oak and fort

The top 10 chains that came to Toronto in 2014

From fashion companies to restaurant chains, a slew of Canadian and international brands added Toronto to their list of home bases this year. Now, we're reaping all the benefits, which include, but are not limited to, the following: Better menswear shopping, celebrity-endorsed cheeseburgers, stylish home goods, deals on cute shoes, and shots of booze served on a ski.

Here are my picks for the top chains that came to Toronto in 2014.

A worldwide cult favourite, the Japanese chain settled in at Yonge and Dundas last month to a flurry of excitement (and massive lines of eager shoppers). Torontonians are already stocking up on their striped tees, their travel bottles, their unbleached paper notebooks...

This French chain, beloved by dapper gentlemen the world over, landed in Yorkville this spring and spread to the PATH this fall. Their stores are stocked with luxurious, guesswork-free basics for men, with prices that never budge.

Ever wanted to get lost in a sea of shoes? The closest you can get is this U.S. discount chain, which set up shop in Mississauga (at the Heartland Centre) and Newmarket (near the Upper Canada Mall) this year.

It was a banner year for menswear in Toronto, thanks in part to this clothing chain, which hails from Holland. At their Yorkville store, you can find modern suits and well-cut basics offset with quirky accessories.

It's round two in Toronto for this Polish makeup chain, which came and went in the city before returning to Dundas Square over the summer. Head down to stock up on holographic lipgloss and a water-permeable nail polish.

El Furniture Warehouse
This Whistler-born bar chain could have chosen no better neighbourhood to settle in Toronto than the Annex, where the everything-for-$5 menu and ski shooters have been a hit with local students. Their latest move has seen them open a sister spot on Queen West.

Oak + Fort
This Vancouver-based clothing company's streamlined, airy pieces are a perfect fit for Toronto. After starting out with a Shops at Don Mills location and a downtown pop-up, they've expanded into Square One in Mississauga and a permanent home on Queen West.

Frank & Oak
The Montreal menswear brand is pushing westward, adding a Queen West store to their growing empire. If you're not in the market for refined, reasonably-priced basics like sweats and merino V-necks, you can get an espresso at their cafe or a shave in their barbershop.

Local Public Eatery
We love a good Caesar here in Toronto, and this cross-Canadian chain (which serves 'em in a boot-shaped glass) fit right in when it moved to Liberty Village this year. (Another strong selling point: Guacamole freshly mixed table side.)

The Toronto of 2013 was sorely lacking in burger joints run by a family of celebrities. Fortunately, the Wahlbergs swooped in and saved us with a Toronto outpost of their combination fast-food and sportsbar chain, based out of the SoHo Hotel Metropolitan.

Did I miss any? Leave your favourite chain that arrived in Toronto in 2014 in the comments.

Photo of Oak + Fort by Jesse Milns.

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