Le Petit Castor You Ho This Is All Your Fault
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Le Petit Castor You Ho This Is All Your Fault

Future site of the West Queen West mission to Rosedale.

The Drake Hotel is not quite a country of its own yet, but it will soon open its first embassy—in Rosedale.

The hotel that arguably launched West Queen West as we know it will open a second, even smaller location of its General Store near the doorsteps of some of the city’s wealthiest residents, hoping to discover among them an appetite for retro Canadiana, cutesy tchotchkes, and ironic toothpaste.
Drake staffers—some of whom may be experiencing a sense of vertigo caused by spending time north of Bloor—are presently hard at work preparing for a December 5 launch. (We are told there will be cookies on opening day.) The new space is at 1011 Yonge Street, formerly the location of fashion boutique Shop Nyla.
Among the northern-trekking Drakeists is Joyce Lo, co-director (with Carlo Colacci) of the General Store. She tells Torontoist that beyond a few tweaks, the newest branch of Jeff Stober’s growing Drake empire should look a lot like the first Drake General Store, which opened beside the hotel a year ago.
“We want to maintain the spirit and the look and the feel of the original,” Lo says. However, she notes, “There will be several lines that we have that will be exclusive to the new store.”
Among the Rosedale-only collections will be ceramics by Alyssa Ettinger, hand-knit wool sweaters from Granted of Vancouver, and more wool in the form of Pendleton blankets from Oregon.
How did Rosedale end up in Stober’s sights? “As we were looking at different neighbourhoods, Rosedale has a great collection of independent retailers selling everything from food to furniture. And in our store we kind of have a bit of everything, too,” Lo says. “So it was a good fit.”

A closer look at the store’s developing storefront.

Speaking of fit, cramming the merchandise into the new location should prove a challenge: Tight as the existing General Store is at around six hundred square feet, the new one is a positively bachelor-apartment-tiny 450.
Lo sees the move as an opportunity to bring a taste of west-end bohemia to midtown. “The Drake General Store has been really well-received since we opened it, and it’s something we want to share with the rest of the city,” she says. The store, then, is “an opportunity to promote Queen West.”
Far from being put off by any quirk the Drake General Store promises to bring them, Lo has faith that the locals will dig the vibe. “The people in Rosedale, [judging by] the stores that are already there now, I feel they also have excellent taste. They would get it.”
For those Rosedalians who would like to feel a connection to the air of Trinity-Bellwoods while remaining cozy in their northern climes, the new store will feature a Batphone linked directly to the Drake’s reservations line, while a television mounted on the wall will be synched to the Drake’s eclectic in-house, looping programming.
As a final, homey touch, a corkboard will highlight events in both neighbourhoods. Don’t be too surprised if someone pulls up to your next gig at the Dakota in a Bentley.
All photos by Joel Charlebois/Torontoist.