Downtown Toronto is a shopper’s paradise with fancy upscale shops and boutiques. Toronto has it all, for every budget, from the discount stores along Spadina to the fine boutiques of Yorkville and Bloor Street.
Toronto Eaton Centre (reviews): One of the largest malls in Canada, the Eaton Centre has become known as a bit of a tourist attraction in itself! Open with lengthier hours then most malls (even on some holidays!), the Eaton Centre’s 280 shops and restaurants include all of the normal favourites along with various top Canadian homegrown-retailers. For some hot Canadian fashions check out Roots (they did the Olympicwear for both Canada and the U.S.), Jean Machine (chain with best selection of mostly branded jeans, prices are really decent) and The Bay (major department store, did 2006’s Canada Olympic wear). It is directly attached to the Queen subway station and the Dundas subway station, and is a stop on the 505 Dundas, 501 Queen, and 502 Downtowner streetcar routes.
Toronto also has the world’s largest underground shopping complex called the PATH with 27 km of shopping and about 1,200 shops under downtown office towers, with lots of exit points, if a pedestrian decides to see the light of day.
Queens Quay Terminal : Located at Harbourfront Centre, this smaller mall has a number of shops selling souvenirs and unique gifts. By public transit, take any streetcar from Union Station to the first above-ground stop.
Yorkdale Mall : Always busy & crowded, this major mall with a large multiplex theatre is found in the northwest part of the city. Directly connected to the Yorkdale TTC subway station, it also has connections to TTC, GO, and intercity buses. There’s tonnes of parking but it can still be hard to find a spot on the weekends. Have a geek in the family? Check out EfstonScience, across the street from the Yorkdale Mall; they have a huge array of science-oriented gifts and thingies for all ages.
Further in the suburbs, you’ll find large malls such as Sherway Gardens in the southwest corner of the city, Bayview Village in North York, and Square One in Mississauga.
Yonge Street runs right through the heart of the city and offers many lively attractions, including the Eaton Centre (described above, between Queen and Dundas Streets) and the new Dundas Square, a unique urban entertainment and event hub.
Queen Street West: Home of MuchMusic, the genesis of Club Monaco (now owned by Ralph Lauren empire), lots of smaller, independent and edgier clothing, brand name designer stores and 2nd hand shops. This is quite the mix if you’re unsure as to your shopping mood of the day. This is the favourite (don’t correct the spelling here, this is the Candian spelling of “favourite” eh?) shopping area for many locals. The nearest subway station is Osgoode and the 501 Queen streetcar runs through the area.
Kensington Market Area ( reviews): Home of big bargains and small mom and pop shops. Great vintage and discount clothing shopping, health food stores and fresh produce, meat, and cheese abound.
St. Lawrence Market ( reviews): The St. Lawrence Market is a great place to go on a rainy day, except for Sundays and Mondays when it is closed. It has a nice selection of fruit and vegetable stands, delis, bakeries, fish and meat markets to name a few. Best of all is their famous early morning farmer’s market every Saturday.
Spadina and Dundas Area: Not just Old Chinatown, but home to a lot of sewing and fabric stores and small independent Chinese or Asian goods stores and malls. Be aware that most of the cheap DVDs sold in this area are bootlegs.
Bloor Yorkville: Known for its upscale shops and bridal boutiques and related specialty and custom bridal accessory shops. Also home of the Toronto International Film Fest annually and theHazelton Lanes shopping mall. Also headquarters for the Holt Renfrew flagship store with five floors and pricetags that might as well be skyhigh. Boutiques selling brands such as Hermes, Hugo Boss, and Dolce and Cabanna share Bloor Street with chain stores such as Pottery Barn,Restoration Hardware, and Winners.
Danforth Area: Home of Little Greektown and associated summer festival, not to be missed when visiting in the summer. There are also lots of bridal shops, kitchen shops, home decor shops, gift shops and other gastronomic delights to be found.
Bloor & Bathurst: Also known as Mirvish Village – home of world famous Honest Ed’s , largest family run discount department store and lots of other smaller independent shops. Also worth checking out are the restaurants and vintage shops on Markham St. (just west of Bathurst on Bloor) and the very unique Spence Gallery, which specializes in contemporary art of Caribbean, Latin and African cultures.
Yonge & Eglinton: Further uptown, various stores and restaurants line the north and south sides of Eglinton and the east and west sides of Yonge Street near this major intersection. The intersection has two large cinemas that play the latest Hollywood movies, and is home to several chain stores. There is also a mini-mall attached to the subway station here.
Mount Pleasant: A little east of Yonge & Eglinton, lots of small independent and quaint shops for home decorating, knickknacks, gift giving etc. Also home to an older independent movie theatre with lots of character. Mt. Pleasant Avenue is quickly becomming kid central. It has several kids clothing stores including Simon Says… which carries some of the most unique and cool lines in Toronto. They cater to kids 0-10 years old. You will also find a fabulous kid’s bookstore called Mabel’s Fables as well as Mastermind Toys.
Charisma Furs, located in the heart of downtown Toronto (Queen & Spadina) provides an amazing experience for tourists. In business for 35+ years, this friendly and quaint retail shop is also the home of their onsite manufacturing company. Not only do you walk in to see amazing, modern & sleek Canadian Fur products, but the owner is ultra cool and friendly, and if you ask about their factory, they will open the magical door to their artisan factory where they will show you how their machines work and a storage space filled with Canadian fur pelts. That being said, their prices seem to be not only the best in the city, but all across North America. Word on the street is that they are opening a location in Montreal & Vancouver very soon branching off and branding their Canadian label.
196 Spadina Avenue (between Dundas & Queen) Perfectly situation between Queen Street West & China Town.
Two major outlet malls in the area, both north of the city and easiest to reach by car, are Vaughan Mills and Tanger Outlets in Cookstown.
West of the city, just off the 401, are the Toronto Premium Outlets.
For cheese lovers, another favourite stop in Toronto is the Cheese Boutique. The shop specializes and cheese from all points of the globe. Literally hundreds of cheeses, and do not be afraid to ask for a sample. Equally impressive is the Euro bakery on site with artisan breads, pizzas, desserts and other prepared foods. The boutique proudly features Niagara wines and frequently has tastings. The shelves are lined with coffes, teas, and gourmet sauces and specialites. The atmosphere is fun, friendly and bustling. Bring your appetite and prepare for an hour’s worth of gastronomic delight. Check out the link for directions and information.
Shoe shopping is plentiful, and beauty-related shopping options include Civello, Vidal Sasson, and Sephora.
Antique shopping can be found in many neighbourhoods around the city. Notable antique stores include the Toronto Antiques Centre and Queen West Antique Centre.
For sportswear, there’s a wide variety of sports stores to choose from, including Lululemon andNew Balance.
Toronto is also home to a wide variety of independent bookstores. For film and sports memorabilia, check out the Hollywood Canteen.
There’s always something new and exciting in the Toronto area, whether you’re coming to shop, or just look at the sights.
Another shopping area in the city which has a nice mix of shops is Bloor West Village. There are some great women’s clothing stores that have beautiful, trendy fashions at very competitive prices.It is a lovely area to spend an afternoon strolling along the street going into these beautiful shops and having lunch.