From collaborations with the CBC to the Toronto Public Library, The Drake Hotel’s Drake General Store owns the game when it comes to shopping Canadiana cool in Toronto. With five outposts in the 416 alone, I paid a visit to their newly revamped three-storey flagship shop across from the infamous hotel to see just how much bigger and better it has become. Take a look inside through my latest Toronto-focused feature for San Pellegrino Itineraries of Taste:
Stepping inside the new flagship location of the Drake General Store on Queen Street West – located directly across from its original home in a small retail storefront connected to the The Drake Hotel – it’s almost hard to believe that you’re in the same shop. But at the same time, it isn’t hard to believe at all. Since the opening of the first Drake General Store back in 2008, it has expanded to include five locations in Toronto, as well as one in Ottawa and Vancouver. Its rapid growth and popularity aren’t surprising either, with the Drake General becoming a go-to spot for Canadians and visitors of Canada to shop some of the trendiest, and coolest, gifts and souvenirs that embody Canadiana cool and style.
The new location is a multi-storey, multi-use space that is far more than just a gift shop. With a coffee shop and single-chair barber shop built inside, as well as plenty of extra room for events, there’s now more reason than ever before to visit the flagship more regularly, or even every day.
So what is it about the Drake General Store that makes it so cool? It’s hard to describe, really, but it always feels like they get everything – even down to the itty bitty last detail – just right. And the proof is in the pudding with the majority of the shop’s sales driven by their very own in-house brand, even with the inclusion of global brands in the selection of their overall offerings.
And who wouldn’t want a piece of the Drake General’s goods? With collaborations with everyone from the CBC and Toronto Public Library to SickKids Hospital, the brand has touched upon significant aspects of Canadian and Toronto culture in a way that resonates with residents and visitors alike. Not only do their products make fantastic gifts and souvenirs, but they’re all too easy to justify as a treat for yourself too.
Should you be interested in cooking, visit to shop their selection of Drake-made pantry items featuring everything from the restaurant’s infamous Smoke Whisky Maple Syrup or Spicy Smoked Tomato Ketchup. Cocktails? You’ll love their selection of quirky glassware and the recipe books that will help expand your knowledge and skills. Even diehard Jays fans will be happy to find a hearty selection of Blue Jays emblazoned products that won’t be found at your average sports shop.
Needless to say, the Drake General Store is worth a visit whether you living in Toronto, or you’re just passing through, and there’s something for everyone.
Fore more info, visit DrakeGeneralStore.ca