The next time you’re in the mood for a little retail therapy, skip the obvious Toronto destinations, and head out to new territory. Sure, Queen Street West and the Eaton Centre are great, but so are other neighbourhoods that often get overlooked.
While these areas might not get as much Internet love, they’re certainly not lacking, each one having their own individual perks. If Orfus Road, Cabbagetown, or First Canadian Place ring a bell, it’s time to solidify your relationship and get shopping.
Check out 7 underrated shopping destinations you’re missing out on in Toronto below.
North of Lawrence and West of Dufferin
Great for: Bargains and deep discounts
Orfus Road brings all the benefits and bargains of outlet mall shopping without actually having to leave the city. Shop such outlets as Le Chateau, Ardene, Designer Fragrances Depot, Kitchen Stuff Plus, Grand Supreme Cheese Factory and more. Along with slashed prices, there are also a number of great restaurants nearby, such as Burger’s Priest and Uncle Tetsu.
900 Dufferin St
Great for: Fashion basics, groceries, and basic home goods
If you live outside the Dufferin – Queen West area, then you may not be too familiar with Dufferin Mall, however, it’s a great destination for shopping on the West side. Popular stores include Forever 21, H&M, Dollarama, Walmart, Winners, and Marshalls, meaning it’s a prime hub for clothes and groceries if you don’t feel like going all the way downtown. With over 120 retailers, a food court, and services including a tailor, nail and hair salons, and engraver, it’s larger than it seems.
Between Crawford and Bathurst
Great for: Vintage-inspired clothing and authentic Korean food
Nestled on a small strip between Crawford and Bathurst, Little Korea or Koreatown has a mix of tasty authentic restaurants, gift shops, and unique vintage clothing inspired shops. Most notable are Top Half, one of the best places for good name-brand knock-offs, House of Rinka, Hanji Gifts, and The Dot, as well as Korean food joints that will make you drool like Hodo Kwaja (bakery), Mapo Korean BBQ, Rustle and Still, and NishDish.
Great for: One-of-a-kind shops, cafes, and groceries
Roncesvalles has been an upcoming neighbourhood for quite some time now and for good reason. Not only is the street lined with charming old houses, but it boasts a handful of shops and restaurants unique to the strip. Make sure to check out Frock, Muttonhead, She Said Boom, For the Girls, and The General Store. You’re also going to want try the dry rub wings at Barque, as well as visit their Butcher shop located just a little ways down from the restaurant.
Castlefield Ave. and Caledonia Ave.
Great for: Home decor, lighting, and carpets
Similar to Orfus Road, Castlefield Design District is located a little further North, but is worth the trip. The industrial area hordes a number of Toronto home stores selling everything from live-edge wooden tables, to carpets from India. The warehouse-sized stores include Toronto-based Elte, Gingers, vintage store Metropolis Living, Art Shoppe, Union Lighting, and the list goes on. Bellwoods Brewery also has a bottle shop and tasting room nearby that makes the district even more tempting.
100 King St. W
Great for: Clothing, fast food, and services
You may know the Financial District Skyscraper from the outside, but turns out, it’s a great downtown shopping destination on the inside. Featuring three different levels, including the underground network of stores and fast food joints called The Path, First Canadian Place has more than meets the eye. Check out stores like Deciem, M Boutique, Harry Rosen, Massimo Dutti, and more, along with tasty places like Porchetta & Co, Cactus Club Cafe, and Freshii to name a few.
Between Sherbourne St. and Bayview Ave.
Great for: Ma & Pa shops and design stores
If you’re in the east end, make sure to dedicate some time to Cabbagetown! The collection of cafes and primarily design stores, will make for a fun outing. While it may not be a go-to for fashion, make sure to visit Spruce, Labour of Love, Kendall & Co, and Green Antiques for one-of-a-kind home goods and lifestyle products. Steak & Chops butcher shop is also worth a visit for organic seafood and high quality meats.
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