I love this concept and it’s a ton of fun. Great way to engage your audience and get to know the city.
Some of these don’t qualify as puns though, as far as I can tell. What makes Riverdale Perk a pun?
Crediting the photographers is cool. Crediting the “discoverer” is like crediting Columbus for discovering the Americas.
Obviously none of these businesses was “discovered” due to this effort, and if anything the credit should go to whomever came up with the names in the first place.
If you must, I suggest you refer to the people who suggested the various locations as “contributors.”
One of my favorites that you didn’t post:
“CD Characters” used & bootleg CD shop above Gorilla Monsoon at Queen & Spadina.
What, no “Lion on the Beach”??
I think “Mammoth Erection” is the clear winner here.
I’ve walked by Criminal Records a zillion times and I’ve never made the connection with the pun.
Not sure I’d want to tell people I work for a company called Mammoth Erection, though.
I think it’s probably Riverdale Perk/Riverdale Park a la Friends Central Perk/Central Park.
The 12-year-old in me thinks that Mammoth Erection is WIN.
Except Riverdale Perk is next to Withrow Park!
..but it’s one block away from Riverdale Park, and is located in Riverdale.
What about Wizard of Iz on West Eglinton? =)
There’s a salon in Collingwood called The Best Little Hair House.
I didn’t see Ein-Stein’s up there, which might be the worst pun in the city.
Keep the suggestions for additional businesses coming! (If you don’t want to post a comment, you can also e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.) We may very well do an addendum to this post in a few weeks, featuring the best places that we missed.
I’m not sure if the Brass Taps is a play on the phrase ‘down to brass tacks.’ Refried Beats is another odd pun.
Mammoth erection. It’s actually making me giddy.
Can someone explain ‘the real jerk’ and ‘superior sausage’, I don’t get it.
Jerk is a kind of food and also a Steve Martin movie.
Someone explain the Superior Sausage. Is it a Grateful Dead song?
This article brings to mind an incident where some friends and I were stopped at a light. A tow truck turned left in front of us, giving us a clear view of the name painted on the side: Camel Towing.
We found it hilarious. Still wish I had a camera with me.
This is very impressive. My favourites are definitely Curl Up & Dye and The Merchant of Tennis. I have to say, though, some are a bit of a stretch: West Side Stories and Meat Country Canada hardly qualify as “puns.” I also don’t get Superior Sausage (or Thin Blue Line Cheese Boutique, S&M Unisex Hair Design or The Brick Shirt House).
I am perplexed by Su-Good and Soonderella, but I’m willing to attribute this to a lack of savvy in regards to Asian cuisine.
Also, what sort of business is that Ezra’s Pound place? I can’t tell.
A personal favourite I see around is WTF Group. Their signs are on a few of their buildings.
Is Massive Auto Collision (Dupont/Lansdowne) in here? (these image posts are a bit of a pain to browse quickly)
Brick Shirt House = brick shithouse
Ezra’s Pound sells coffee. My assumption is that Thin Blue Line refers to the marbling in certain types of cheese…I don’t get Superior Sausage either, and I’m not sure S&M is necessarily a pun.
Thin Blue Line = reference to The Thin Red Line – is a term for a thinly spread military unit holding firm against attack, in this case used to refer to the line of bleu in bleu cheeses
The Brick Shirt House = “Built Like a Brick Shithouse”
Meat Country Canada = Sleep Country Canada
The Real Jerk isn’t really a pun.. I always understood it to mean they had the most legit Jerk food in Toronto.
Their bags actually say “I have a Criminal Record” or something on them…cute!
The Thin Blue Line is a common term for police and police forces, derived from The Thin Red Line and suggesting that a thin line of police officers is all that prevents civilized society from descending into chaos. According to Wikipedia. And of course blue cheese…
They’ve actually doubled in size since that photo was taken. Used to be crazy cramped. Now it’s just slightly cramped.
They actually lease and manage the building I work in. I didn’t even catch on until I’d been here for a while. Had myself a good chuckle.
Oh, I totally always thought The Real Jerk was a pun, as in “he’s a real jerk!” Meat Country Canada I got, I just think that the words “sleep” and “meat” are such dissimilar words that it’s a bit of a stretch to count it as a pun.
If Etobicoke counts, you guys forgot Doggy Styles Pet Grooming.
Toronto actually has some of the best punsters in the World. See pungents.com – a couple of local kids doing us proud
I’ve always though Barberella (female hair salon) at 891 Dundas St. W. was clever. http://www.barberella.ca
While Meat Country Canada is really funny, I’m with the person above that questions its pun-worthiness.
For next time: Miss Behavin’ and Lettuce Knit !
Oh, and I’m pretty sure that Curl Up & Dye is the name of the nail salon from Earth Girls Are Easy…
Meat Country Canada? Why buy a ham hock anywhere else?
