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After spending the past 6 years thrift shopping and buying secondhand clothing to save money and the environment, I’ve been to nearly every thrift store in Toronto. There’s a thrill I get each time I go hunting for some new clothes for the season, sorting through racks of clothing. While there is no better feeling than finding the perfect pair of mom jeans for only $10, it can sometimes be tough to find good items. Some stores don’t have the best selection, or their prices for vintage clothing can be through the roof. Here are the top 5 thrift stores in the GTA based on the quality and selection of items, the store atmosphere and prices.

Talize (3100 Dixie Rd)

Canadian-owned thrift store Talize is a personal favorite. They take thrift shopping for clothes to a whole new level of ease, organizing each section by color. Want a white tank top or a red dress? You won’t even have to search for it. You’re bound to find brand names and good-quality clothes, shoes and accessories. The store also sells everything you could ever need; from books and movies to kitchen appliances and home decor. If you bring a bag of items to donate, they’ll also give you a $5 coupon, so you can do some decluttering before your shopping. Don’t forget to bring your student card for a 10% discount!

Final Touch Vintage (1269 Bloor St W)

It can be tough to come by reasonably priced vintage stores downtown Toronto, but Final Touch Vintage is just that. Offering a hand-picked selection of clothing in a clean and bright store, the shopping experience here is the most pleasant with some of the kindest staff I’ve met. The amount of graphic tees seems never-ending, with funny slogans and cool animal prints. They sometimes sell items like candles from local businesses, and the staff are very welcoming. What makes this a more affordable option for what they offer is that they have deals, so you can mix and match different items for a discount. The neighbourhood has quite a few thrift stores, but this one has always been a go-to for me because of the selection of clothing items. I never seem to leave empty-handed. 

Value Village (1525 Victoria Park Ave)

If you’ve been thrifting before, you’ve probably been to Value Village. It’s like the thrift store version of a department store, and you can find everything you’d ever need here. While they can be super hit or miss, this location never seems to fail me. If you go during the week to avoid the crowds, you are bound to find some gems. I even managed to find my prom dress here. Make sure to designate a lot of time for your shopping. The store is so large you could spend hours going through all the aisles! Make sure to check out all the sections, even ones you would normally skip. I stumbled upon full bags of vintage National Geographic magazines once by chance, and they turned out to be both a fun read and great for making collages. Like Talize, they also offer you a coupon if you bring a bag of items to donate. They often run promotional sales, so keep an eye out for discount days.

Vintage Depot (70 Kensington Ave)

Kensington Market is a well-known and popular location for thrifting and vintage stores. Vintage Depot is one of the best. This small location can be hard to walk around because it’s so stuffed with racks of clothing. It is the perfect place to buy some cool retro cowboy boots or a leather biker jacket. Walking into the store feels like stepping into a time machine with all the vintage finds. All the walls of the store are floor to ceiling full of high-quality items. They also sell some funky sunglasses and new accessories if you’re looking for a beanie hat. Once you’re all shopped out, you can grab some tacos for a snack from one of the many delicious restaurants nearby.

Just Thrift (53 Orfus Rd)

While this isn’t the most convenient location to get to by transit or find parking nearby, Just Thrift is rarely busy, making it the perfect place for fashion finds. Offering a unique mix of luxury vintage shopping with your typical thrift experience, it’s a lot of fun to shop here. The front of the store has luxury accessories and fashion. Some brands I’ve seen are Louis Vuitton, Gucci, KENZO, and other really nice pieces at discounted prices from what you’d find at the mall. The rest of the store has racks of second-hand clothing and more, and it’s very organized compared to most thrift stores. I recommended checking out their large selection of women’s dresses and men’s jackets

It’s time to make sustainable fashion more affordable and accessible for everyone. With fashion trends constantly changing, the thrift store is the easiest place to find your own style and have fun with it. Make sure to check out every section regardless of racks being labelled by gender or age. You’d be surprised where you could find your next favourite sweater. Some of these stores have websites you can check out and even shop from.

You can always re-donate any items when you grow out of them, and it’s a great practice to make sure every time you make a purchase, you’re also making a donation. All that’s left is for you to grab your reusable bags and get shopping.

Mara is a third-year student at York University's Glendon Campus in the International Studies Program. As an avid reader herself, she is delighted to be writing with Her Campus York U to motivate and empower the community. In her spare time, Mara enjoys doing yoga and playing the piano.
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