I started hunting for a new bike a couple months ago I went to a bunch of shops around town over the course of a few days and test drove a whole bunch of different styles of bikes to see if the style I thoughtI wanted, a cruiser, actually felt like it was going to fit my needs. I arbitrarily decided to start with the furthest shops out and work my way towards my neighbourhood, and I found a few that were okay, but wasn't really falling in love with anything. Plus, a lot of the shops were either so busy I could hardly get anyone to hook me up with a test drive, or the sales people would peddle bikes to me in a really insincere way, obviously just trying to make a sale as quickly as possible.
I pressed on, and finally ended up at the Denman Bike Shop, which is right in my neighbourhood, only to find that it was where I really should've started my hunt! They specialize in cruisers (though they do sell other styles as well), and have a great selection of bikes ranging from the practical to totally decked out one-speeds for leisurely riding and lots of attention. They have a huge selection of Electra bikes, who make a couple of the models I wanted to test out, which is how I ended up spending a good chunk of my afternoon there trying out bikes.
One of the mechanics there (whose name I didn't catch - update: been informed his name is Brad!) as well as Paul (I think that's his name...?) who helped me with test driving bikes and hooking me up with accessories, etc. were both extremely helpful answering my incessant questions and patiently helped me out test driving a whole bunch of their bikes. Both really knowledgable and from what I could tell, very used to people coming in and milling around looking at the bikes and taking their sweet time!
I ended up with a bike that I'm really happy with, and when I needed some help adjusting it a couple weeks later, they were really great with helping me out and genuinely wanted me to love my bike. It felt more like I was stopping by an old friend's place than a store in a big city. They've consistently ended up on the WestEnder's reader's choice list of top bike shops, and come by it honestly.
If you're looking for a new bike or just want to gawk at the pretty cruisers, be sure to make your way down to the West End and pay them a visit!