Looking for incredible LGBTQ+-owned businesses to support and buy from isn’t difficult – especially these days. Here are just a few of our favourite Canadian LGBTQ+ businesses that are on our radar to know and support during Pride, and beyond.
This Toronto Village staple has a reputation that precedes it, and is now available across the city. The Craig behind Craig’s Cookies first honed his craft while baking alongside his mom in St. John’s, NL, and his passion for baking clearly hasn’t waned over the years. If you’ve ever had a Craig’s Cookie, you’d know it. And, more importantly, you’d remember it. Packed full of nostalgia and favourites such as Mini Eggs or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, these cookies are not only flavourful but fun.
Surf The Greats
Toronto’s cold water surfing scene is only just heating up, and under the tutelage of Surf the Greats and its founder Antonio Lennert, it’s becoming more inclusive, too. The surf community always was queer, even if the voices in the forefront were exclusively white, cis male and straight. Thanks to Surf the Greats, this is changing for the better across race, size and gender. Look out for one of Surf the Greats Pride floats or paddle out events, learn the ins and outs of Great Lake surfing, or check out the shop (we love their book selects, such as Seeing Gender: An Illustrated Guide to Identity and Expression or AFROSURF: The Book).
Related: 11 ways to be a respectful LGBTQ2S+ ally.
Glad Day Bookshop
The iconic Glad Day Bookshop in Toronto is Canada’s first queer bookstore (est. in 1970) and the oldest LGBTQIA+ bookstore worldwide. We know representation matters and that seeing yourself reflected in the world writ large literally saves lives. Glad Day Bookshop has been ensuring queer folx also get to experience this. More of a community hub than anything, you can attend events, explore latest reads and find merchandise that goes beyond heteronormative ideology.
Bean Around The World
Coffee is often about community, and Bean Around The World offers just the spot for coffee and conversation across Vancouver. Queer-owned, this is a good spot to get your brew on, taking in 30 years of the Bean’s roasting experience while you’re at it.
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Little Sisters Book and Art Emporium
Earning the City of Vancouver’s Queer Heritage badge, this inclusive book, clothing and goods store was also always about so much more. Founded in 1983 by Bruce Smyth and his late partner Jim Deva, for whom the nearby plaza is named, Little Sisters survived over three decades, despite harassment and three anti-gay terrorist bombings. In those early days, as today, the store has kept its doors wide open, welcoming those who needed this safe space and the sense of acceptance it offered. While the store is under new captainship these days, it continues to offer queer reads for all ages, vital coming out info, an award-winning greeting card selection, trans-inclusive toys and supplies and so much more.
Little Rainbow Paper Co.
The Calgary-based Etsy shop offers just the right cards and stationary for moments queer folx can identify with. From queer wedding or bye-bye binders cards to a “pray the gay to stay” enamel pin, this is a great option for those who need a little variety to their local grocery store stationary isle.
Dew of the Gods
Born in 2020 with a mission guided by a need for inclusivity, Dew of the Gods is a LGBQT+-owned, “from-Canada” skincare brand founded by CEO Ryan Dubs — who was “Employee #2” at Kylie Cosmetics. The mindful skincare brand features products made with luxe ingredients. The Essentials Set, pictured here, includes a selection of the brand’s best-sellers, including the Frozé: The Royal Face Wash, the Superbase Hybrid Serum Mist and the Fijifuji Collagen Whip Vitamin Mask.
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The genesis for Cleensleves began during another health crisis: 2009’s H1N1. But, since then, duo Rhonda and Ricky Zeyshley took their hand refreshing idea and made it a reality during the COVID-19 pandemic, now offering deliciouslyscented hand sprays.
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GRRRL Spells on Etsy
If you gravitate towards spells and The Craft-inspired fashion, you’ll want to check out GRRRL Spells… This non-binary, POC-owned Etsy shop offers art and fun accessories for the spooky at heart. From pins declaring you “gay goth,” to “queer vampire,” or a pronoun planchette, it’s easy to find a memorable gift or trinket.
You may also like: Janelle Monáe comes out as nonbinary on ‘Red Table Talk’.
Yas Petit Poulet
Montreal-based Yas Salame started Yas Petit Poulet and the Queer Chemistry line of products, breaking down the “queer-iodic table of elements” with each orientation and gender identity. Find stickers, pins, bookmarks and more as well as Queer Chemistry Ts.
Lou Brown Vintage
Selling altered fine china your grandma would never want you to have, this Peterborough, ON-owned vintage shop sells conversation pieces you’ll want at your brunch, including such quips as, “Everyone wants a revolution, but no one wants to do the dishes,” “Feminist as f*ck,” “Failure is an option,” and “Femme the future.”