Wednesday, April 20, 2016

5 Hidden Gem Thrift Shops in South Etobicoke

Inside the St. Vincent de Paul outlet
South Etobicoke, a once suburban lakefront neighbourhood on Toronto's outskirts, is a rapidly growing community that is seeing a new burst of activity with the dramatic expansion of Humber College, an influx of new residents and an emerging restaurant and pub scene.

Nestled among some of the city's most spectacular waterside parks (some of which I have looked at before and more of which we will be featuring as summer approaches) the communities of Mimico, New Toronto and Long Branch are increasingly diverse. They also have often very quirky and old-school commercial strips.

In recent years a number of "Thrift" style shops have opened that are real gems for those looking for a wide array of items from inexpensive furniture, clothing, books and movies, to ephemera, kitsch, art, sports memorabilia and antiques.

We are going to look at five worth the trip. All have prices frequently well below market and two of them are, in fact, charities dedicated to helping the community and those in it who are struggling or living in poverty. Their sales serve to both provide needed items at good rates and to use the earnings for programs.

1) St Vincent De Paul Store

Specialties: Furniture, clothing,  books, movies, toys, kitchen items, knickknacks

Location:  60 Newcastle Street,  416 503-2472

The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul is a Catholic charitable organization dedicated to helping those living in poverty.

Picked up a near MINT copy of the Gourmet 2004 cookbook here...for $2!
Tucked away on an industrial side-street just off Royal York Blvd., but only a very short walk from the bus or Mimico Go Station, is one of their shops and donation centres. It serves an especially important role with the disgraceful collapse of Goodwill.

The store is a true hidden gem that sells everything from inexpensive bars of soap, to socks, to frying pans, to furniture, clothing for all ages, books and movies. All donated and all
very inexpensive.

You can also bring donations of appropriate items here for sale and distribution.

2) Great Finds

Specialties: Clothing, books, movies, kitchen items, knickknacks 

Location: 2358 Lake Shore Blvd. W., (416) 255 - 6282

Got this gem at Great Finds...for $5
Located in the heart of Mimico, Great Finds is run by a multi-denominational local religious charity called the Stonegate Ministry.

Like the St. Vincent de Paul outlet, Great Finds is charitable and aims to help the local community directly. It has an excellent selection of clothing, books, dishware and some movies and trinkets (as well as the occasional art piece) for really cheap prices (there are almost no items over $5) and a good cause! Due to size it does not carry furniture.

Donations of many types are accepted as well. Call for details.

3) Treasure Hunt

Specialties: Sports memorabilia, antiques, ephemera, records, books, movies

Location: 2897 Lake Shore W. (at 6th St.) 

The Treasure Hunt is where I dug up many of the vintage postcards shared on the blog in the past few months.

It is a combination thrift shop and antique store that carries inexpensive books, movies and records (yes...old style LPs) but also a lot of sports memorabilia ( of widely varying value ), antiques and ephemera.

A charming spot with a very eclectic selection.

4) Pirates' Vintage Thrift Boutique

Specialties: Art, books, movies, knickknacks

Location: 2862 Lake Shore Blvd W, 647-703-9574 

Size-wise the smallest of all of the stores we have featured, This thrift shop is packed with art, kitsch and ephemera -- as well as stocking books, DVDs, LPs and VHS at really low prices.

It also gets some collectibles Star Trek mugs that this blogger cannot resist!

$20 for the 2...seems more than fair!
Note: Sadly in the few short days since I posted this blog, Pirates' Boutique appears to have closed). 

5) Long Branch Furniture

Specialties: Furniture,  kitsch, art, knickknacks 

Location: 3513 Lake Shore Blvd W, 416-251-3637

The furthest west and by far the oldest of the places we are looking at, Long Branch Furniture (located right beside what I think is the best chicken wing joint in the city, Sloppy Joe's)  is literally packed with furniture! Of all types and at unbeatable rates,

While the shop can be hard to navigate, it also has plenty of other items as well, from vintage mugs, to paintings and photography, to LPs and books, to figurines and whatever happened to make its way in.

Bill (the owner) and his gang are a Long Branch fixture and the store is well worth a visit -- especially if you are in the market for a nice cabinet or table...or a velvet Elvis beside some dogs playing poker.

Elvis...via Satellite from Hawaii...wish I still had my record player! 
See also: Mimico and South Etobicoke 1827-1927 -- A look at the centennial and local history of Christ Church Mimico

See also: A Walk in the South Etobicoke Snow