If you seek a destination for great shopping, look no further than Toronto, specifically its luxe Yorkville neighborhood. Comparable to Washington, D.C.’s Georgetown, Boston’s Newbury Street or Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, the tony neighborhood is a haven for Canada’s well-heeled shoppers — it’s sometimes even called the Mink Mile because of its reputation.
At just around a 1.5-hour flight from cities along the East Coast, it’s easier than ever to visit this Canadian capital for a long weekend trip. The exchange rate also makes for a favorable purchase price on many items, too.
Make Forbes Travel Guide Five Star Four Seasons Hotel Toronto your base so you’ll be close to the stores; it’s a quick walk from the hotel to the shopping on Bloor Street. Your first stop is the always-popular DAVIDS, at Bay and Bloor streets. A luxury shoe mecca, the shop sells the latest styles from designers such as Christian Louboutin and Jimmy Choo. DAVIDS has several locations (all the better to find your size) and it will ship your purchases back to the U.S. for $15 a pair.
Next, walk to the right — you’ll find standalone stores by Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Burberry, Gucci, Hermès, Prada, Tiffany & Co., Max Mara and Escada, among others. If you’re in the mood for baubles, go to Royal de Versailles, which stocks an impressive collection of Rolex and Chopard watches as well as jewels, or Maison Birks, where you can find Van Cleef & Arpels, plus a nice selection of Canadian-mined diamonds and estate pieces. For china, crystal or silver, there’s no better place than William Ashley.
But don’t get sidetracked — there’s still a lot of shopping left to do. Our favorite shops are the only-in-Canada variety, namely department store Holt Renfrew, part of the Selfridges Group. A cross between Barneys New York and Saks Fifth Avenue, Canada’s leading department store offers an exceptionally friendly sales staff and designer duds for men and women. With labels from Alexander McQueen to Celine, and in-store boutiques for brands such as Miu Miu, Fendi and Louis Vuitton, it’s easy to spend most of your day browsing the racks here. Be sure to check out the Shu Uemura makeup station — the brand is no longer sold in the U.S., and its skincare products are worth the price tag. There’s really no need to leave since the store has its own salon, restaurant and café, too.
Bloor Street could take up all of your time, but that would mean missing some of the best shops in the rest of the neighborhood. Head to Yorkville Avenue for a quick blowout at Blo Yorkville and then pay a visit to Teatro Verde, a two-level emporium for hostess gifts, décor items and arrangements from the onsite florist. (It also has a small pop-up inside Four Seasons Hotel Toronto.) If you’re lagging, recharge with a coffee, sandwich or sweet treat at Pusateri’s, at Yorkville Avenue and Bay Street. If we lived in Toronto, we’d visit daily to enjoy strawberry cream tea lattes and Canadian favorite Jelly Modern doughnuts, which come in flavors like s’mores and maple bacon.
And last, but certainly not least, don’t miss Hazelton Lanes. You’ll find more than 65 boutiques, including Toronto’s oldest furrier, Herman-Sellers-Gough Furs, whose history dates back to 1880, as well as Palais Royale House & Home, a bedding and bath shop, and the Yorkville Design Centre, where design aficionados can peruse the showroom and make appointments with interior decorators. Whether you have a day or a weekend to explore, indulging in a bit of retail therapy in Yorkville is a must-do on your next trip to Toronto.
Photo Courtesy of DAVIDS Footwear-Markio Designs Inc. and Holt Renfrew