BLOOR STREET WEST/YORKVILLE
Yonge Street to Avenue Road/ Bloor Street West to Yorkville Avenue
Opulent Bloor Street West is right up there in prestige with New York’s Fifth Avenue and L.A.’s Rodeo Drive. The jewels alone are dazzling. Canadian retailer Birks’ bi-level flagship store is filled with gems, watches, crystal and sterling baby gifts. Tiffany & Co. has two levels carrying designs from Elsa Peretti and Jean Schlumberger. Cartier is renowned for luxe watches and jewellery. Royal de Versailles offers a selection of diamonds and gemstones that would make Elizabeth Taylor proud. La Différence (131 Bloor St. W., 416-960-8833) specializes in Rolex, Omega and other extravagant timepieces.
Not called the Mile of Mink for nothing, Bloor West’s high-end habitués include Chanel, an airy boutique filled with its signature suits, cosmetics and jewellery; Hermès, which retails its classic clothing and accessories; 150-year-old Louis Vuitton, with its fabulous leather goods; high-end Italian retaile Gucci (130 Bloor St. W., 416-963-5127); Lacoste celebrates the esteemed casualwear brand’s 71st anniversary with a fresh in-store look and concept; Prada, au courant with ladies and gents alike; and Plaza Escada, which features both its signature casual and couture lines.
Chichi Canadian fashion store Holt Renfrew looms over the street; its various levels stock designer (including Georgio Armani and Canadians Wayne Clark and Lida Baday) and house-brand men’s and women’s fashions and accessories. For less expensive, but no less stylish goods, duck next door to Zara (50 Bloor St. W., 416-916-2401)—this Toronto outpost of the Spanish chain boasts cutting-edge styles at a reasonable price. U.K. label French Connection carries urban casual and career separates. Italian clothing powerhouse MaxMara carries six different lines to suit every occasion. For a great selection of casual wear, visit Tommy Bahama.
French import Pavillon Christofle features fine tableware, flatware, crystal and table dressings. Le Caprice de Marie-Claude (150 Bloor St. W., 416-921-5119) specializes in luxurious high-end bath lines and bed linens. Ashley China (page 46), at street level in the Manulife Centre, has a extensive selection of china, crystal, flatware, silverware and giftware—and the prices are excellent.
Off Bloor on St. Thomas Street, across from the posh Windsor Arms Hotel, find supple leather pants and bags—think classic rather than sporty—at m0851(23 St. Thomas St., 416-920-4001), or playful high-end womenswear at San Remo (23 St. Thomas St., 416-920-3195). The swishy Prince Arthur condominiums on Avenue Road are a fitting location for the evening and bridal creations of Vera Wang (38 Avenue Rd., 416-927-9094) and the signature cashmere sweaters and separates of Marlowe (38 Avenue Rd., 416-416-928-3110).
For women’s fashion, a must-see is Over the Rainbow, the source for men’s and ladies’ denims and funky accessories. For the perfect bag, Jeanne Lottie has a huge selection of both fashionable satchels and petite clutches, plus accessories too.
An eclectic assortment of high-end baubles, from jewellery to handbags to lingerie, can be found at Augustina (138 Cumberland St., 416-922-4248). Muti has one of the largest selections of Italian hand-painted ceramics, plus home decor items, as well.
Corbò (131 Bloor St. W., 416-928-0954) sells upscale of-the-moment designers to the city’s most serious and monied style mavens. Find Yves St. Laurent, Prada, Helmut Lang and shoes by Jimmy Choo. Boss Woman is the only free-standing women’s collection Hugo Boss boutique in North America.
Hazelton Lanes is a refined shopping experience. Inside find TNT Woman (416-975-1810), Hugo Nicholson, Petra Karthaus (416-922-5922), Teatro Verde (416-966-2227) and Woman Apothecary. Andrew’s is perhaps best known for its eveningwear from designers such as Lida Baday, Nicole Miller and Jovani, but being a department store it also offers perfumes, cosmetics, lingerie and daywear collections by such designers as David Dixon. For those expecting big things in the near future, Yorkville offers two exceptional boutiques. Formes carries the fashion-forward maternity collections of Parisian Daniel Boudon and Rhonda Maternity offers everything from jeans to pyjamas to suits to eveningwear.
