10 of our favorite places to shop in Canada
We love to travel to see the world, experience new things, and enlarge our horizons, but one of the most important things that we love to do is shop. Canada has some amazing shopping experiences. It has high-end stores, wild marketplaces, farmers markets, and some of the largest malls in the world. So plan out that visit and get a base for your shopping trip with some Canada vacation rentals and let’s bring out that shopaholic in you.
One of the quaintest high-end shopping areas that you must see in Toronto is Yorkville-Bloor. Yorkville has a definite Victorian feel to it and Bloor Street, which runs next to it, boasts some of the biggest names in fashion such as Tiffany & Co., Louis Viton, and Prada. If you are in the mood to buy a Rolls Royce, you can do that too here. If you are looking to expand your artistic side, there are many galleries and art dealers that you can peruse. The streets of Yorkville are small and quiet, and at Christmas time, the lights and decorations make you feel like you have stepped into a movie. This is truly one of our favorite places to shop.
2. ByWard Market
The opposite of Prada and Rolls Royce, we have one of the largest farmers markets in Canada. Situated near the nation’s parliament, ByWard market sells almost anything you can think of. It’s an eclectic mix of vendors selling everything from maple flavored honey to distinctly unique handicrafts. It’s a good place to do some local sightseeing as well, as located in the area is one of the oldest churches in Canada, the National gallery of Canada, and many other landmarks. There are many restaurants in the area so you can spend a full day wandering around and getting that shopping fix.
3. Old Quebec City
A wonderful place for boutiques and art is Old Quebec, a world heritage site. Old Quebec also has one of the oldest department stores in Canada, called Simons, which opened in 1840. If you are in the market for artwork, you must go to Rue du Trésor, a street full of local artists with thousands of works of art on display. Shopping in Old Quebec makes you feel as if you have stepped back in time; it’s just so quaint and Victorian. Old Quebec is definitely a must see and a must shop. At Christmas time you definitely have to bring your camera as the streets look as if they are coming right off a postcard.
4. West Edmonton Mall
Edmonton Mall in Edmonton will definitely let you get your shop on. West Ed, as it is referred to locally, was one of the largest shopping malls in the world at one time. Although it has since lost that title and dropped to number 10, it is still a behemoth and a great place to spend the day finding deals. There are over 800 stores to see (yes, I said 800), so there is definitely something for everyone. If you have brought the family with you and they are less inclined to the joys of shopping, there is also an amusement park in the center of the mall that will keep them busy. The park includes the world’s longest indoor roller coaster, a miniature golf course, and even a water park, so more than enough things to keep the family entertained while you commune with your inner shopper.
5. Pacific Mall
A slightly more unusual mall would be Pacific Mall in Markham, Toronto. With 450 shops it is known as the largest Asian mall in North America. Pacific mall is a way to go shopping in Asia without ever leaving Canada. The best time to plan a trip to the Pacific mall is around Chinese New Year, where there are many events such as performances by various Asian stars, as well as many New Year’s activities and decorations. It’s one of the few malls where you can even take a break with an Asian karaoke bar.
Continuing with the Asian theme, Toronto boasts one of the largest Chinatowns in North America. You can get lost in the streets and shops looking for the best bargains on unique items. Asian fashion, jewelry, trinkets, artwork, are all here see. There is also a vast selection of restaurants serving food from various ethnic areas in Asia, such China, Vietnam, and Korea. Between the pacific mall and Chinatown, you can feel as if you had a shopping trip to SE Asia without ever leaving Canada. The best time to go is in August for the Chinatown festival. The lantern decorations are amazing, with dragon dancers, performers, street vendors blanketing the area.
7. St. Jacob’s Farmers Market
An interesting place to shop, as well as to experience some different culture, is St. Jacob’s Market in Ontario. St. Jacob’s is known for is mixture of modern as well as horse-drawn buggies of the local Mennonites. There are hundreds of stalls selling various local specialties from the area, including handcrafted furniture and other unique items. To really enjoy the culture aspect, say hello to some of the locals and maybe pick up some tips on where to find the best bargains.
8. Vaughan Mills Mall
Another massive mall to visit and again one of the largest in Canada is Vaughn Mills Mall in Ontario. It has over 250 stores and more than a dozen anchor stores. It is right next to Canada’s Wonderland, a 330-acre theme park with 16 roller coasters. A good place if you need to keep your family entertained as you focus on the serious business of shopping. There is also a Legoland discovery center at Vaughn as another possible family entertainment.
9. The Toronto Eaton Centre
Sticking to the large mall theme, The Toronto Eaton Centre is the third largest mall in Canada, with over 250 stores. It is a more modern mall with a glass roof and a large open feel. There are many great bargains to be had here, as well as many stores with great discounts. The Eaton Centre is one of the busiest malls in North America; in fact, there are more than twice the amount of visitors to the mall every year than visit Disneyland every year. It is one of the easiest malls to get to in Toronto as it is near the center of downtown and even boasts 2 subway stations.
10. Kensington Market
The opposite of the mega malls is the Kensington market area in Toronto. If you are tired of the anchor store chains and want a different experience, then Kensington market is the refreshment you need. You can find small boutiques here and restaurants that you won’t find anywhere else. There are little comfortable coffee shops where you can relax and plan, as well as many retro clothing stores. This is a place to get some serious bargains for those in the know. There are street vendors and all types of businesses jammed together in a hectic but relaxed fashion. Make sure you go on the last Sunday of the month as it turns into an open market with the street blocked off from cars.
Canada is a great place to shop, whether you want to be overwhelmed by the mega malls with hundreds of stores, or just shop and relax with a coffee, some street performers, and few bargains. I hope we have given you some ideas of where you can go and what you can see to fulfill that inner shopping demon. We have given you both ends of the spectrum, from the quaint to the gargantuan, but all of them are experiences to be had and remembered. Let us know what some of your favorite places to shop are, and may your credit cards always be warm.