any music lover’s taste.

Tonality

3
2168 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6R 1X3

“There's a big dark town, it's a place I've found/ There's a world going on underground,” so sings Tom Waits, so strikes Tonality. Devoted to underground labels, Tonality arranges their stock by label. Browsing their collection is a wholly different experience than other record shops. Here, the focus is on the curatorial work that independent labels put into what they produce. Tonality’s devotion to independent producers brings to the forefront the relationship between music creators and consumers offering a more direct exchange between creators and listeners.

Kops Records

4
1811 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4C 1J2

The East end lives! Kops is another old Toronto musical entity that has become new again. Vinyl has survived the purge of 8-track, cassette tape, and looks likely to survive at least as long as the CD. It’s a multi-generational medium. The original Kops was established in the ‘70s, so why open a new shop on Danforth in 2015? Because everything old becomes new again, and the Danforth location is packed with old objects encased in auras of new desire. If you seek an elusive piece of vinyl, a likely first stop is Kops to inquire about their incredible catalogue of rarities.

City Beat Records

ON

Dance, trance, and prance into City Beat Records – the folks who are in the business of keepin’ only the latest booty skain’ beats on shelf. Inhabiting a small storefront on College Street between Ossington and Dovercourt, City Beat Records shares its quarters with the Toronto Radio Project. The space is an excellent amalgamation of musical action, broadcasting to the public, and providing a one-stop shop for DJs and devotees of the latest dance craze sweeping the 6ix nation.

Toronto’s most vivid experiences come from the diversity of its neighbourhoods. The area around Yonge and Eglinton used to be a part of the largest cattle grazing space in Upper Canada. Now it’s the grazing area for urbanites from the 6ix. What follows is a guide through a day in the Yonge and Eg neighbourhood, where to eat, energize, and pick up a few new threads. [Image credit: iStock.com/olaser]
Coffee and booze, perhaps the fluids most essential for getting through life in the 6. There’s plenty of hybrid cafés in Toronto offering both of civilization’s most coveted elixirs. After perusing the best licenced cafés to find the two together, they will be inseparable for any connoisseur, prompting the use of either a hip flask or a hip thermos. [Image credit: iStock.com/SrdjanPav]
Have you been hunting for the best guacamole in Toronto? Look no further. Whether you’re after citrus flavours, chunky texture or spice, you’ll find the guacamole to suit your needs right here. This list is guaranteed to make you long for Mexico then assuage you with the best local alternatives. Salud! [Photo of El Catrin by Parisima Baha]
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