Those carried away by dreams of the south of France will appreciate En Provence (20 Hazelton Ave., 416-975-9400), which stocks brightly patterned plates and linens, and Boutique Sérénité (87 Yorkville Ave., 416-924-6398), which carries furniture, decorative home accessories and bath product lines.
QUEEN STREET WEST
From University Avenue to Bathurst Street Queen Street used to be a byword for cutting-edge in Toronto. Now it’s one of the trendiest shopping areas in the city catering to a wide demographic with streetwear, designer fashions, shoe and home decor shops.
Find stylish offerings from the likes of Aritzia (280 Queen St. W., 416-977-9919), a hip Vancouver-based chain that carries clothing for women by West Coast designers like Talulah Babaton and TNA, plus Juicy Couture and Seven Jeans. Over at Price Roman (267 Queen St. W., 416-979-7363), the husband-and-wife design team creates a look that is sleek and tailored, from shapely suits to sultry evening dresses. Psyche (708 Queen St. W., 416-599-4882) caters to a downtown fashion-savvy customer with accessories, dresses and separates by hip designers like Sandra Sharagano, Sinéquanone, Ogo and Divina. Makeup mavens take note: a large M.A.C Cosmetics is here, as is Toronto’s first stand-alone Kiehl’s Since 1851, ensuring local gals have access to the celebrity-endorsed skin and hair care products.
For men, there’s Boomer (309 Queen St. W., 416-598-0013), a small shop packed with professional and sporty wear by J. Lindberg, Hugo Boss, Cinque, Signum, plus ties and other manly accessories. Brown’s A Short Man’s World offers smart clothes from Hugo Boss, Tommy Bahama and Bugatti for the man five foot eight and under. Uptown guys can shop at Brown’s Avenue Road digs.
Given the area’s reputation for style, perhaps it’s not surprising that Caban (262 Queen St. W., 416-596-0386)—Club Monaco’s dreamy two-floor houseware store—calls Queen Street West home. If books are your decor item of choice, don’t miss the giant Chapters. Whether decking out your coffee table or buying a quick novel for the road, this shop stocks it all.
While the area just south of Queen Street from Spadina Avenue to Bathurst Street is known as the Fashion District there are few actual boutiques. The fashion designation refers to the high volume of textile factories, clothing manufacturers and designer studios located in the area. However, there are some shops worthy of your attention, including Marilyn’s for deeply discounted women’s fashions and Lorne’s, which carries clothing by Hilary Radley and Jones New York. Freda’s (86 Bathurst St., 416-703-0304) has been tailoring stylish corporate apparel, not to mention evening and casual wear, since 1972. Famed local designer Sunny Choi is the source for exquisite cocktail suits and formal gowns, but Choi also designs classic suitings and pieces for work and play. Edgy, au courant label Mercy is available at the studio (96 Spadina Ave., Ste. 504, 416-703-6635) of designers Jennifer Halchuk and Richard Lyle. Hoax Couture (163 Spadina Ave., 3rd floor, 416-597-8924) is stocked with drop-dead gorgeous dresses for women and some very sophisticated suits for men. Popular Canadian designer Ross Mayer (74 Bathurst St., 416-703-4361) stocks form-fitting suits, wide-leg pants and sweaters all with a stylish edge and subtle sex appeal. For leather everything—clothes to furniture—head to Acton Leather Company on King Street West.
WEST QUEEN WEST
from Bathurst Street to Shaw Street
This parcel of Queen Street possesses a definite of-the-moment cachet. Stores cater to young professionals, especially creative types who live in the area.
Lowon Pope (779 Queen St. W., 416-504-8150) showcases bridal and glamorous bias-cut made-to-measure gowns just like Jean Harlow used to wear. Similarly, Canadian designer Meghan Kinney’s Meg offers New York style (she has a boutique in The East Village, N.Y.C.) to urban girls who need to get the max out of their wardrobes. Peach Beserk‘s outrageous and colourful silkscreen prints are unmistakable. Locally designed Comrags features the original creations of Judy Cornish and Joyce Gunhouse who produce dresses, suits and separates with unexpected twists and detailing for stylish working women for more than 20 years. Canadian designer Annie Thompson‘s (674 Queen St. W., 416-703-3843) shop showcases eye-catching designs for women, and most recently men, in unique fabrics and shapes. Lilith features a funky house line, plus pieces from Damzels in this Dress, 100° F and Yummy Mummy maternity wear. Any Direct Flight is a wonderland of colourful women’s clothes, including Montreal designers Falbala and Eve Gravel.
Delphic offers chic styles by Hope & Glory, Ben Sherman, J. Lindberg, great retro sneaks and a small selection of in-house designs for cool thirtysomething guys who like to shop sans attitude. Response showcases owner and designer Glynis Dupuis’s house label of modern separates. Brian Bailey (878 Queen St. W., 416-516-7188), one of Canada’s best-loved designers, offers women both beautiful suitings and separates and to-die-for eveningwear, all in figure-flattering styles and cuts. Parallel (745 Queen St. W., 416-703-1777) offers contemporary fashions for young men and women from the likes of LRG and Triple 555 Soul. Local designer Anne Hung (829 Queen St. W., 416-364-7251) has had her work featured in Paris Vogue and Glamour and her eponymous boutique, which opened last fall, displays sexy fashion-forward designs for women. And for the sporty urban girl, Lululemon answers the demand for funky athletic-that-passes-for-casual wear.
Queen is a terrific spot to shop for housewares at reasonable prices. Jalan is chock-full of Southeast Asian furniture. Pavilion features Canadian-made housewares including leather club chairs, dressers, plus sheets, pillows and throws in sensuous fabrics. Stop for a spot of tea and a sweet at Red Tea Box (696 Queen St. W., 416-203-8882) and you’ll also find an Asian and Oriental housewares store offering exceptional deals. The Japanese Paper Place stocks incredible hand-crafted papers, boxes, albums and cards.
From Bathurst to Shaw streets
The city’s social mecca, Little Italy is a lively strip positively teeming with bars, restaurants and über-hip lounges. Recently, a handful of boutique clothiers and specialty shops have cropped up. Add zip to your decor with Zing Design‘s (293 Palmerston Ave., 416-251-6162) funky modern and retro furnishings and accessories. Motoretta (554 College St., 416-925-1818) sells reconditioned vintage Vespa scooters and related paraphernalia.
Sim & Jones (388 College St., 416-920-2573), designed by owners Pui Sim and Alarice Jones, provides ladies’ jersey tops, trousers and wrap dresses with fashion-forward twists in sizes 6 to 16. A must-see is their new line of home fashions including duvets, throws, pillows and window dressings. At Ewanika (490 College St., 416-927-9699), stylish career gals who want to stand out pick up softly tailored pieces with a today twist by designer Trish Ewanika. Also find jewellery by Basia Polowska and belts by Suzi Roher. Wander just past Shaw Street and discover the beautiful wares at Tessi (786 College St., 416-504-4116), whose house label dresses and suits (courtesy of designer Alice Fernandes) in a selection of colourful prints and patterns are a must-see for style-conscious professional women. Sassy lasses love the goods of designer Rebecca Nixon at Girl Friday. She offers up a sweet selection of pretty separates—clean A-line dresses and skirts, knits and tops—as well as a small but unique collection of purses, belts and shoes.
From BROADVIEW AVENUE to Pape Avenue Greektown is renowned for its diverse collection of lively eateries, but this vivacious culinary strip is also a sophisticated commercial area. Chic and classic home decor shops have become a Danforth preoccupation. Find simple and stylish pieces for your home at Lily Lee (261 Danforth Ave., 416-461-1017). The crisp and clean exterior of Harvest Spa (239 Danforth Ave., 416-466-0205) is apt preparation for the luxurious home spa and kitchen goods inside. Find decadent bath oils, aromatic body treatments, plush towels, loofahs and sponges. Lines offered include the Nigella Lawson Kitchen collection and soaps, perfumes and balms from Accakappa.
