So remember how Queen West just got voted the second coolest neighbourhood in the world? This just in mo fo’s, The Toronto Lifestyle Market at the Gladstone Hotel just took it to number one.
The Market is curated in conjunction with Ampersand Co. a Toronto based lifestyle agency founded by Michael Andrews. Together with the guys at Lifestyle Market they have created an innovative and sleek approach to the traditional gathering of vendors that we see usually see in pop-up style markets. This is a carefully selected collection of really well done local brands and well-established international names. They have laid out the room to give it a smoky, dark feeling, like you just stumbled into a secret uber cool house party.
The whole thing has an excellent vibe. You enter the hotel lobby to see the sexiest Harley Davidson I have ever seen resting casually against the lobby wall. You are then greeted by tunes pumping out of the Gladstone Ballroom. (nothing more Toronto then walking into the longest running hotel in the city to hear Drake blaring – OVO YO) and a gang of the best kind of hip dudes. Not so much hipster, more like skater boy’s all grown up. The best. These are young dedicated folks that are working hard to bring us a really different concept. Yes the retail aspect is the focus but as the day ticks on, musical performances start, the bar opens and guests are treated to musical stylings from artists such as Boki and City Kid Soul turning this shopping experience into an all night party.
I took a tour around the room to check out the goods and honestly, this collection of vendors is on point. From wood framed sunnies from Bohten (find them here http://www.bohten.com) to pimped out iphone cases from Felony Case (and here http://fc.felonycase.com) there was something for everyone. I especially liked the line of t-shirts, leggings, hoodies and hats from The Escape Movement (find them here at www.theescapemovement.com), a company started by a crew from North Bay. (sidebar… may have spent most of my tip money there… whoops). Skultuna (http://skultuna.com) had some handsome, handsome cufflinks and accessories for men, which paired well with the watches displayed beside them by Daniel Wellington. Best of all you can get molded for free to get A GRILL from Goldie Rocks. Like that’s really a thing. That people do.
The Toronto Lifestyle Market runs all weekend and will feature some great music, breakdancing, spoken word and one tasty, tasty Absolut vodka punch (which I did not sample not even once I swear) served by Gladstone’s finest bartenders. Saturday night will also be in partnership with Unity Charity, a great organization that encourages young people to be role models and leaders in their communities (http://www.unitycharity.com). I highly recommend taking time this weekend to swing in and check out the hard work of the team pulling this together. It is their first Market of hopefully many so lets show the support they need to keep this concept growing. Check out the full listing of performances for tonight below and visit http://www.torontolifestylemarket.com/ for a full list of vendors.
Written by Molly McCrea. Follow her on twitter @wildmccrea