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10 Great Toronto Shopping Spots

Shopping in Toronto is wide ranging in price and tastes.


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Toronto shopping is fantastic, whether you're looking for retro bargain finds or upscale couture. Beware the sales tax though, which can be a rude surprise when you're at the check out. Mentally tack on an additional 13% when you're looking at the price of clothing, housewares, souvenirs and other goods.

1. The Toronto Eaton Centre

The Toronto Eaton Centre
lytfyre/Flickr/CC BY 2.0
The Toronto Eaton Centre is a bright and airy shopping mall in the heart of Toronto's downtown that houses more than 250 stores - the third largest mall in Canada and measured by visitors, Toronto's biggest tourist attraction. The stores will appeal to the budget conscious and spendthrifts alike.

The Toronto Eaton Centre connects underground with the Toronto PATH network of shops and businesses - great for cold or rainy days.

More than just a place to shop, the four-level, glass domed Eaton Centre is of architectural interest and features a huge mobile of a flock of Canadian geese, Flight Stop, designed by artist Michael Snow.

2. Bloor-Yorkville

Yorkville is a delightful anomaly in the midst of Toronto highrises and shopping malls. Tucked into a pocket of downtown, the quaint Victorian architecture in Yorkville houses dozens of restaurants, boutiques and art galleries.

Bloor Avenue runs adjacent to Yorkville and features shopping that is upscale and includes Holt Renfrew, Prada, Hermes, Gucci and Hazelton Lanes.

3. Winners - Various Locations

Winners is much like TJ Maxx and Filene's Basement in the US. Winners sells designer labels at up to 60% off regular prices. I can give more personal accounts than my husband would care to hear about: $22 for Kenneth Cole ladies shoes or $30 for Diesel jeans, for example.

Stores are large and a lot of sorting and searching is required, but the payoff is worth it!

Toronto has 8 Winners; see Winners website for location details.

4. The Hudson's Bay Company

Canada's oldest corporation has several different store chains in Toronto and thousands across Canada. The flagship store is right across from the Toronto Eaton Centre on the corner of Bay and Queen. The Bay is a good old fashioned department store with everything from clothes to household items, and a place to have a little lunch.

The Bay is particularly famous for its Hudson's Bay Blanket, sold for more than two centuries!

5. Chinatown

Toronto has the second largest Chinatown in North America. People will find bargains on exotic trinkets, jewellery, clothing and household items. Plus, of course, where there's a bustling Chinatown, there's delicious food, and Toronto's Chinatown is no exception. There are dozens, maybe hundreds, of restaurants serving not just authentic Chinese, but also Vietnamese and other Asian fare.

Chinatown runs along Spadina from King Street to College.

6. Queen Street

Queen Street cuts east/west through Toronto and morphs from funky retro to chic shops and restaurants to antique shopping to the Beach district at the far east end.

Especially famous for attracting shoppers is Queen Street West (University to Spadina): edgy, hip and trendy all describe this area of Toronto that also boasts some of the best known clubs and cafes.

The Queen Street West area has, in fact, become so popular that the truly bohemian have moved even further west to what is now known as West Queen West (between Bathurst Ave. and Niagara St.)

7. Kensington Market

Kensington Market is one of my favorite areas of Toronto. If you're someone who wants to get away from highrises and department stores - if you don't want to shop at The Gap or drink coffee at Starbucks, Kensington Market offers a nice respite from the usual big commercial trappings. Adjacent to Chinatown, Kensington Market has a plethora of retro shops, cheap and used clothing stores, cool cafes, furniture shops, great restaurants, and a variety of ethnic and organic produce stores.

The market is also home to one of Canada's few cannabis cafés and boutiques, as well as a couple of head shops.

8. St Lawrence Market

Close to downtown and central to the historic St. Lawrence neighborhood. The St Lawrence Market includes the South Market, which has over 50 mostly food specialty vendors and a gallery on the second floor, and the North Market, which today carries on an over century old tradition of hosting a Saturday Farmers' Market. On Sundays, more than 80 antique dealers fill the St Lawrence's North Market building.

9. Honest Ed's in the Annex

Honest Ed's is a Toronto landmark. Neon and garish, the giant bargain centre that Ed Mirvish opened in 1948 sells "everything from wine to twine." The store may just be a novelty to you or you may pick up a bargain (a great place to pick up something you forgot to pack). Either way, you will find yourself in a very cool neighborhood of Toronto called the Annex, which boasts many fashionable boutiques and restaurants, including those of Little Korea or Korea Town.

10. Yonge and Eglinton (Midtown)

Known as "Yonge and Eligible" due to the young professional crowd that inhabits this area, Yonge and Eglinton is less pretentious than Bloor-Yorkville and offers cool, unique finds mixed with mainstream GAP/Starbucks appeal. A mall and indoor shopping concourse are on the corner, or walk north on Yonge and peruse a variety of interesting clothing, home decor and book stores. Buy yourself something pretty and head to one of the many area clubs and eateries to hang with the beautiful people.

Yonge and Eglinton is about a 15 min subway ride from Union Station or Eaton Centre on the Yonge line heading north.

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