At any given time, there are 140 languages or dialects that might be spoken on the streets in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. An international city, languages and cultures blend, thriving in neighborhoods and excelling in creating dining experiences to brag about back home. The neighborhoods provide a taste of the world with a definite Canadian flare, especially when spending a day shopping.
It's easy to ease your way into a shopping mode, even at one of the city's world-class museums. Be sure to see the namesake exhibits and maybe enjoy lunch or take tea at C5 at the Royal Ontario Museum, but then stop in the gift shop. The gift shop at the ROM is one of my favorites on the planet for its variety, thoughtful and knowledgable staff and ambience. Across town at the Art Gallery of Ontario, I cave for all things "Frank" and its Frank Gehry connection — and maybe a nosh at AGO @ Bistro with its fixed-price lunch and dinner. There's the Bata Shoe Museum, too. Its subject matter speaks for itself. When shopping in Canada's largest city, it's easy to pack a treasure that will whisper "Toronto" each time it is pulled from the closet or polished for the holidays.
In the past 20 years, Toronto has evolved as a leading style destination. The city has its own local designers with labels that are coveted by residents and visitors alike. Look for Laura Seigel, Hilary MacMillian and Any Raina. Make plans to make a stop at Toronto Designers Market on Queen Street West, where 30 designers have outlet from household to clothing and jewelry.
Other retail outlets include outlet malls, shopping centers, vintage stores, home stores, boutiques and a world of high fashion. There is a lot to shop for during summer street fairs, too.
In the multicultural neighborhoods, there are authentic goods from all over the planet. Find refined elegance and specialty shops on Bloor Street. Explore the over-the-top malls such as Toronto Eaton Centre, the legendary Hudson Bay's flagship store and the very special Kleinfeld's bridal boutique.
Toronto's top shopping destinations range from cool independent shops to outlet malls, thrift stores and luxury boutiques.
To shop for vintage designs, local labels or a bargain, seek out the Leslieville neighborhood. Head toward The Beaches for mid-century modern and retro furnishings and accessories. For a countercultural bohemian vibe, try Kensington Market's antiques, vintage finds and "new to you" clothing shops. Luxury shoppers can trek to midtown for Yorkville and the aforementioned Bloor Street for prestigious international retailers from Tiffany to Louis Vuitton.
This area also is home to Canada's upscale department store, Holt Renfrew, and the flagship Roots store for cottage-chic casual wear and quality leather goods.
In addition to shopping, find theater, museums, festivals, specialty tours and dining in Toronto.
From city center to the waterfront and the historic neighborhoods between, a progressive and inclusive culture permeates the city.
Experiences and attractions
After a day of shop-til-you-drop, settle into a seat for a big-ticket theater experience. Show T-shirts are sold, if you haven't had your fill on the street.
There are Broadway musicals, comedy, dinner theaters and dance. Toronto is one of the top cities on the planet for English-speaking theater for number of stages and the quality. There are more than 90 stages and about 40 productions running each month.
Iconic attractions fill out a girlfriends getaway with stops at the top of CN Tower into the depths at Ripley's Aquarium of Canada.