Shopping in Toronto

As you'd expect in a city of this size, there's some serious shopping to be done. While the entire city has stores a plenty, there are some standout shopping areas.

For home wares and design items, the pricy shelves of King East is the place to go. Queen Street West and Yonge downtown is the mainstream fashion destination, with everything from a vast H&M and Esprit to Apple stores and shoe emporia. Labels get pricier and shoppers get swankier if you head north on Yonge to Yorkville and Hazelton Lanes — the top designer Mecca for the city's affluent and visiting A-listers. Back down at Queen Street, head west (and north at Augusta or Kensington) and you'll pass through quirky Kensington Market — see my Toronto Things to do page for a full write-up of all angles of this eclectic hood — with its vintage clothes stores, new age boutiques and eateries. Further west again, Queen West becomes West Queen West somewhere after Bathurst and fashions and arts get edgier, coffeehouses get more alternative and the people-watching gets increasingly interesting. You can walk for miles along Queen - it gets scruffier once you pass under the bridge after the Gladstone Hotel and (its shopping stretch) ends up at Roncesavalles with a cluster of appealingly priced second-hand furniture and antique stores.

To the east, Queen East has cute boutiques, record stores and pricier pre-loved furniture options. Little India, north of Queen, at Gerrard and Coxwell, is a rambling Indian Bazaar.

The Eaton Centre is downtown's big shopping destination — a one-block, four-story megamall with 230 retailers. It's connected to HBC, the Hudson's Bay Company, the country's venerable chain of department stores.

The other main thing you need to know about Toronto's shopping horizon is that whether it's stifling hot or icy cold outside, you can escape the weather by ducking into the 17 miles of the underground PATH network — underground walkways that connect malls, office buildings, subway stations and entertainment destinations underneath the entire downtown core.