Culture + Style

Where to Go in Toronto When Shopping is Your Therapy

From Yorkville to Queen Street West, head to Toronto neighborhoods for the best shopping in Toronto. (Photos: Getty Images)

With five floors of stores, shopping at the massive Toronto Eaton Centre is a major temptation. But browsing Toronto’s neighborhoods instead of the mall increases the odds you’ll bring something special back that will make heads turn.

Browse Antiques at St. Lawrence Market

Want something that’s traveled through time and space? Almost anything that’s ever existed can be found in the Sunday antique show at St. Lawrence Market. Check out the antique market’s Facebook page for what you might find. Vendors post heads-up notices about their wares, and shoppers brag about their scores. You might see anything from baseball cards to one-of-a-kind teacups.

Before tackling the diverse stalls, start with a nosh from one of the market’s food vendors. In Canada, real Canadian bacon is called peameal bacon. Carousel Bakery’s peameal-bacon-on-a-bun is one of the city’s best sandwiches. For a sweeter treat, sample an offering from Oodles of Strudels.

Toronto Fashion: Dress Like a Local

In the mood to add a chic piece to your wardrobe? Head to Bloor-Yorkville, known as Toronto’s “Mink Mile.” The polar opposite of St. Lawrence Market, Toronto’s high-end fashion retailers (think Hermès, Prada, and Dolce & Gabbana) set the pace here. You’ll also love the indie shops where you can pick up unique pieces with character to mix with your own fashion sense.

Toronto makes it easy to shop like a local. The clean lines and understated style of Kimina  are made in Toronto. Add the finishing touch with made-in-Canada scarves and jewelry from Brizzy’s. The store also has handcrafted dolls and a children’s line for chic youngsters.

If shoes are your passion, compare your footwear collection with the displays at Bata Shoe Museum. Exhibiting everything from sandals from ancient Egypt to Elton John’s boots, the museum may inspire you to head to Capsule Sneaker Boutique for an upgrade.

Find World-Class Shopping on One Street

When Vogue ranked the coolest shopping streets in the entire world, Queen Street West was second only to Japan. Graffiti art, music and independent shops create a neighborhood that does its own thing all day long.

Toronto fashion doesn’t get any fresher than the dresses at Peach Beserk, where the hand-printed fabric and the clothes are created on the premises. If you’re in the mood to splurge, order a custom-made outfit.

If you like what you see at Show Room, snap it up now. Their offerings are limited editions, so you won’t find them anywhere else in Toronto, or when you return. You might attract paparazzi; the shop caters to Canadian celebrities.

Because old can be hipper than the new, don’t miss Black Market Vintage. They carry real vintage tees and new tees that look vintage.

Don’t leave Queen Street West just because stores start to close. Linger over drinks at BarChef, which pushes chemistry to a new level with original-recipe cocktails. After an alternative beverage or more, check out the alternative music at Velvet Underground. It’s the perfect end to a one-of-a-kind day.


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