ANTIQUES: TORONTO ANTIQUES ON KING
Step over Pierre Berton’s star on Canada’s Walk of Fame and enter the city’s most popular antiques market. About 30 vendors operate under one roof. Find Cynthia Findlay and Harvey Kessler’s estate jewellery, china patterns, sterling flatware and silver tea sets. 276 King St. W., 416-345-9941.
ART: DICKINSON GALLERY
No posters here, just antique prints, most from the 17th- to 19th-centuries. Vintage prints are organized by subject matter: maps, women’s interest, nudes and a fair range of Toronto- and Canada-specific pictures. The gallery also displays a few original works and provides extensive conservation-quality framing services. 1914 Avenue Rd., 416-781-4988.
2nd: AGO Shop.
3rd: Museum of Inuit Art.
ATHLETIC & SPORTING GOODS: SPORTCHEK
Got game? Here, you’ll find everything from UnderArmour technical fabrics and sport-specific garments to leisurewear by Nike, Oakley, Puma, Adidas and Converse. There’s lots of hardware, too, including an extensive array of hockey gear. Pick up a special pink-and-white version of the classic Maple Leafs jersey for an NHL-loving lass. Toronto Eaton Centre, 416-598-3785; Yorkdale Shopping Centre, 416-787-1641.
2nd: Sporting Life.
3rd: Mountain Equipment Co-op.
Mega bookstores of the last decade brought an atmosphere of entertainment to the book biz. So Chapters in the Entertainment District is particularly apt. Over three storeys, you’ll find: bestsellers and endless magazines on the ground floor; music, DVDs and the de rigueur Starbucks on floor two; and a world of printed words up on the third. 126 John St., 416-595-7349; Bayview Village, 2901 Bayview Ave., 416-222-6323; plus other locations.
3rd: World’s Biggest Bookstore.
CHILDREN’S APPAREL: GAP KIDS
Find styles just like the adult Gap line, but in miniature. For boys, grab jeans and a stylishly rumpled white, long-sleeve Oxford (collar up, please). For girls, pair khakis with a cropped pink wool sweater over a white T-shirt. Now you’re ready for the cutest family portrait ever. Toronto Eaton Centre, 416-599-8802; 2574 Yonge St., 416-440-0187; Yorkdale Shopping Centre, 416-783-2995.
3rd: The Bay.
CHINA & CRYSTAL: William Ashley China
The space is so lovely—more of a showroom than a store—that the surroundings are almost intimidating. But with prices as good as or better than department stores, the shop is a bridal registry favourite for an endless range of china patterns, flatware, crystal and kitchenware, from whimsical Alessi to classic Royal Doulton. Manulife Centre, 416-964-2900; Square One, 905-566-8500.
3rd: The Bay.
For the fickle, there’s chocolate on pretzels, cookies, macaroons and candied fruit peel. For purists, there is only the truffle. Bite through a cocoa-dusted dark-chocolate shell, let the über-rich ganache coat your taste buds, then feel the serotonin rush to your brain. Go about your life just a little happier. 131 Bloor St. W., 416-922-4438; Toronto Eaton Centre, 416-593-0300; Yorkdale Shopping Centre, 416 783-3604; plus other locations.
2nd: Laura Secord.
DEPARTMENT STORE: THE BAY
Its history is interwoven with Canada’s, back to the founding of the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1670. The largest site of this fashion-focused chain is the Queen and Yonge location, with one million square feet sprawling over eight floors. It includes the St. Regis Room, an ultra-exclusive designer-fashion boutique for women. 176 Yonge St., 416-861-9111; 44 Bloor St. E., 416-972-3333; plus other locations.
3rd: Holt Renfrew.
Mall locations don’t have to mean no-name utility eyewear. Lenscrafters stocks chi-chi frames from Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Versace and Bulgari, among others. Eyeglasses are made in-store for a quick turnaround in most cases (as little as an hour). Sunglasses and contacts are also available. Toronto Eaton Centre, 416-581-1621; Yorkdale Shopping Centre, 416-787-2078; Square One, 905-275-4419; plus other locations.
2nd: Hakim Optical.
FOOTWEAR: PAYLESS SHOESOURCE
Self-service means lower prices. It also means you can try on as many pairs as you want. With these savings, you’ll likely come home with more—just because you can. Find everything from patent pumps to winter boots, bags and accessories. 237 Yonge St., 416-362-6415; 673 Yonge St., 416-920-8377.
FURS: FOUR SEASONS FURS
A flourish of fur remains very much in fashion. Peruse ultra-light German shearlings by Christ, versatile fur knits by Paula Lishman, and traditional long coats in mink, beaver, Russian sable and more, every piece oozing luxury. 331 Adelaide St. W., 416-593-0108.
2nd: Holt Renfrew.
3rd: Alex Furs.
GOURMET FOODS: PUSATERI’S
It’s a parade of the city’s finest foods: meat from Cumbrae’s (Toronto’s primo butcher), bread from Ace, pastries from Rahier. On a beautiful day, stock up for a last-chance gourmet picnic with barbecued beef ribs, crab cakes and steak sandwiches with caramelized onions. Mmm. 57 Yorkville Ave., 416-785-9100; 1539 Avenue Rd., 416-785-9100.
2nd: Whole Foods Market.
3rd: St. Lawrence Market.