Outfit home and garden at Romancing the Home (511 Danforth Ave., 416-461-4663); and get classic furnishings from ARC award-winner Jane Hall the Voice of Colour (707 Pape Ave., 416-462-2949), whose interior design studio is arranged in dynamic colour vignettes. Elan (199 Danforth Ave., 416-406-3629) offers an eclectic mix of vintage, retro and contemporary home accessories—as well as chic, streamlined sofas, ottomans and chairs.
The strip’s interior design bent is balanced by several fine women’s clothing shops. Indulge in designer goods—Betsey Johnson, DKNY, Laundry, Hugo Boss, David Dixon, Teenflo, Joie—at Maxi Boutique. Erietta (320 Danforth Ave., 416-778-8363) carries Toronto labels Comrags and Mimi Bizjak, as well as international labels such as Mexx and Dex. Avec Plaisir is a silk and satin haven of fine European lingerie; custom fitting is available and highly recommended for finding that perfect fit. The new Wash Up & Brush Co. is a bright spa/boutique hybrid. After your wash and style pick up an armful of some of the store’s shampoos, cleansers and manicure/pedicure kits. Nearby Butterfield 8 (235 Danforth Ave., 416-406-5664) boasts a diverse collection of funky accessories including handbags from Jeanne Lottie and Paul Frank. For classic designer menswear head to Korry’s Clothiers (569 Danforth Ave., 416-463-1115), offering suits and accessories by Hugo Boss, Canali, Arnold Brant and Strellson, or have a suit custom made.
YONGE AND EGLINTON
From Eglinton Avenue to Sherwood AVENUE Legions of single professionals call this tony neighbourhood home, earning it the nickname Young and Eligible. Evenings here are bustling, with an impressive number of eateries to assuage the appeitite and for mixing and mingling. During the day, find scores of stores to pass the time, from brand name chains to smaller shops selling original clothing, home accessories, china and everything in between. For women’s clothing, Mexx, Esprit and Seperates by Fendi are sold in Merry Go Round’s (2509 Yonge St., 416-485-8086) airy space. The Answer gives women of substance designer fashions–Jones New York and Linda Lundstrom–in sizes 14 to 24. Contemporary and unstructured designs are the style at Kaliyana, or for established international designers, try Mendocino Clothing Co. (2647 Yonge St., 416-488-1443). London, Ontario–based designer David Findlay’s (2585 Yonge St., 416-544-0815) boutique sells his sharp suitings. For makeup and skin essentials from hard-to-find lines like Bumble and bumble and Bliss Labs, visit Delineation (2409 Yonge St., 416-484-6922). Go west to Scarlet Boutique (363 Eglinton Ave. W., 416-480-0330) for a selection of top designer names from style guru Lyane van Schaik-Munk. Puma Toronto-The Concept Store (2532 Yonge St., 416-486-7862) is Canada’s first and only concept store, which receives the newest lines and items from Puma International before any other store selling the Puma line in Canada. More casual wear is at New Balance and Higher Ground (2488 Yonge St., 416-486-2488), which carries rugged attire—shirts, shorts and jackets—from brands such as The North Face, Timberland and Tommy Bahama. Essence du Papier (2476 Yonge St., 416-932-0109) carries an extensive selection of greeting cards, gift wrap and stationary, including lines imported from France and England. For the elements of your home, try the newly opened L’essence de Maison (2515 Yonge St., 416-544-8865), with delicate home decor items such as dishes and glassware handmade in Japan.CANADIAN CHIC
Canadian talent takes the spotlight during Toronto Fashion Week from September 20 to 25, in a six-day celebration of savvy style and creativity. Among the more than 100 emerging and established Canadian designers featured this year are Dirty Laundry, Denis Gagnon and Rosa Costanzo. From the glamour of the catwalk collections to hobnobbing at the more than 60 industry events and parties, this is one week fashionistas won’t be missing. For more information visit www.torontofashionweek.ca.
If you can’t fit Toronto Fashion Week into you schedule but still want to see great Canadian creations, see the stylings of these Toronto designers.
