Come as You Are is opening a new store in Kensington Market

The ethical, queer-friendly worker-owned sex shop is returning to brick-and-mortar after four years online


One of Toronto’s favourite sex stores is finally reopening.

Come as You Are is the gold standard for independent sex businesses as the city’s most queer-friendly, inclusive and accessible feminist sex shop. A worker-owned co-op, it’s also stridently anti-capitalist and ethical in approach. Their Instagram bio calls it “friendly to a fault.”

A perpetual NOW Readers’ Choice winner, it’s had a few locations since 1997, most recently on Queen west of Spadina. But after a few warnings about gentrification and tough times for mom-and-pop shops, it finally closed up shop and went online-only in 2016.

Now it’s returning – in Kensington Market.

“The rumours are true,” they wrote on Instagram last week. “Slowly but surely it’s coming together,” said another post four days ago, showing a window emblazoned with the store’s logo. The shop will be located at 254 Augusta Avenue.

A pandemic might seem like a strange time to return to brick-and-mortar retail, especially as so much business has moved online. But sex is something that goes on largely unabated. With so many people indoors, a shop like Come as You Are can definitely fill a void – especially as people navigate dating in isolation.

Kensington Market is in constant conversation about the threat of gentrification and the displacement of independent businesses, so the opening will likely be welcomed by the neighbourhood.

In the comments of one of their Instagram posts, the co-op said the soft launch will be “sometime in mid-November,” and that they won’t have a grand opening to avoid overcrowding and long lines in cold weather. They suggest subscribing to their newsletter for the latest details as they come.

@trapunski

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