Priape Closes Its Doors Across Canada

Listing itself as “Your Favourite Gay Store in Canada”, I can truly say that I was saddened to hear the news as I opened up facebook this morning about my local “gay sex shop” Priape closing its doors across Canada. Opened in 1974, Priape was a lot of things to a lot of people. I don’t at all claim to be anywhere near its best customer or an expert on the business, but as a VERY sex positive writer for this site I thought I’d take the time to write an article to announce the sad news to those who haven’t heard and let people post if they had something to say about their time at this legendary establishment.


Priape to me was a place where I could go to see incredibly sexy gear and fashion; to buy tickets for the next bear party; and, to talk with their invariably educated and well-versed staff about the newest events and products. Really, it was a place you just had to visit while walking down our gay avenue: you could be straight and looking to see what the crazy mo’s were up to or you could be looking for the latest and biggest dildo in production. That store held no judgement and sure as fuck didn’t put up with any as it offered a taste of every kink to anyone and everyone that entered it. For me, it was the staff that made it work. I couldn’t ask a question that would make those boys blush try as I might, and let me tell you: I’m into some weird stuff. Finding out that I can’t stop in to see my favourite manager there on my walk of shame home just to catch up and swap stories is something I’m going to miss for a long time to come.

Having been around for nearly 40 years, this store knew what it was doing. It wasn’t sales pushy and no one was trying to convince you of anything. Walking in was a friendly experience that you got to make the most out of: if you wanted to take a peek at a gay comic book and turn right around that was fine by them. If you wanted to get fitted for a plush leather harness then they took you to the back of the shop and got to working like dirty elves in Santa’s shop. I couldn’t tell you a time when I wasn’t amazed at the options and ease that place serviced this community (no pun intended). As they announced this morning all their stores across Canada (including Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Toronto) were shutting down there was an audible cry across social media as gays and sex loving people everywhere lost one of our best sources for all things fun.

I’ve seen everything from 18-year old new gays, out of the burbs for the first time standing next to 80-year old dom slave owners, all experiencing something unique to them as they visited this store and I think it’s an honest tragedy they will not have this resource anymore. Priape was a staple, a memory, a safe space for so many and I’ll miss their hard work and amazing staff. This is not at all to take from the other amazing gay run establishments out there that will continue to serve our community but I felt this article needed to be expressed for me to be able to thank the men of Priape for what they made and provided us. Thank you to my friend Del Stamp who ran that place like a clock and his amazing staff in Vancouver.

Please, feel free to write if you had a good memory of this business. It’s your space below.

  • Devon

    “I’ve seen everything from 18-year old new gays, out of the burbs for the first time standing next to 80-year old dom slave owners, all experiencing something unique to them as they visited this store”

    Well said. Such a prominent establishment in the Toronto village. How many gay businesses have to close before all the gay is wiped off of Church Street 🙁

  • Each loss of a gay directed, gay employed, gay supportive space is one felt by us all.

    I’ve never been to Toronto’s but am sure it was just as important and amazing to the men and women of that community as ours was to us. Thanks Devon!

  • Sad day. It was a great store, with incredible staff and an amazing group of guys to party with. Here’s the photos I shot for what will now be Vancouver’s last Priape Fetish Ball ever.

  • Nothing but smiles on all of their faces. That event was such a blast and another reason to mourn this loss. Thanks Jackson.

  • Warren Underwood

    I Shopped at Priape store in Vancouver when I moved here from Saskatoon sk in 2011 And enjoyed the staff and all the store had to offer I will miss buying stuff there they had a very wide selection of stock and the staff were always pleasant
    Will miss Priape and hope it can re-open again very soon

  • Dan

    Crap stores, crap staff and crap service. All combined with way too high of prices. Most of what they sold you can buy online for about 1/2 the price and without the terrible customer service their staff provided. It’s not surprising they are out of business – they are a relic of a time well passed.

  • Jay Cee

    Crap stores, crap staff and crap service. All combined with way too high of prices. Most of what they sold you can buy online for about 1/2 the price and without the terrible customer service their staff provided. It’s not surprising they are out of business – they are a relic of a time well passed.

    I couldn’t agree more. The staff was beyond self involved and used it as a platform to spring board other projects and promotions for themselves. No wonder it failed, this is not shocking really at all if you pay attention. Made in China leather pants with a Priape tag on them: Cost $18 in China, Canadian retail $249. What moron would pay that? It’s was a place that a few 100 people shopped at, a porno store that was a hodge podge of ideas including overpriced clothes, fetish gear, gay porn mags , dvd’s and adult novelties.

  • Frank

    Toronto staff were pleasant, can’t say the same about the Montreal location tho. I personally almost never visit this kind of stores but can feel for those who do. Maybe this will encourage them to purchase same things online at half the price.

  • Prices are what people are willing to pay.
    If you don’t think there’s not a million more “expensive” stores in New York selling similar items you’re insane. Priape didn’t have a cornerstone on nice items.
    If you want as cheap as possible then go online. Hell, go to the factory in China and buy it out of the back of their warehouse. Buying items of such personal and intricate nature is a day out for a lot of people… it’s an experience people get excited about and look forward to. Priape offered a fun place to get a harness or cock ring or what have you. Fine, you want a cheaper purchase, find it online with a coupon- a lot of us like the social aspect of this store and will miss the loss of that. Sorry you didn’t enjoy it but a lot of us did and NO one made you go there.

  • Patrick

    Thierry Arnaud, it’s is fault, bad managment
    And this Guy have kill priape store across canada
    I’m a ex worker ! And i’m pissed off ! You don’t try To be Manage à business when you don’t know what you doing !!!

