Navigating Toronto’s Shopping Neighborhoods – Queen Street
After Yonge Street, Queen Street is the next major shopping street in Toronto. In fact, there may even be more stores per capita along this route that spans the city from the Beaches in the east to Parkdale in the West.
Queen West is probably the most well know shopping neighborhood along Queen. At one time it was the hippest spot around, but has become quite commercial with many chain stores setting up along this strip. You will still find some boutiques and Toronto mini chains, but most of the boutiques and Canadian designers are elsewhere along Queen.
Queen West Fashion District
Once you get past Spadina the chain stores are replaced with fabric, craft and bead stores. If you are into crafting, sewing or do it yourself you need to check out this section of Queen. Places to stop at are MacFab for Amy Butler fabrics, Arton Bead for a vast selection of synthetic and natural bead choices and Americo Original for great wool.
West Queen West
West Queen West is one of the most concentrated sections of boutique shopping in the city, second only to Yorkville. Leave the teenybopper behind in Queen West, this strip is chocked full of contemporary fashions, many from Canadian Designers. Starting past Bathurst, there are fashions for kids, men and women over 25, plus home design. The further west you go the more galleries you will see, as this is the art and design district.
Stop for lunch in Trinity Bellwoods Park or come back in the evening for the bar scene. The revitalized former flop house The Drake Hotel is a popular spot.
Parkdale is further west, and while there are a few boutiques setting up shop here it isn’t yet worth the trip unless you are going for something specific.
On the other side of the DVP you will find shopping along Queen East. Two neighborhoods along the eastern part of Queen offer up some great shopping.
Leslieville is to the East as West Queen West was well to the west end of Queen. You will find indie Canadian designers as well has home design and lots of antiques. There are also a number of fantastic bakeries (try Altitude Bakery), a fish and a cheese market.
The Beaches is the commercialized neighbor to Leslieville, but geared to families and brunch crowds. Probably more famous for its annual Jazz festival this neighborhood makes you feel as though you have left the city for cottage country. The Beaches offers tons of shopping and has more artsy feel that Queen West.