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Fashion & Style

The best and worst Winners store locations in Toronto

Posted by Staff / April 28, 2014

best winners torontoWinners stores in Toronto are always a roll of the dice. No matter which of the discount chain's many GTA locations you choose, you'll need lots of time - and a little bit of luck. You can't just walk in and pick up what you want - you have to dig to find that treasure, whether it's a designer item of clothing, shoes, cosmetics or something for the home.

The trick is knowing which Winners has what: some have more designer items and a better selection of clothing, while some have a better home collection. It all depends on what you want and how much you want to search for it. That's the secret of Winners - it's all about the thrill of the hunt and the joy of the deal.

Here are the best and worst Winners in Toronto.

BEST

College Park
This is considered one of the best Winners in the city - the large, marble-floored location is the perfect place to find that item of clothing to complete your wardrobe. Need a trench for the spring? It's probably here. It also has a healthy designer section, recently offering a grey Saint Laurent bag at just $1,999.99. It has a good selection of menswear and if you're athletically-inclined, all the items you need to equip your home gym, like kettle balls and yoga mats. It also has a very healthy cosmetics section. The only downside? The store is very popular (it's right at the College subway stop), so if you see something you like, buy it immediately.

Bathurst and Lawrence
The shoe selection at this north-end location isn't that great, but there is a balance of clothing and household items, with a good selection of men's brands, designer labels, cosmetics and travel items. It's one of the smaller stores, so the selection isn't as varied as the bigger downtown locations.

Queen and Portland
Located on top of the Joe Fresh and Loblaws, this Winners might be the best one for finding designer clothing - if that's your thing. You might have luck finding Pink Tartan or a discontinued Canadian designer hanging on the rack. If that's not your thing, there's a broad selection of shoes, as well as a good menswear selection.

Yorkville
This two-storey store is easy to navigate. Shoes, cosmetics, jewellery and accessories are on the first floor; clothing, lingerie and housewares on the second. This store has one of the bigger household selections, recently offering copper cookware and numerous cake stands. The Bloor St. location means the store sees a lot of foot traffic, so the racks are usually picked over. This is one of the better Winners for jewellery.

Leaside
This location, one of the chain's newest, has two storeys. That means a bigger selection of items - but also means it tends to be picked over, just like its sister store Marshalls, just up the road at Eglinton and Brentcliffe.

Milton
It's out of the way (at least a 40 minute drive from downtown Toronto) but if you want to pick up something for the home, this Winners has a big selection of chairs, benches, tables, art work and pots. You can stock your kitchen entirely with Le Creuset from this location. The clothing, men's and shoe selection isn't that great but there is the rare find of a Mackage coat for less than half the retail price if you're willing to dig through the tiny coat selection.

BEST/WORST

Dufferin Mall
This location seems to have supporters and detractors. Some love it because all the good stuff is available, thanks to the mall's crowd of older patrons. Others hate it because it's messy and difficult to find items. Bottom line: This one really requires some extra digging time.

WORST

King and Spadina
Everything in this location seems wilted, dated and made of very limp polyester. The clothes are tired, the household selection is bland and the shoe section is picked over. The walls are dark and it may also have the least flattering lighting in the change rooms. They seem to do well in hair styling products based on their window displays.

Cloverdale Mall
Winners seems to suffer from distance syndrome - the clothing seems to get worse the further you travel from the city core. Cloverdale Mall's Winners is one of the more tired stores, not really offering a great selection of anything.

Richmond Hill
There are two Winners stores in Richmond Hill: one at Richmond Heights Plaza and the other at Yonge and Highway 7. They both have the same problem: they're small, messy and their selection isn't great.

Did I miss your favourite - or least favourite - Winners store? Let me know in the comments below.

Writing by Renee Sylvestre-Williams, photo by experttorontogirl on Flickr.