  • jen

    went in once.. prices ridiculously high.. no wonder they went bankrupt

  • Dave

    Very sad to see Priape go. I loved the Vancouver store for the friendly, knowledgeable, nonjudgemental staff most of all.

  • Ron

    The first and LAST time I ever went to Priape in Montreal was in the late 90’s. Asked for poppers. They denied selling them and I was treated with contempt as if I’d asked for something illegal. How ironic that poppers became the sole reason for their survival and downfall. Rude arrogant owner. Tried the Priape in Vancouver and it was the same snooty attitude by retail queens with inflated egos. Their prices were ludicrous. Not sad to see them go.

  • Ron, you can’t ask for poppers. They use to be sold at a variety of stores under other names. Asking for poppers is an announcement you’re trying to catch a store doing something illegal/they shouldn’t be… hence what I would assume the denial and “contempt” were based on.

  • Michelle

    What the hell is a popper?

  • Justin

    Sorry Adam, but anyone who pays over $20 for a piece of underwear is an idiot.

    Priape assumed that every gay man is a rich white property owner with money to spare. As a student, I can tell you that that ain’t true.

  • Justin- to each his own and I certainly don’t speak for a nation of homos but yikes… yeah, I don’t think I know friends who buy what they would qualify as “cute/hot underwear” for under 20 bucks. I’m strictly commando so I’m not the authority but I know what friends pay for undies and it’s typically not the $5/pack of hanes if they’re looking to get laid haha. I’m kidding, everyone makes their own choices but as a ten year student it’s all how you save and decide to spend your money. Some save for beer, some for a new computer and some for hot undies.

  • DouggSeven

    An overpriced specialty sex shop has closed it`s doors.

    Let`s all take a second and not care…

  • Jason

    I’ve heard a Christian book store is already interested in the space! It’s jus another moment in history people, get over it. People felt the same way when the Odyssey closed and Doll and Pennies and Denman Station and blah blah blah
    Soon it will be if you can remember the days of Pripae you must be old. Welcome to the club, your generation is feeling it for the very first time here in Vancouver that’s all. The Odyssey isnt a good example either as it opened in 1981 and a lot of us went through it and grew up with it. The Shaggy Horse & The Dufferin same thing. Priape was a young Business and only around Vancouver for the last eight years, it is a shame to see them go especially at such a young age.

  • Felipe

    Aw, I think everyone’s being a little rough on this one. It wasn’t an article telling everyone to shop there… well, for obvious reasons. I think such harsh comments on an article written to deal with a moment of sadness because one of his favorite stores closed is a little cruel. If you didn’t like the shop, so be it. No reason to be nasty about him missing it.

    Then again, I guess the freedom to say what you want without fear of repercussion or recognition is what makes the internet equally awesome and terrible.

    Sorry the shop closed Adam, clearly it meant a lot to you and a lot of people in the gay community across Canada.

    And I will step down from my incredibly patronizing soap box to say that I think we’re all missing one of the best lines of this article. “and let me tell you: I’m into some weird stuff.”

    This made me literally laugh out loud, because whenever people imply weird sexual interests my mind immediately goes to the complete bizarre. Such as enjoying wearing a clown wig and a diaper while being masturbated by a gorilla on a unicycle. If I’ve accidentally stumbled upon the author’s kink with my joke, my sincerest apologies for outing you.

  • Adam

    Felipe,

    Thanks very much for your comment. It really hit home and true for me how you see this. My article isn’t a “hard hitting news update” rather a sort of personal eulogy for a place that offered something unique that I had great memories of. It’s not just about me either but a LOT of men and women who haven’t commented here, who don’t read this site or hell: who don’t even have the internet so for them and myself who cared about Priape I wanted to write a thank you to their staff and supporters.

    Thanks for realizing the simple fact that if you didn’t shop here or want this store then pass by an article to honour it. If my dog passed away and I wrote a message for/to him I would hope people wouldn’t go out of their way to say they hate his breed as a response to my goodbye to him. I have a connection and want to express it and I struggle to understand the motivation to trample on a company going through what this store is right now.

    As far as my gorilla sex, you’ve not outed me yet don’t worry. But, I love that you got a laugh out of the piece I appreciate it truly!

  • Kristopher

    as a former employer who worked at the Toronto location for over 2 years, I can safely say that a lot of your comments are completely ridiculous and baseless, and in most cases completely false.
    Stupid bitchy queens who thinks the world revolves around them is the reason I left that employment (that and getting a real career), thanks for reminding me how much I loathe fags

  • Kristopher

    *employee not employer haha

  • Gregg

    Yep, Kristopher was the stereotypical disgusting Priape employee..hates fags buts loves our cash. The reason I refused to shop there was mainly the repulsive employees and also, the stupid high prices.

  • Kristopher

    I love gay men, but I hate fags. Maybe the reason you got a repulsive employee was because you are a repulsive human being. When i worked there we were the nicest easy going bunch, except maybe one that shouldn’t be mentioned, Having to deal with stupid self centred queeny bitches such as yourself every day is not a walk in the park

  • Justin

    Kristopher, we are all self-centred to one degree or the other. When you work in customer service, you are supposed to be professional, meaning even if the customer is rotten, you have to provide them with decent service (of course, this doesn’t mean you have to put up with abuse). The fact that as a former employee, you are quick to use a slur to describe your former customers demonstrates that Priape wasn’t really a store serving our community, but a store out to make a quick buck. The fact that the store has closed demonstrates that more than one person clued into that fact.

  • Eddy

    Priape will not be missed. The leather was quite expensive, considering the poor quality. The bankruptcy was caused by poor management skills from the manager Thierry Arnaud. He is the web manager for bear411 and gay411 web sites, and servicing web sites doesn’t guaranty you have the competence to run a clothing store.