ODE TO SHOPPING A tribute to the gods of shopping, the Toronto Eaton Centre is a multi-level galleria with more than 250 shops, restaurants and services including Godiva and Swarvoski. The retail centre is one of Toronto’s most-visited tourist attractions. Canada’s oldest retailer, The Bay is across the street.
BLISS SQUARED Mississauga’s Square One Shopping Centre is a mall of superlatives. Ontario’s largest shopping mall is split into three distinct “neighbourhoods” and houses more than 360 stores, services and restaurants including the world’s largest Wal-Mart and Ontario’s largest Old Navy.
TREND SETTER From rich furs to trendy Ts, Queen Street West and West Queen West boast Toronto’s hippest independent stores and labels. The trendy streets are paved with fashion gold, from one-of-a-kind garments and bridal gowns to funky shoes and edgy accessories.
TREASURE TROVE Kensington Market encompasses old Victorian houses, charming cafés and colourful merchants selling everything from exotic spices to fresh vegetables and dried fruits. A bazaar-like environment, this bustling marketplace is home to ethnic cuisine, vintage accessories and bohemian fashions.
HOME FRONT Tucked amongst the historic buildings of Old Town are some of Toronto’s best-known designer stores for furniture and interior decor. Stores are contained in heritage warehouses like Klaus, which carries contemporary European fittings, and Savannah on King Street East, which turns to West Africa for paintings, fabrics and sculptures. Old Town is also anchored by the St. Lawrence Market, voted one of the world’s 25 best food markets by Food & Wine Magazine.
DESIGNER DREAMS The upscale Bloor-Yorkville shopping district is lined with spas, art galleries and world-class fashion labels such as Hermès, Cartier and Louis Vuitton. Canadian crooner Michael Bublé and Hollywood nobility such as Courtney Cox have all been spotted in Yorkville’s prestigious Hazelton Lanes—one of North America’s biggest luxury shopping centres known for pedigree brands like Versace and Dolce & Gabbana. Holt Renfrew Centre and the Manulife Centre are also in the area, carrying apparel, footwear and fine china.
PERFECT PRESERVATIONS A ribbon of elegant antiques, collectibles and Persian rugs unravels along Mount Pleasant Road. The quaint neighbourhood includes must-sees such as The Little Doll House Company, Canada’s largest doll manufacturer, and George’s Trains, one of Canada’s largest stores for model train collectors.
SHOPPING TOKENS The art deco Queens Quay Terminal is an award-wining speciality retail centre with breathtaking lakeside views. Natural light floods the shopping complex while soothing waterways and open courtyards provide pit-stops for shop-weary feet. Stores like Tilley Endurables, Canadian Naturalist and Arctic Nunavut offer Canadian souvenirs from maple syrup to caribou-antler ornaments.
NATURE’S BOUNTY The Danforth’s eco-friendly Carrot Common is a refuge from unrelenting modernity. Seventeen stores frame a central courtyard that doubles as a popular neighbourhood meeting place in the later hours. The mall is dedicated to natural well-being and offers organic produce and health services like reiki therapy.
BURIED TREASURE Bustling beneath 27 km of the downtown core is an underground utopia of 1,200 shops, cafes and restaurants. Toronto’s PATH is the world’s largest subterranean shopping complex and connects 50 office buildings and towers (such as Brookfield Place and the TD Waterhouse Tower), 14 major attractions (including the Hockey Hall of Fame, Roy Thompson Hall and the Air Canada Centre), as well as five subway stations, two bus terminals and a train stop.
For the hottest picks for this spring, see 15 Top Shops.—Gaya Arasaratnam