Eight years after opening their first location at King and Bathurst in Toronto, Mike and Maya Anderson, the husband-wife duo behind BlackToe Running, have opened a second location in midtown. Their new spot, at 2488 Yonge St., is “the perfect spot for a second location,” says Maya. “We’ve had our eyes on it since before the pandemic. It’s big, bright and airy. Because it’s in an older building, there are also so many cool features that you couldn’t find elsewhere.”
Another key aspect of the new location is that the store sits in a corner unit, in a big space, close to some of the city’s best running spots. Between the Kay Gardner Belt Line, Mount Pleasant Cemetery and Sunnybrook Park, there are numerous choices for their patrons to hit the trails. “Runability was a key component to selecting the new store location,” says Mike. “Like with our first store, we want to build a running group and host community runs.”
What’s new at the Yonge and Eglinton location?
The Andersons say the experience at the new store will be similar to their flagship location, but they’ve modernized the feel a bit in midtown. “It’s cosy, but with more modern tech. I think we have the coolest change room in all of running. It’s supposed to be reminiscent of the inside of a shoebox. It’s a small room that we think used to be a bank vault. It wasn’t moveable, because you can’t move a vault, so we made it our change room,” says Mike.
The couple partnered with local runner and designer Richard Kuchinsky to bring the store to life: “Richard gave us some new ideas, and we knew we had a great design, but executing was difficult,” says Maya. “Lots of issues came up–some due to COVID, and some due to the usual issues that arrive with construction. When it comes to materials, we had to strike a real balance between what we wanted and what was actually available.”
The store is currently open to shop while the owners put on the finishing touches. The Andersons say they’ll host a grand opening in about a month’s time. “It’s amazing what has come out of the hard work,” they say. “It’s taken a little longer than we thought, but we’re so proud of it!”
If you’re interested in getting involved in the BlackToe community, keep an eye on their social pages. In the coming weeks they’ll begin hosting community runs on Thursdays. “These are just super low-pressure runs, really a chance for the new community to get to know each other,” says Mike. “For the new racing season we’ll have two run clubs, one for each location. That will likely get up and running this summer.”