Shop ’Til You Drop

Shopaholics, we hope you brought an extra suitcase—Toronto has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to covetable goods. While in Toronto for the 2014 EAC Conference, check out these shopping hot spots:

Toronto Eaton Centre

That would be the mega-sized shopping mall just west of the conference venue (just take Shuter Street to Yonge Street). The mall stretches from Queen Street to Dundas Street (it’s book-ended by subway stations) and has hundreds of stores offering fashion, shoes, beauty products, gadgets, and much, much more. Check out Urban Eatery, the massive food court on the lower level, for tasty multicultural eats, and browse the shop directory to see all the great shopping options.

Queen Street West

Take the Queen streetcar west—it’s a great ride if you want to see the city, but it’s also your shuttle to great shopping. You can get off a few stops past Bathurst and walk back. You’ll find loads of indie boutiques featuring all manner of gift-worthy goodies, plus artisanal bakeries, gourmet burger joints and hipster coffee shops. The closer you get to the Eaton Centre, the more chain stores you’ll see (like H&M, Zara, and the Gap). Check out the shop list before going so you don’t miss anything!

Yorkville and Bloor Street

Shop with the rich and famous! A hippie haven in the sixties, Yorkville is now a glossy hot spot featuring shops, restaurants, and high-end salons. It’s not all designer goods—I love the quirky gift shop Rolo (24 Bellair) and munching on panini sandwiches at Lettieri (Bellair and Cumberland), where the patio is perfect for people-watching, in a neighbourhood where people go to be seen. To get to Yorkville, take the subway to Bay Station, or walk west on Queen or Dundas to Bay Street and take the bus north to Bloor. For more information on the area and its shops, check out Yorkville and Bloor online.

Chinatown and Kensington Market

For seriously fun shopping, walk or take the Queen or Dundas streetcar west to Spadina and troll the shops of Chinatown. You’ll find everything from kitchenware to jewelry (plus, of course, pastries and all-day dim sum). Head a little farther west into Kensington Market, one of Toronto’s storied neighbourhoods. Home to a revolving door of immigrant groups over the decades, the market is now a humming, vibrant ’hood offering multicultural foods, vintage clothing, handcrafted gifts, furniture, and much more.

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