Discussion

50 Comments

Nadine / April 28, 2014 at 01:36 pm
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The Queen & Portland location sucks.They never have inventory, even if you go on the "good" days.And the stuff they do have is always looks like the end of the day leftovers. The Dufferin location is definitely better - and that's saying a lot.
Nadine / April 28, 2014 at 01:38 pm
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also - what about the one on Front (west of Church)? Did it close?
Sneert / April 28, 2014 at 01:56 pm
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I look forward to BlogTO's list of best sidewalk cracks in Toronto.
TJ / April 28, 2014 at 01:57 pm
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Fun list!
No question, the absolute best location is College Park for women and men's clothing. They have semi-annual and continual high-end designer sales that no other location has. Things go super fast at this location.
K / April 28, 2014 at 02:04 pm
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What about Gerrard Square?
Alan / April 28, 2014 at 02:30 pm
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Colelge Park might be a great place to shop but it you work there… Like most places, you have a few good workers and many time-wasters… often encouraged by management as they also participate. Staff complaints to store management are, for the most part, ignored and staff are strongly discouraged from contacting head office or corporate HR when their concerns are not taken seriously. Formal training in Human Resources, workplace health and safety and acceptance of diversity should be mandatory for all coordinators/managers – being a key holder doesn’t qualify you as a manager, it only allows you to unlock the door in the morning - nothing more, nothing less.
-.- replying to a comment from K / April 28, 2014 at 02:45 pm
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The Gerrard Square location should definitely round out the worst list. It's small, inventory doesn't get changed often enough and almost aways picked over!

The East York location is pretty great.

Can't decide about the Vaughan Mills half-Winners/half-Homesense. It's massive, has tons of stock, but always looks like a whirlwind has gone through it!
cathie / April 28, 2014 at 03:23 pm
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In the same vein, where's the best Homesense? I've heard there's one in Brampton that's exceptional.
Sadie / April 28, 2014 at 03:40 pm
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Yorkville location is the absolute worst. Terrible selection ALWAYS and it's always filthy in there. No idea how this landed on the best list.
Ani H. / April 28, 2014 at 03:47 pm
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What about the winners by Victoria park and Sheppard?
danah / April 28, 2014 at 04:07 pm
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the mall at wilson and jane?
Lori / April 28, 2014 at 04:08 pm
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Have to admit I've never been in the "bests" identified...but I've given up on Winners for me. I found them universally filthy, and it would disgust me to put on something from there.
Aleesh / April 28, 2014 at 04:10 pm
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Queensway and Kipling - worse than Cloverdale...
Todd Toronto / April 28, 2014 at 04:30 pm
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Best Coffee Time?
Mary / April 28, 2014 at 04:53 pm
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The best should be the one at Laird, near Eglinton! Same stuff as College Park, but a bigger store = more stuff.

??? / April 28, 2014 at 05:22 pm
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What about Scotia Plaza?

Is that gone? Used to have a real decent selection.
iSkyscraper / April 28, 2014 at 05:40 pm
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This is a weird article. Do people really care that much about Winners, and do chain stores with high inventory turnover really differ consistently? It's not a paid piece since you included a "worst" section, but still rather random. What's next, best Shoppers?

If you really want to know the best Winners, it's called "Any TJ Maxx Store in the United States" since they will have the identical stuff for lower prices. (The same company owns Winners, TJ Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods/HomeSense).
Brent replying to a comment from iSkyscraper / April 28, 2014 at 06:00 pm
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I agree... the categories are getting weirder. One thing when it is "top ten late night burger joints" where there are a bunch of independent places with actual differences between them. Then it was Loblaw's/No Frills, where I suppose you could say that there is some variability in size / age of store, plus it's for a product (groceries) everyone needs all the time, but even that is stretching the spirit of the series. But Winners? What is the next category... "best Mark's Work Wearhouse"?? Best Esso station? (We all know which one of those will come out ahead... a certain Etobicoke location with a well-stocked refrigerated section that also happens to be conveniently located and well suited for "business transactions"...)
Pippa / April 28, 2014 at 06:01 pm
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One of the best I've seen is in Oakville on Dorval Drive. Aside from regular great deals and finds, this location has an exceptionally large designer selection for clothes (dolce and gabbana, pink tartan, see by chloe, etc.), shoes (coach, Sam edelman, Rene caovilla, lanvin, etc.), purses (mk, coach, Rebecca minkoff, kate spade, the occasional saint Laurent, Gucci, or cavalli, etc.), jewelry and watches (marc jacobs, mk, juicy couture, kate spade, as well as fine jewelry), and cosmetics (nars, smashbox, CHANEL, opi, Essie, ciate, etc.). I find this location dangerous to go to because of all the things I have a hard time leaving without.
EMQ / April 28, 2014 at 06:05 pm
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I stopped shopping at Winners when they began eliminating their Plus size departments.

