Convenience stores are, as the name suggests, on almost every corner of the city. While they do make it easy to stock up milk when you run out and forget to grab some at the grocery store, they’re not all that interesting to shop in. But stocking up on basics (and beyond) has been getting a lot more interesting in Toronto. A spate of specialty general stores and convenience stores have been popping up across the city. Some are more food-focused while others put the emphasis on offering a wider variety of items, these stores make shopping convenient and fun.
Here are six unique general stores to check out.
Good Catch General Store
Walking into Parkdale’s jam-packed Good Catch General Store will likely make your head spin, especially on your first visit. Open since 2005, Good Catch is filled with local and organic grocery items but also carries a treasure trove of other items from vintage clothes and vinyl to work by local artists. It’s the kind of place you can go in to pick up some organic milk and a roll of eco-friendly paper towel, but also come out with a guitar (yes, they also sell guitars and music supplies). It’s a fun store and well worth paying a visit to for the quirky array of items.
Tuck Shop Kitchen
Billed as a sandwich shop and convenience store, tiny Tuck Shop Kitchen in the Junction Triangle is offering the neighbourhood a place to go for delicious sandwiches, as well as prepared foods like chicken pot pie and lasagna. In addition to house made gourmet goodies (which also includes soups and salads), you’ll also find a small selection of convenience items like bread, milk, canned goods, candy and eggs.
Right next door to the Lakeview restaurant you’ll find the Lakeview Storehouse, part grocery store, part convenience store and part takeout counter. The popular west end diner opened the storehouse in 2011 and stocks a variety of items, from produce, dairy and dry goods to bulk spices and candy. You can also order takeout from the Lakeview at the back counter. The takeout menu consists of mostly deep fried items and poutine.
Old’s Cool General Store
East York’s Old’s Cool General Store is more than a general store; it’s become an integral part of the community, hosting a variety of events, from craft fairs to a Halloween costume competition. You can stop by for everything from coffee and baked goods, to locally made prepared foods, snacks and produce. In addition to food and drink you can also shop a selection of unique items from local artists and makers.
Calling themselves “Bloorcourt’s healthy bodega” Popbox MicroMrkt is a small, well-stocked alternative to your typical convenience store. Instead of junk food, cigarettes and a dusty selection of overpriced household items, this store at Bloor and Dovercourt has you covered for items that are a lot more interesting and often, locally sourced. From cold pressed juices and grass fed dairy, to gourmet chocolates and prepared salads and sandwiches, you can stop by Popbox MicroMrkt for a low key foodie fix.
Coffee and pastries are also on offer if you need a caffeine kick while you shop.
Brought to you by the same people who own coffee/cocktail spots Northwood and Northern Belle, Northwood General offers a little bit of everything, most of which is locally made. Whether you’re looking for organic perfume from Province Apothecary, beautiful accessories (from jewellery to hats to bags), stylish stationary items or pantry items, you’ll find it here. This is a great spot for finding unique gifts for any hard-to-shop-for people you know.