The Toronto Guide
Just an hour-long flight from JFK, Canada’s largest city is both refreshingly urban and small town, with its network of singular neighborhoods making up what is arguably one of the most underrated destinations around. There’s opportunity for everything, be it let-your-hair-down revelry, a world-class food crawl, or a quick change of scenery for vacation-drunk kiddos. Every street corner is occupied by a cozy café, microbrewery, sustainability-focused restaurant, or any one of the many gems that make up Toronto’s culture scene. While the long winters are glacial at best, the whole place hums with the kind of subzero-induced energy that makes spending the bulk of your time indoors a blast.
North Standard Trading Post1662 Queen St. W., Parkdale | 647.348.7060
Simply put, the North Standard Trading Post stocks all the items you need to survive the brutal Canadian winter. (Think snug coats and sweaters from the likes of Carhartt and Woolrich, as well as North Standard's own label.) The store is celebration of adventure and outdoor living—you’ll notice collections of books themed around Canadian life, vintage issues of National Geographic, and a guide to camping with kids.
Mjölk2959 Dundas St. W., Junction Triangle | 416.551.9853
Mjölk translates to Milk, because the owners felt that word summed up the inventory, which, like milk, is pure, honest, and essential. This design store is run by husband and wife John and Juli Baker, who traverse the globe seeking out furniture, homewares, lighting, and interesting objects that embody their slow-living aesthetic. Expect a restrained, soothing interior and a careful edit of lifestyle pieces with a focus on craftsmanship and function, like beautifully made Japanese oak stirring spoons or charcoal pine incense—items that enhance your experience of daily life in your own home. The store also acts as a gallery space that regularly exhibits works by Scandinavian and Japanese artists, alongside Mjölk's own product collaborations with local and international designers that explore the art of the daily ritual.
119 Corbo119 Yorkville Ave., Yorkville | 416.928.0954
A quick stroll down the street from the Four Seasons you’ll find 119 Corbo, spread over two floors in a prettily outfitted navy townhouse. The edit leans heavily on European labels like Stella McCartney, Dries Van Noten, and Balenciaga across dresses, accessories, and more casual sweaters and shirts.
The Narwhal8 Price St., Rosedale | 647.351.5011
The Narwhal was opened on a quiet residential street in upmarket Summerhill in 2010 as a passion project between two friends. The store offering is eclectic, ranging from Rachel Comey and Ulla Johnson to backpacks, beauty products, and candles. We particularly love the selection of beautiful lingerie from Fortnight and simple hoops and bracelets from Canadian designer Jenny Bird.
Advice from a Caterpillar8 Price St., Rosedale | 416.960.2223
Advice from a Caterpiller is an enchanting store brimming with clothes, toys, accessories, and furniture for babies and littles up to eight years old. For the newborns in your life, shop for the most adorable onesies and rompers from Petit Bateau and Mini Rodini, bunny-eared woolen bonnets, and teeny-tiny sweaters and dresses. You’ll also find really beautiful—and practical—gifts for the mama, our favorite being the chic Moutmout portable changing mats. For older kiddos, choose from puzzles, books, and art supplies for entertainment, as well as a full clothing selection.
I Miss You63 Ossington Ave., Ossington | 416.916.7021
It was a purely word-of-mouth haunt for years, and owner Julie Yoo has managed to assemble one of those incredible vintage shops which is packed to the rafters with legitimate finds—everything from Yves Saint Laurent and Christian Dior. Each piece is in perfect condition, already dry-cleaned, touched up, and ready to wear. This treasure trove isn’t really the spot for a casual browse, but if you’re on a mission and ready to spend, I Miss You is hands down the best vintage store in Toronto, and perhaps one of the best in North America.
Soop Soop1319 Dundas St. W., West Queen West | 647.748.7667
Soop Soop was born out of the owner's frustration at not being able to find the publications he was looking for in Toronto. Aside from stocking an incredible selection of over eighty international magazines and art-house publications—including Tank, Love, i-D, and Self Service—Soop Soop has also expanded its offerings to include low- to high-end streetwear, bags, and hats.
