If shopping tops your list of favourite activities, there’s no better place than Toronto’s Bloor Street to indulge in a little luxury

The Bloor-Yorkville neighbourhood is home to some of Canada’s most exclusive and expensive luxury stores that sit shoulder to shoulder with world class museums, galleries and one-of-a-kind boutiques.

Known as the Mink Mile, the section of Bloor Street between Yonge Street and Avenue Road is nothing if not prestigious. The flagship stores for exclusive retailers Holt Renfrew and Harry Rosen are located here, and the neighbourhood is also home to luxury brands Tiffany, Cartier, Luis Vuitton, Prada and Burberry, among others. A new Hermès location, designed by French architecture firm RDAI, opened here in 2018 to much fanfare. It’s acclaimed for its soaring white-marble staircase with a handrail wrapped in signature white leather — an instant Instagram sensation.

If high-end fashion stores aren’t your thing (or aren’t in your budget), the Bloor-Yorkville neighbourhood offers plenty of one-of-a-kind boutiques with prices that won’t break the bank. Recently, more mass-market retailers have moved into the area, including Nordstrom Rack which opened at the corner of Yonge and Bloor last year and offers fast-fashion alternatives to its more exclusive neighbours. A new Aritzia flagship store in the Holt Renfrew Centre carries affordably priced brands like Babaton, Wilfrid, Sunday Best and The Constant, but also steps up the experience with curated artwork and sculptures and a café serving brews by Toronto-based micro-roaster De Mello Palheta and vegan pastries by Tori’s Bakeshop. And Zara is located just a few steps away, so you can keep your wardrobe fresh and up to date regardless of your budget.

Always a vibrant and bustling neighbourhood, Bloor-Yorkville has become much more pedestrian and cycle friendly in recent years with the addition of long-awaited bike lanes and an overhaul of the pedestrian walkways in 2016. The Yonge-Bloor subway station, located directly below the intersection, is the busiest in the city serving nearly 400,000 passengers daily. Major attractions in this exclusive stretch include the Royal Ontario Museum, Bata Shoe Museum and Royal Conservatory of Music, and the area’s vibrant culture is reflected in public art installations and events like the upcoming Bloor-Yorkville Holiday Magic celebration.

A hotspot for the arts, Bloor-Yorkville is home to over 40 commercial galleries including Gallerie de Bellefeuille. A relative newcomer, this space opened its doors in 2017 and has quickly become one of Canada’s leading independent galleries, offering works by internationally acclaimed artists like Damien Hirst, Wolf Kahn and Jane Waterous.

For accommodation, lovers of the arts will appreciate the colourful history and unique décor of the Anndore House hotel, located at the intersection of Yonge and Charles, within walking distance of all the Bloor-Yorkville boutiques. The Anndore has excellent in-house dining options including the full-service Constantine restaurant and the Scarlet Door café.

If you’re visiting Bloor-Yorkville you’re sure to leave with great memories and a few shopping bags.

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