BY MATTHEW HOPTON
“You’re a wizard Harry” said an employee of Curiosa, a Harry Potter themed store on Queen Street in Toronto. Lisa Redekop was demonstrating to a group of children how a magic printing machine in the corner of the store works and ironically one of the children was named “Harry”.
Curiosa, Purveyors of Extraordinary Things has been inspired to resemble Diagon Alley a shopping centre in the fictional world of Harry Potter where everything that is needed to attend Hogwarts can be purchased.
The real-world Curiosa is much different than a magical school supplies shop. It is a welcoming place for Harry Potter fans to meet other like-minded enthusiasts. Inside, a variety of quirky and interesting oddities can be purchased ranging from vintage Harry Potter posters to magical wands and books of spells.
The store is owned by Heather and Stephen Sauer, who had originally joked about having a Harry-Potter themed until they realized they could actually make it into a storefront. “We wanted to have a space where it is a must to be here,” said Stephen in an interview with the Toronto Star.
The store is impressive: the moment you step in between the beautifully decorated windows and open the door it feels like you’ve been transported to a world where magic and wizards exist. The shop has many personal touches from the Sauer family including “boiling cauldrons” and spooky owls to give it a more authentic feel.
The store doesn’t only focus on Harry Potter, it also sells many items for sale that come from apothecaries and it has a section dedicated to fancy calligraphy. While Christmas is quickly approaching Redekop said that business has picked up immensely. “During the year it’s mostly just Harry Potter fans that want to visit this place but now with the holidays approaching the store is getting people who are searching for a perfect gift idea.”
One of the most popular gifts from the store is the Berties Botts Flavor Beans. “It feels like every week these jellybeans get sold out and we are constantly ordering more.” The jellybeans contain dozens of delicious flavours with a few absolutely revolting ones including barf, dirt and dead fish that can surprise you if you aren’t careful.
“I honestly love this store” said Alicia Hurmuses. “I wish I could decorate my house with everything in here.” Hurmuses, a customer, of the store has read the Harry Potter series in its entirety four times. Hurmuses explained that her love for Harry Potter came from her mother reading her the book when she was young, every night before she went to bed.
Speaking with another customer of the store, Gloria Pancrazi explained that she was a big fan of the Harry Potter series however wasn’t completely sold on the store “It feels a bit kitschy, like they are trying to just monetize the world of Harry Potter even more than it is already.”
Her view is understandable as it feels like everything in the store is gimmicky, however that’s the point. It’s meant to attract people who love the JK Rowling series and want to fantasize that they too can be a wizard. So, if you or someone you know is a fan the store front is impressive and a must see for any muggle who likes or appreciates the world of Harry Potter.