West End Main Shop Updates

We visited the west end shop again today, and it was a thrill to see how things are coming along. Jon has been back and forth a few times, but the entire family joined in today as we did another walk through.

Much or most of the demolition is done, some of the drywall is done, electrical and plumbing are en route, painting soon, flooring also soon, and all of those tiny decisions as to whether or not to patch over this gaping hole or where the leaking is coming from are being made daily. I’ve got big plans for all the plants, including my dream of a hose attachment so I can water the plants directly from the tap instead of going back and forth with a watering can/empty yoghurt tub. I’ll keep you all updated on that very important feature.

We had been holding off on announcing the official address of the new west end main shop (that will house our full lines along with our warehouse, where we’ll be shipping out of), but we’ve finally broken down against the onslaught of requests and pleading and so here we go.

The new address is 52 Clinton Street, just west of Bathurst off College!

And here’s the front of it, our diamond in the rough.

This is a true shop front, as in facing directly onto the street, rather than some ambiguous unit number down some lane way, so hopefully it’ll be easier to find. I can’t wait to see more and more of it fixed up, especially with the new floors and paint, although that looks still to be a ways off. We’ve always been a “real” shop, but now we’ll be a real shop.

To be honest, I’ve mostly been the one dragging my feet on announcing it because there’s still so much work to be done on the front – garbage and recycling bins, graffiti, barrels of cooking oil, random cables hanging across – we’ve hired Magic Skip Bins to get rid of lots of the rubbish but we’re really coming down to the wire here, and Jon has informed me that this is possibly as good as it’s going to get and it may literally look like this when we open, so everyone keep an open mind here.*

We are thrilled to be in Little Italy, and actually quite close to our old location at 906 Dundas West – they’re a three minute walk from each other. When we were at 906 Dundas West, Jon and I rented a tiny house just up the street, on Mansfield, which happens to be just down the street from our new spot at 52 Clinton, so we know the area quite well, although it has changed quite a bit in the three years we’ve been gone. I used to love breakfast at Cafe Diplomatico, which is now – what good fortune – right across the street from us, because they can get tater tots just right, or late night pizza from Bitondo’s back when Caleb was a little tater tot keeping us up at night.**

In terms of the renovations, things are coming along. Of course, to no one’s surprise, there have been a few delays and bumps and obstacles, and our opening date seems to be a little vague at this point. Every time we open up something, we discover some creative electrical work, or something soft and mushy, or a tunnel to somewhere, or wires leading to another unit’s alarm system. Jon’s therapist/contractor continues to juggle all the balls in the air, and we’re considering a plaque in the corner bearing his name as thanks for his fortitude in the face of our crunching timelines and neuroticism.

Next week is the big push to get everything ready for moving in, so we’re all embracing the chaos and uncertainty as we see how things go day by day.

In terms of logistics, online orders will still go out, although likely with some delay. If you’re really in a bind and need something quickly, just leave a comment in the notes, and we’ll do what we can. For in-store pick-ups, we’ll send you an email letting you know the available times and dates we have for pick-up, as our shop may be closed to staff/customers during some stages of construction.

I had mentioned there was a chance of a soft opening before Saturday, May 5th, for people to just come by and browse, but it looks like that will be less and less likely (although we are big believers in miracles here). Will we even be open for our Saturday May 5th date? Uhhhmm. It’s tough to say that this point, as we’re running a bit behind schedule, and we’re not sure if there are going to be even more delays as we get through the bathrooms and taking down the last of the walls. The closer we get, the more details we’ll have, and once we get to the final stretch, finishing everything and setting up the furniture, and installing shelves, we’ll be able to set our grand opening celebrations.

If you’re hoping to stop by before we’ve officially opened, please give us a call ahead of time – 416 799 5935. I would hate for you to be disappointed visiting if we’re not open yet, and we’re also hoping the final leg of construction and renovation will go as efficiently as possible, without any distractions or interruptions from people popping by when we’re not quite ready.

On the bright side, there’s already a mirror in the staff bathroom here, so we won’t need to spring for a new one of these.

As spring has finally seemed to arrive, at least in part, after winter’s final ice storm, it’s a bright and fresh thing to consider this new stage in our journey as Wonder Pens. We’ve got one week left and then we’re out of here. It is not without some sadness at what we’re leaving behind, but every new adventure comes with its own thrills and joy and miracles.

*I mean, we may, at the very least, move the garbage and recycling bins and barrels of cooking oil to the side, rather than scattered across the front, depending on how the raccoons feel about it.

**Actually, he, like Naomi, was a really wonderful and sweet baby who didn’t really keep us up as much as I joke about.



  1. Julie-Anne

    So excited about the location – it’ll be amazing to be able to swing by on a lunch break, rather than planning a whole afternoon around making the trek out to Leslieville! Also so thrilled that you’ll have a true storefront to be able to benefit from foot traffic!!

    • wonderpens

      How exciting! Can’t wait to see you soon. And hoping to get good lunch recommendations from you, too 🙂

      We’re pretty happy to have a real storefront, and hopefully we’ll be a bit easier to find!

  2. Lisa RR

    I noticed in Buenos Aires they do put the name of the architect or builder in small letters on the front of apartments … so yes maybe a small plaque for the contractor is in order!
    Thanks for the update! Really exciting times.

  3. Andrew Timar

    I grew up on 88 Clinton many moons ago and recall #52 back then. I’m looking forward to visiting my old hood – this time for some stationary.

    May you enjoy success in your new shop!

  4. Rex Redstone

    Your one of our favourite stores to visit. It was a long shlep to the east end for a visit. I can’t believe you’re moving to our neighbourhood. We live only a couple of blocks away on Euclid.

    Welcome back to the ‘hood’.

    • wonderpens

      We’re glad to be moving back! You are close! It’s a lot of familiar streets and places, although a lot has changed in the three years we’ve been gone. We’re looking forward to getting to know the community again 🙂

  5. Anika F

    I’m so excited to see your new store! It’s only a 10 minute streetcar ride from work for me (which is probably very dangerous for my wallet). Good luck with the renos and the opening 🙂

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