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Shopping in Toronto

• A WorldWeb.com Travel Guide for Toronto, Ontario.
A veritable mosaic of cultures, Toronto offers metropolitan flair and diversity at its best. Comprised of distinctive neighbourhoods, the city has something for everyone, particularly when it comes to shopping. Whether seeking designer fashions, vintage treasures or unique gifts, Toronto has it all in standout shopping enclaves, large-scale shopping centres and culture-rich retail areas.

QUEEN WEST

Eclectic boutiques, distinct eateries and a wide variety of art galleries characterize this dynamic neighbourhood, which spreads along Queen Street West from Bathurst to Gladstone streets. Funky fashion shops, decor-oriented boutiques, vintage clothing hot spots and creativity-filled shopping havens are abundant along this cutting-edge art and design district. Those seeking one-of-a-kind fashions will appreciate the large concentration of independent designer boutiques found here.

ANNEX

This student-friendly neighbourhood, which borders the University of Toronto, is a thriving cultural enclave with a bustling dining and retail scene. Aimed at the student demographic, shops and services are affordable and convenient. Honest Ed's, a Toronto landmark since 1948, is an Annex standout for its expansive marquee-style signage and extensive inventory of discounted clothing, house wares, electronics, health and beauty products and grocery items.

BLOOR-YORKVILLE

All-in-one upscale shopping centres, designer boutiques and fine dining span this high-end district, where international labels like Gucci, Prada, Chanel and Louis Vuitton are staples on the racks of many boutiques. A definite spot to see and in which to be seen, the district offers a taste of the high life, even if only via window shopping. Interior-design shops, high-end jewellery boutiques, specialty food stores and Canadian retail icons Holt Renfrew and Harry Rosen make their home within this shopper's paradise.


KENSINGTON MARKET

Eclectic in every sense of the word, this charming neighbourhood displays a healthy mix of culture, art and liberalism, making it a top destination for unique shopping opportunities. Bordered by Spadina to the east, Dundas to the south, Bathurst to the west and College to the north, the Kensington Market is ideal for a leisurely afternoon of shopping. Best known for its abundance of vintage shops and fresh-food vendors, the market area is also a prime destination for sourcing imported gifts, rare books, vinyl and one-of-a-kind treasures.

FINANCIAL DISTRICT

The financial heart of Canada, this district is a densely compacted area of skyscraper towers, interconnected by the city's underground PATH system and expansive subterranean shopping complex. Above ground, notable landmarks like the Toronto Eaton Centre and the Hudson's Bay Company provide convenient shopping experiences to suit any budget or need. Boutiques, specialty shops and international chain stores find their home within the boundaries of this bustling downtown area.

DANFORTH

Toronto's Greektown enclave, Danforth is a haven for eco-chic lifestyles and cosmopolitan vivacity, best characterized by its plentiful Greek bistros and landmarks like the Big Carrot, a full-service organic grocer. Specialty shops are the hallmark of Danforth; every interest and need is fulfilled, whether it's fashion, culinary exploration, imported food cravings, sports, bridal essentials or home accessorizing.

THE BEACH/BEACHES

A trendy, family-friendly neighbourhood on the east side of town, this lakeside district is a busy summer hot spot, offering access to four popular sandy beaches and Toronto's boardwalk. A small-town main street vibe and over 350 shops and services result in a shopping destination that is hard to beat. Gift-giving is made easy with a visit to the Beach—also known as the Beaches—where over a dozen gift shops provide diverse suggestions for any occasion or age. Fashion boutiques, home and garden stores, craft shops and specialty food retailers round out the comprehensive offerings.

CABBAGETOWN

The revitalized Cabbagetown is a standout for its Victorian architecture and laid-back vibe. Primarily residential, the neighbourhood features the bustling Parliament Street at its core, where funky cafes and specialty shops are in abundance. Pet lovers will appreciate the available selections, home decor aficionados will revel in the furniture and antique shops offered and discount seekers will find ample opportunities to immerse themselves in the thrill of the hunt at an array of second-hand shops. Riverdale Farmers' Market, in operation seasonally from May to October, offers straight-from-the-source shopping opportunities in the heart of the city.

DISTILLERY DISTRICT

Distinct Victorian industrial buildings and a vibrant arts community comprise this unique shopping district, which is a completely pedestrian village of open-air piazzas, boutiques, eateries and gallery spaces. Design and creative expression in all forms are well-represented in the Distillery District at an array of unique shops, studio spaces and showrooms in the complex, including the Case Goods Warehouse artist collective. Supporting local designers, artisans and artists has never been easier.

LIBERTY VILLAGE

Another of Toronto's bustling artistic districts, this community of gentrified factories is home to numerous creativity-based shops and services, including the interior design boutiques, home furnishing shops and fashion stores of the historic Liberty Market Building. Internationally sourced furniture, unique giftware, locally designed fashions, floral solutions and fine art are just a few of the treasures that await shoppers in Liberty Village.

RONCESVALLES

Affectionately known by locals as Roncy, this vibrant Polish enclave offers Roncesvalles Avenue as its primary commercial strip, where a myriad of quaint specialty shops, eateries and bakeries are featured. Shops geared toward children, bookworms, shoe lovers, sports enthusiasts and gourmet-food devotees are just some of the offerings available.

JUNCTION

An up-and-coming shopping district on the west end, the Junction is a prominent destination for those seeking inspiration for home decor projects large and small. Salvaged furniture, antiques and contemporary designs can all be sourced along this Dundas Street West strip. Unique fashion boutiques and specialty shops intermingle with an impressive collection of organic food shops and kid-friendly cafes.

NOTABLE MENTIONS

Toronto's history as a welcoming haven to immigrants from around the globe has resulted in the development of many cultural quarters within its borders, including Little Italy, Corso Italia, Koreatown, Chinatown and the Indian Bazaar. Authentic cultural flavours, in both culinary and retail forms, are offered in each of these unique districts. Toronto also offers a wide selection of shopping centres on the outskirts of downtown, including the Fairview Mall and Yorkdale Shopping Centre in North York and the Shops at Don Mills, each of which offer ample retail selections for the whole family.
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