April 21st was International Record Store Day, so we thought we’d celebrate by rounding up the best spots in our Forest City for vinyl!
Whether you’re someone who’s been thinking of dabbling in the wonderful world of vinyl or you’re a full-on record connoisseur, these spots will surely satisfy all your musical cravings and curiosities.
London’s budding music scene is complete with small venues that showcase local bands and ranges all the way up to Budweiser Gardens, which is the largest venue of its kind in southwestern Ontario! What’s even better is the city is full of spots to purchase that new vinyl you’ve been eyeing down, and the staff are always in the know about the goings on of the music scene in the city.
It’s no secret that vinyl is trending amongst millennials. Whether you’ve just purchased that portable Crosley turntable from Urban Outfitters or you’re looking to break in your dad’s vintage Pioneer PL12D from the 70’s, we’ve got you covered with the hottest spots to start your LP collection or add to it!
236 Dundass St. (map)
A Forest City classic, Grooves Records has been selling an insane selection of vinyl, CD’s and DVD’s for years and shows no sign of stopping. Most Londoners will be familiar with their previous location on Clarence Street, but they’ve since moved to a fresh new spot just around the corner on Dundas Street.
Grooves Records made a reputation for themselves as a gathering place for music lovers since they opened. An awesome community of people who share a common interest, what’s not to love? One of the many remarkable things about Grooves Records is their commitment to showcasing local talent. They do this by holding shows right in their store! The small sets are always intimate and showcase local talent right in their city, and what better venue than one where music is always the star of the show.
Grooves selection of records is undeniably impressive; they’ve got pretty much every genre you can think of. From used vinyls to rare box sets, brand new recordings and the rarest of LP’s, Grooves has you covered. They even sell accessories such as record boxes, t-shirts, concert tickets and more. They’ve even been known to do concert ticket giveaways for venues as large as Budweiser Gardens.
Grooves cares about their customers and always offers help to those lost souls looking for a new record to jam out to. Can’t find what you’re looking for in the store? They can order in certainly almost any record you’re lookin’ for if you don’t feel like hitting up Amazon yourself, they save you the hassle!
Grooves also sets up shop outside of their store at Home County Fair each year with a tent full of cool records for sale. Customers love shopping at Grooves because there always seems to be some sort of sale, whether its buy three get one free, for 25% off there’s always some money to be saved when shopping at Grooves! The customers always feel included and special at the shop, and that’s why it’s become a London favourite. They hold special events and sales, and even held a Kids Album Art contest at their Record Store Day event last year.
We can’t fail to mention the fact that Grooves has even set up their own label! They support local talent and were tired of seeing such talent come and go due to a lack of finances. This is what lead the awesome people down at Grooves Records to create a space for local bands to record and have their music pressed onto vinyl! The freshly pressed vinyl is then exclusively sold in-store. This is an impressive feat for a small store and a fantastic ode to the talent that London has to offer!
Neighbourhood: Old East Village
900 King Street – Western Fair Market (map)
Saturdays just got a whole lot better for music lovers! Old East Village Vinyl has established themselves as an awesome one stop shop for finding those rare gems or beginning your LP collection!
Add this to your Saturday morning routine and you won’t be disappointed. Visit our friends down at the Fritter Shop to fuel up before spending your morning perusing the impressive collection of records for the limited amount of space allotted to Old East Village Vinyl.
They’re booming with rare finds as well as the classics and new hits. We can’t think of a much better way to spend a Saturday morning than grabbing a delicious blueberry fritter before purchasing a fantastically well-kept Bee Gees album to rock out to later in the day.
The best part about shopping at Old East Village Vinyl and the Western Fair Market is that you’re supporting local. Us at Santa Knows Best are passionate about sourcing locally and supporting the community. By incorporating the Western Fair Market into your Saturday morning routine, you’re undoubtedly giving back to the community by supporting multiple local businesses! And you’re getting amazing music and the highest quality records. What’s not to love!
We know we’ll be hitting up the market this Saturday to get our Fritter fix and to check out the new shipment of Old East Village records!
