Best cannabis culture shop
241 Queen West, 416-591-1570, www.friendlystranger.com
A trip to the Holt Renfrew of head shops, the Friendly Stranger, reveals an eclectic clientele from giggly high school kids to -- gasp! -- your parents and their friends. Its universal appeal is probably due to the visual blast of its mess of TV screens and its clean and organized displays filled with thousands of stash boxes, rolling papers, pipes, grinders, hemp goods, novelty items and fancy bongs. The shop that once weathered a police raid has morphed into a slick consumer hot spot.
Best medical walk-in
66 Gerrard East, women's clinic 416-922-0566, men's clinic 416-922-0603, www.hasslefreeclinic.org
A half-dozen condom selections line the wall at this modest facility so true to its hassle-free handle. You can get pregnancy and STD tests, including anonymous HIV tests (by appointment), birth control, abortion referrals (walk-in) at this non-profit org -- the city's first free sex clinic -- that strives to remove the 'clinical' feel you experience in other medical settings. Men and women have separate hours and phone numbers (trans people can go to both); reception is friendly, and you don't need a health card to get help. Worth noting is the intro of new rapid HIV tests which give results in about 10 minutes.
Best sex shop
COME AS YOU ARE
701 Queen West, 416-504-7934, www.comeasyouare.com
The first of T.O.'s alternative sex emporiums, Come as You Are celebrates sexuality -- vids, books, dildos for days -- while putting the emphasis on education. Check out, for example, the sex and disabilities section on their website. We also like the fact that it's owned and operated by a workers' co-op. But don't get the wrong idea -- CAYA is all about fun, not earnestness. Best sex event DECADANCE Fetish fiends love to get out the stilettos and medical uniforms for Northbound Leather's (7 St. Nicholas, 416-972-1037, www.northboundleather.com) fab fetish night, so successful -- a decade-old this year -- it's become one of the world's largest. Kudos, too, to Northbound Leather, a Toronto mainstay (heh heh) turning 20 this year.