Digital Marketing and Social Media Strategy

A Piece of My History is Destroyed

Photo by Kevin SteeleFew brick and mortar businesses have had a lasting impression in my life. There are too many bars and restaurants to include, I’m talking about actual shops. One in particular helped make me who I am today, Suspect Video.

I realize a large number of folks reading my blog aren’t in Toronto, but I felt I really needed to share this. This morning I received an email from my mum that there was a six-alarm blaze in downtown Toronto. When I checked the news and Toronto blogs I found that it was right in the heart of downtown, right where I spent a large chunk of my life.

Suspect Video is a video store that specializes in indie and cult classic films. Sure, Suspect would carry many “good” Hollywood films, but if you wanted something different that’s where you would go. The staff were always knowledgeable, something you just don’t find at your typical Blockhead Video. I grew up in their Markham Road location, coming downtown specifically to rent a few movies. When I moved downtown they opened a second location on Queen St. W. at Bathurst. This was back in the mid-90’s and during that time the store became a main stay along an increasingly trendy neighbourhood.

When I decided to start saving money so that I could backpack Europe (and later meet my wife there), it was Suspect where I would go. Each night I would pop in to rent several movies to fight off the temptation to join the boys at the bar. Yes, a video store helped me save money!

I have been looking at the photos this morning astonished at the news. I’ve been thinking about Luis, Doug, Daniel, Merrill, Colin and the rest of the staff and former staff. I’ve been thinking about the customers and the huge loss they must feel right now. In my last post explaining how MC Abdominal covers life in Toronto so well in his song he actually even mentions Suspect!

I understand Suspect had over 30,000 videos/DVDs at the Queen location. They also had tons of hand-written reviews on each DVD by the staff. All of this has been destroyed. I have great memories of visiting Suspect, whether it was to rent a movie, buy a Maximum Rock N Roll, pick up a zine, get news on a screening they were presenting, or to just say hi to the my fellow film geek friends who worked there.

Suspect on Queen will be sincerely missed and fondly remembered forever.

Suspect Video

Photo by: JL1967

Update Photo of the buildings.

Dave

http://www.davemadethat.com

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  • Dave: Thank you for sharing your memories. I have been following the progress of this fire via the TV. It is very sad.

    Cheers,
    Connie

  • Dave: Thank you for sharing your memories. I have been following the progress of this fire via the TV. It is very sad.

    Cheers,
    Connie

  • Karen Burke

    Hi Dave, I am on the verge of tears over this. I brought Ross to Suspect on his first visit to Toronto…so many memories. It is a sad morning.

  • Karen Burke

    Hi Dave, I am on the verge of tears over this. I brought Ross to Suspect on his first visit to Toronto…so many memories. It is a sad morning.

  • aaron

    Hey Dave – terrible news, thanks for the post

  • aaron

    Hey Dave – terrible news, thanks for the post

  • Thanks for sharing this Dave. When I think of how I would feel if a fire took out certain venues in my hometown of Memphis, I can identify with your loss.

  • Thanks for sharing this Dave. When I think of how I would feel if a fire took out certain venues in my hometown of Memphis, I can identify with your loss.

  • Thanks Connie. I only hope people remember to shop at Suspect’s other location in Mirvish Village.

    Suspect is luck they have another location. Duke’s was in that store for over 80 years! Tragic.

    Dave

  • Thanks Connie. I only hope people remember to shop at Suspect’s other location in Mirvish Village.

    Suspect is luck they have another location. Duke’s was in that store for over 80 years! Tragic.

    Dave

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  • That sucks, Suspect Video is where I used to go when I lived at Queen and Bathurst… and for me, being a sound guy and hifi fanatic, I’m sad about all the nice equipment lost at National Sound. The poor old owner, he was always just soldering on some parts, lonely in the store… I guess both stores will not be there anymore after this fire. They will be missed!

  • That sucks, Suspect Video is where I used to go when I lived at Queen and Bathurst… and for me, being a sound guy and hifi fanatic, I’m sad about all the nice equipment lost at National Sound. The poor old owner, he was always just soldering on some parts, lonely in the store… I guess both stores will not be there anymore after this fire. They will be missed!

