Store spotlight: Aura Model Shop

I walked past a fellow co-worker and otaku the other day and his eyes widened as he said “dude, you HAVE to check out this new toy store I found!” He had just been to the recently opened AMC Theatre at Toronto’s Dundas Square and there, at the top of the escalator, bathed in sunlight, was the “Aura Model Shop.”

Very few stores just happen to pop up in my neck of the woods that cater to otaku, so that very day – I could barely wait until 5 o’clock – I visited the shop that is mere minutes from my condo. It was like coming home.

Aura, although somewhat small, has a remarkably large selection for the model kit maker. There are hundreds and hundreds of Gundams and a good selection of models from other well known anime, like Evangelion and Ghost in the Shell. There are also cars and helicopters, but those interest me less. Pretty much every Revoltech is represented. But what impressed me most was the wall of model kit tools that included two different types of tweezers. I almost wept.

Of course, I did some shopping that very day. But I returned a few days later to chat with owner Brian, himself a very experienced model builder. He opened Aura in mid-May downtown because he feels that the anime industry is growing and becoming more mainstream and hopes he can tap into that interest with a central location. So far, he’s getting a broad range of shoppers from hardcore modelers coming in for special orders to first timers drawn by childhood memories of The Transformers and Robotech.

When I asked Brian how he decides what to stock he smiled and said “instinct.” He has gone to Japan to scope out new toys and regularly visits toy fairs in North America, but like us collectors, he uses the internet to find out what’s on the horizon. I also tried to convince him to start holding modeling workshops, but that’ll have to wait, he says.

As I left the store I thought about my own shopping habits. I’ll be honest and admit that I’ve bought almost all of my models and toys online. The prices are usually better and you can get them earlier than stores. I always buy modeling tools in shops, however, not to mention small impulse buys. But the thing that a shop like Aura has over the internet is the pure rush of excitement I get when I am surrounded by so much coloured plastic. My love for these things is rekindled every time I enter.


8 comments so far

  1. AllNiteRaver on

    OMG!!! this place sounds like heaven!!! i have to check it out!!! i thank you for sharing this awesome and wonderful information!!

  2. Kesstun on

    Ya, it’s a great place with an awsome selection!

  3. wmat on

    Hey Pedro!

    Thanks for the post. I’ve definitely got to venture out of the shire to check this place out.

  4. Stoya on

    Personally I think Brian isn’t as experienced as modelers today. I was a beginner and I asked him a few questions but he didn’t know how to answer them. I thought he was experienced eh? You can get Gundams in any Japanese animation hobby shops in uptown, Toronto. Also I’ve seen this site that sells a lot of Gundam, Check it out.

  5. limecloud on has quite a few gundam kits and I think they can special order any gundam model kits. They are online base though in Toronto.

  6. Big Fan on

    Aura is really quick in getting new gundams, i got mine a week after it was released in Japan. no website can do that!!! way to go Aura!!!

  7. Lucius on

    dude! thanks for the info on the new store. Oh! any of you guys know where to get together to build kits “Gundam or any other kind of Manga/Anime kits. they do this in japan!…I know they have few small groups, but let me know if there is anything like this in Toronto..thx

  8. Old MR on

    Do you know if they are still open? do they have a email?

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