Drake Launches His Brand’s First Flagship Store in Toronto


Drake took the limelight at the Budweiser Stage in Toronto on Monday for his annual OVO Fest, but first dropped this teaser for his OVO flagship store that opened at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre on Saturday.

In the video for his song Gyalchester, Drake and crew stroll through the mall and drive a Cadillac Escalade inside.

The 1,600 square foot space features the rapper’s October’s Very Own apparel and other forthcoming collections, and the mall, Canada’s fourth largest, is about 10 minutes away from where Drake grew up in Forest Hill. Lines started early Friday morning reaching more than one thousand.

Yorkdale publicist Adrienne Simic said, “People will be moved outside overnight and then back in at 5:30 a.m.”

Drake’s moves capitalized on Caribana Weekend in Toronto, as NBA and music stars came to town— including LeBron James, who hosted the Hennessy Daylight party August 4th at Cabana Pool Bar on Polson Street—a festival hotspot.

The Caribana Caribbean Carnival, started in 1967, draws more than one million tourists to the city.

Drake is the Global Ambassador for the Raptors, hosts of the annual OVO Festival, and Chris Bosh was a regular at James’ Caribana parties while a member of the team.

Performers this year include PartyNextDoor, DVSN, Majid Jordan, Roy Woods and surprise guests—in signature Drake style. Past Drake invites include Eminem, Jay-Z, Rihanna, Stevie Wonder and Kanye West.

Drake is credited with popularizing Toronto as “The 6” (or “The 6ix” or “The Six”) in numerous songs in a shoutout to the city’s 416 area code, as well as the city’s six boroughs after the 1998 amalgamation.

Drake’s songs, the King St. restaurant Fring’s, and his role as the Raptors’ global ambassador led three young girls to create a free Drizzy walking tour of Toronto this summer.

Soca fans were treated Saturday night to Soca king Machel Montano joining Drake on stage.

This year, Bunji Garlin joined the cast as he and Montano launch their Busshead tour that heads to Barbados Monday for the annual 1love concert.

In 2015, brandchannel noted what the Drake brand has done for Toronto. “Drake’s business is no small business. He’s a rapper who’s sold an estimated 10 million albums worldwide to date. He’s an entrepreneur with a clothing line, a restaurant and an annual music festival. He starred on a popular teen drama (Degrassi: The Next Generation), and is credited with the popularity of phrases like ‘YOLO’ and redefining Toronto as ‘The 6.'”

“His three-week-old music video Hotline Bling has spawned millions of gifs, Vines, memes and Halloween costumes—even a Christmas sweater. He’s the global ambassador for the only Canadian NBA basketball team, the Toronto Raptors (which hosts Drake Nights and has inspired a co-branded OVO clothing line with the artist) and a proud supporter of the Toronto Blue Jays baseball franchise.”

The Yorkdale mall opened in 1964, but has recently been renovated to house more than 270 shops including Chanel, Prada, Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Versace, Jimmy Choo and Gucci.

Drake’s luxury streetwear brand, led by El-Khatib, includes T-shirts and tanks ($40-$88), ball caps ($48), keychains ($12-$15), track pants ($118), hoodies ($148-$158), and phone cases ($38)—most sporting his iconic gold owl.

For those older fans, Drake builds on other Toronto and Canadian artists including ‘60s folkies Gordon Lightfoot, Neil Young and Leonard Cohen, ‘70s prog-rockers Rush, ‘80s bands Parachute Club, Martha and the Muffins and Shuffle Demons, ‘90s punk act Lowest of the Low, The Tragically Hip, and early rappers Maestro and Kardinal Offishall.

And the beat goes on…