The top 10 luggage stores in Toronto
The top luggage stores in Toronto will have you ready for takeoff, no matter how far away your destination or how long your stay. There's cute carry-ons you can throw in the backseat for a weekend road trip, giant backpacks perfect for touring the world's greatest hostels, or massive, death-proof suitcases that will hold up, even as you play chicken with the airline's weight limit.
Department stores like the Bay tend to be the first shop, but there are plenty of non-chain options that will either help you save some cash, invest your luggage budget wisely, or just let you stand out from the sea of black rectangles on the baggage carousel.
As you might have guessed, Yorkville (home of all things high-end and boutiquey) is the city's hot spot for specialty luggage boutiques. But for the bargain-hunters, there are a few mom-and-pop options scattered around the city that might offer a solid deal. (More cash for souvenir shopping!)
Here are the top luggage stores in Toronto.
The Travel Stop
This Yorkville boutique recently logged 30 years of selling all manner of luggage and travel goods. There's all sizes of suitcases and bags from companies like Briggs & Riley and LeSportsac; in case your needs are a little more unusual, also toilet seat covers, anti-motion-sickness wristbands and natural nausea remedies. (And international power converters. Seriously, don't forget those.)
Not to be confused with the art-book publishers of the same name, Taschen is a small Canadian chain of luxury luggage shops with locations on Yorkville and Cumberland. True to the name (German for "bags"), they focus on well-crafted, mid-to-high-end pieces from the likes of BREE and Mandarina Duck.
Betty Hemmings Leathergoods
Another Yorkville travel-goods destination, Betty Hemmings' selection of briefcases, bags and suitcases includes some great pieces for vintage lovers with modern needs (because nobody wants to haul a huge, heavy suitcase through an airport by the handle, no matter how good it looks.) Brics' canvas-and-leather duffel bags come with wheels and a handle, and Globe-Trotter's leather-detail suitcases are made out of a durable vulcanized material.
Evex is a discount luggage business with stores in Thornhill and Mississauga, but their product offerings are anything but cut-rate; they're known for offering the kind of discounts you just won't find downtown on quality brands like Briggs & Riley and Samsonite. They're also licensed repair centres for the brands they carry, making fixes right on the premises.
There are a handful of K Jamson stores scattered around the GTA, including downtown locations in the St. Clair Centre and Brookfield Place. They offer one of the widest brand selections on this list, running from A (Aoking) to Z (uh ... Victorinox). If you find a better deal on one of their pieces online, K Jamson says they will "do their best" to match or beat the price.
The New Jersey-based brand, known for their nigh-on-indestructible luggage, opened a boutique in Yorkville (where else?) last fall. When we say indestructible, we mean it: Their Tegra-Lite collection is made of an ultra-lightweight polymer used in race cars and protective NFL gear. None of this means a budget-friendly bag (carry-ons start at about $250), but if you're willing to make an investment, you'll look cool strutting down airport moving sidewalks for years.
Got a little time to kill at Billy Bishop? Spend a few minutes ogling the glorious gifts and travel gear at this shop (fun fact: it's the only retail store on the Island). It bears the name (and the gloriously minimalist bags) of WANT Les Essentiels de la Vie, the award-winning Montreal accessory design duo, who guided the vision and stock selection for the store. The selection's rounded out by travel-ready luxury odds and ends like soy candles and cashmere socks.
Those with big luggage budgets spend a day could do some killer comparison shopping near Bay and Bloor -- but Rimowa is a strong contender for that $500-plus you were planning to spend on a new suitcase. The German company sticks solely to hard-shell suitcases, engineered with their trademark grooves and painted in irresistible candy hues and metallics.
This Queen St. staple is low on heavy-duty luggage, but high on the trend factor -- here's where to grab a Barbour duffel bag, Herschel carry-on, or Fjällräven backpack. Prices aren't incredibly low, but the brands they offer have a rep for being well-made while still having plenty of cool cachet. In short, it's the perfect stop to gear up for a weekend getaway.
The Monocle Shop
This gents' lifestyle shop on College has everything you need to be a well-dressed man about town - including a stylish weekend bag. The selection is mostly made up of rugged-yet-refined nylon and twill messengers and duffels from Japanese brand Porter, in a range of sizes (to hold your raw denim and Barbour jackets).
Europe Bound is a little less 'jetting off to Paris', a little more 'roughing it with a tent and a miniature stove' or 'backpacking through Europe'. But the outdoorsy, rugged focus of this GTA chain (on Queen East, King West, Front, and another in Oakville) means you're getting something durable and functional for your cash, like their line of Eagle Creek wheeling suitcases. (Then stock it full of headlamps and tarps.)
If your brand of jet-set style skews more toward Milan, Piquadro's colourful, streamlined pieces will be right up your autostrada. The Italian brand's first-ever North American boutique, stocked with high-end, European-inspired bags, briefcases, backpacks, and other plane-ready gear, opened two years ago in -- shockingly -- Yorkville. (Fun fact: Piquadro is the official outfitter of Italy's Formula One racing team!) As with Tumi, though, bargain hunters need not apply.
What did I miss? Add your favourite luggage store to the comments below.