Retro shopping for the holidays with Leslieville Flea’s Brigid Elmy

This Russian shortwave radio was one of columnist Brigid Elmy's finds during a recent retro shopping trip in the east end


If you are like me and love vintage, give the gift of time travel this holiday season by shopping retro. The east end has some unique places to shop vintage, some are well known and others are yet to be discovered but, hey, that’s part of the fun!

Starting with Ring Audio. If you have an electronics geek or audiophile on your list then a visit to Ring Audio is a must. This shrine to classic audio is coming up to its 50th year in business.

Ted and son Nick repair, refurbish and sell vintage gear, and along with two very cute kitties provide parts and service to Toronto’s vintage audio community.  My partner and I have bought a receiver, record player and speakers from their store on Carlaw Avenue. They are beyond patient when it comes to answering our questions, probably because they love what they do!

During a recent visit I discovered a Russian shortwave radio as well as a turntable from 1971. Does it get any cooler?

Every audiophile needs a little vinyl and as you know, this medium is the midst of a re-birth. There are in fact a growing number of places to get your vinyl fix.

Queen Street East’s In The Groove have an extensive rock section, as well as an early R & B, blues, and a constantly growing jazz section. We Buy Records at 1811 Danforth Ave. has been a fixture in the music scene for four decades and Beach Sound Records and CD’s at 898 Kingston Rd. (In the Kingston Road Village) is a hidden gem.

Looking for home design or have a collector on your list? Head to East End Estates, (1462 Kingston Rd., just east of Warden Avenue). This eclectic treasure trove of rustic, industrial and mid-century finds is run by Roni from MDA Interiors.

I am currently fixated on art glass. It lends a real pop of colour to a room so I was thrilled to see that they have a small selection. I also love their collection of vintage cameras, tins and tin toys.

Shopping for a fashionista? Gadabout is the go-to place. Also consider Common Sort in Riverside. While there I was re-introduced to a style of winter hat I have not seen for some time. Kitchi cool and practical, this topper will be loved by those who are not afraid to stand out. In a hurry? Common Sort also has a personal shopper!

Want more vintage shopping ideas? The Leslieville Flea Holiday Market will be at The Jimmie Simpson Recreation Centre Dec. 8 and 9.  Visit The Leslieville Flea on Instagram for gift ideas.

Brigid Elmy is the co-founder of the Leslieville Flea. Have a question about vintage? Email her at

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