The top 30 optical stores in Toronto by neighbourhood
Optical stores in Toronto range in price, style and service. For someone who wears glasses, the hunt to find the perfect pair can be daunting. But we all know the best thing to do is try everything on, everywhere. This guide should help you navigate the journey to finding your new angular face.
Here are my picks for the top optical stores in Toronto by neighbourhood.
Opened in 1972, Specs on Bloor is a great place for U of T folks or really anyone on Line 2. They guarantee quick turnarounds and 30 per cent off for students and carry an impressive range of brands.
Eye Candy Opticians carries a medley of specs and sunglasses from big names like Gucci, Versace, Tom Ford and Prada. It also offers basic eye exam appointments and preventative exams, if you think your current prescription/eye health isn't up to snuff.
BLOOR WEST VILLAGE
Humber Optical has a range of glasses both crafted by Walter, the owner for well over 30 years, and big names like Face a Face, Alain Mikli, Oliver Peoples and Prada, at prices ranging from $200 to $750. It's a family-owned business that specializes in the perfect fit and has a cult-like following.
Centro Optical is a neighbourhood and family fave in the Bloorcourt area. They also do contact lens fittings and eye exams. They've got a good selection of brand names, but don't mind if you bring in the model number, colour and size of the frames of a brand they carry so they can order it for you.
A a truly enviable collection of vintage and contemporary eyeglasses and sunglasses can be found at Face Furniture on Parliament Street. The price for frames covers a broad range of budgets. The majority of their stock is new, but they carry well-made and carefully-tested vintage frames from Ray Ban, Giorgio Armani and Nina Ricci.
Minh Chau Optical is a must-visit in your search for unique glasses in the city. They specialize in bling-y 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 that carry price tags up to $137,000.
CHURCH WELLESLEY VILLAGE
Eyes on Church owner Farhad Gharemani will make you feel welcome but not pressured when you walk into this tiny glasses shop in the Village. His shop might be small, but it's packed with brands and frames you won't see anywhere else in the city. He also runs a shoe shop upstairs.
Da Sapia Optical is St. Clair Avenue West's must-visit glasses shop. It's a family owned and operated shop, open since 1998, and they deal in luxury brands and limited edition collections. It's an inviting little boutique that will make you feel fancy just by walking in and slapping something on your face.
Modern Optical opened on the east side in 1968! They have a great love for the neighbourhood and their customer's faces. Not only do they have a great selection of glasses, but they also do eye exams and contact lens fittings. Diro, Bvlgari, Prada, Derk Lam, Persol... they carry a lot of classics, nothing too flash-in-the-pan trendy.
Spectacle's mothership might be on West Queen West, but it's their Distillery shop that has a lot more room and time to browse. The vibe is a bit slower and they still carry all the good stuff. Head down the Rack House Mews and stroll in the spacious shop packed with the most exciting brands, and latest shapes and colours. It's also a key spot for sunglasses shopping.
Chinatown Optical has been 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.
Queen Spectacle are obsessed with glasses, which is proven on their adorable Instagram feed. They also do eye exams, but it's finding the ideal frames that they love to help with. They even write small, cute articles to help you navigate your next prescription or sunglass investment.
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.
Opticianado stands alone in its sharp focus on vintage frames. The massive selection of deadstock specs means customers can go home with something literally no one else in town is wearing. Secretly, we all know that's what everyone wants. Lots of made-in-Canada frames in store as well.
Just at the top of the market is this adorable glasses shop. 312 Optical Studio focuses on high-design, high-quality specs at a variety of price points. It's a modern, immaculately laid out store with an on-site optometrist three days a week, a rotating selection of artwork decorating the walls, and a selection of frames from globe-spanning eyewear companies.
Optic Zone has by far the most loyal customer base in all of Toronto. People swear by Joe and his small team of experts. The place is the size of a large walk-in closet, and it's packed to the rafters with frames. But one look at your face and a couple words to get your personality type and they will have you fitted. It's actually shocking.
Advance Opticians have served this East end hood since the 1980's, when lenses were huge and plastic. They're located in Gerrard Square and have walls and walls of selection, as well as technicians to help with all that other serious stuff. They also have no problem ordering your fave frames for you and helping you out with a deal.
See and Be Seen Eyecare is an optometrist and eyewear shop all in one. Loads of technical eye care appointments can be made, and they've got a fun, gorgeous shop. Their eyewear collection from around the world, infuses classic style with modern design, so you can go from paddle boarding on the beach, to dinner and post-drinks in one swoop.
Rapp Optical has the unique distinction of carrying its own Canadian-made line in its flagship College Street store. Prices range from $390 to $1200. They're so friendly and good looking, you'll want to not only try on glasses for hours just to hang out, but to be best buds with everyone in there. Don't be intimidated by the cases of frames; they know what they're doing.
Ivan Optical is like that girl or guy at school you want to be around to just breathe in the essence of how cool they are. Their brand selection is on point. It's high end, but not crazy, can't-pay-my-rent expensive. They've been in the biz for 15 years and have all the optical science needs on site as well.
Interesting, unique and clean are how Eye Studio describe themselves and they're glasses. They carry things they believe are cool and are made with quality. It's a curated collection of frames you can trust. They have an in house optician and recommend coming in for a coffee and re-discovering your face.
LF Optical began as a wholesale lens manufacturing business supplying local optical shops, then they started selling to the public in 1986 and things have never been the same. They have a massive collection of optical and sunglass frames and are happy to order from across Canada.
Bailey Nelson (who is not a real person, by the way) is a boutique eyewear store on Queen West. Originally founded in Australia in 2012, the cute and clean shop aims to provide high-quality, trendy, glasses and sunglasses you can actually afford (ranging from the basic $145 to the highest price point of $345).
Richmond Hill's favourite Optometrist and Optician, Optical Eyeworks has over 1,000 pairs of eye glasses and sunglasses to choose from, along with a one hour service on most prescription lenses. They always have multiple opticians on hand and offer free lens tune ups!
If unique and vintage is what you're after, head to Phila. Since 1995 they've specialized in classic and modern eyewear. Brands you didn't even know existed, including the environmentally sustainable Horn eyewear, sit next to local community art. This store loves where they live and the slightly blind people they serve.
Eyewear Emporium is a super discount frame and sunglasses store for those looking for a deal. Their selection is huge; they have on-site optometrists and have been serving the public for 20 years. If you don't want to spend $300 on frames, or need a good in-between pair, this is the place.
WEST QUEEN WEST
Warby Parker, an eyewear brand best known for affordable, vintage-inspired frames, finally set up shop in Toronto in August 2016. It's the brand's very first foray into international retail (although they've opened over 30 across the U.S.), and everything is designed in-house, retailing for just $150 including prescription lenses and shipping.
World Eyewear have outlasted many in the Yorkville neighbourhood. They specialize in luxury and unique frames including Alexander McQueen, Mont Blanc, Oliver Peoples, Paul Smith Spectacle and Tom Ford. Stop in to visit the optician or sales folks and try some fancy frames on. They're happy to help you leave feeling glam.
YONGE & BLOOR
Josephson Opticians has six locations around Toronto, including their flagship at Bloor and Bay. You'll find eyeglasses and sunglasses from a variety of luxury brands such as Matsuda, Chrome Hearts and Lunor.
Did I miss your favourite optical shop in your neighbourhood? Let us know in the comments and help us see more clearly.
Photo of Warby Parker by Jesse Milns.
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