The next time you’re in the mood for a little retail therapy, skip the obvious shopping destinations in Toronto and head out to new territory. Sure, Queen Street West and CF Toronto Eaton Centre are great, but so are other neighbourhoods that often get overlooked.
While these areas might not get as much mainstream love, they’re certainly not lacking; each one has its own individual perks. If Orfus Road, Cabbagetown, or First Canadian Place ring a bell, it’s time to solidify your relationship and get shopping.
Here are underrated shopping destinations in Toronto that you’re probably missing out on.
North of Lawrence Ave. and West of Dufferin St.
Orfus Road brings all the benefits and bargains of outlet mall shopping without actually having to leave the city. Shop such outlets as Roots Last Chance Outlet, Urban Planet, Designer Fragrances Depot, Kitchen Stuff Plus, 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.
If you live outside Dufferin Mall’s parameters, then you may not be too familiar with the shopping center, however, it’s a great destination for shopping on the west side. Popular stores include Pandora, H&M, Dollarama, Walmart, No Frills, and Marshalls, meaning it’s a prime hub for clothes and groceries if you’re looking for a one-stop shop. With over 120 retailers, a food court, and services including a tailor, nail and hair salons, and phone providers, it’s larger than it seems.
Between Crawford St. and Bathurst St. on Bloor St. West
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 Hanji Gifts, Crywolf, Mr. Pen, PAT Central Market, as well as Korean food joints that will make you drool like Hodo Kwaja (bakery), Mapo Korean BBQ, Rustle & Still, and more.
Roncesvalles is constantly evolving, and it just gets better and better. Not only is the street lined with charming old houses, but it boasts a number of shops and restaurants unique to the strip. Make sure to check out Frock for cool girl essentials, Likely General for fun housewares and accessories, and Early Bird & Worm for adorable kid and maternity apparel and housewares. You’re also going to want to try the dry rub wings at Barque, as well as visit their butcher shop located just a little way down from the restaurant.
Castlefield Design District
Castlefield Ave. and Caledonia Ave.
South of Orfus Road, the Castlefield Design District is where interior design professionals go to source everything they need. 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, Union Lighting, and the list goes on. If you’re hungry, be sure to drop by the cafe inside Elte Mkt for fresh salads, sandwiches, and more. It’s one of our favourite shopping destinations in Toronto for home decor, and it’s sure to become yours, too!
100 King St. W
You may know the Exchange Tower from the outside, but if you don’t stroll through the PATH on the regular, you might not know that First Canadian Place features some incredible shops. Featuring three different levels, including the underground network of stores and fast food joints, the destination has more than meets the eye. Check out stores like DECIEM, Harry Rosen, and more, along with tasty places like Porchetta & Co, Ladurée, and Freshii, to name a few.
Between Sherbourne St. and Bayview Ave.
If you’re in the east end, make sure to dedicate some time to Cabbagetown! The collection of cafes and primarily designed 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.
From the Don Valley Parkway and Logan Ave., between Gerrard St. East and Eastern Ave.
Another east-end neighbourhood to visit is Riverside. You’ll find most of our favourite spots located on Queen St. East, but there are tons of gems to discover throughout. For hair and beauty, Oreya Studio is a dreamy, pink destination for hair, nail, and makeup. On the hunt for clothing and accessories? Common Sort is our go-to consignment store. And if you’re shopping for home, GUFF — or Good Used Furniture Finds — is where to go to for furniture and decor, particularly if you’re looking for mid-century Scandinavian design. We also can’t forget to mention Sash & Bustle, which is one of the top places in the city to shop for all things bridal.
From Augusta Ave. to Beverly St. between College St. and Queen St.
While Chinatown is a well-known foodie destination, many people often overlook the shops! A stroll through the neighbourhood will reveal tons of retailers that stock cellphone accessories, affordable basic tees and hoodies, designer eyewear, souvenirs, and housewares. Not to mention, streetwear boutiques like Better Gift Shop, Stussy, and Nomad. One of our favourite spots to visit is kitchen supply store Tap Phong. Teeming with pots, pans, catering supplies, appliances, and more, it’s a go-to for food professionals in the city. And if you’re into games, Meeplemart is hailed as one of the best gaming and board game shops in the city, with affordable prices and super knowledgable staff.
Along Danforth Ave. between Don Valley Parkway and west of Victoria Park Ave.
Known as Greektown, the Danforth is another destination that’s renowned for its food. The long stretch of Danforth Ave. is lined with delicious eateries serving up all types of different cuisines, but you’ll also find boutiques and beauty salons nestled in between. Some of our top choices to shop on Danforth Ave. are bare market, the city’s newest package-free store that stocks groceries, beauty, cleaning supplies, and more; Vintage Depot, a haven for clothing and accessories from the past; and Tips Nail Bar, home to some of the best nail art in the city.
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