FLAVOUR Trés chic shopping. Chic dining. Chic drinking.
GETTING THERE The Bloor-Yonge and Bay subway stops. A cab from Union Station runs $8 to $10.
THE CLOCK Shops open at 10 a.m. Serious shopping and spa-ing all afternoon. Much dashing about with recognizable shopping bags. No dog walkers. Very few children. Many fabulously buff young men and women and tanned blonde women of a certain age. Drinks at 6 p.m., dinner at 8 p.m., patio cocktails, four-star hotel bar hopping and celeb spotting into the wee hours.
WHAT TO DO You think because there’s such fabulous shopping here that it’s a cultural desert? Pshaw! In the area find The University of Toronto, the Royal Ontario Museum, The Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Arts and The Bata Shoe Museum—Star Struck! is the exhibit on now, showcasing the shoes of Marilyn Monroe, Lucille Ball and James Dean. In its hippie days, Yorkville was hangout central for artists and has a legacy of galleries. Stroll about on your own, or call Art In-Site for gallery tour info.
WHAT TO BUY What say we put it this way—what not to buy? About the only thing you can’t find within the borders of Bloor-Yorkville is livestock feed and farming equipment. That aside, you can buy at the biggest name international boutiques, visit exquisite antique shops, or stroll a couple of kilometres of underground malls. Check out Holt Renfrew Centre, Manulife Centre, Cumberland Terrace and Hazelton Lanes, a world unto itself and qualifies as one of the prettiest shopping centres we’ve seen. Stores not to miss? Harry Rosen, Holt Renfrew and Andrew’s, the top three stores for fashion in Toronto. Ashley China for its incredible selection, Lovecraft, which has been in the area for 30 years, and Retro Fun for memorabilia.
WHERE TO EAT The choices are many—steaks at Morton’s, Italian at Bellini’s, Canadian at Boba, seafood at La Pêcherie. Brekkie is best at Over Easy egg emporium. The chicest serve-yourself food is downstairs at Holt Renfrew, or to be served while sitting, try Holt’s Café on the second floor.
WHERE TO DRINK In the summer, outdoors. The area boasts two of the best view-from-the-top bars: Panorama with a 51st-storey patio, and The Roof (4 Avenue Rd., 416-925-1234), with a tamer 18-storey view of the lake. Up a floor and lots of fun find Hemingway’s, while Sassafraz is see-and-be-seen street level. The hotel bars include Avenue at The Four Seasons, The Roof at The Park Hyatt and Club 22 at The Windsor Arms (18 St. Thomas St., 416-971-9666).
It’s Toronto’s Rodeo Drive. The Mile of Mink. If you stand on the north side of the street, and cast your eyes to the south, you will see Chanel Boutique, Hermès, Max Mara, Prada, Montblanc Boutique, Tiffany & Co., Cole Haan, Lacoste, Godiva, Birks, Bulgari and Aveda. Stand on the south side and look north at Harry Rosen, Holt Renfrew, Christofle, Plaza Escada, Cartier, Bang & Olufsen, Roots, Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, and Swarovski. And that’s just Bloor Street West.