5 Toronto Businesses That Have Pivoted During the Pandemic

2020 has been an unforgettable year, to say the least. Between the global pandemic, the rise of remote work, and new social distancing norms, we’ve all had to learn how to adapt. This sentiment especially applies to small business owners in Toronto who, let’s face it, have been put through the wringer.

The New Normal for Small Businesses in Toronto

The first lockdown in March of this year was already a huge blow to Toronto businesses, but many would argue that the second one has been even more brutal – especially given the timing. Now that the holiday season is in full swing, small businesses need your support more than ever!

Instead of letting everything that’s going on get you down; it’s time to rally around the Toronto businesses that are making the most of the situation we’re in. These 5 local spots are definitely worth checking out!

Toronto Businesses That Are Flexing Their Creative Muscles

Two Hot Babes Coffee Co.

Two Hot Babes Coffee Co. is a brand new pour-over coffee shop and survival project that recently opened up in Bloorcourt. The owner of this eclectic shop, Nancy Silverman, was a full-time yoga teacher for almost a decade before the pandemic hit. Work dried up for Nancy following the first lockdown, and she’s now joined forces with Wenona Lodge, a craft beer bar that rents the space. Nancy did this in an effort to help a struggling business pay their rent while also helping herself (and her dog Penny Lane – the second hot babe) out in the process.

Purchasing a killer coffee, spiced apple cider, loose leaf tea, salted dark chocolate chunk cookie or dog treat from this ingenious low-overhead coffee shop is a great way to support local and help two businesses out at once!


If you miss being able to actually try on clothes before you buy them, Carbon has got you covered! This Toronto boutique is creating a whole new kind of shopping experience with Carbon Mobile, a service that gives customers the ability to browse Carbon’s clothing selection online and select the items they’d like to be delivered to their door free of charge! Customers then get the unique opportunity to try on clothing items and, best of all, they don’t have to hold on to pieces that don’t quite fit the bill (or pay expensive shipping return fees).

To support this family-owned local business and get some stellar pieces for the holidays, email orders@shopcarbon.ca and let Carbon know what you’d like to try!

Brickyard BBQ

This Etobicoke restaurant is committed to getting their delicious ribs to their loyal customers despite the cold weather and recent lockdown. Chef Reuben Riley, who runs Brickyard BBQ, spent his childhood in Jamaica and was somehow able to replicate the pit barbecue style he grew up cooking at this joint. His mouth-watering BBQ kept customers kept coming back for more all summer long. When the seasons changed, they were still willing to line up in the cold. Chef Riley wanted to give his customers a better experience, and when the second lockdown happened he decided to transform his restaurant into a drive-thru. 

Torontonians can now indulge in Backyard BBQ’s ribs, jerk chicken, and pulled pork without having to worry about standing in line in less-than-optimal temperatures!

Scarboro Music

Scarboro Music is reinventing the meaning of “window shopping” with their new QR code-based shopping system! That’s right – one of the oldest music stores in the Upper Beaches is upping their tech game.

Customers are now able to purchase whatever music-related product they please just by pulling out their phone and scanning the item’s corresponding QR code. From their camera app, customers are taken directly to Scarboro Music’s checkout page where they can pay and choose between delivery or curbside pick-up. It’s that easy!

The Grand Trunk

Another collaborative effort that has been born out of necessity during Toronto’s second lockdown is The Grand Trunk’s new “Brunchables” menu. Everything on this takeout menu is available for under $10, and the breakfast sandwiches on it are made using bread from The Mezz, a fellow Parkdale neighbourhood bar that is currently closed.

If you’d like to get your hands on budget-friendly brunch items and support two Toronto pubs all the while, the “Brunchables” menu is available for takeout every day from 10:30 AM – 4:00 PM!

There’s no doubt about it – these Toronto businesses are taking things to a whole new level despite the challenges they’ve faced this holiday season. At Arnold Street Media, Inc., we’re all about supporting local and we hope you’ll jump on the bandwagon too!