neighbourhoods shopping toronto

The top 10 neighbourhoods for shopping in Toronto

The top neighbourhoods for shopping in Toronto allow for hours and hours of perusing at your leisure, with each additional store within reasonable walking distance from the last. For these trips, park your car or bike nearby and get your recyclable bags ready for some stuffing, since you surely won't leave empty-handed.

Here are my picks for the top neighbourhoods for shopping in Toronto.

West Queen West
While Queen West has given way to mainstream stores, West Queen West has a bit of everything: carefully curated vintage stores like Cabaret, boutiques dedicated to hard-to-find and cult lines, like Sauvage and Gravitypope, and a dose of slick menswear from Nomad, Sydney's and Frank & Oak.

Dundas West
What was formerly just Little Portugal - a hood littered with churrasqueira restaurants and European bakeries - has given way to fashion havens like the Blue Button Shop and perfectly minimalist spots like Bodega Thirteen. VSP Consignment is a must-visit, along with vintage spots like Bridge + Bardot and Penny Arcade.

Sandwiched between Dundas West and West Queen West, Lower Ossington's shopping haunts are scattered among its bars and dining destinations. At boutiques like Annie Aime, Crywolf and Victoire, the vibe is fun and relaxed; step up your menswear game at Lost & Found and Philip Sparks.

Between vintage mainstays like Public Butter and Common Sort, and newer shops like Sylvie & Shimmy, Parkdale mixes old-fashioned surprises and modern variety. Three Fates offers fun vintage and new finds on the cheap, while lifestyle shops Future of Frances Watson and Community 54 are perfect for window shopping and/or dropping serious cash.

Kensington Market
Besides the jewellery, toques, and sunglass stands, Kensington boasts numerous shops dedicated to crafty jewellery and vintage pieces: Courage My Love, Exile, Flashback, and Bungalow. Expect nothing new in this hood - with notable exceptions being Bungalow's front end, Model Citizen, Kid Icarus and Good Egg.

If you're looking for those catch-all boutiques that carry great gift items, cards, soaps, accessories, and anything else under the sun, Roncesvalles has a sweet selection. At Likely General you'll find everything from honey to tote bags, while Scout is stocked with super neat things you'd scour for on Etsy for hours. Also of note: Unisex Toronto-based brand Muttonhead.

King East
King East is one of the best spots in the city for high end furniture and other home dĂŠcor necessities. Klaus by Nienkamper and Kiosk provide all the high-design window-shopping you could ever want, while RADform, Suite 22 Interiors, and Calligaris will satisfy your need for contemporary fixings, i.e. expensive clear plastic furniture that appears to be from IKEA but is definitely much better quality.

Yonge & Eglinton
Midtown's notable shopping destinations are often overlooked by their mainstream neighbours--yes, there's a huge RioCan shopping centre and one outstanding Shoppers Drug Mart - but there's also more than a few spots worth taking a gander at. There's Canon Blanc, Poor Little Rich Girl and Heidi Ho for women's fashions and jewellery; Squint for eyewear and Sporting Life for the whole family.

Yorkville has maintained its rep as the home of luxury brands and designer storefronts. Chanel and Prada aside, the area is also home to Toronto's own Pink Tartan, while men's fashion stores cater to the high-end, tailored types - think Suitsupply and Loding. On the streetwear side, there's Contraband, Uncle Otis, Working Title, and Untitled & Co..

Castlefield Design District
This north-end neighbourhood (near Eglinton and Caledonia) has the space to house the kind of massive home-design stores you can't always find downtown. Check out ELTE's brand new ELTE Market space and Shelter for modern furnishings, as well as vintage furniture stores like The Door Store, Kantelberg + Co. , and Sharon O'Dowd (where you can customize your furniture, too).

Did I miss any? Leave your favourite shopping neighbourhoods in Toronto in the comments.

Photo of Annie Aime by Morris Lum.

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