No doubt, the independent video shop is a dying breed. It’s easier than ever before to avoid judgemental looks when you opt to spend your Saturday night with Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch. But is this a good thing? We say, support local businesses, and let snooty store clerks help inform your viewing choices. You’ll be a better man for it. As for Air Bud…you can borrow our box set anytime.
Queen Video opened its doors store nearly three decades ago, and since then, it’s amassed more than 75,000 titles, making it the world’s second biggest indie video store. Only San Francisco’s Le Video offers more. 480 Bloor St.; 688 College St.; 412 Queen St. W.; 416-504-3030.
Marquee Video is home to more than 5,000 rare titles, foreign flicks and docs. Sections are categorized by directors and even writers, and they have a dedicated Criterion Collection wall. They also also pull one heck of a fine espresso. 1037 College St., 416-532-5423.
Bay St. Video’s décor may be bland, but its catalogue – the largest in Toronto under one roof, meticulously organized in browser-friendly flip frames – is anything but. Join here and you’ll be in good company: Jimmy Fallon and Josh Brolin rent here, too. 1172 Bay St., 416-964-9088.
2Q Video offers a solid collection of Canadian film, but the shop’s strongest feature is its website, which allows members to search and reserve films online. 830 Bloor St W., 416-964-9088.
Black Dog Video, which started in Vancouver, complements its selection of docs and obscure foreign films with fresh-baked vegan delights and killer cappuccino courtesy of I Deal Coffee. Come for the 9,500 films; stay for the free wi-fi. 986 Queen St. W., 416-530-0006.
Image courtesy of frigante.