The Best Eyeglasses in Toronto
The best stores to buy eyeglasses in Toronto - as voted by readers of this site - can mostly be found downtown, with a few exceptions further west, up north at Yorkdale, and into the industrial badlands of North York. And while they might all offer variations on the same theme season to season - the "National Health" frame reinterpreted in everything from pink plastic to carbon fibre is big this year - they offer them at a wide variety of prices.
Whether you only buy specs when a new lens prescription is in your hand, or scotch tape is holding together your old pair, or whether you have a drawer full of designer shades for every day of summer, the shops listed below will likely carry whatever you need to either see better, or improve how you're seen.
Here are the 12 best stores to buy eyeglasses in Toronto.
Sleek and minimalist, Spectacle has been on Queen West near Trinity Bellwoods for 5 years, selling reliably fashionable labels like Oliver Peoples and Alain Mikli. The store is a magnet for the walk-in trade, and carries frames ranging in price from $200 to $2000. The store also has locations in the Distillery and near Yonge and Lawrence. More »
“You live in a country,” Mel Rapp insists, “you buy the products of that country.” While many eyewear stores stock store labels, Rapp has the unique distinction of carrying its own Canadian-made line in its flagship College Street store. It’s a combination of Rapp’s personal and patriotic philosophy, at prices ranging from $390 to $1200 for the Rapp line. More »
Joe Singh’s dizzying jumble of a shop near the foot of Jarvis can be a bit overwhelming. “We carry everything,” he insists, and he might be right, with an inventory featuring labels like J.F. Rey, Tom Ford and Funk Royal, and prices from $150 to $1600. More »
This Church and Wellesley institution is small, but makes up for size with glam, and has a loyal clientele that changes eyewear almost as often as their shirts. Owner Farhad Gharemani insists that he never carries two of any frame, and strives to stock the most unique items from lines like Alain Mikli and Jean Paul Gaultier. More »
Open for just 2½ years, Gafas carries edgy labels like Dutz, Salt and Chrome Hearts, but made its name with a huge inventory of vintage frames from the ‘70s and ‘80s. With over 800 frames in its retro collection, you can take your head back to the future with labels like Playboy, Dior and Gucci. More »
On Queen West for 16 years, Specs & Specs has been selling fashion forward frames to hipsters since grunge still sold records. Their selection of labels avoids the obvious – names like Francois Pinton and ProDesign are featured – and prices are very reasonable, ranging from $150 to $300. More »
In an aging industrial park in North York, LF Optical’s east end location sells a broad range of name frames at deep discounts, thanks mostly to the low overhead afforded by its out-of-the-way stores. Labels like Gucci, Prada, Tom Ford, Oliver Peoples and Martin & Martin can be got at clear-out prices for as little as $69, or as much as $400 for frames featuring titanium or gemstones. More »
This recent arrival in Chinatown specializes in blingy eyewear designs from labels like Chrome Hearts and IC! Berlin, and while their range starts on the very low end at $60, they stock frames costing over $2,000, and special order items carrying price tags up to $137,000. More »
With stores in Yorkville and Yorkdale, Seen specializes in limited edition and exclusive frames from fashion lines like Chanel, Prada, Versace and Marc Jacobs. They also carry the little-seen and very flash Police label, with prices ranging from a lens and frame package for $149 to $1200 a limited edition Dior frame. More »
This tidy shop in Bloor West Village has pulled clients from all over the city for 15 years, and carries all the major names, including Face a Face, Alain Mikli, Oliver Peoples and Prada, at prices ranging from $200 to $750. More »
Karir Eyewear, one branch of Bob Karir’s eyewear mini-empire, features innovative eyewear like Linwood Optical’s Blac line of carbon fibre frames, and cutting edge design from companies like Hoet. Karir carries frames ranging from $300 on the low end to $1320 for their exclusive Hoets. More »
On Dundas West for over 20 years, this roomy but well-stocked store features lines like Mikita and Philippe Starck, at prices ranging from $200 to $800. Skiers will be interested in the sports eyewear it carries, including a selection of high-end ski goggles, including the Adidas Sport line. More »