Travel tips



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In 1998, seven former municipalities (East York,City of Etobicoke,North York, Scarborough,the city of York and the Regional Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto) were merged to form Toronto...

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Places to See

Toronto’s Best: Shopping Areas

Queen Street West

Through the day and into the small hours of the morning, Queen Street West buzzes. Students and trendsetters reinvigorated this old warehouse area in the 1980s, but nowadays the street is more varied, with chic designer stores, downbeat bars, and stylish cafés mixed in with more mainstream offerings from the big chain stores. The chief merrymaking is concentrated between University and Spadina, a good place for budget restaurants and bars.

Kensington Market

Kensington Market is one of Toronto’s most distinctive and ethnically diverse residential areas. It was founded at the turn of the 20th century by East European immigrants, who crowded into the patchwork of modest houses near the junction of Spadina Avenue and Dundas Street, and then spilled out into the narrow streets to sell their wares. The bazaar they established in their small 1930s houses has been the main feature of the area ever since.

Today, Jewish, Polish, and Russian stall owners and shopkeepers rub shoulders with Portuguese, Jamaican, East Indian, Chinese, and Vietnamese traders in a vibrant street scene that always excites the senses.

The focal point of this open-air market is Kensington Avenue, whose lower half, just off Dundas Street, is crammed with thrift shops selling all manner of trendy retro bargains, from original punk gear to flares. Kensington Avenue’s upper half is packed with fresh food stores filled with produce from every corner of the globe, ranging from iced fish to stacks of cheeses and exotic fruits.


In the 1960s tiny Yorkville, in the center of the city, was the favorite haunt of Toronto’s hippies. With regular appearances by countercultural figures such as Joni Mitchell, it was similar to London’s Chelsea or New York’s Greenwich Village. The hippies have now moved on, and Yorkville’s modest brick and timber terrace houses have either been colonized by upscale shops and fashionable restaurants, or converted into bijou townhouses. Designer boutiques, specialty bookstores, private art galleries, fine jewelers, and quality shoe stores all jam into the neighborhood, attracting shoppers in droves. The area is a lovely place to sit at an outdoor cafe, nursing a cappuccino and watching the crowds. Yorkville and Cumberland Avenues are the center of all this big spending, as are the elegant and discreet shopping complexes that lead off them, especially the deluxe Hazelton Lanes, at the corner of Yorkville Avenue and The Avenue, with its Ralph Lauren and Versace boutiques.

The dropout philosophy has been thoroughly replaced by very chic stores – some of the most exclusive retail outlets in the country are found here.

Although the recession in the 1990s affected trade somewhat, the area is still prosperous and thriving. Cafe society really takes off at night, even so Yorkville can be an expensive place to have fun.