  • Jorge

    Just yesterday I walked into National Sound and talked to the old guy there who gave me some advice on my turntable problem. So nice and non-condescending. It will be missed for sure.

  • Jorge

    Just yesterday I walked into National Sound and talked to the old guy there who gave me some advice on my turntable problem. So nice and non-condescending. It will be missed for sure.

  • Liis

    hey Dave – thanks for still thinking of TO. I’ve been following the story via web as I work outside of the core but still live downtown. It is a sad day for us here in your former home, to lose such a great part of Old Toronto and, especially, Suspect Video.

  • Liis

    hey Dave – thanks for still thinking of TO. I’ve been following the story via web as I work outside of the core but still live downtown. It is a sad day for us here in your former home, to lose such a great part of Old Toronto and, especially, Suspect Video.

  • Marita

    My heart is hurting. What to do?

  • Marita

    My heart is hurting. What to do?

  • ScarboroughDude

    Terribly sad day for Torontonians – collectively, and as individuals with so many memories of that area. We’re such a young country, so it’s even more painful losing a piece of 100 year history. Most of the small shop owners didn’t seem to have insurance either. What a loss!

  • Terribly sad day for Torontonians – collectively, and as individuals with so many memories of that area. We’re such a young country, so it’s even more painful losing a piece of 100 year history. Most of the small shop owners didn’t seem to have insurance either. What a loss!

  • I’m so happy to see all of your comments here. Thanks for taking the time to share your memories and thoughts.

    There is speculation that the fire was caused by a drug lab in one of the apartments above the stores, but nothing is confirmed yet.

    Either way, it’s truly tragic. Be sure to send you love to the gang at Suspect on Markham Street (next to Honest Ed’s).

    You can send your condolences to the guys at Duke’s here: http://dukescycle.ca/ There is a heart breaking photo of the shop 80+ years ago.

    Dave

  • I’m so happy to see all of your comments here. Thanks for taking the time to share your memories and thoughts.

    There is speculation that the fire was caused by a drug lab in one of the apartments above the stores, but nothing is confirmed yet.

    Either way, it’s truly tragic. Be sure to send you love to the gang at Suspect on Markham Street (next to Honest Ed’s).

    You can send your condolences to the guys at Duke’s here: http://dukescycle.ca/ There is a heart breaking photo of the shop 80+ years ago.

    Dave

  • Hi Dave,
    Thankfully everyone is safe and uninjured. The loss of Suspect Video is a HUGE blow to people like us who loves us our foreign, peculiar, and unique films.

    I believe to help support Suspect this weekend, folks are being urged to run up to the Markham location and rent something from them. Anything from them. See you there.

  • Hi Dave,
    Thankfully everyone is safe and uninjured. The loss of Suspect Video is a HUGE blow to people like us who loves us our foreign, peculiar, and unique films.

    I believe to help support Suspect this weekend, folks are being urged to run up to the Markham location and rent something from them. Anything from them. See you there.

  • Suspect was a landmark. I can’t bring myself to go down there and look at the damage in person. Even now I remain completely depressed about it. As a film lover, Suspect was more important to me than the TIFF.

    Sad to see it go. Why couldn’t this have happened to the McDonald’s on Spadina and Queen instead?

    Thanks for your great post

  • Suspect was a landmark. I can’t bring myself to go down there and look at the damage in person. Even now I remain completely depressed about it. As a film lover, Suspect was more important to me than the TIFF.

    Sad to see it go. Why couldn’t this have happened to the McDonald’s on Spadina and Queen instead?

    Thanks for your great post

  • Thank for your comments.
    Great call Bishop. People should definitely head to the Markham location to support them. Queen to Bloor isn’t that far a walk.

    Chris, I know what you mean. I’m saddened to hear that there’s a Home Depot going into the parking lot at Queen and Portland. There goes the neighbourhood.

    I agree with you too. Suspect was indeed much more important to me that TIFF.

    I went down to see the damage on Sunday night before I left Toronto back to Nashville. It was horrible to see the remains.

