Concept: 4 out of 5
Execution: 5 out of 5
Yeah, but: I'm not that easy to impress.

The Long Version: Okay, I have to admit that I have a good reason to be biased. That doesn't change the fact that Opticianado, at 2919 Dundas West, is my new favourite place to buy glasses.

Opticianado's location puts it solidly in Toronto's west end, which is a slightly surreal place where the street numbers run backwards and Dundas is north of Bloor. It's in the Junction neighbourhood – my fellow east-enders can think of it as a more interesting version of Leslieville – where it fits in perfectly on a mixed commercial street with a refreshing lack of franchise stores. Sure, there is a Starbucks down the road for the people visiting the galleries and crafts stores, but we all need a balance.

I've worn glasses for almost twenty-five years, so I've visited a few opticians in my time. By selling a mix of new and vintage glasses, Opticianado has things that I've never seen before, along with some of my favourites. I was especially pleased to see that they sell Lindberg, which is what I had before my current set; these take lenses that are unusually hard to make, and make my current Oakley frames feel like cinder blocks. When the time comes to replace them, I know where I'll be going.

It also doesn't hurt that it's a ridiculously good-looking store.

But I didn't just stumble into Opticianado by accident as I visited a different part of the city. Penny had correctly answered a skill-testing question on Twitter, and won herself a new pair of sunglasses. And these were some serious glasses, too – quite a considerable prize. But… they just weren't quite right for her. Penny found a different pair that she preferred, and that was no problem at all.

The service and attention that we received was amazing. Even though we were being given an exceptionally good deal, everyone was enthusiastic, interested, and helpful – all things that I didn't experience when I last spent half-a-thousand dollars on prescription glasses elsewhere. That's a mistake that I don't plan on repeating.

last updated 4 dec 2010


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