Charlie’s Bike shop is a recent arrival to the Regent Park neighbourhood, and a most welcome one. Named after Charles Prinsep, an avid cycler and urban enthusiast, the shop is a testimonial to his beliefs and principles. Charlie was struck and killed in 2007 during an epic bike trip he had enthusiastically and meticulously planned that would take him from Vancouver to San Diego, back to Vancouver and home to Toronto.
I walked into the Queen Street shop and was instantly impressed at the warmth and charm of the place. Running along the whole left side of the shop is a hand-painted mural of a Regent Park aerial view, depicted in bright yellow. I chatted with Jane, who was manning the shop, and who was helpful and happy to fill me in on the details. The shop is the culmination of years of empowering youth by teaching them about bike mechanics including assembling, maintenance, and repair. At the end of the workshops, the refurbished bikes went home with their new owners, along with a helmet, a lock, and newfound skills and bike safety awareness. The shop serves not only as a great space to hold the workshops, but also a full-functioning retail shop for all your bicycle needs. If that wasn’t enough, the shop also serves the community through on-the-job training such as mentorships, internships, and employment opportunities.
If you’re in the market for a new bike, bike repairs or fresh bike gear, make sure to check out and support this great new shop.
Located at 242.5 Queen St. E. More info online at www.charliefreewheels.ca.
Click on the gallery below for full-sized pictures of Charlie’s Bike Shop