Computer stores have dotted the blocks near College and Spadina long before the invention of tablets and smart phones. This small stretch of 600 metres is still home to a handful of repair shops, mostly independent, with competitive prices if you know where to look.
Across the street from the electronic chain Tech Source on the northwest corner, one of the newer additions and most official on the stretch is Jump Plus. Located on the northeast corner just past the Rexall, it’s the only Apple Premium Reseller in Canada.
What that means is that this store is one tier above being Apple certified. Visiting this store for any repair is basically like making an appointment at a Genius Bar; the interior – planned out by Apple designers – is basically a carbon copy of the original stores.
Since the Eaton Centre’s Apple store is usually packed for days, Jump Plus remains a decent option for everything from screen repair to issues covered by your original warranty. Just make sure to book your service appointment in advance as they usually don't accommodate walk-ins.
A few stores down is Modcom, an independent computer store that’s been in the area for around 14 years. They specialize in Mac repairs, especially catering to the students from U of T for common mishaps like water damage.
Of course service costs depend on the extent of wreckage but generally prices start upwards from $100. They also sell refurbished laptops as low as $110 and have a handy student discount.
A few shops down is CJ Laptop Service Centre, a 13-year old store that offers used Dell computers and Apple parts. The business started off with a Markham location called C Jay Computers before opening up its second spot on Spadina.
You can get everything from keyboards, AC adaptors and a Macbook Pro battery for $65, six month exchange warranty included.
Cross over to the north side of the street and you’ll see the hard-to-miss Canada Computers store. This tech megabrand has two locations on this street alone: they’re basically the godfathers of this IT stretch.
This location closer to Spadina caters to everything computer related while its second store a little further west concentrates more on home entertainment systems. You can find prices of their stock online and save yourself some work prior to your visit.
Staff at Canada Computers are super knowledgeable (is there such a thing as too knowledgeable?) and they offer everything from computer fixes to electronics and circuits parts for the home builder, with prices and weekly deals that definitely rival Best Buy and Amazon.
The store is incredibly sparse but don't let that fool you: prices here are pretty reasonable and they also do cell phone unlocking while selling basics like hard drives and chargers.
Further on the same side of the street iTech Mobile, which only specializes in phone repairs. They've got a huge selection of phone cases for all types of models, averaging around $19, and extra little gadgets and dangly things to make your phone more fun.
Next to Hopper Coffee and the patio of Free Times Cafe is another new addition, 6ix Tech. The technicians offer all types of services here, from cracked LCD phone screens to computer parts replacements and water damaged tablets.
They've also got a charging station in the store and a soon-to-be-working arcade machine that will have tons of games to pass the hour while technicians take a look at your device.
And across the street, Creatron Inc.'s only location outside of Scarborough provides all the parts needed to complete your arduino board. Instead of heading to Ebay, hobbyists can buy LEDs and Rasberry Pis without having to wait for long ship times.
Despite the competitive prices, many of these stores at College and Spadina have a symbiotic relationship: you'll sometimes see technicians running to their neighbours for parts they don't have.
If you can't find a fix for your tech-related problem on this stretch, you likely won't find it anywhere else.
by Tanya Mok via blogTO