In the lead up to the opening of Jordan Brand’s Toronto shopfront at 306 Yonge tomorrow, collectors talk about their treasured editions of the Air Jordan 4, the 1 and the 6 in the T-dot.

Thanks to collectors Sean Collard, Taylor Linds, Richard Newman, John Paul Gaspar, Christian Gubatan, Ekem Connell for their time. For audio and animation, hit play on videos below.

CHRISTIAN GUBATAN – THE 1989 AIR JORDAN 4 ‘PURE MONEY’

SEAN COLLARD – THE 1989 AIR JORDAN 4 BLACK/CEMENT

“For some reason, we did not initially get this colorway where I’m from in Montreal, when they originally released in February of 1989, which was beyond frustrating. I HAD TO HAVE THEM!  But they were nowhere to be found.  One month later, in Spring Break of ’89, I was on vacation in Florida with my grandparents (I was only 15) and I figured I would be able to pick them up down there.

I begged my grandparents to take me to any sneaker store we could find within a reasonable driving distance. Obviously, best grandparents ever.  However, my frustration only grew. The east coast of Florida was already sold out and I left there devastated. My obsession grew as the months passed.

Jump forward to the summer of 1989, I walked into my local shoe store and stood there, stunned, as I looked up at the sneaker wall to see the shoes we had searched all over Florida for. They had gotten a very late shipment.

Being 15 years old, I had no money. I went home to call my grandmother tell her how ironic it was that the shoes I had dragged her and my poor grandfather all over Florida for, ended up at a store literally 5 minutes from my house.  We laughed about it (and I quietly cried about it).

A few hours later, my doorbell rang.  I opened the door to see my grandmother standing there with a bag in her hand.  I almost passed out.  She bought them for me!  Best. Grandmother. Ever!”

TAYLOR LINDS – THE AIR JORDAN 1 BLACK/RED

“The impact collecting shoes has had on my life is indescribable.  The relationships and friendships I have built over the years, not only within Toronto, but also throughout the United States, are directly caused by my passion for sneakers and the community surrounding it.

Before I was a big sneaker enthusiast I would never notice the shoes any stranger would be wearing but now it’s almost the only thing I notice.  It is hard to pick one favorite but I definitely love the Air Jordan 1 Bred. It is a classic that will never get old and you can never have too many pairs!

I own five pairs of the iconic Bred 1, and almost 30 pairs of Jordan 1’s.”

RICHARD NEWMAN – THE AIR JORDAN 6 BLACK/INFRARED

“My favorite Jordan of all time is the Jordan 6 black/infrared. It was the first championship shoe, and to me it’s such a clean silhouette. Not to mention it was the first Jordan shoe I purchased in high school.

The year was 2000 and it was my junior year in high school. One afternoon a few friends and I were hanging out with my cousin at her best friend’s house. The friend’s dad comes home unexpectedly, and by the look on his face I’m pretty sure she wasn’t supposed to have boys over. I bolt out the back door and run through the back yard. It rained that day. I end up sliding down an embankment which covered my Jordan 6 entirely in mud. I tried to clean them, with no success – I was devastated. I so wished some of these sneaker cleaners existed back then every time I think about that story.

Fortunately for me my best friend in high school blessed me with a new pair not to long after. That same Jordan 6 was the shoe I rocked on the day I moved to Toronto almost 14 years ago. I guess that’s why it is my grail. The Jordan 6 to me not only means the end, as my story portrayed, but also new beginnings. They were on feet when I embarked on the new chapter in my life all those years ago.”