Looking for good thrift stores in Toronto
October 19, 2010 10:26 AM   Subscribe

Looking for good thrift (e.g. Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc) stores in Toronto.

I buy (almost) all of my clothes at thrift stores. But I have recently become very annoyed with the large Goodwill near Sherbourne and Bloor, as it's frequently overcrowded, extremely disorganised and the clothing is often not very interesting (lots of tacky polyesters and t-shirts that I could buy at any cheap store). It's just not much fun shopping there lately.

I would like to find other thrift stores to check out within Toronto. My preference is for non-profit/charity-based thrift stores, and for the cheaper end (I find Value Village can be quite pricy). What I'm looking for are stores that are

- larger (more chance of finding something good)

- well-organized (or at least, organised enough that you don't have to pull through children's toys and hats to find a purse)

- have donations of higher quality/more interesting clothing (especially pure cottons, South Asian styles, etc)

- are within easy TTC access (especially on the Bloor line or in west Toronto or Etobicoke)

Thank you in advance for your suggestions!
posted by jb to Shopping (2 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: St. Clair West between Bathurst and Christie has a bunch. It has both a large Goodwill and a large Salvation Army, as well as a couple of smaller second hand stores. This should be your first stop...

St. Clair West subway station, then the (Keele) streetcar west 2 or 3 stops will get you right there.

Happy hunting!
posted by evadery at 10:38 AM on October 19, 2010

Best answer: The Value Village at Bloor and Lansdowne is my all-time favourite (and it has a whole rack of South Asian clothing usually - the one near us at Queen and Logan has a separate section too) -- and I shop at the ones at Warden and Eg and the Danforth regularly; and the one at Queen and Logan near me every other day. I get that people don't love that they're for-profit, and that their clothes are arbitrarily priced according to perceived value and that some people think $12.99 is still too much for thrifted pants -- but that's approximately what I recently paid for three pairs of pants (each) where they still had their $115 Banana Republic price tags on them. It's all relative. I'm not fooled by retail prices, since I've worked at sales my whole life -- but since my rules for thrift shopping are along the lines of "Would I pay full retail" or "Would I buy these at the actual store, or do I want them just because they're here", I'm happy to pay Value Village prices like $6.99 for cashmere sweaters and $14.99 for Hilary Radley coats that fit perfectly and will last for ages. Plus, they pay their employees fairly and have a good benefits package and knowing retail, in order to get clean clothes in bright, organized stores in an expensive city like Toronto - the money has to come from somewhere.

That said, among the other charity-based stores where I tend to shop:

The St. John's thrift store on the Danforth near Woodbine - I've bought BCBG dresses and DKNY jeans there, and it's tiny, but the clothes are clean and organized as well as they can be. There's not a huge selection, but it's worth small frequent trips because they seem to have a regular donor with my tastes in my size.

Here is a map of places that mentions Stretch Thrift on Pape just above the Danforth. I don't get there often, and it's for profit, but friends adore them and I have found a few things there.

I stop by Double Take often, where despite the reviews, I occasionally find nice basic clothing items because they do occasionally get brand-new things donated from other stores. Their prices are great, and there's nearly always a sale. It's near the larger Goodwill on Parliament, but I never ever find anything clothing-wise there though I stop at both when I'm around just in case.

Here is another listing (some stores are outdated - check first, like the Goodwill on Coxwell near Gerrard is gone) that mentions the St. Vincent de Paul's charity shop on Broadview that I pop into sometimes, which is a little dingy though well-organized if extremely stuffed. Occasionally they'll get an estate's clothing, and there will be wonderful quality designer or vintage items.

Recently, in pursuit of a work wardrobe that wouldn't make me feel like I was walking the Reitman's runway, I hit nearly every thrift store in the city, using this and other maps, and truthfully, enjoyed shopping at Value Villages the most, because never once did I touch something gross at one of them, and I can't say that for some of the other stores.
posted by peagood at 6:19 AM on October 23, 2010

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