Toronto’s Got Fleas!


While most people will still flock to the mall for their shopping needs, Toronto has a whole sub-culture of individuals who are looking for unique and interesting stuff – whether that’s clothing, food, or gift and decor items – and they’ve been finding these cool and creative wares at one of the many neighbourhood-based flea markets that have popped up around the city over the past couple of years.

These are not the junky flea markets of the 70s, full of bags of tube sox and rock band logos silkscreened onto mirrors (not that there’s anything wrong with those fleas – they have a special place in our hearts). Nor are these events a “yard sale” type set-up where individuals sell stuff from their attic or basement. Rather, the new breed of fleas are a carefully curated blend of work by young designers, artisans, and artists, along with some of the best vintage vendors in the city.


Here’s a guide to some of the best:

Parkdale Flea
1266 Queen Street West (entrance off Noble Street)
Occurs: usually monthly
Next flea: Sunday, July 12, 10am – 5pm
The Parkdale Flea takes place in an art gallery and studio space. Expect about 15 vendors in the colder months, and 20 – 30 vendors when the outdoor area is also used in the summer. Dog-friendly (even though it’s indoors) and they have their own charming Parkdale Flea dog who is a sweetheart.

The Gladstone Flea
The Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen Street West
Occurs: monthly during the summer
Next flea: Sunday, July 12, 10am – 4pm
Fifteen to twenty vendors take over the Melody Bar of the Gladstone Hotel with vintage, new designers, jewellery, art and even handmade cat treats.

Leslieville Flea
1444 Queen Street East
Occurs: monthly during the summer, plus a few winter markets at various indoor locations
Next flea: Sunday, July 19, 10m – 5pm
During the warmer months, the Leslieville Flea makes its home at the lovely Ashbridges Estate where visitors can stroll in the gardens while finding collectibles, food, craft beer and handmade artisan wares from more than 30 vendors.

The Post Market
Steamwhistle Brewery and other locations
Occurs: intermittently
Next flea: Sunday, July 19, 11am
This uber-stylish seasonal market moves around a bit (it often occurs at The Great Hall) and has a great selection of vendors from carefully curated vintage to new items, art and more.

Bellwoods Flea
842 Dundas Street West
Occurs: monthly for the summer
Next flea: Saturday, July 25, 11am
The live venue space can be a bit dark for seeing vendor wares, but the bar – with Flea-themed drink specials makes up for that. Possibly more hipster-oriented than some of the other fleas, given its location, but still a nicely curated selection of stuff from around 25 – 30 vendors.

Boozaar – Gladstone Night Market
The Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen Street West
Next event: Thursday, July 30, 7pm – 11pm
A wholly vintage-themed market with clothing, jewellery, accessories, vinyl records and more.

Annex Flea
Honest Ed’s Alley
Occurs: bi-monthly
Next flea: Sunday, August 9, 11am – 6pm
Summer incarnations of the Annex Flea can be found in the parking lot behind Honest Ed’s. In the winter they move to the Centre For Social Innovation on Bathurst Street. A nice mix of vintage, new and food vendors with some fun oddities, like the guy with the table full of animal skulls; about 40 – 50 vendors in summer, slightly less in winter. The parking lot can get hot in the sun, so slather on the sunscreen before you go!

Other fleas and markets
For those just looking for great non-clothing vintage, the Sunday Antique Market at St. Lawrence Market is not to be missed – featuring small furnishings, jewellery, home decor, collectibles, knick knacks and more, it’s a treasure trove of great stuff.

Those inclined to the dark side should keep an eye open for the Bazaar of the Bizarre  – while not a true “flea” in that there is no vintage, this seasonal market (usually three times a year: Halloween, Christmas, and Spring) features some of the coolest and most unique merchandise from Toronto’s handmade artisan community, with a nod to all things Goth, punk, and generally cool and creepy.