Samantha / April 28, 2014 at 06:46 pm
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Winners at Bathurst and Centre is horrible. They sell fake merchandise such as fake coach purses, which defeats there whole slogan brand names for less. Also you can purchase your seven and true religion jeans at holts last call and true religion store much cheaper! This company is slowly going out of business since all American companies are coming to Canada. As well, they have horrible customer service and treat there employees poorly.
Martha replying to a comment from Samantha / April 28, 2014 at 06:49 pm
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I have to agree with you. The managers changed and the store went down the drain. no diversity in the store either. Everyone speaks every language BUT english.
horrible.
DD / April 28, 2014 at 07:58 pm
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Surprised the one in St Lawrence Market area didn't make the best list, it's one of the better ones for sure. Good sized location
J / April 28, 2014 at 09:17 pm
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Looks like blogto is running out of things to write about. Though if winners is the most interesting topic of the day - can anyone explain why they open stores right next to each other? There's a winners and a marshalls at college park - with the exact same merchandise and the same tags.
tdot / April 28, 2014 at 09:47 pm
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@EMQ you may want to check out Laird and Eglinton location. Last time I was there they still had plus sizes.
zamo / April 28, 2014 at 10:08 pm
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I prefer the one on top of Loblaws on Queen St. Also, shouldn't you include Marshalls in here, or will there be a separate article with those? :)
Big John replying to a comment from EMQ / April 28, 2014 at 11:05 pm
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Agreed, I also stopped shopping when they discontinued the Plus Size clothing. I find there is nothing better than sleeping in plus size womens underwear....preferably clean!
Natasha / April 28, 2014 at 11:48 pm
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This best/worst list would be of interest to corporate women with loads of disposable income, a need to always look better dressed than their rivals, but short on time to cruise around to more than one chain store to find a bargain. That may be the logic for those doubters out there as to the veracity of its compilation! One of our in-laws has held upper management positions in a number of big name corporations in the GTA - yet - she always claims bragging rights to her latest 'find' at Winners. I couldn't believe it!

I hate shopping at any Winners listed here. Ridiculous prices on most designer items (can get for less at the true store on sale), zero sales staff for questions or assistance, the stores are a mess (I've put items back in the right rack for them just to be able to go through the section I was looking at!) and very poor sizing options - regular and plus and any other size too!

I only go in now if a friend insists and I have never left that store feeling as if my time was well spent. Remember folks - whether it's a 'steal' or not - all the items in this chain are for sale here because they didn't sell elsewhere as first-run items.
Brad replying to a comment from EMQ / April 29, 2014 at 12:23 am
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me too EMQ, they used to be great for big sizes, but I don't bother anymore
choubz176 / April 29, 2014 at 06:14 am
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Yonge and college Hands Down, there is always something nice to find
Jill / April 29, 2014 at 09:12 am
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The Queen and Portland DID have the best designer selection but no longer have a runway selection FAIL!!:(
joan / April 29, 2014 at 09:41 am
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You'll soon have another location to rate and add to the list. The Stockyards WINNERS opens on May 1! It will likely be light on home decor since there is a HomeSense right across the parking lot.

