Post by Christine Jean-Baptiste, journalism student, coffee, film, & vintage enthusiast. Find Christine on Instagram.
Despite many reports of their impending demise, vinyl records, and the record stores who love them, remain more relevant than ever. Listening to music on vinyl may just be one of those things that are timeless.
Music from past decades is not the only thing being registered on vinyl. Countless new artists and bands are putting their albums on vinyl now, whether it’s to get a fuller sound, or just to have more space for cover art.
Ottawa is filled with record stores, and each of these is full of hidden gems and worth hours of browsing time. Here are 6 record stores located in Ottawa for the music enthusiasts or the vinyl-curious:
Vertigo Records – 193 Rideau St.
Vertigo Records is worth visiting next time you’re downtown. This record store’s walls are a showcase of newly released albums. The store is divided up by genre, and it has all the essentials you’ll need to create a diverse record collection. Vertigo Records holds everything from new releases to albums that are probably older than you are: it’s a happy medium between mainstream albums being sold on iTunes today, and classics from decades past.
Pro tip: You cannot leave this store without going through their “Used records for 1$” bin. I ended up finding a Fleetwood Mac album in great condition!
Compact Music (Downtown) – 206 Bank St.
Compact Music mixes modern and vintage in their store, selling both records and CDs.
All the records are organized in sections with boxes, which makes it easier to find what you are looking for. This record store holds a wide variety of new and used albums, appealing to everyone’s budget. The staff is always eager to help or answer any questions you have about vinyls or even about any music events happening around the corner.
Pro tip: Before you leave, don’t forget to check out their window, as it’s filled with posters promoting events or festivals that are all about music and the arts.
Compact Music (Glebe) – 785 Bank St.
You’ll be welcomed here by friendly staff to help you expand your vinyl collection. With a variety of records that are old, new, used, and discounted, this store makes it hard to leave with only just one album! For example, I saw the Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack, all the classic Led Zeppelin albums, plus July Talk’s newly released Touch. This record store sells more than just vinyl, they also offer CDs, t-shirts from classic bands like The Beatles, and clocks that are made out of records!
Pro tip: Kill time looking through the vinyl sale section where they hold a variety of albums from 20$ and under! I couldn’t help but purchase a compilation of sixties “diner pop” for only 6$.
Birdman Sound – 593 Bank St.
Editors’ note: Apt613 recently interviewed Birdman Sound owner John Westhaver on the occasion of the store’s 25th anniversary.
Birdman Sound record store is as quirky as its title. Once you walk in the store, you are welcomed by vibrant psychedelic posters covering the walls and experimental music playing from their own record player, where they’ve made a cozy listening station. Birdman Sound caters to all the music lovers who are interested in experimental music, jazz, and bands from the 60’s and 70’s.
Pro tip: The owner is very knowledgeable, so don’t be scared to ask any questions you have about the genres of music they sell or even if you wanted any recommendations for your own collection!
Legend Records – 1315 Wellington St W
Legend Records proves to be a triple threat, serving as a movie rental, cassette, and record store. Hidden on the charming street of Wellington, its never-ending collection will leave you in the store for longer than you expected to. This store is not very large, but it is very narrow as the walls are covered with records, creating the illusion of an endless vinyl library. From the entrance of the store, all the new released albums are showcased and as the store continues back, the older the music gets. Without a doubt, this store is holding the album you are looking for!
Pro tip: If you are looking for a specific album, don’t be afraid to ask the staff: they know their store to a T. Trust me, it’ll save you the frustrating 30-minute search.
The Record Centre – 1099 Wellington St W
Looking for a place to buy or repair your record player? A place where they hold a quality collection of albums from the old to the new? How about a place that showcases local artists during their own events so you can discover new talent? The Record Center is your place. From the minute you walk in, you can’t help but notice the classic guitars hanging from the ceiling, the music playing from the background, and a piano near the listening station. I always end up spending the most time here, in a comfortable space filled with music and great finds.
Pro tip: Couldn’t find the vinyl you were looking for? Talk to the staff and see if they can order it for you online!
Record-shoppers of Ottawa, let us know if you have any tips, or tales of your greatest finds! Comment below: