The best and worst Winners store locations in Toronto
Winners 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.