Putting Print Back on the Subway Map

It takes guts to open a business in real-estate mad Toronto these days, much less one with zines as its bread and butter. But what better butter for your toast than the city’s newest space dedicated to DIY print and publishing, Secret Planet? It’s a dreamy mini-mart, the brainchild of intrepid artist Jackie Lee. Her small storefront sits right across from Coxwell subway station, bursting with inviting colour and curious outer space motifs.

“I feel like it’s a big thing that we are missing in the East End,” Lee explains. As more bars and restaurants begin to appear in her neighbourhood, Lee has noticed the comparative lack of independent shops and cultural spaces. An accomplished print artist and the force behind the beloved (if mysterious) newsprint zine Occasional Dispatch, Lee knows a thing or two about how difficult it is for artists to get their work in the hands of new audiences. So, she took her expertise and her desire to keep cultivating print cultures in Toronto’s East End and dared to try something new.

Lee sees the potential for Secret Planet to be a true meeting ground for art mavens and creators alike, especially those who are struggling to break out and make some sales. “I’ll just be everyone’s first shop!” she declares gleefully.

A cozy reading nook in the shop’s window also allows for zine lovers to enjoy a collection of curated materials for perusal, and of course, all manner of wondrous items to make your pockets feel heavy — prints, pins, totes, patches, you name it. Secret Planet is definitely a must-visit place for local zinesters, gift seekers and intergalactic explorers alike.

Secret Planet Print Shop can be found at 698 Coxwell Avenue in Toronto and secretplanet.ca