2016 was a big year for retail in Toronto. With the arrival of huge American department stores, Japanese fast-fashion mega-retailers and cool indy shops, there has never been so many options for shopping in Toronto. As a way to round out the year, the StyleDemocracy team has pounded the pavement, shopped the city high and low to compile a list of the best new stores in Toronto. Each store selected for this list is based on their impact to the city, product offering, shopping experience, and overall popularity.
Please note that the shops and stores presented are in no particular order.
Uniqlo CF Eaton Centre
As one of the most anticipated store openings of the year, Uniqlo opened its doors to thousands of happy shoppers. Uniqlo’s bright retail concept, cheap and cheerful pricing and great customer service has already put them at the front of the fast-fashion pack. We expect Uniqlo to have continued success as more and more Canadians discover what Uniqlo has to offer.
Nordstrom has been in Canada since late 2014, but its arrival in Toronto has really shaken up Toronto’s department store landscape. There are now two Nordstrom stores in Toronto, but the Yorkdale location is the one that stands out. The store’s beautiful exterior illuminated is a visually impressive sight when seen from the Allen Expressway. The interior is a mecca for all things fashion, and the customer service is tops in the world. What’s great about Nordstrom is that they have been able to replicate their extremely popular American format in Canada – a feat that has been unattainable to many other American retailers.
Aside from Uniqlo, the most anticipated new store of 2016 might have been H&M home. While technically not its own store, the shop inside a shop is one of the most popular features in H&M’s CF Eaton Centre location. H&M Home lived up to the hype has great styling mixed with affordable prices seems to be a mixture for success for the most loved stored in Toronto.
Talk about a beautiful store. We love stores that put every ounce of their efforts into creating a retail concept that effortlessly integrates with the brand’s story and messaging. The new Shinola store makes our list because it’s one of the coolest shops in the city. Bikes hanging from the ceilings, beautiful leather goods and handcrafted watches makes the Toronto store a go-to shopping destination for the refined shopper looking for something different.
Although recently the store has received some backlash, the Canada Goose Flagship store is still one of the most talked about and beautiful stores opened this year. The store receives our praise because of its’ design. Beautiful Canadian marble lines the store with Canadian sculpture and Canadian outerwear history on the walls. While not overly large, the store is a sight to be seen and perfectly embodies the Canada Goose brand.
Although very new, Sandro makes the list due to the brand’s popularity within the fashion community. Known for their proper execution of French ready to wear and streetwear, Sandro will surely become a go-to destination for Toronto’s trendy. Until recently Sandro was a brand known mostly to die-hard fashion heads, however, with their new flagship store we expect Canadian shoppers to discover the store and fall in love. There is nothing cooler than properly executed french styling.
The Yorkville Christian Louboutin Store is arguably one of the most opulent stores in Toronto. We love this store because every aspect of the store oozes the Christian Louboutin brand. While some stores are haphazardly put together, the Louboutin store was carefully and masterfully built to stay true to the Christian Louboutin experience. It’s one of the only retail experiences in the city that is truly transformative. Step out of the cold and be carried away into the world of Louboutin.
Simons Square One
We love the new Simons in Square One Mall in Mississauga. Not only is the Simons selection vast, it’s fairly affordable too. We love Simons because it’s a department store that really takes risks with its fashion selections. Believe it or not, Simons is one of the most fashion-forward department stores in the country. They focus on superior customer service and get a nod to the list because of their rich history and their successful integration into the Ontario shopping market.
Warby Parker finally opened its first international store in Toronto and is one of the nicest designed stores that popped up in 2016. The store’s interior takes design cues from “a classic library”. The store features terrazzo-tiled floors, custom-made brass library lamps and suspended globe lighting and of course books. We love when an online brand makes its foray into physical retail spaces and Warby Parker is one of the brands that is leading the charge and breaking the mold.
The new Vitaly store isn’t an outlet for a mega-retailer, but deserves to be on the list nonetheless. The three-story mecca to all things Vitaly and Clocks and Colours is slowly shaping the retail landscape on Queen Street west catering to the city’s booming fashion scene. Beautiful, minimalist design showcases the vision and stories of one of the best design teams in Toronto.
Tucked away on Ossington lies the New Peace Collective store. We decided to put this store on the list due to the store’s concept and to acknowledge the growth of one of Toronto’s most recognizable independent brands. As a combo dessert bar and clothing shop, The Peace Collective store is unique in its approach and delivers exactly what customers want. A fun and engaging environment to shop the brand’s top collections.