Toronto is a music city, there's little doubt, and the east end has its fair share of independent record stores that showcase vinyl, CDs, tapes, DVDs, musical art and more. Whether you want to peruse titles or are on the hunt for rare grooves, check out these local shops.
TINY RECORD SHOP
A wee shop within a shop lining the back of gift store Token on Queen East, Tiny Record Shop is a blink-and-you'll-miss-it kind of place. But the shop has proved size means nothing as it has become a jewel of Toronto's music scene. The records here aren't the dank, musty scratchers you find in thrift stores. At Tiny Record Shop, each record has been carefully sourced and selected for showcase. Custom bins are stocked with A-grade vinyl across all genres with highlighted new releases and back-catalogue used copies displayed neatly on shelves.
804 Queen St. E
IN THE GROOVE
Marked by a soundtrack of '60s rock n roll wafting out the door and onto the sidewalk, In The Groove is the kind of record shop you can easily succumb to for an afternoon. The shop has an extensive selection that ranges from folk to blues, jazz to disco, and many rare rock records. Don't miss the back shed with a stash of thousands of R&B, funk and soul 45s.
1174 Queen St. E
Martin Koppel opened his first shop in Toronto in 1976 and has been selling records ever since, becoming an essential part of the Toronto music scene over the last four decades. It's got its standard hold of re-issues and new arrivals, but its the stacks of seven-inch rarities that set this spot apart.
1811 Danforth Ave.
Once upon a time a Sam the Record Man, now Mike's Music is a stalwart among Toronto's record stores. The shop is cluttered and well worn by time, and is the perfect place to while away an afternoon digging for hard-to-find records, CDs and DVDs. Owner Mike Waite is as knowledgeable as they come and if he can't find it in the shop he will lend a hand tracking it down through other means. Don't miss out on the antique area in the basement.
105 Danforth Ave.
A fixture if there ever was one, Discovery Records has been around for over two decades and has the website to match. The shop is closing at the end of April, which is sad to hear given that Discovery has earned the respect of collectors from far and wide for turning up sought-after items and taking on hard-to-find requests. Though LPs are their strong suit, the shop deals in 45s, 78s, CDs, cassettes and even reel to reel tape.
1140 Queen St. E
POP MUSIC CANADA
A relative newcomer to the east end, a former HMV GM has brought mainstream pop music to a record store format in East Chinatown. It's here that the likes of Beyonce and Bieber share shelf space with over 800 other popular titles. Customers can make special orders, and the shop carries turntables, T-shirts and other music march.
581 Gerrard St. E
PRESS BOOKS, COFFEE, VINYL
Coffee, books and vinyl records — what else do you need in life? Sip on a latte as you paw through used records, movies and books at this eclectic Danforth Village shop. Although it's a relatively small collection, record bins are somewhat loosely sorted by genre from new arrivals to bargain crates. It's the prices here that really stand out as reasonable if not the best quality.
2442 Danforth Ave.