Campus Life
Top 5 Toronto thrift stores for students on a budget
by David Ratcliffe | September 12, 2019

More threads for less money.

A new school year means a new you. And that often means new clothes. Most of us who want to be boujee can’t afford those primo brands, leaving us with one option. Thrifting. 

Here are 5 Toronto stores that will get you looking fresh without burning a hole in your pocket:

1. Public Butter 

Location: 1290 Queen St W, Toronto

 

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You’ll need a pair of these today! ⭐️

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This unassuming little shop is tucked away in Parkdale in the west end. The musk of flannel and old leather permeates the room. Despite its size, the small store always has artifacts of interest dispersed throughout the space. Vintage tees and sunglasses decorate the walls. Populated with women in obscure hats and men with well-manicured beards, this thrift shop is a hipster’s haven. Walk along the creaky wooden floors and browse their curated selection of vintage clothes.

As far as pricing goes, this place is one of the more expensive places on the list. Don’t be discouraged, there are some great deals if you look hard enough.

Public Butter has a charm to it – being the furthest thing from that “Winners” feel. This place has the vibe of an old antique shop. A feeling that there are secrets ready to be uncovered. With an eclectic offering of styles, Public Butter is a great place to explore and find those thrift treasures.

 

 2. Exile

Location: 60 Kensington Avenue, Toronto


Located in the heart of bustling Kensington Market, this local landmark was established in 1975. Much like the rest of the neighbourhood, Exile has a bohemian aesthetic. Exile isn’t about the frills but the finds. The over-stuffed racks create tight aisles and add to the chaos of the store. There are amazing discounts that can be found here, but it will require some digging. You know what they say: nothing ventured, nothing gained! 

 

3. Value Village 

Locations: 10+ locations around the city

 

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same | : @sipandthrift

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Known around the GTA as the place to get a cheap costume, Value Village has more to offer than just last-minute Halloween picks. As it is not curated like other thrift shops, Value Village is the place to find the truly esoteric. The perfect piece waits for you, hidden between the drear of dated Sunday clothes. What these stores lack in ambiance they make up for in volume of product. 

It might take longer to find something good. Their selections aren’t explicitly tailored for current trends and they tend to hold more of a “We’ll take anything you got” mentality.

With that said, you can find a deal on more than clothing. Books, cooking supplies, furniture and even sporting equipment can be found at next-to-nothing prices.

 

4. Common Sort

Locations: Annex: 444 Bloor St W | Parkdale: 1414 Queen St W | Riverside: 760 Queen St E

Common Sort has three locations throughout the city – Riverside, the Annex and Parkdale. Unlike some of the other stores on this list, Common Sort feels more like your regular clothing store. Not as cluttered as the other shops, this place is a lot easier to navigate than Public Butter and Exile. Here, you can trade your clothes in for cash. They will curate the store products to the current trends so you won’t have to worry about being out of style. You will also find plenty of brand names for discounted prices. It won’t be the same deals that you would find at Value Village but still significantly less than what you would buy new.

 

5. The Black Market

Location: 256 Queen St W

The Black Market is one of the better-known thrift shops in Toronto. The place dwells in a windowless basement. Go down the concrete steps, past the psychedelic black and white walls to find a bounty of vintage items. The venue would almost be unsettling if there weren’t such good deals to distract you. There are some major deals to be found here; you can find items as low as $5. Their popularity can be a bit of deterrent. The store can also feel a bit picked through because of the number of people who visit the Queen Street location. 

Anther interesting thing about Black Market is there is a vinyl store located within it. If you want some old albums to go with those old clothes, feel free to browse.

The Black Market is currently in the process of moving locations. You won’t have to look far as it is moving a couple of blocks down from the original site. Here’s hoping that it won’t lose any of its charm in the transition. 


Got a knack for second-hand? Check out our must-know tips for the Toronto thrifting scene.

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