Danforth home to pop-ups in December

After a successful pilot project over two weekends earlier this fall, Renew East Danforth – an offshoot of the Danforth East Community Association (DECA) – is launching a more extensive round of pop-up shops on Danforth between Woodbine and Coxwell for the holiday season.

Chris Fernandes and son Henry, 1, work on some colouring at Mrs. Darling’s Imaginarium for Girls and Boys, a pop-up shop that ran in a vacant storefront on Danforth in late October. PHOTO: Phil Lameira / Beach Metro News

The idea is modeled on an urban renewal project from Australia called Renew Newcastle, where landlords of vacant retail space offer their square footage for no charge to temporary enterprises, for profit or not, who both help bring more foot traffic to the neighbourhood, and also make the space more attractive to long-term paying tenants. The set of shops running during December feature mostly East End residents, a mix of artists and businesses. Some are testing the water for future enterprise, while others that have ideas that may not have the promise of huge profits are taking advantage of the chance to simply offer their product to the public.

“It’s a really terrific mix of funky, cool stuff,” said Natasha Granatstein, one of the organizers of Renew East Danforth.

She said she was also impressed from the response of building owners to the pilot project. “We’ve been really fortunate in how many landlords have jumped on board and offered their space for the month of December.”

About 60 volunteers from DECA helped prepare the spaces for temporary occupation; Granatstein said the volunteers, the businesses and artists and the landlords are all equally excited to see what comes of the expanded project. She hopes the neighbourhood will support what organizers believe is the biggest concentration of pop-up shops to happen in one place at one time in Toronto.

Shops scheduled for Dec. 1 to 31 include a collaboration between bright-brown and the VSVSVS art collective. bright-brown deals in vintage clothing and decor, as well as handmade jewelry; VSVSVS has built a site-specific installation at 1801 Danforth Ave. Pop Goes the Easel! will be set up next door at 1803 Danforth. Nathalie Vachon and Helen Billett will be offering paintings, prints, cards and more art goodness. At 1872 Danforth, Careerfit Mom will be offering career coaching and fitness services. LEN will be selling works by new and established Canadian artists at 1936 Danforth. From Dec. 1 to 22, TykeThreads.com, normally an online-only boys clothing boutique, will set up shop at 1940 Danforth.

The storefront at 1948 Danforth Ave. will feature several different temporary tenants during the month of December. Until Dec. 9, painter Patsy Berton will be showing her work. From Dec. 11 to Christmas Eve, Lemon Drop Clothing will have a shop set up for custom dress design. Teen entrepreneur Marina Rocks will be selling her duct tape accessories from Boxing Day until New Year’s Eve. Mrs. Darling’s Imaginarium, one of the two original pop-up shops, will also be using the space during the school holiday, starting Dec. 28. For more details on the pop-up shops, visit

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