5 shops to seek out in Yorkville

This month Toronto is celebrating the Shop Small program - a new movement focused on giving some thought to the importance of small, independent businesses and the vibrancy and culture they bring to our neighbourhoods. To mark the occasion, every Saturday morning this month we've been featuring some of our favourite small businesses in a different neighbourhood in Toronto. Today we take a look at some shops at Yorkville that really know how to make their clientele look good. Check out and support small businesses in your neighbourhood by pledging to #ShopSmall.

Long before West Queen West became the epicentre of boutique shopping in Toronto, Yorkville reigned supreme. It was where to go to buy that brand new suit, must-have handbag or coveted pair of shoes. Today, all of those things can still be found here but with an influx of small, independent boutiques the neighbourhood has re-established itself as a veritable shopping destination - even if it's a bit on the pricey side.

Whether it's before a movie at the Varsity or after catching the latest exhibit at the ROM, there's plenty of spots to shop at in Yorkville. Here are five that rank among my favourites.

Founded in Montreal 25 years ago, M0851 has built a reputation as a purveyor of impeccably crafted leather goods. Situated below the Prince Arthur Condos on Avenue Road, it's easy to pass by the sparsely merchandised storefront without even a glance. DON'T! With a focus on architectural durability and timeless design, these Italian leather, hand-made pieces are well worth the extremely reasonable investment (ranging from about $120 for a passport-wallet to $300+ for bags). Best of all, M0851 offers free repairs within the first year and then charges a small fee for future tailoring to ensure your bag lasts as long as you want it for.

Surviving for over 12 years as a small boutique in a secluded walkway off Cumberland is a pretty impressive feat in this day and age. Owner Cristina Burgess's eye for quirky and wearable contemporary design is certainly the key to the shop's success. The pastel-filled storefront is perhaps a bit put-offish for the edgier shoppers, but a quick rummage through the packed racks prove fruitful with unique picks from the likes of Loeffler Randall and Rebecca Minkoff as well as lesser known brands like apparel designers Demylee and jewelry designer Me & Ro.

Pomp and Pageantry

Located in one of the many second floor storefronts lining Yorkville, Pomp & Pageantry is a classic example of the high-low mix that has come to define small boutiques in Toronto. With a mix of local brands like Biko jewelry, Rachel Sin and Shay Lowe as well as L.A. and New York picks like Whitney Eve, Naven and Ashley Myre, owner Shellie Willms has all of your cocktail-appropriate needs covered. I couldn't even leave the store without purchasing a rad new ring from Toronto jewelry line Niki and Lola.

Carrying labels from the US, UK, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong, Capsule is a go-to spot for streetwear in Toronto. With brands such as Nike, Air Jordan, Converse, Vans, and New Balance, there are more than 250 different styles of footwear in the store. Specializing in unique, if not one-of-a-kind sneakers, Capsule has officially become the go-to midtown spot for the consummate sneaker-freak.

Haider Ackerman and Dries van Noten and Givenchy, oh my! Toronto may be one of the fashion capitals of Canada, but when it comes to getting your fashionable fingers on the slightly more obscure high-end contemporary European designers in this town, well...it's slim pickings. 119 Corbo is an incredible treasure trove of goodies straight from the ready-to-wear runways of Paris and Milan. Owner Linda Persia combs through the collections each season to find the pieces she knows her customers are aching for. Having brought exclusive labels like Rick Owens and Haider Ackerman, 119 Corbo is a must-stop for those looking to fill their wardrobes with some serious fashion.

Shop Small Toronto

Have a fave Shop Small business in Toronto? Vote for the five finalists in the Neighbourhood Gems contest on the American Express Canada Facebook page. You can vote once per day between April 29th and May 5th for the finalist voting period. Each vote earns you one entry into a daily draw to win a$50 Amex Gift Card. Check it out.

Thanks to Amex Bank of Canada for sponsoring this post

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