Anne Hung, 829 Queen St. W., 416-364-7251
Annie Thompson, 674 Queen St. W., 416-703-3843
Brian Bailey, 878 Queen St. W., 416-516-7188
Comrags (by Joyce Gunhouse and Judy Cornish)
Damzels in this Dress (by Kelly Freeman and Rory Lindo), Finishing Touches, 3281 Yonge St., 416-482-9034
David Dixon, The Bay
Franco Mirabelli, Mirabelli
Hoax Couture (by Jim Searle and Chris Tyrell), 163 Spadina Ave., 416-597-8924
Misura by Joeffer Caoc, Holt Renfrew
Wayne Clark, Holt Renfrew
Where to shop to spoil the little ones in your life? From clothes and books to shoes and toys, we’ve got it covered.
Little Dollhouse Company
La Coccinelle Boutique Pour Enfants
Higher Ground for Kids
BOYS AND THEIR TOYS
Believe it or not, shopping means more to men than sitting in the chair outside the dressing room and helping to carry the bags. Toronto boasts a plethora of fun shops offering everything from the latest electronics to the best in men’s high fashion.
For sports gear, check out Sporting Life, Nevada Bob’s Golf, Golf Town, River City Sports, New Balance Toronto and Wilson’s, a unique shop specializing in flyfishing. If motoring is your sport of choice, don’t miss the MINI dealership (500 King St. W., 416-703-6313) and the new BMW dealership, where the exterior design is almost as impressive as the cars inside.
Time to update the entertainment unit? Few can resist the sparkling gadgetry or plasma screens at the Sony Store (Toronto Eaton Centre, 416-971-7589; pictured above) or the high-end dare-to-dream goods at Yorkville’s Bang & Olufsen (110 Bloor St. W., 416-935-1919) and Bay Bloor Radio (55 Bloor St. W., 416-967-7404). For cool accessories for the home, office and car, visit Nocean (97 Yorkville Ave., 416-923-6886).
Fashionable men relish Harry Rosen and his three-level flagship boutique, which carries names such as Hugo Boss, Brioni and Versace. Perry’s (1250 Bay St., 416-923-7397) has been offering gentlemen sportswear, suits and eveningwear since 1962 and houses Canada’s only Paul & Shark Boutique. Stylish guys will want to check out Nicolas Men for upscale menswear from Vestimenta, Romeo Gigli and Paul Smith, and Stavros (95 Cumberland St., 416-924-8144), for custom-made suits and sport jackets made with imported European fabrics. For shoes, briefcases and bags, don’t miss Davids (66 Bloor St. W., 416-920-1000).
A stroll along the city’s busy promenades is not always motivated by aesthetic concerns. Some of us are looking for more than a new hoodie or ridiculously overpriced pair of jeans. Ladies and gentlemen, listen up! Here is a select list of some of the shops frequented by the other half of the population.
WHERE THE GIRLS ARE Lileo and Sporting Life can’t be beat for their selection of the hottest (and most expensive) athletic wear and the funkiest designer sneakers. Labels include Adidas and Juicy Couture (plus U.K. imports at Lileo). Drop by Lululemon for its oh-so-stylish selection of silky smooth yoga gear from funky bottoms to sassy tops and everything in between.
For a great selection of affordable and stylish wardrobe staples for the thrifty working girl, try Urban Outfitters (235 Yonge St., 416-214-1466), Club Monaco (157 Bloor St. W., 416-591-8837), Zara (50 Bloor St. W., 416-916-2401) and H&M (1800 Sheppard Ave. E., Fairview Mall, 416-497-6348).
Holt Renfrew is a fashionistas mecca, although the labels—Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Chloe and Armani—and price tags are not for the faint of heart or light of wallet. Another Yorkville mainstay for cutting edge and exclusive lines is Corbo (131 Bloor St. W., 416-928-0954). The funky Queen Streeter’s fashion staple Preloved (613 Queen St. W., 416-504-8704), revamps secondhand goods, turning them into asymmetrically-cut skirts, jackets, tees and pants. Find deluxe lingerie at La Perla and Avec Plaisir. For distinctive handbags and accessories step into Jeanne Lottie, to check out the Canadian designer’s latest creations.
