There are neighbourhoods in Toronto that exude old world glamour. The Distillery District is one that actually doubles for Europe in smaller budget TV and Movies.
To me the bakeries and cafes in Rosedale have a European feel plus there are neighbourhoods that are havens for immigrants like Greektown, Little Italy, Little Portugal and Roncesvalles Village which has a Polish influence.
Most of these neighbourhoods it’s the food that is where the most obvious European influences lie. Clothing on the other hand has been slower to make a main stream Toronto impact. Sure high end designers from Italy and France make a big splash on Bloor Street, but there is less catering to those looking for high quality fashion for a younger consumer at a more moderate price point.
Two boutiques on West Queen West are changing the status quo.
The most recently opened Canon Blanc is the brainchild of a Parisian couple who are looking to bring French and European designs to Toronto.
The vibe is very cool girl chic. Leather jackets with special details, simple dresses with a great print and even a whole section dedicated to menswear. Looks are perfect for business casual or weekend ensembles. Brands include Petit Bateau, Fees de Benngale, Le Mont St. Michel and Commune de Paris, 1871.
Gaspard is the other outlet for French fashion in Toronto. This boutique is actually owned by the Torontonians behind the label Mercy but is filled with all their favourite European brands and of course with their own label which was impossible to find in Toronto before their store opened.
Gaspard is more boutique like compared to Canon Blanc. The former is styled to look like your besties bedroom, if that bestie lived in a flat in Paris. Gaspard, however, is more like shopping in a gallery.
Looks are a bit more tailored and at a slightly higher price range at Gaspard. It is the type of place that career women can find an alternative to the traditional suit, including a dress from Merci. Other brands include Indress, Jamin Puech and Les Prairies de Paris.
If you can’t travel to Paris anytime soon, let Paris come to you via West Queen West.