TNT87 Avenue Rd., Yorkville | 416.975.1810
Founded in 1992, TNT has surged in popularity, and currently houses over 350 international designers. At over 18,000 square feet, the store is really more of a big brand-packed emporium than a boutique. You’ll find all the heavy hitters like Balmain and Victoria Beckham, plus streetwear favorites like Yeezy and Yohji, and smaller labels such as Ryan Roche.
Holt Renfrew50 Bloor St. W., Yorkville | 416.922.2333
With 180 years of fashion history under its belt, Holt Renfrew is to Canada what Bloomingdale's or Saks Fifth Avenue is to America—a storied luxury department store with a designer roster that hovers in the hundreds (from Mother denim to Margiela and everything in between). Special-touch services like on-site tailoring and monogramming are a lovely throwback to the store’s royal past (Queen Victoria was a fan).
Horses Atelier198 Walnut Ave., West Queen West | 416.504.9555
Horses Atelier was founded in 2012 by two best friends, Claudia Dey and Heidi Sopinka, who wanted to make clothes that were beautiful, utilitarian, and durable—the kind of trusted pieces that serve the backbone of your wardrobe, again and again. Sustainability is paramount to both founders, and everything is made with natural fabrics sourced from family-owned mills in Italy and Japan and sewn a mile from their Toronto studio. The pieces themselves are impossible not to love—soft turtlenecks, cool utilitarian jumpsuits in block colors, pretty silk dresses in loose shapes, and cocoon-shaped outerwear in the softest wool.
Type Books883 Queen St. W., West Queen West | 416.366.8973
Type Books is an adorable independent bookstore stocking titles across every category—from fiction and small-press works to art, design, and young adult. Parents and caregivers take note: There’s a wonderful section for littles out the back with kid-size mushroom-shaped stools to perch on while looking at shelves stacked with picture books and puzzles. The owners have successfully turned their business into a real community hub and regularly host evening talks with authors, giving locals the chance to engage with the literature and with one another.
Bay Street Video1172 Bay St., Yonge & Bloor | 416.964.9088
All aboard the nostalgia train straight back to the ’90s, when we all spent Friday nights cruising the aisles at the video store. For the film obsessive, this super specialty store stocks literally every film on DVD and Blu-ray, organized by director. You can also bring your old VHS tapes and get them transferred to DVD (hello, childhood home videos).
Gee Beauty2 Roxborough St. W., Rosedale | 416.486.0080
Sunny, airy, and meticulously edited, this space is actually a full-service beauty destination. Come here for brow shaping, facials, and a lengthy menu of waxing options—then take some of the magic home with you from the on-site boutique. The team behind Gee—mom Miriam and daughters Natalie, Stephanie, and Celene—keep the shelves brimming with tried-and-true beauty favorites, including Rodin, Sunday Riley, plus goop by Juice Beauty.
The Detox Market96 Scollard St., Yorkville | 647.352.7272
With a second location in Los Angeles, this clean beauty mecca is simple and calming in décor and well organized. Founded to combat the fact that some of the most toxic elements in a woman’s life come straight from her beauty products, it sells lines such as RMS, Ila, Rahua, Odacité, and our very own goop by Juice Beauty. A good place to start if you’re looking to clean up your beauty routine, the staff are super knowledgeable and happy to give guidance. There's now another Toronto outpost as well.
Hopson Grace1120 Yonge St., Summerhill | 416.926.1120
While home décor options at Hopson Grace are abundant, the presentation is never overwhelming. Store founders Andrea Hopson and Martha Grace McKimm have carefully curated delicate vases (which will undoubtedly turn you into a flower person, if you aren't already), ultramodern cheese boards, oil bottles, and other pretty kitchen essentials. All of it makes for special, thoughtful gifts for a host, but for something truly unique look to the HG Originals line—an assortment of specially made home artifacts including story tiles (each one bearing a Canadian scene), beautifully carved wood blocks, and even raw honey. Images courtesy of Ben Rahman.