For Day 2 of our Style Domination/YOW City Style feature, we will be focusing on local heavyweight Top of the World.
I think it’s safe to say that Top of the World is an Ottawa institution. When Katie and I arrived the day of our shoot, I was overwhelmed with good memories as soon as I crossed its threshold. My besties and I would travel downtown from the burbs in highschool and scoop up graphic tees and tanks by cool brands like Element and Burton. We would tag along with our skater friends as they picked out new decks and trucks to construct their own homemade skateboards. Those were the days…
We were greeted by store managers Jesse and Virginia, and I was reminded of how cool the staff has always been here. Warm, friendly and accommodating, Jesse gave us a rundown of the store, its history and the type of clothing, accessories and gear they offer. As I looked around at all of the cool stuff Jesse was pointing out (beeracudas, limited edition Star Wars shoes by Vans, stickers, patches, etc), I thought to myself: “This is awesome. I need to get out of the malls more!”
Top of the World (TOTW) first opened its doors in 1993 and the history of this store is pretty interesting. Founders (and brothers) Tom and Glenn Goodwin would travel around, following their favourite bands The Grateful Dead (awesome) and Phish, selling t-shirts onsite out of a tent. The name of the store was inspired by a trip Glenn and his wife to Nepal to source merchandise for the store.
TOTW originally sold only t-shirts, bongs, pipes and artisan jewellery. The store gained popularity quickly and underwent a renovation in 1994 to increase selling space – all this while skateboarding was experiencing a resurgence. More and more people were coming through their doors with skateboards and the owners knew they could fill this market gap in Ottawa and provide the masses with products they were looking for.
Current owner Corey Hackett was then hired specifically to work in the TOTW skateshop in 1995. He noticed that the store had a fun and welcoming atmosphere, a huge difference from the typically male-dominated, intimidating and egotistical skate shops of the day.
In 1996, the store underwent another renovation and began adding popular skate brands to their inventory such as Airwalk, Etnies and DC. Customers also wanted access to hard-to-find lines such as Geek Boutique, Freshjive and Luscious. TOTW is also great for tracking down limited edition merchandise.
When you walk into this constantly evolving store, the atmosphere is really cool. The fun, down-to-Earth sales associates treat you like an old friend. They are always eager to help you out, educate you on their brands, crack a few jokes, and best of all, you get to play with Pistol Pete while shopping. Pete took a liking to me and rested on my feet while we interviewed the store staff. That made my life.
So, on to the clothes! TOTW is a gold mine for festival fashion. Here, Jean-Guy and Virginia model their picks for looking cool at one of our local music festivals this summer:
- Hat: Coal
- Tank: RVCA
- Shorts: Vans
- Shoes: Etnies
- Beeracuda: Burton (similar)
- Sunnies: Top of the World
- Ring: Heirloom, model’s own
- Hat: Altamont
- Tank: Amuse Society
- Skirt: Billabong (similar)
- Shoes: Vans
- Sunnies: VonZipper
- Necklace: Sasha Eilenna
On top of being one of the coolest stores in Ottawa, it provides sponsorships to skateboarders and has successfully bred 4-5 professional skaters. With a crew of talented skaters on the Top of the World team, they have created several skate videos: The Chronicles (1997), The Second Coming (1998) and We Live in Deeds (2000), which have sparked several professional careers. Each Canada Day, TOTW sets up a skate park in front of the store with a professional skate team delighting crowds. This year, the store hosted the DC Shoes Skateboard demo on Rideau Street. Last year, Lakai was in attendance and Krooked the year before that. Check out the Lakai and Krooked skate videos below:
Go ahead and pay the kind peeps at TOTW a visit, pick up a few items from featured brands such as Emerica, Burton, Nixon, Circa and marvel it the store’s cool décor. You call also follow TOTW on Instagram (www.instagram.com/totw) Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Top-of-the-World-Skateshop/214467441914443) and Twitter (https:www.twitter.com/topskateshop).
Top of the World
158 Rideau Street, Ottawa, ON
(613) 237 – 4797