Angelina / April 29, 2014 at 02:10 pm
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I love Winners.. I can't shop anywhere else anymore..
Why would you ever pay $250 for J Brand Jeans when you can get 4 pairs for that price at Winners? Mind Blowing!
Christian / April 29, 2014 at 02:16 pm
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@ pretty sure they do not sell fake goods as they are a large box company and COACH would have sued if that was the case. plus they are an american company (i hope you knew that) as they are apart of TJX. plus they prob aren't going out of business as they keep opening up new stores? either that or they have a weird business model lol
Christian replying to a comment from Christian / April 29, 2014 at 02:17 pm
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sorry @Samantha
Betty / April 29, 2014 at 02:18 pm
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There is no way you are finding designer brands for less anywhere except Winners. My go to for all branded items!
Marta / April 29, 2014 at 02:46 pm
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1. The Dufferin Winners is AMAZING..the whole point of Winners is to rummage and take the time to look for amazing deals..so if you arent up for that..then go to a regular store! I bought a huge Burberry beach bag there for $200 on sale and tonnes of designer jeans as well..so they have plenty of great stuff
2. Cloverdale Winners,mind you not as good as it once was, is still pretty damn good!
3. King and Spadina Winners has some amazing deals and great finds always!!
D. Kelly / July 30, 2014 at 09:33 pm
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Can anyone confirm that Winners was formerly known as Willy Wonderful?
Lou / July 31, 2014 at 01:01 am
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Actually this is a very good article. Some may laugh at it but in reality Winners is drastically different from location to location that warrants such article. I find most of what it says true. It is clear from first visit to these stores mentioned that they stock different locations differently based on demographic served. I have never seen any other chain store that use this strategy to this extend. Great article and insight!
Sara / August 8, 2014 at 08:24 pm
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Oakville always has a good selection in the women's designer section, home goods
me again / August 8, 2014 at 08:29 pm
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Winners is and has always been so OVERRATED
Danny / August 8, 2014 at 09:18 pm
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How about best geography lesson? Richmond Hill is a stretch for Toronto. Milton though? Geeze! I didn't realize hipster geography was so bad. Or was this meant to be ironic? Let me put on a plaid shirt and slinky jeans and ponder it while sipping on bad craft beer.
Talentscout / August 9, 2014 at 11:02 am
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I do not agree with this list...Everything picked over at Laird.... This list is inaccurate and incomplete.....Sorry Do not agree with your list....Bathurst and Lawrence Location? For get it ...Nothing there...
Talentscout / August 9, 2014 at 11:06 am
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Everything is hit and miss at Winners....I have to go to 4 to 5 stores to get something....Winners is OVERRATED..
Talentscout replying to a comment from Talentscout / August 9, 2014 at 11:10 am
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There are so many Winners stores in Toronto not on this list ..Why on earth would anyone from Toronto go to Milton? NO THANKS...
why? / August 9, 2014 at 11:12 am
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Why is there a Winners on Bloor Street? Makes no sense to me as it seems to low end for the Mink Mile.
Terri / August 9, 2014 at 04:35 pm
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It's buyer beware for stores such as Winners bc most of their product, even branded product, is manufactured especially for them & MS is marked way high. Also the reason you never see certain brands outside of a TJMax store is bc those are essentially their private labels. Having said that, I do find decent merchandise there on a regular basis. I've been frequenting The Stockyards Winners & Homesense. They're not bad.
Kit Kat replying to a comment from Ani H. / August 9, 2014 at 06:08 pm
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There's always bargains to be found at Sheppard & Victoria Park (east of Hwy 404).
Barbara / August 13, 2014 at 12:50 pm
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I actually find quite a few items at the Cloverdale location and am surprised to see it on the "worst" list. It's not clean... but what Winners location isn't covered in an inch of dust? By far one of the worst locations for me is the Winners at Scotia Plaza. It's dirty, the racks are messy, and although the racks look full, they seem to have a lot of junk on them! For a downtown Toronto location, I'd expect better quality items.
Carolyn Wilson / August 19, 2014 at 03:25 pm
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EMQ

You made a reference to underwear "preferably clean ones".
Don't you know that you wash all underwear first before putting them on your body. Just the thought of not doing so eewwww.

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