There are several one-stop beauty shops for unabashed product hounds. Try Kiehl’s Since 1851, Lush, M.A.C. Cosmetics and Shopper’s Drug Mart (1-800-746-7737).
WHERE THE BOYS AREb Ladies trolling for a date? Be sure to check out these shops for their consistent selection of cute guys.
Man and his music—the latest indie band is highly significant, don’t you know—meet at these select stores: Rotate This, HMV. Queen Street’s musician-friendly haunt Steve’s Music Store (415 Queen St. W., 416-593-8888) offers a selection of instruments for that up-and-coming rock sensation.
Some clichés are forgivable (not to mention true). Just ask the men at Sportsmint Yorkville, Golf Town and Nike. For outdoorsy types, drop by Mountain Equipment Co-op (400 King St. W., 416-340-2667) and Europe Bound (47 Front St. E., 416-601-1990).
Nicolas Men and Harry Rosen outfit the city’s professional class while the local flaneurs don their duds at Urban Outfitters (235 Yonge St., 416-214-1466) and Club Monaco (157 Bloor St. W., 416-591-8837).
Men are as shoe-conscious as women and are constantly replenishing their stores of oh-so-cool sneakers at these local shops: Noise (275 Queen St. W., 416-971-6479) and Heel Boy (682 Queen St. W., 416-362-4335).
Love is in the air!
Although the Canadian fur trade is the country’s oldest industry, today’s emerging fur fashions are showing no sign of age. Behind this season’s latest styles the numbers are looking strong:
• $800 million: The fur trade’s contribution to the Canadian economy
• 85,000: The number of Canadians who work in the fur industry
• 1/3: The amount by which total Canadian fur exports have increased in the last two years
• 80: The percentage of total Canadian fur exports which go to the U.S.
• 2 million: The number of fur pelts annually produced in Canada
• 80: The percentage of Canadian fur manufacturing that takes place in Montreal
• $143.1 million: The value of Canadian fur exports in 1992
• $334.4 million: The value of Canadian fur exports in 2001
Toronto is home to some of the country’s top fur retailers, including: Alex Furs (186 Spadina Ave., 416-703-0734); Bazinas Furs; Canadiana Furs (198 Spadina Ave., 416-504-0518); Charisma Furs (196 Spadina Ave., 416-703-0266); Four Seasons Furs, Glen & Paul Magder Furs; Holt Renfrew Furs; Kahnert Furs; Louis Kalliniko Furs and Yukon Fur Co. Limited.
For furniture buffs on the prowl, look no further. Whether searching for the perfect antique French armoire or the latest in modern design, Toronto makes home roaming simple. Along Mount Pleasant (from Millwood Road to Eglinton Avenue East) find the city’s best collection of antiques stores. Try Horsefeathers! (630 Mount Pleasant Rd., 416-486-4555) for a deluxe selection in a 12,000-sq.-ft. space and Susan’s Antiques (585 Mount Pleasant Rd., 416-487-9262) for pretty chairs, chandeliers and china with a white and florals theme. For more distinctive decor items, try Nadia’s (583 Mount Pleasant Rd., 416-486-6621), Bernardi’s, Whim Antiques and Lorenz Antiques (701 Mount Pleasant Rd., 416-487-2066).
For modernists beyond the IKEA phase of life, King Street East is the city’s best enclave for new furniture design. UpCountry (214 King St. E., 416-777-1700), features an eclectic mix of new, streamlined wood furniture and rehabilitated vintage pieces. For garden furnishings, make a detour over to UpCountry Garden (16 Eastern Ave., 416-367-3906). Handcrafted solid wood furniture in many styles is the theme at Harvest House (160 King St. E., 416-862-9449). Think plush at Montauk (280 King St. E., 416-361-0331), which is known for its made-to-order down-filled chairs, ottomans and sofas. Ziggurat (254 King St. E., 416-362-5900) is the home of contemporary European designer furniture. For those whose tastes lean more towards the post-modern end of the design spectrum, look no further than Void Interior Furnishings (334 King St. E., 416-868-6600). Or, for a more traditional (though no less chic) approach, check out Studio B (334 King St. E., 416-363-2996).—WHERE staff