Where to shop for the pop culture aficionado in Toronto

It looks like everyone is becoming keen on pop culture’s most tempting trends and laughable progressions. It could be the new Star Wars film, the raging popularity of anything with Toronto’s name on it, the latest gadget or the newest foodie flavour (whiskey spice mustard, anyone?). Here are some of the city’s best shops to pick up a gift for the pop culture junkie on your list. [Photo courtesy of Arts Market]

Silver Snail

1
329 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M5B 1R7

Are you shopping for a comic book fan, or are you looking for the latest Batman comic for your own collection? Either way, you should head over to the Silver Snail. Known around Toronto and beyond as the place to get comics and collectibles, Silver Snail has had a store in Toronto for 39 years to date! You will love the large selection of comics and collectables, and for the lover of tchotchkes – this spot always has the latest superhero action figures!

Bang-On

2
489 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V 2B4

Most graphic-tee connoisseurs in Toronto have had a t-shirt printed at Bang On, but this Queen Street West shop is also stocked with ready-to-go graphic tees that host funny slogans and catchphrases from your favourite TV shows. They’ve also started selling holiday sweaters, which is perfect for those attending one of the ugly sweater parties that come right along with the season. Plus, if you’ve got an idea of your own, Bang On is the place to bring your design to life.

Tuck Shop Trading Co.

3
1226 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4T 1W3

Known for their bulky and comfortable sweaters and jackets, this Toronto-based brand has become even more popular with their City of Neighbourhood toques. The timeless winter accessory gets personalized, with toques featuring the names of Toronto neighbourhoods blazened across them.

ShopAGO

4
317 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M5T 1G4

You would think that the AGO’s gift shop would only include items that coincide with the art featured in the gallery, but that is only the very beginning of what this compact treasure trove holds. There are toys, books on artists and their works, home decor, and jewellery from local designers. Housed in its own glass case, a special collection of photography and autographs from The Rolling Stones is a rare item with a big price tag: $5,5000. Be sure to give yourself some serious browsing time, and perhaps a peak at one of the AGO's exhibitions as well.

Drake General Store

5
61 Front St W, Toronto, ON M5J 2Z8

The Drake General Store is a mixture of local goods and unique gifts that will be perfect for pretty much anyone on your list. We love the selection of shirts with nostalgic prints and both the vintage CBC logo and the Toronto Public Library logo are definitely on our wish list. But trust, there’s plenty of equally charming styles to choose from. In fact, the store has been curated with such impressive clothing, toys and unusual gifts, that you can pretty much just stick your hand out and pick something up. Yes, holiday shopping can be that stress-free.

Arts Market

6
846 College St, Toronto, ON M6H 1A2

This little shop on College Street (bonus location in Leslieville) actually offers tiny, rentable shops within the store. Artists sell their merchandise side-by-side, creating the market-style shopping experience that lends Arts Market its name. You’re sure to find something for almost anyone on your shopping list by perusing the eclectic stock of artisan knits, handmade jewellery, plants and terrariums, candles, artwork, beauty products and so much more. We'd definitely suggest taking a trip back in time while browsing their cool vintage decor located on the bottom floor. Hot tip: the lineup of shops-within-shops changes frequently, so visit, and visit often.

Sonic Boom Music

7
215 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T 2C7

Only a true shut-in would fail to acknowledge that vinyl has made a huge comeback in recent years. Everything from vintage record players to new albums on vinyl has been gaining popularity with young and old. Stop by this Chinatown emporium and check out the extensive collection of music and talk with the helpful and knowledgeable staff, who can help you pick out a gift for any kind of music fan.

Finding a jacket that looks good, is well tailored, and offers enough function to suit your needs is essential to living the daily urban grind of Toronto. From hopping on and off the subway, or in and out of office buildings and coffee shops, a good jacket is made to work with your busy schedule. But finding your winter companion in coat form doesn’t have to be a daunting task – just check out these sweet menswear spots.
Looking for some super lightweight luggage so you can pack to your heart’s content? Perhaps you’re in the market for a modern passport carrier locally made from high quality leather. And of course, you know well the ubiquitous necessity of a boss backpack. Well, good news: Toronto’s got it all. Here is our list of where to find travel accessories made for the style-savvy jetsetter. [Photo courtesy of Te Koop]
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