City Living: Outdoor Shopping

There’s nothing worse than being holed up in a shopping mall during the summer. The freezing air conditioning, coupled with the hordes of teenagers roaming around makes the entire experience feel like one of Dante‘s levels of purgatory. The solution? Not shopping less (heck no), but to take your shopping outdoors.

Here are some of our favourite spots to for a little retail therapy en plein air

St. Lawrence Antique Market

An antiquing staple in Toronto, the St. Lawrence Antique Market runs every Sunday from dawn to 5 p.m. Stalls are both indoors and outdoors, with a variety of vendors guaranteeing hours of browsing fun. Like most antique markets, going early promises great finds but end-of-day is when vendors are willing to haggle over price.

Made You Look Vendors Market

The amazing Sarah Hamel, owner of Made You Look

Parkdale pioneer Made You Look launched their Vendors Market on June 4 in collaboration with several other local businesses, including ShopGirls Gallery Boutique, The Well of Alternative Medicine, and Rustic Cosmo Cafe, as well as residents of the ‘hood. Running every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., this quirky market offers everything from handmade jewellery and vintage clothing to homemade jam and $1-per-minute massages. 

Check out the eclectic Parkdale ‘hood  this summer – you just might be surprised at the cool pieces you can pick up.

Bay Adelaide Farmer’s Market

The Bay Adelaide Centre is generally known for being part of the concrete jungle, not for fresh, local produce. All that has changed with the introduction of a lunchtime farmer’s market in Arnell Plaza (just outside of the Bay Adelaide Centre). 

Running every Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. until September 15, this market offers local produce, great lunches and garden plants. Stop by this market and brighten up your day with some colourful fresh fruits and veggies.


Wax On! Vinyl Record Sale

The fourth floor’s own Natalie and her boyfriend recently inherited nearly 4,000 records (exact number is still unknown) through a Storage Wars-type acquisition. With a teeny outdoor space (and similarly small apartment), they need to unload these quickly; hence, the Wax On! Vinyl Record Sale

This Sunday, July 10 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., stop by the front yard at 1045 College Street and browse through hundreds of records for about $5-10 each. Offerings focus mainly on hip hop and R&B, with a few random gems mixed in for good luck.

What are your favourite outdoor shopping spots in Toronto? Tweet us @rockitpromo.





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My Hood: Natalie

To continue our My ‘Hood series, Natalie dishes on her ‘hood – Dufferin Grove. 


Last September I moved from a condo at Queen & Spadina to a house at College & Dufferin. Initially, the move threw me off a bit – Where was my corner H&M? Why can’t I eat dim sum at 3 a.m.? Why isn’t there a movie theatre in my basement? – but I learned to embrace the area’s “slower” pace and discovered a number of local treasures. 

First and foremost in my heart is The Common. Purveyor of delicious coffee by day, cheap wine by night and the home of the best-valued charcuterie plate in Toronto, The Common is the quintessential date spot. If you ever want to meet me for drinks, chances are I’ll suggest this place (and not only because it’s 10 steps from my house).

Cozy interior of The Common.
Photo via
fieldguided.
I love to cook, but some days all I want to do is pick up a cheap, home-style meal after work. Thankfully, I have Bairrada Churrasqueira in my hood. A haven of scrumptious Portuguese food, Bairrada is wonderful for take-out or dining in. They also have an INSANELY large back patio that can accommodate large groups. My go-to meal is their BBQ chicken, rice and potatoes. Whatever you order, please do not forget to get an extra helping of their spicy Piri Piri sauce – my mouth is watering just thinking about it. 

Image source.

Sure, there’s a No Frills at Dufferin Mall, but why buy their limp vegetables when the Dufferin Grove Farmer’s Market is right across the street? Held every Thursday from 3 to 7 p.m. all year round, this farmer’s market is a fantastic place to access local and seasonal goods.

Delicious bounty of nature.
Image source.

Now onto my favourite: shopping. The lack of stores was the hardest thing for me to adjust to, but I’ve discovered some cute shops in the area (note: these places may not technically fall into the Dufferin Grove neighbourhood, but they’re close to me and I love them). 


Penny Arcade has a well-curated selection of vintage items and, just in time for summer, they’re now carrying vintage-inspired swimsuits by Minnow Bathers. Another vintage spot is the newly opened Magwood. The prices here can be on the high side, depending on what you’re looking for, but the pieces are truly one of a kind and span the decades. 

Interior of Magwood via Toronto Life.

And finally, the thing I love most about my neighbourhood is that the air often smells of chocolate, thanks to the Cadbury factory in my backyard. How great is that? 

Assembly line of chocolatey goodness. I like to imagine this is what goes on inside the factory.
Image source.

Have a favourite spot that I should know about in my ‘hood? Tweet me @rockitpromo!