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Toronto: Canada’s largest city rolls out red carpet for shoppers

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It may be subliminal, but Toronto gives groups permission to shop. 

Yonge-Dundas Square, City Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Photo: Tourism Toronto Yonge-Dundas Square, City Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Window shop the elegant stores on Bloor Street. Explore the over-the-top malls like Toronto Eaton Centre, the legendary Hudson Bay’s flagship store and the very special Kleinfeld’s bridal boutique. 

Browse the world-class gift shops at the city’s world-class museums — think the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum), which is one of my favorites on the planet. Ditto for the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario) and its Frank Gehry connection. There’s the Bata Shoe Museum, too, and its subject matter speaks for itself. In the end, be sure to go home with a find, a memory maker that will whisper “Toronto” each time it is pulled from the closet or polished for the holidays.

“Toronto has emerged as a major style destination,”said Maxine Morrell-West, manager, North America leisure trade sales for Tourism Toronto. “From local labels to top brands, groups can explore our many retailers through outlet malls, shopping centers, vintage stores, home décor, boutiques and high fashion.” In the multicultural neighborhoods, groups can discover authentic goods from all over the world. “Over 140 languages and dialects are spoken on the busy streets,” she said.

Toronto’s top shopping destinations range from cool indie shops to outlet malls, vintage thrift stores and luxury boutiques.

To shop for vintage designs, local labels or a bargain, seek out the Leslieville neighborhood. Head toward The Beaches for mid-century modern and retro furnishings and accessories. For a countercultural bohemian vibe, try Kensington Market’s antiques, vintage finds and “new to you” clothing shops. Luxury shoppers can trek to midtown for Yorkville and the aforementioned Bloor Street for prestigious international retailers from Tiffany to Vuitton. 

This area is also home to Canada’s upscale department store, Holt Renfrew, and the flagship Roots store for cottage-chic casual wear and quality leather goods.

In addition to shopping, find theatre, museums, festivals, specialty tours and dining in Toronto.

From city center to the waterfront and the historic neighborhoods between, a progressive and inclusive culture permeates the city.

One thing groups shouldn’t miss are the city’s popular experiences and attractions.

“Toronto is the center of big-ticket experiences,” Morrell-West said. “Take in a theatrical performance — we offer Broadway musicals, comedy, dinner theatres and dance performances. 

Kensington Market, Toronto, Ontario

Photo: Tourism Toronto Kensington Market, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

“Toronto is one of the top cities for English-speaking theater and named one of the top cities to experience culture by Foreign Policy’s Global Cities Index. We have over 90 venues and more than 40 productions every month,” she said.

Iconic attractions fill out a group itinerary a la attractions like CN Tower, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, ROM, AGO, Casa Loma, Toronto Zoo, Ontario Science Centre and others.

“We are also a city of neighborhoods so groups should include Distillery Historic District, Toronto Waterfront [including]Toronto islands and a harbor tour, Kensington Market,” Morrell-West said.

“At a trip to the St. Lawrence Market, sample an iconic peameal bacon sandwich,” she said and I agree. It doesn’t get more Torontonian than that. 

For more information call Tourism Toronto at 416-203-2600 or visit seetorontonow.com.

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About Author

Mary Lu Laffey, Editor

Mary Lu Laffey is an award-winning editor and writer who has spent most of her adult life under a travel umbrella that is the perfect size for packing. A frequent contributor to the Worldview section in Group Tour and Student Group Tour magazines and always upfront in her From the Editor message, Laffey likes to hear a good tale even more than telling one.

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