Beth McTavish founded Halfmoon after a trip to India in 1983, inspired by the yogis she saw practicing at the edge of the Ganges River. Her goal: to integrate yoga and meditation into our everyday routines through products and props like eye pillows filled with Brazilian gemstones and intricately designed, hand-crafted yoga bolsters. If you love what you see, but don’t feel like lugging an extra piece of luggage with you, Halfmoon will ship anything they offer to the U.S.
1074 W Laurier Avenue, Le Plateau-Mont-Royal
This clean, sleek, minimalist space mirrors its wares—lots of Dries Van Noten, Lemaire, and Acne Studios, which draw the city’s creative class (art directors, architects, and the like). There are plenty of pieces for both men and women, and the men’s rack has some pretty fantastic options for women, too. There’s a nice selection of accessories (wallets, backpacks, and totes) from WANT Les Essentiels de la Vie, a line started by local twin brothers Byron and Dexter Peart. There’s a second outpost in Old Montreal.
Élément de Base
534 McCaffrey, Saint Laurent
The Montreal-based furniture maker is a homegrown, direct-to-consumer outfit: It collaborates with local designers for its robust selection of sofas, armchairs, benches—you name it. And because it works in a smaller way that’s more integrated with the local community, it's able to offer competitive pricing on its pieces, too. The best way to peruse the selection is on the site or via the beautifully curated Instagram feed, but there are also two showrooms in Montreal where you can test out, say, a sectional, in person before you commit.
Editions de Robes
5334 St Laurent Blvd., Mile End
In a charming storefront in the boho Mile End enclave, shop owner Julie Pesant’s philosophy is simple: “In order for a dress to find its way into our store, I have to love it enough to want it for myself,” she says. It follows that the shop is a treasure trove of sweet, feminine dresses—everything from classic A-line silhouettes and shifts from the brand’s house line to one-of-a-kind vintage pieces Pesant has handpicked for the store, plus well-known styles from Tibi, Cynthia Rowley, and Elizabeth and James.
70 Saint-Paul St W, Old Montreal
Denis Gagnon has an uncanny ability to work with leather in a way that feels sculptural and romantic at the same time. He works in a largely black palette, and no, his designs aren’t for the faint of heart—with details like exposed gold zippers, sequins, and cutouts on blazers, asymmetrical dresses, and blouses. Gagnon, also known for his thick black eyeglasses and heavy French-Canadian accent, was born in Montreal, so after spending years abroad working in Morocco in costume design, his return was a homecoming. The brand is adored for its eclectic ready-to-wear and custom one-off creations; the flagship store, located on a cobblestoned street in Old Montreal, has been around for almost a decade.
1120 Yonge St., Summerhill
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.
883 Queen St. W., West Queen West
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.
87 Avenue Rd., Yorkville
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.
8 Price St., Rosedale
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.
The Detox Market
96 Scollard St., Yorkville
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.
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