Neighbourhood: The Coves
294 Springbank Dr. (map)
Established in 1977, Speed City Records has made a name for itself as London’s longest standing record store with an indie focus. Located in southwest, London on Springbank Drive, what was a passion project of a former record store employee has turned into a twenty-year stint of being one of London’s most sought-after record stores.
The beauty of Speed City is their dedication to music. They opened as a record store and kept it that way, focusing on music and accessories and nothing more (except maybe a little bit of pinball).
The ambience of the quaint shop offers a no-frills, vibe that allows you to dive straight into their massive collection of records without being distracted by gaudy décor or memorabilia that’s not vintage records.
The music that’s available at Speed City is widely varied. They purchase a ton of different genres, more specifically rock, jazz, blues, soul, R&B, alternative, punk, heavy metal, reggae, electronic and hip hop. In addition to selling a ton of records, Speed City sells accessories for those beloved vinyls. These accessories range from turntables to amplifiers and speakers – new and old there is a wide selection at the store.
Speed City Records has been part of London’s music scene, providing avid music fans with collections and rare finds for over twenty years. Speed City is all about supporting London’s music scene, always open to selling local records, CD’s and cassettes as well as showcasing posters for upcoming shows!
Their online presence is awesome and they’ve brought some amazing events to the city, including the London Record Show. The London Record Show is a huge event held at Centennial Hall and is the quintessential vinyl collectors’ heaven. The event showcases a massive collection of all the London record store greats in one room, offering up hundreds of records for a ridiculously low price. There will be blood, sweat and tears at this show, for those dedicated metal heads and classical addicts looking for the last piece to complete their collection, but it’s worth it and has become a traditional London event since its inaugural show in 1983! It’s an important time for the music scene in London as it brings all the record stores and the music community together under one roof, because of one common interest: music.
Speed City has a major focus on music, but let’s be honest, everyone has a side hustle and Speed City is no exception to that. They are passionate about pinball and buy and sell pinball machines! They are also the business behind weekly local league night registered by International Pinball Flipper’s Association at Call The Office.
The Village Idiot is located in the beloved Wortley Village of London. The beautifully named record store is a direct reflection of its location. Charming, quaint and independent. What more could you want in a record store?
Shopping in this small store jam packed with records is always a delightful way to spend an afternoon after charging up on some much-needed coffee from any of the cute café’s located in the village.
Not only those who live in Wortley are privy to the awesomeness that is The Village Idiot, music lovers from all around town known this is a place to go if they’re in the market for a rare find. There are lots of hidden gems to be found in this store, and quality is never sacrificed. The Village Idiot is also the place to go to brush up on your vinyl knowledge, as the employees are full of interesting facts and info, always teaching you something about the music before you head out the door!
Like other record stores in the city, this spot of course supports local. You can also purchase tickets for local concerts through the store.
356 Richmond St. (map)
City Lights Bookshop has been around since 1975 and is one of those stores that you never forget. A quaint, ever-trendy spot in the heart of downtown, London, this place has been offering pop culture odds and ends to Londoners with its unique flair, and will likely continue to do so for many years ahead.
Not just a record store, City Lights sells used books, vinyl, movies and music. Because of its vintage flair, it has become a spot that music lovers go to find that one rare vinyl they haven’t been able to get their hands on, or to score that little-known gem that’ll add the perfect amount of spice to their growing collection.
An inviting atmosphere complete with two floors of vintage items, pop culture paraphernalia, adult magazines, postcards and used books. While it’s easy to get lost in the labyrinth that is City Lights Bookshop, the upstairs is dedicated to entertainment and music.
The cosy atmosphere is reminiscent of what you’d picture a traditional used bookstore to be like, but sloshed with trinkets and items that give it a unique throwback feel. This London gem, while located in a drab part of the downtown core, has made a name for itself as a classic hotspot for bookworms and music lovers alike. Check them out next time you’re craving a new (used) addition to your collection and you’ll surely leave feeling satisfied like a kid in a candy store!