Music lovers across the country should head to these local shops to find a unique selection of tunes and instruments, ranging in specialties from collectible LPs, pre-loved CDs and rare wooden guitars.
Vancouver & Whistler
Music enthusiasts head to Zulu Records in Kitsilano for CDs from select mainstream artists as well as praise-worthy indie bands and international faves. The massive vinyl collection is not to be missed and includes one-of-a-kind collectable records.
Discover the Maritimes’ rich musical traditions at the Halifax Folklore Centre on Brunswick Street. A unique music shop in a 130-year-old Victorian home, it boasts a large selection of vintage guitars and violins, and new and used musical instruments including mandolins, banjos, amps, basses, ukuleles and bodhrans. Unusual gifts, accessories, and a good selection of Celtic and Maritime music books.
Independent music stores in Toronto cater to serious listeners and specialize in turning their clients on to new sounds. Hip record store Rotate This is stocked with new and vintage vinyl from both Canadian and international artists. It’s also a ticket outlet for a variety of concert promoters, so be sure to ask who’s in town. Cozy CD shop Soundscapes is a treasure trove for local tunes, and every so often it hosts in-store performances. Friendly and knowledgeable staff always have their ears open—they’re quick to recommend anything from indie rock and folk to jazz and even the latest world music.
Canmore’s Harvest Moon Acoustics specializes in stringed instruments and accessories that help musicians express their emotion and style. Guitarists who seek clean sound and rare wood aesthetic must see the Taylor Limited collection ($5000+). One coveted instrument on display is “one of only 79 made from Mexican Cocobolo wood,” notes store owner Tom Thompson.
What makes a record store special isn’t the Top 10—it’s the devotion of staff who make special orders come true and deliver the impossible-to-find tunes you crave. Megatunes aces the eclectic; it’s the kind of music emporium you’ll love to linger in, knowing you’ll find your fave indie artists in the racks.
Into the Music is an indie vinyl and CD shop in Winnipeg’s Exchange District that has a broad selection of hard-to-find new and secondhand stock. It first opened in 1987 and now hosts free, in-store live concerts featuring up-and-coming bands and performers. A handy website lists new acquisitions every week and also offers online shopping. Staffed by avowed music lovers who aptly handle questions and queries that cross all music genres (318 B – 245 McDermot Ave).
In the funky Glebe neighbourhood Compact Music offers a wide variety of tunes, whether you prefer yours on CD or vinyl. Pick up anything from mainstream pop to obscure zydeco, and everything in between.
Vinyl junkies will find some of the best selection in the city at two hot spots: Recordland (1208 – 9 Ave SE) and The Inner Sleeve. At Recordland, find rows of shelves crammed with hundreds of used records spanning genres from early rock ‘n’ roll to the synthesizer sounds of the ’80s. Meanwhile at The Inner Sleeve, music lovers can find used and new LPs from classic and current bands, as well as a collection of CDs, turntables, mixers, needles and accessories.