With over 50 vinyl-centric destinations in the area, Toronto can seem pretty daunting to record-shopping visitors. To help tourists and locals alike, Discogs curated a list of the best record stores in Toronto, Ontario, with a focus on the downtown neighborhoods.
Cosmos on Queen and Cosmos West
No visit to Toronto is complete without time spent at Cosmos on Queen and Cosmos West. The two locations are a couple blocks apart from each other and can make a handy start or endpoint for your vinyl excursion. Cosmos West consistently has the most awe-inspiring wall display in Canada and specializes in jazz, Brazilian, and Latin with some interesting rock and disco bins too. Cosmos on Queen leans towards soul, funk, hip-hop, 12-inch singles, and classic rock. There’s a lot at both locations to get excited about, and the staff is deeply knowledgeable.
607A Queen St. W Toronto, ON M5V 2B7 | 652 Queen St. W Toronto, ON M6J 1E5
Kop’s on Queen
A trip to Kop’s on Queen is essential, especially for 45 enthusiasts. The selection of 7-inch singles upstairs is seemingly endless, and it would take days to go through the entire stock. There’s plenty of recent arrival action in the LP bins downstairs as well, and it’s always worth a look through the dollar crates outside.
229 Queen St. W Toronto, ON M5V 1Z4
Sonic Boom has a new arrivals section for every day of the week. One of the largest shops in the city, there’s a ton of potential to turn up an overlooked gem in the rows of records downstairs. They have a massive selection of new vinyl and sell all sorts of other items, including books. T-shirts, and DVDs.
215 Spadina Ave. Toronto, ON M5T 2C
Invisible City has a well-curated selection of unusual dance floor-friendly treasures, from soca disco to Nigerian boogie to more ambient-leaning offerings. There’s usually something special there, and it’s a place with a clear vision.
222 Spadina Ave. Toronto, ON M5T 3B3
Play De Record
Play De Record, just up the street, is a Toronto institution. Proprietor Eugene’s original store on Yonge held the imagination of house, hip-hop, and dancehall fans throughout the country with regular appearances on Much Music (Canada’s MTV) as the source for limited-run 12-inch singles and 45s. These days, Play De has a lot of everything. A flip through the international section is highly recommended for the veteran seeker.
411 Spadina Ave. Toronto, ON M5T 2G6
She Said Boom
A few blocks north we find She Said Boom, a book and vinyl shop with a distinct character. The jazz section rarely disappoints, and it’s essential to flip through the new arrivals.
393 Roncesvalles Ave. Toronto, ON M6R 2N1
Just to the West, Neurotica Records holds a lot of mystery. There are some really deep Canadian records in amongst the corners of the shop, and it can be a great source of post-punk or kosmische for the fortunate.
567 College St. Toronto, ON M6G 3W
Shortstack Records is a smaller store with a dense quality to quantity ratio. They regularly update their new arrivals bins. There’s often a rarer record at a super reasonable price on the wall.
778 Dundas St. W Toronto, ON M6J 1V1
Grasshopper Records has an unreal selection of international music scattered throughout the store, and there’s always a heavy dub LP or coveted Japanese import waiting to be noticed.
1167 Dundas St. W Toronto, ON M6J 1X3
Rotate This! has a little bit of everything at a variety of price points. It’s always a good idea to look through the records on the floor, look carefully at the wall items and check out the discount bins. If you’re looking for 45s, there’s an easy to flip through selection on hand, and some unexpected bargains have been known to surface here.
186 Ossington Ave. Toronto, ON M6J 2Z7
Antikka is a great place to grab a coffee, and they have a reasonable selection of new and used vinyl as well. Sometimes they have special events, and they always have great music on the sound system.
960 Queen S.t W Toronto, ON M6J 1G8
Pandemonium Books and Discs
Situated in The Junction, Pandemonium Books and Discs has some wildly deep vinyl bins, the rows brimming with possibility. Be sure to investigate the records on the floor, too, as there are boxes of Bollywood, Canadian jazz, and even a crate of Blue Note.
2920 Dundas St. W Toronto, ON M6P 1Y8
The Bloor Street location of BMV Books in The Annex has a sizable vinyl selection located in their basement. They often get a variety of international sounds and obscure Canadian titles. They’re open later than most stores in the GTA.
471 Bloor St. W Toronto, ON M5S 1X9
If you find yourself with enough time, Henry’s Records in Scarborough is well worth the trek. Having been in the record business for decades, Henry has encyclopedic knowledge and the selection to match. The 45 shelves are laden with both staples and the unexpected, and it’s smart to leave yourself some quality time to search through the rows of records here.
130 Shorting Rd. Scarborough, ON M1S 3S
Oakville’s PCV Records is a bit of a drive from downtown, but they have a high turnover and really good prices. Although they support a loyal customer base, being a little out of the way means you might have a bit better luck finding a sought-after record than you would in the city.
649 Fourth LineOakville, ON L6L 5B3
Toronto has many more stores, and this guide isn’t close to comprehensive. There are also plenty of thrifts, fleas, junk shops, corner stores, and private dealers throughout the GTA that can be worth investigating, so the dig is never really done here.
Article by Dane Goulet. Feature image by Mwangi Gatheca. Originally published in 2019. Last updated in 2021.