    Listen to stories on the CBC here:
    http://snurl.com/20g6r [podcast_cbc_ca]

  • Thank for your comments.
    Great call Bishop. People should definitely head to the Markham location to support them. Queen to Bloor isn’t that far a walk.

    Chris, I know what you mean. I’m saddened to hear that there’s a Home Depot going into the parking lot at Queen and Portland. There goes the neighbourhood.

    I agree with you too. Suspect was indeed much more important to me that TIFF.

    I went down to see the damage on Sunday night before I left Toronto back to Nashville. It was horrible to see the remains.

    Listen to stories on the CBC here:
    http://snurl.com/20g6r [podcast_cbc_ca]

  • katya

    Dave,
    Couldn’t agree with you more. I worked for Luis for a couple years, and spent time as a youngster, loafing around the Markham Street store when it first opened. if I could choose a second set of parents, it would be Luis & Merrill and you can throw in Uncle Daniel for good measure!. Toronto will never be the same, and now my reasons for leaving the Yukon territory, have diminished.

  • katya

    Dave,
    Couldn’t agree with you more. I worked for Luis for a couple years, and spent time as a youngster, loafing around the Markham Street store when it first opened. if I could choose a second set of parents, it would be Luis & Merrill and you can throw in Uncle Daniel for good measure!. Toronto will never be the same, and now my reasons for leaving the Yukon territory, have diminished.

  • Holy shit! I just found this blog and, man-o-man, I’m touched beyond words! My name is Daniel and I have been the Manager and Head Buyer at the Suspect on Queen w. for the last 8 years (I had worked there for 12-13 years). Thanks so much for the fond remembrances and kind words! I am currently attempting to rebuild the collection and re-open a new store asap. You can follow the progress at http://www.500wattbrain.blogspot.com/
    And a big fat hello and a hug to Katya! Long time no see! Contact me via my blog! I’d love to talk to you again, it has been waaaaay too long!

  • Holy shit! I just found this blog and, man-o-man, I’m touched beyond words! My name is Daniel and I have been the Manager and Head Buyer at the Suspect on Queen w. for the last 8 years (I had worked there for 12-13 years). Thanks so much for the fond remembrances and kind words! I am currently attempting to rebuild the collection and re-open a new store asap. You can follow the progress at http://www.500wattbrain.blogspot.com/
    And a big fat hello and a hug to Katya! Long time no see! Contact me via my blog! I’d love to talk to you again, it has been waaaaay too long!

  • Thanks Katya. Thanks so much for sharing. It’s clear you had a real connection with Suspect. I miss that store(s) living in Nashville now. These days my only option is NetFlix and it just ain’t the same.

    Daniel, you’d probably remember me if you saw me. My password was “jackass” established way before the show. Thanks for the comment man. Good to hear from you.

    Cheers

  • Thanks Katya. Thanks so much for sharing. It’s clear you had a real connection with Suspect. I miss that store(s) living in Nashville now. These days my only option is NetFlix and it just ain’t the same.

    Daniel, you’d probably remember me if you saw me. My password was “jackass” established way before the show. Thanks for the comment man. Good to hear from you.

    Cheers

  • hey!
    how’s it going “jackass”, yeah i remember you!
    just i thought i’d share some good news with you.
    check out the updates at:
    http://www.500wattbrain.blogspot.com/
    so…what are you up to these days? what exactly is a “social media strategist”? do you know how i can get in touch with katya? i am trying to connect with as many old friends, customers and co-workers as possible. big party coming soon and everyone is invited! thanks!
    -daniel

  • hey!
    how’s it going “jackass”, yeah i remember you!
    just i thought i’d share some good news with you.
    check out the updates at:
    http://www.500wattbrain.blogspot.com/
    so…what are you up to these days? what exactly is a “social media strategist”? do you know how i can get in touch with katya? i am trying to connect with as many old friends, customers and co-workers as possible. big party coming soon and everyone is invited! thanks!
    -daniel

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  • Mehaillien Thundercross

    I always found it fascinating how the guy who owned National Sound moved his prime gear to his new location west on Queen Street just a week before the fire. Just fascinating…

  • What was the outcome of the investigation? I followed it for a while, but never heard much.