News & Opinion

What’s the best store in the West Annex?

In The Maven on March 7, 2011 at 12:05 AM

By The Maven | I was rushing down to the U of T Athletic Centre today and wondering as I passed all our local shops, what’s the one store I couldn’t live without along Bloor Street. Well actually, I thought, there’s two.

Wiener's Home Hardware at 432 Bloor Street West was established in 1923. Four generations of Wieners have worked in the store. 

The first is Wiener’s Home Hardware. What would I do when I need that one screw or one washer on Saturday afternoon? Oh sure, I could schlep over to Crappy Tire or Home Despot and spend half an hour looking for parking, and another half hour looking for what I need. Or spend even longer looking for someone to help me. And then I would have to buy 125 of whatever in a pre-packaged bundle. Nope, Wiener’s is the place to stroll. Unless I need a major power tool or a specialized item for my bikes or car, the likelihood of Wiener’s having it is better than anywhere else.

Watch out for Howard, right. Sure he's knowledgeable, but he's also a Habs fans. Yeah Howard, 1967 was a long time ago.  But so was 1993.  Howard can be seen Sunday nights in the new HBO series Good Dog playing, uh, a guy who works in a hardware store. Way to stretch Howard.

But a warning here. Both Bob and Howard are very knowledgeable, but they are hardcore Habs fans. If you live and die with the twists and turns of the Leafs, please let both these guys have it. Bob grew up east of Toronto, but Howard was born here*, and just happened to be be living in Montreal when they won the Stanley Cup. Hey, you live HERE now. Oh well.

Book City at 501 Bloor Street West, where people know books

What is the other store that I wander into at least twice a week?  Book City. If they don’t have a book, they can and will get it faster than any other bookstore. And the people who work here know books. The employees at Book City (unlike BMV) are book people who can make knowledgeable recommendations, answer any question and actually help you locate a book in the store.

Book City interior

And my other favourite store? What, you say, I’ve already had two shots at a single fave and now want to do a third? Yep. And it’s west of Bathurst, not really in the West Annex at all but on the Koreatown strip of Seaton Village. But still in the ‘hood.

Above All Electronic Surplus | 602 Bloor Street West

And this place happens to be a gem of a treasure trove of wonderful stuff. I’m talking about Above All Electronic Surplus at 602 Bloor Street West.

The Maven calls Above All Electronic Supply "a gem of a treasure trove of wonderful stuff, at incredibly low prices"

Steve, the owner, stocks the most incredible assortment of wonderful stuff, from alkaline batteries to great tools to rare earth magnets (harvested from computer hard drives) and all sorts of computer and electronic peripherals, all at incredibly low prices. If you haven’t been in this store you are missing a real treat.

And these are my three favourite reasons for shopping locally in the West Annex.

You can share your favourites with me, past or present, by clicking on the comments button below.


*Correction March 9, 2011: Howard was born in Toronto. Incorrect information appeared in the original version of this article.  Thank you Howard Pressburger.

Visit Howard’s amusing blog at

For other articles by this author, visit The Maven archive.

  1. These are all excellent choices. I would also add Midoco, as a great store I just couldn’t live without, and the Bloor Cinema.

    And from the past, sadly missed but not forgotton: Formusa Fine Foods, a really lovely Italian fine food shop, Elizabeth’s, the butcher shop you have mentioned in one of your prior articles, SWAK, the lovely gift shop, and of course Dooney’s.

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