When Great Toronto Businesses Collaborate to Become Even Greater

Game-changing partnerships between Lee’s Palace, Parts & Labour, Tiny Record Shop, Silver Snail, and more

Toronto can be a tough city to hack, so sometimes keeping business viable means hunkering down with a partner and sharing customers. These are some of our favourite Toronto business collaborations.
 

TINY RECORD SHOP x TOKEN GIFT SHOP x COMMON SORT | website

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Since Paper Bag Records owner Trevor Larocque and Maude Fallon-Davesne opened the accurately named Tiny Record Shop in vintage clothier Common Sort’s former Leslieville location in the back of the Token gift shop, the space immediately surrounding it has been activated as a hub for hawkeyed browsing. The vinyl selections are thin, but it’s proven a carefully edited treasure trove, rich in gems selectively made available in themed batches. With Common Sort now located next door (freely accessed without stepping outside), the businesses have also collaborated on miniature in-store concerts.
 

NORTH OF BROOKLYN PIZZERIA x GET WELL | website

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Dundas West’s Get Well bar gained a competitive edge in March when it welcomed North of Brooklyn Pizzeria into its space. Serving Neapolitan slices topped with locally sourced produce, it’s a perfect fit for a bar that emphasizes regional craft brews. It’s a good fit for North of Brooklyn, too: the new location is helping the pizzeria expand its downtown delivery service.
 

LEE’S PALACE x BIG FAT BURRITO | website

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(Photo by Angie Torres via Flickr)

Big Fat Burrito has reserved judgment serving Annex denizens and concertgoers bricks of spicy nosh built to fill the emptiest of souls’ stomachs ever since hollowing out a space in the chaos of Al Runt’s Bloor Street masterpiece and a hole in Lee’s Palace’s wall. The relationship has been so good that Lee’s owner Jeff Cohen has solicited a continued presence from the business at the annual, multi-day Toronto Urban Roots Festival (TURF) he co-organizes.
 

PARTS & LABOUR (ODDFELLOWS x THE SOCIAL x CASTOR DESIGN) | website

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Spun into fruition by the minds behind OddFellows, the Social nightclub, and Castor Design, P&L does clash with its Parkdale surroundings, but you can’t help it for standing out: chef Matty Matheson reigns over the kitchen, its cocktails have been toted as some of the city’s best, and Castor’s upcycled fluorescent tube light fixtures and communal oak tables make it a cozy and gorgeous dining atmosphere.
 

SILVER SNAIL x BLACK CANARY ESPRESSO BAR | website

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(Photo by Tara Rose via Instagram)

After 36 years on Queen West, when the Silver Snail packed up its horde of comics, games and other collectibles to open a new base at Yonge-Dundas Square, it joined forces with the Black Canary Espresso Bar to include an in-store café. The Nutella-injected menu offered at the Canary’s Sherbourne location is available in full, but at Yonge-Dundas, these sidekicks encourage collectors and tourists alike to catch up with their favourite hero while they get their caffeine fix.
 

LOCAL HERO x THE FILM BUFF | website

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After the Film Buff lost its Leslieville location, its Roncesvalles counter responded by letting its café flourish into an enterprise of its own: Local Hero. Now dominating the slightly-below-street-level space, the café’s expansion meant nixing the Buff’s racks of classic, indie, documentary, and foreign film fare, but their collection’s still perusable in communal binders.
 

A3 NAPOLI (PIZZA LIBRETTO x PORCHETTO & CO.)

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This one’s still in the works, but come summer fine Italian pizza and sandwich ovens Pizza Libretto and Porchetto & Co. are opening a new business, A3 Napoli, hawking street food-influenced Neapolitan fare at the former home of the Mad Italian, 589 College Street.