Well, this has got to be one of the best features I’ve ever come across on Torontoist.
Superior Sausage is beside Grateful Head. Would’ve been even better if Mammoth Erection was parked out front.
I feel like now wherever the contributors go they will find themselves involuntarily scanning store signs for puns.
Or maybe I will.
You’re joking, but that’s actually how it is.
I wasn’t joking. I know what it’s like. I still go around involuntarily scanning for amusing “Engrish” mistranslations because of that short-lived Torontoist feature (although since I wasn’t a contributor that makes it more embarrassing). I feel like people who do parkour must be totally unable to look at their surrounding scenery without seeing things to climb and jump on.
There’s something about missionizing your everyday environment like that…it haunts you. I can imagine that twenty years from now I’ll see some clever store sign pun and think damn, I wish I could submit that.
In the same department (low-brow humour) you might want to create a file for amusing juxtapositions. Fer instance, my personal fave is out in Rexdale. Driving west on the 409 towards the airport, I have noticed next door neighbours that you wouldn’t expect (they are actually located on Disco Road). The first is a company called Lovat that makes equipment for digging tunnels. Next door is – wait for it – the Metro West Detention Center.
Speaking of Disco Road, that suggests yet ANOTHER category of “humour” that is address based. I’ve yet to come up with a really good one but for all those Disco Sucks believers, they might be gratified to know that there’s a huge garbage dump out there on Disco Road.
actually, the “mammouth erection” should be parked in front of “prints charming”…
>The first is a company called Lovat that makes equipment for digging tunnels. Next door is – wait for it – the Metro West Detention Center.
lol too funny!
also…could someone explain f’coffee for me….please
I assume it’s a play on the first part sounding like “fuck off” when you say it aloud.
Although going by the words “there’s always time for” above the name in the sign, I guess it’s based on “for coffee”, which is much less amusing than I thought.
These are funny. There is a tire shop in my fair city that is called “Uhl Rubber”. It is their last name and has been aoround for 60 something years, so I beleive it was unintentional, yet still kinda funny.
Street view obscured by trees, but uhl (you’ll) get the idea:
I don’t imagine that the pronunciation of “F’Coffee” is an accident, and I certainly enjoy a smirk every time I pass by. I rarely have time f’coffee, but I can always make time to tell people to go there, usually by themselves.
…which reminds me that always when i walk by a FCUK store i am kind of shocked…and, by the way, are we supposed to vote for the best one??
Just corrected a small mistake—I mispelled Eggstasy as Eggstacy.
Yeah, Sir Topping, can we vote on our favourite?
Doing a poll to find the best store in the city is a great idea, but I think we’ll wait to do one until we’ve done a second round of the stores we missed the first time (we’ve received not one but three photos of Camel Towing from readers in the two days since this post was published).
There’s a bathroom fixture store in Toronto called Canaroma.
I’m pretty sure that an industrious Italian immigrant liked the idea of blending the words Canada and Roma, and that’s how s/he came up with this name when they opened the store. However, I noticed that there’s a different way of reading it: “can aroma” which is kind of an unfortunate association if you are selling toilets, etc.
There’s an old joke: “that was two-thirds of a pun (p.u.)” that applies to this one! I guess the name doesn’t really qualify for this category since it’s not an intentional pun (I believe). But I couldn’t resist.
i guess we could start a collection of unintentional puns like in.. “now we’re back to square one”…
Linked here from gothamist and this is the BEST feature. Thanks for the laugh and now I totally want to ditch NYC for Toronto….
This is great! I lived in Toronto for 8 years 1983-91 and still visit often when I’m back in Canada (from working in Brussels). I love collecting puns on people’s names (aptronyms or inaptronyms) and love the feature on shops. My favourites in Toronto were the Joy Auto Collision body shop on Dupont, the Wing-On Funeral Home on Spadina north of College, and of course Just Desserts – which may no longer exist for all I know.
I wish I had a photo to share but my favorite from 4 years of living in Toronto is the Necropolis Cemetary near Riverdale Farm.
In the Beaches area there was a laundry mat by the name “Soap Opera”
and a shop a few doors away – “Damsel In Dis Dress”
What about the merchant of tennis?
What! No Flip Toss & Thai?!
Best Thai food on Harbord Street.
knitters love their puns – you’ve got ‘passionknit’, but you missed ‘lettuce knit’ – on nassau street in kensington.
Count me as another one who only just noticed that “Criminal Records” (and er… a few others) were puns. Great feature, Torontoist — this gave me a good laugh.
One not mentioned here is “Walk in, Wok out” on Bloor St.
If there are any others we forgot, now’s the time to tell us—we’re on the hunt again, in time for the end of this year. There are least three dozen new ones we’ve discovered so far.
Wow. Hindenburger. Genius.
There is a place just on Yonge, just north of Lawrence called “Up in Frames”. An other good pun.
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