When you’re on the hunt for truly Torontonian souvenirs, skip the tourist traps and head to the Spacing Store – a new physical entity embodying the ideals of Spacing Magazine, in Toronto’s design district. It’s full of quirky items that celebrate the city: buttons, magnets, hats, and T-shirts, among other things, each customized for specific Toronto neighbourhoods and subway stops. Need to show your love for The Junction? Spacing Store has everything you didn’t know you have to own. If you see a coaster repping a street you’ve never heard of, it’s probably a sign for you and your friends to plan your next adventure there.
You do a double-take as you enter a basement nook from the busy street: The wooden post beams, subway tiles, and concrete give you a flash of missed-your-train panic. It wasn’t so long ago that Spacing’s building, the legendary 401 Richmond, was home to metal manufacturers. In 1994, the building was bought to create a mixed-use arts facility, and now it houses hundreds of artist studios, workshops, gallery spaces, and independent publishing offices.
Before the store opened in fall of 2014, Spacing Magazine was already a Toronto icon. They focus on Canadian urban issues from transit to tech start-ups. As you walk through the store, you can really see their social and political fervor on the shelves. Your friend picks up a button that says “Bike Riding Pinko” and everybody chuckles — then starts arguing about which of you best embodies the message. The staff is extremely well informed, and if you’re not quite sure what the big deal with the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) is, ask some questions.
After you’ve finished exploring the Spacing Store, grab some coffee from The Roastery on the main level and wander the hallways full of sculptures, paintings, and drawings. If it’s warm out, the rooftop garden is a secret spot to catch a Zen vibe right in the downtown core. Surround yourselves with pebble pathways and blooming flowers, unwrap your most recent Spacing Store haul, and enjoy the solace of birds chirping… while cars honk their horns on the street below.