BY STEPHANIE YOUNG
In a cosmopolitan city such as Toronto—home to millions of people who love to travel, and host to a similar number of incoming visitors each year—there can never be too many luggage stores. Whether you’re in the market for a new set of bags for a global adventure, an extra carry-on piece for transporting souvenirs, or just a chic sleeve for your iPad, you’ll find everything that you could possibly need at these top Toronto luggage and bag stores.
BETTY HEMMINGS LEATHERGOODS
This longstanding Yorkville boutique offers a variety of trusted international leather-goods and luggage brands. It was the first retailer to bring products by Tumi and Hartmann to the Canadian market more than three decades ago; now it’s also the exclusive Canadian purveyor of high-end lines like Serapian from Milan and London’s Swaine Adeney Brigg, plus the Betty Hemmings signature collection, of course. Seeking a true standout piece? Globe-Trotter’s Centenary Collection (also exclusive to the store) harks back to the turn of the last century with handmade suitcases featuring an iconic leather-belted design. More than travel products, Betty Hemmings also stocks briefcases and garment bags, wallets and luggage tags, making it a luxury traveller’s one-stop leather shop. Bonus: If you can’t find time to visit the store, the store will visit you; personal concierge presentations can be arranged by appointment.
Perfect for adventurers and casual travellers alike, this Australian brand’s products are designed to stand up to hard use and Mother Nature’s wrath. The likes of duffel, carry-on and laptop bags are made using water-resistant materials and reinforced zippers, and rolling totes feature anti-jam wheels to keep your luggage moving along gritty or uneven surfaces. The same durability is also featured in Crumpler’s Local Identity backpack: great for hiking, it comes with a built-in compartment for your notebook computer and a padded protection bag to safely house your camera.
Though M0851 doesn’t produce typical rollaway luggage, the quality and craftsmanship of its products—backpacks, small duffels and more are made with full-grain leather, plus silks, cashmere and high-grade metals—make them ideal for short-term jaunts. Packing for a weekend retreat? The aptly named 48 HR Getaway Bag is a perfect fit. Its flat, adjustable handles sit comfortably on your shoulder, while the multiple interior and exterior pockets keep your belongings safe and stowed away until needed. Leather jackets and accessories also help to ensure that you travel in style and comfort.
Though best known for its technical apparel for climbing, skiing and the like, this environmentally conscious brand’s travel bags are also well worth checking out. With sustainability as its mandate, Patagonia produces a variety of rugged backpacks, messenger bags and even wheeled bags designed to last a lifetime. And in the event that your gear does need to be replaced, you can donate it to the company’s Common Threads Partnership, which, among other things, recycles old pieces as material for new merchandise. Sporting bright colours and prints, Patagonia bags are easy to locate—whether they’re on a snow-capped mountainside or circling a conveyor belt at the airport.
This Italian company breathes innovation and luxury into each of its designs. Constructed of the finest materials using centuries-old techniques, Piqaudro products have a timeless quality, yet their contemporary styling ensures that the likes of handbags, briefcases and iPad sheathes can easily transition from desk to dinner table—and then to airport lounge. For example, a wheeled computer briefcase, with its allotted sleeves and deep-zip pockets, transforms from carry-on to professional organizer and is available in eye-catching colours. Suitcases like the polycarbonate Hardside Spinner come equipped with a TSA-approved lock and a garment bag for your delicate dresses or suits.
• 1286 Bay St., 416-928-6662; piquadrocanada.ca
• Map and reviews
Designed using materials like aluminum and polycarbonate, Rimowa luggage has been lauded for its reliability for more than a century. The German brand’s sturdy styling—notably its corrugated shell—hasn’t changed much over the years, but as the saying goes, why fix what isn’t broken? Hard plastic cases like the Salsa Air line mesh functionality and fashion in a lightweight package. Prefer the durability (and style) of anodized aluminum? Select from the exemplary Topas series of trolleys. The multi-wheeled design of most Rimowa luggage ensures easily maneuverability.
You can’t miss bold red and white Taschen logo while walking through Yorkville. In German, the company’s name means bags, and boy does its Toronto flagship store have a lot of them, gathering trusted high-end brands like Tumi, Bree and Brics in one place. Variety is the watchword here: there’s ample selection, whether you’re looking for a wheeled case or just one with a sturdy shoulder strap; one with a hard exterior or butter-soft fabric; a designer label or an no-nonsense name.
This Queen West shop features time-honoured brands including Barbour, Filson and Fjällräven, plus contemporary names like Qwstion and Royal Republiq; it’s full of items that you’ll find useful even when you’re not globetrotting. Though it does carry small leather goods, the majority of Te Koop’s stock is made with canvas—for that classically rugged look. One fine example is the Filson Pullman carry-on, with brass zippers, large leather handles and space enough to allow it to be your sole short-stay bag. Or pick up a streamlined Herschel backpack for daytrips and afternoon excursions.