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24 Black-owned businesses near U of T campuses that you can support

Doing your part with your dollars
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On July 7, many in the United States only spent money on Black businesses. JADINE NGAN/THE VARSITY
On July 7, many in the United States only spent money on Black businesses. JADINE NGAN/THE VARSITY

Over the past month, the death of George Floyd and the protests that have followed worldwide have stressed the importance of recognizing and eradicating anti-Black racism on a global scale.  

We may feel unsure of how to support Black, Indigenous, and people of colour (BIPOC) while maintaining physical distancing under COVID-19. But it is essential that we do all we can to advocate for creating change for BIPOC. One way to do so is with our economic power.

For example, on July 7, The Blackout Coalition organized a movement called #BlackoutDay2020. Although people of other backgrounds were also welcome to participate, the movement called primarily on Black people to only spend money on Black-owned businesses. 

As it is estimated that Black consumers account for $1.2 trillion in spending in the United States, the aim was for the boycott to help push forward the agenda against police brutality and anti-Black racism. 

Though the movement focused on the United States, it is essential that people in Canada and at U of T draw inspiration from the cause. Whether by purchasing food or books as a part of student life, it is by controlling our spending that we can practice consistent, substantive allyship and affirm Black life and community. 

Below is a list of Black-owned businesses near U of T campuses that will help students do so.  

Near UTSG 

  1. A Different Booklist: If you’re searching for a good book to read while commuting, this bookstore specializes in literature from the African Caribbean diaspora.
    Address: 779 Bathurst Street
  2. Black Tires: Run into car troubles while commuting downtown for a lecture? Black Tires Inc. offers car services throughout the GTA. No matter how far from campus you are, they’ll be there!
    Address: Greater Toronto Area; call +1(416) 939 4590
  3. Classic Juice Co.: If you want to fuel your body with healthy ingredients for a better studying experience, Classic Juice Co. can offer immunity shots, cold-pressed juice, smoothies, and healthy wraps.
    Address: 287 Coxwell Avenue
  4. Dance Immersion: Want a convenient way to work out between classes? This non-profit introduces dances of African diaspora through a variety of activities.
    Address: 1000 Yonge Street
  5. Monoxide: Is handcrafted jewelry the perfect accessory to your best campus looks? Monoxide’s products have even been featured in Forbes magazine!
    Address: 1605 Queen Street West
  6. Nautica Simone: Searching for the perfect photographer for your club’s on-campus event? Nautica Simone is Toronto-based and is now accepting bookings all over the GTA!
    Address: Throughout Toronto; can be contacted through https://www.nauticasimone.com/contact
  7. Proprlifestyle: Though we know we have to care for our mental health during exam season, we also have to care for our physical health! Shop skincare products targeted to your skin type at this new store.
    Address: 458 Ossington Avenue
  8. Veggie D’Light: If you’re in need of a vegan snack between classes, this is a must takeout spot for non-GMO eats.
    Address: 160 Baldwin Street

Near UTSC

  1. ACR Hot Roti & Doubles: Looking to eat after class? This daily-made roti and curry come with tons of protein options.
    Address: 2680 Lawrence Avenue East 
  2. Art of BBQ: Trevor David specializes in barbecue at this smokehouse.
    Address: 2478 Kingston Road
  3. Deon Ambersley: Looking to create stronger friendships and relationships during the upcoming school year? Deon Ambersley is a registered social worker with more than 15 years of experience.
    Address: 3520 Danforth Avenue
  4. Ital Vital Vegan: Want healthy snacks for class? This joint offers vegan juices, food items, and desserts. 
    Address: 741 Pharmacy Avenue
  5. Kxng’s Table: If you want to make memories by eating homemade food during study sessions, this chef’s Instagram is the place to visit! You can either pick up items from his home or have them delivered to yours.
    Address: Scarborough-based; visit @kxngstable on Instagram for a specific address.
  6. Love Beauty Supplies: Need to look your best for those morning lectures? From hair to nail products, this beauty store has all the supplies you need to turn your classmates’ heads.
    Address: 80 Ellesmere Road
  7. Marsman Music: Whether you’re a music & culture major or you want to join one of UTSC’s many music clubs, Marsman Music offers lessons in piano, guitar, voice, violin and more!
    Address: 158 Bennett Road
  8. Peta Cakes: Need a sweet treat for a study session or a pick-me-up after a midterm? Peta Cakes offers custom cakes that can be delivered.
    Address: Scarborough-based; message on Instagram @petacakes for a specific address.
  9. Twist Catering: If your club is hosting an event on campus, search no further than this catering service! Twist Catering ensures a good rating from even the pickiest of taste-buds at any private event.
    Address: 91 Rylander Boulevard

    Near UTM

    1. Black Sun Comics: Whether you’re an English major, or just an avid reader, Black Sun Comics offers the perfect collection of comics to read during the commute to class.
      Address: Mississauga-based; order online from https://blacksuncomics.com/

      1. Charlie’s West Indian Food Mart: Looking for a tasty meal between classes? This grocery store is known for its fresh groceries and fish.
        Address: 3057 Hurontario Street
      2. Pretty Things Inside: Whether you’re dreaming about getting your degree or wanting to celebrate the small victories along the way, Pretty Things Inside makes custom treats to honour any occasion.
        Address: Mississauga-based; fill out an order form at https://prettythingsinside.net/contact-us to receive a full address
      3. Reddafire Restaurant: Looking for a place to bring friends after lectures? This bar offers a pool table for night-long entertainment.
        Address: 900 Rathburn Road West
      4. Snapback Tiara: If you want a unique brand to wear on campus that also showcases your values, Snapback Tiara is the place to order from! This business was developed by a queer woman whose pieces combine masculinity and femininity.
        Address: Based in Mississauga; online at https://snapbacktiara.com
      5. Super Nail: Want to look your best around campus? This salon offers acrylics, bio gel, and tons of nail designs!
        Address: 2551A Hurontario Street
      6. We Print What You Want: Want to express your individuality on campus by wearing custom designs? The name of the business, We Print What You Want, explains all you need to know!
        Address: 776 Dundas Street East