HOME DECOR: IKEA
While most pieces still come with an Allen key, the megastore has outgrown its particle-board student-bookshelf origins. Now, attractive display rooms incorporate modern leather lines, solid-wood tables, kooky Dr. Seuss-inspired kids decor, and complete dream kitchens with house-brand appliances. 1475 The Queensway, 416-646-4532; 15 Provost Dr., 416-222-4532; 200 Interchange Way, 905-695-5075.
3rd: Pottery Barn.
HOME ELECTRONICS: BEST BUY
Technology is more than novelty today. It’s status. It’s freedom. You’ll want it all here: 63 inches of wall-mounted HD plasma, games and cameras, Macs and iPods, PCs and DVDs. After all, technology is the new sexy. Toronto Eaton Centre, 416-642-8321; 167 North Queen St. (across from Sherway Gardens), 647-288-2300; 147 Laird Dr., 647-777-3196.
2nd: Future Shop.
3rd: Bay Bloor Radio.
JEWELLERY & WATCHES: BIRKS
This upscale jeweller is part of the Canadian establishment—and it shows in the gimmick-free store design and confident service. Classic engagement rings and diamonds segue into modernist designs by Roberto Coin (exclusive to Birks), plus jewellery and gifts by Gucci, Cartier and Montblanc. Toronto Eaton Centre, 416-979-9311; Manulife Centre, 416-922-2266; First Canadian Place, 416-363-5663; Yorkdale Shopping Centre, 416-782-6311; plus other locations.
2nd: Tiffany & Co.
LADIES’ APPAREL: WINNERS
The thrill of the hunt, the ecstasy of the bargain. Though you never know exactly what you’ll find here, you can count on up to 60 per cent off regular prices on clothes, shoes, accessories and housewares. The Bloor Street location carries high-end designer stock. College Park, 416-598-8800; 110 Bloor St. W., 416-920-0193.
2nd: Holt Renfrew.
3rd: The Bay.
If supple had a smell, this would be it. Much of the inventory is buttery-soft, including the gamut of coats and jackets. Other pieces take a harder edge, like a multiple-zipper pleated skirt, while cropped suede bombers in bright pastels take a flirty turn. Toronto Eaton Centre, 416-598-1159; Yorkdale Shopping Centre, 416-783-9526; Sherway Gardens, 416-620-4030; plus other locations.
2nd: The Leather Ranch.
LINGERIE: LA SENZA
Past the flannel pyjamas and cushy slippers are delicate creations in satin, silk, lace—and Spandex—to flatter and frame your curves. Victoria’s Secret beauty products are here, too. Toronto Eaton Centre, 416-977-6258; 110 Bloor St. W., 416-926-0345; Yorkdale Shopping Centre, 416-789-0328.
2nd: La Vie En Rose.
3rd: Bra Bar.
MEN’S APPAREL: HARRY ROSEN
This enabler of sartorial self-expression for men is the country’s premier retailer of designer menswear by Hugo Boss, Zegna, Dolce & Gabbana and others, from tuxedos to denim. For the truly discerning, the store provides bespoke tailoring services. 82 Bloor St. W., 416-972-0556; Toronto Eaton Centre, 416-598-8885; First Canadian Place, 416-981-9097; plus other locations.
3rd: The Bay.
PET SUPPLIES & ACCESSORIES: PETSMART
“Who’s a good boy? Oh yes, you are.” No matter whether your little snuggler has a tail, scales, feathers or fins, there’s little you won’t find here for feeding, cleaning, bedding, carrying, amusing or pampering the true duke or duchess of the manor. 835 Eglinton Ave. E., 416-696-0388; 12 William Kitchen Dr., 416-335-7922.
2nd: PJ’S Pet Centres.
3rd: Global Ryan’s Pet Foods.
SHOPPING CENTRE: TORONTO EATON CENTRE
Just about every store on this list of favourites has a location here. There are at least 300 reasons—one for every shop and service—to love the Toronto Eaton Centre. Some shops, like Apple, Sephora, H&M, Swarovski and Mango, provide 100 reasons all their own. 220 Yonge St., 416-598-8560.
2nd: Yorkdale Shopping Centre.
3rd: Sherway Gardens.
SPAS & SALONS: CIVELLO
Shrouded in the rosemary-peppermint aroma of Aveda products, get a cut or colour from some of the city’s top hair people. Staff go about their business with precision, but also take time to give a shoulder rub when the work is done. Get a mani-pedi, massage or facial, too. 269 Queen St. W., 416-977-7755; 887 Yonge St., 416-924-9244; 2620 Yonge St., 416-487-3535.
2nd: Elmwood Spa.
3rd: True Medispa.
TOBACCO & CIGARS: THOMAS HINDS TOBACCONIST
The jewel here is the second-floor walk-in humidor with more than 100 premium types of cigars, mostly Cuban, plus the Thomas Hinds proprietary line with Honduran and Nicaraguan leaf. Also find meerschaum pipes, tobacco and, to clear the fragrant smoke, Lampe Berger products. 8 Cumberland St., 416-481-6909.
2nd: La Casa del Habano.
3rd: Chez Tabac.
TOYS: TOYS “R” US
The classic retailer of kids’ fun. Timeless board games and Barbie dolls illustrate that kids today are the same as they ever were. But digital cameras, and talking pens and books show it’s the world that’s changed. 690 Evans Ave. (near Sherway Gardens), 416-621-8697; 1440 Lawrence Ave. E., 416-757-8588; 4559 Hurontario St., 905-568-8697.
2nd: Toys Toys Toys.
3rd: The Toy Shop.