One thing Toronto doesn’t have a shortage of is shopping. No matter what you’re looking for, whether it be outlet shopping, thrift, or on trend pieces, there’s a neighbourhood for it. While we think all neighbourhoods are created equal, each one does have their own unique features. Depending on your shopping end goal you might want to hit up one over the other.
Take a look at 8 of the best neighbourhoods for shopping in Toronto below, and treat yourself to some retail therapy while no one’s watching.
If you’re looking to maximize your savings and time, Orfus Road is the place to go! The outlet mall area (located north of Lawrence Street and west of Dufferin) has neverending markdowns and is a discount shopping hub for all things wedding-related, home decor, and affordable fashions useful for travellers. While you won’t find high fashion clothing here, it’s clear the Orfus Road as a lot of other things to offer. Your apartment will thank you for it, but you’ll definitely only want to shop here when you have access to a car.
Ossington is fast becoming one of the most popular shopping destinations in Toronto, maybe even rivalling Queen St. West. The area now boasts a ton of one-of-a-kind retailers with very few stores in Toronto, or that can only be found on the strip. Think Shinola, Peace Collective, Tiger of Sweden, VdeV, The Local, Reigning Champ, and more. Add in the mix of restaurants, coffee shops, vintage stores, and Bellwoods Brewery, and you’ll need almost a full day to get your fill of the Ossington neighbourhood.
Comprised of shops and retailers spanning from Gladstone Avenue to University Avenue, Queen West is a monster. Being ranked “Canada’s Coolest Retail Neighbourhood,” you best believe that the title wasn’t appointed by accident. Hit up trendy spots like Anthropologie, Heel Boy, Oak + Fort, Bite Beauty, and more on the west side, while the east end has mass brands like Zara, Aritzia, H&M and Lululemon. Not to mention you’ll never go hungry because there’s basically a restaurant in between every few stores.
Uptown Yonge often gets overlooked, but this neighbourhood shouldn’t be thrown under the bus since there are a number of shops to be noted. Get grocery shopping and retail therapy in at the same time at Yonge and Eglinton Centre; stores include Metro, Rexall, Sephora, and Urban Outfitters, while the actual strip has popular stores like Winners, Sporting Life, West Elm, and Mendocino. There’s also a Cineplex if you feeling like catching a flick part way through your day!
While Dundas West is known for its thriving nightlife, things have really picked up during the day in the last few years. The street might be home to some of the most unique Toronto-based retailers, having a great assortment of vintage clothing and jewelry stores, as well as many choice restaurants. Top stores include Mejuri, Easy Tiger, VSP Consignment, Stole My Heart, Province Apothecary, Chosen Vintage and more. The variety of different shops makes Dundas West the perfect destination if you’re searching for a chill day where you can take your time window shopping.
Kensington Market is one of those shopping destinations that has everything and more! Food and groceries are obviously a big thing here with so much fresh produce, but the plethora of vintage stores, and surplus style offerings also make it one of the best places for thrifting. If you’re dying for a band tee, vintage cut-offs, artisan jewelry, or tye dye harem pants, the market will serve you well. Just make sure you have time to stop for food or a beverage because even five minutes here will make you drool.
They say that buzzing urban neighbourhoods have a trickle out effect, and Queen West has definitely been trickling out into Parkdale. Starting at Gladstone Avenue and going west to Roncesvalles, West Queen West has a similar vibe to Dundas with familiar shops popping up like Armed. There are also a number of small Toronto-based clothing retailers, Toronto’s Harry Potter themed store, and vintage gems like Public Butter and Consign Toronto. Way on the far side by Roncesvalles we should mention the Toronto Designer Market too which always features new Toronto brands of all sorts of items.
Anything the Eaton Centre backs onto is naturally going to be a massive shopping hub, so it goes without saying that Dundas Square is an awesome retail destination. Along with the constant hustle and bustle which means there’s always something going on in the square, it’s literally surrounded by bix-box shops and restaurants. By the time you finish up at H&M, Forever21, Winners and shops extending up Yonge and across Dundas, you’ll have worked up a major appetite seeing all of your resto options.
Featured image: Instagram/ @kirstistubbs