A day at the M-E-C
As an avid outdoors-person, I have always heard of Mountain Equipment Co-Op. Often touted as the preppy, and snobbish, or the “M.E.C. Crowd” with a certain look, etc.
After doing a few days research, I recently decided I wanted a set of unusual hiking shoes called “Vibram Five Fingers” http://www.vibramfivefingers.com/ as part of my birthday present from me mum. Checking the Vibram Five Fingers website, the closest dealer was in Toronto.
Although I was quite ill from some kind of virus I caught, I had booked off today as it is my birthday and on the morning of May 21st I headed up to Toronto to pay my first visit to the M-E-C. We found the store quite easily from the directions on the website http://www.mec.ca
Parking in the underground lot, we headed up the lift to the store. I must admit I was impressed. This was the big-box stores of the outdoor world. 10,000sqft of incredible outdoor supplies. This store had everything. Canoes, Kayaks, Rock climbing and Rappelling gear, tents, shoes, shirts, trousers, and everything else you could possibly imagine other than scuba gear (although they did sell dry suits for kayakers).
The moment one of the knowledgeable staff saw me looking around she said “is there something I can help you with?” I kind of sheepishly said that I was seeking the Vibram Five Fingers shoes as shown in eXplore Magasine, and touted as the editors top pick of shoes for the 2008 season. Without even blinking or laughing at their unusual design, she pointed me in the direction of the shoes, and helped me find my size and the color I desired.
I spent some time afterword browsing the amazing selection of gear and clothes that the store had to offer. The quality of gear was very high. All the trousers and footwear, even the t-shirts were of great quality and excellent prices.
Then came the surprise. In order to purchase something from the store I had to become a “member of the co-op” which cost an additional five dollars for a lifetime membership. Although I think this is a bit unusual, it is a one-time fee. Unfortunately it’s per person, and not per couple or family.
I came home to dozens of notes on my Facebook and MySpace page from friends wishing me happy birthday, it was really great of everyone.