Introducing: Community 54, a Parkdale arcade that sells nostalgia wear too
The place: On Queen West, right beside Wrongbar and across from the never-without-a-lineup Grand Electric, this menswear import from New York City’s Lower East Side specializes in nostalgia in all forms. From the iPod dock that looks like a giant boom box to the old-school video games (no Golden Tee here, just consoles that remind you of your misspent youth in arcades) and the wall of snap-back hats, virtually every item in the store hearkens back to the days of Dance Mix and your first Ace of Base tape.
The stuff: Those video games, like Terminator 2, Wayne Gretzky Hockey and—our personal favourite—NBA Jam, are all available for purchase ($1,095 to $2,695) or playing a friendly match. Towards the back, preppy vintage selections like Ralph Lauren button-ups, Tommy Hilfiger plaids and even a striped vintage Alexander McQueen jacket ($400, originally retailed for $4,000) mingle with new items like Community 54–brand T-shirts, Eh Life apparel by Trung Hoang (part-owner and the man behind Think Contra), and a staggering number of snap-back flat-brim baseball caps ($40 to $60). Since the store is small and new, very few items are shipped (sometimes just one in each size), so you can be guaranteed that whatever item you buy won’t be seen on every other dude at Cold Tea later that night. Even the pieces of furniture—sturdy, industrial pieces like a vintage sewing machine table and wooden display tables—are for sale.
The shoppers: Walk-in traffic from the ever-gentrifying neighbourhood (though it’s far removed enough from The Drake that it’s not all ladies in Uggs and Canada Goose guys), nostalgia seekers, vintage game enthusiasts, and bros from all walks of life—not just street wear aficionados and hipsters, the store promises.
Our favourite things: Punchy and graphic cityscape prints by artist Glenn Michael (naturally, the nostalgic view of Toronto still features the Sam the Record Man sign); a limited edition Members Only jacket (yes, they’re back) in buttery-soft leather ($775)—the three remaining in the store are the last three in Canada; a Japanese North Face jacket (cut slimmer than their North American cousins) for $495; and a steely grey Starter baseball cap made in collaboration with Goodwood ($40).
Community 54, 1275 Queen St. W., 416-901-4342, community54.com.