I’ve been hanging out in Toronto, Canada for the last 2.5 months and it’s been a full two years since my last visit here. There are so many people and things that I’ve missed and I wanted to shed a spotlight on some great brands and stores that I love in Canada.
If you’re planning a trip here or just looking to discover some new favourites – these are the places I always make a point of stopping in at when I’m back for a visit.
Yes, there are lots of little boutiques I love to shop – but I wanted this post to focus on larger chains that you can find in major cities across Canada. Whether you are visiting Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary or elsewhere.
Here’s my shopping list!
If you love Lululemon, you’ll love this more affordable Canadian line – Hyba. It’s the athletic apparel brand brought to you by Reitmans (another Canadian retailer that specializes in women’s clothing) that launched in 2015.
You’ll find stylish pieces to sweat in at a great price. I like to shop for leggings, capris, workout tops and sports bras online before heading into a store in Canada. Unfortunately, they don’t ship to the USA – so scope out what you want ahead of time so you know what you want to try on.
I find with stretchy athletic wear sizing can be tricky. Sometimes things run large or small, so trying things on in-store would be my advice. As well, with the Canadian dollar being lower then the US dollar – you’re getting it all for a steal.
When I’m looking for leggings, designer denim, stylish and minimalist pieces – I head to Aritzia for fancy basics. The prices are pretty decent and the cut of their clothing I find to be generally quite flattering. It’s also a great spot to look for work-ready clothes. It sort of reminds me a much hipper Madewell.
They’ve open a couple locations across the US now, but I do mainly shop there when I’m back in Canada. Their winter coats are super warm too!
LA VIE EN ROSE
This is the absolute BEST places to buy and look for pajamas. I’ve found so many soft and comfortable PJs and slips there and the selection at La Vie En Rose can’t be beat by any large retail chain I’ve come across in the US so far.
In addition to their sleepwear collection, they have a pretty solid selection of bikinis, bathing suits and cover-ups to check out as well.
The best way to describe Holt Renfrew is that it’s like a Canadian Nordstrom that’s curated by a Canadian buying team. You’ll find lots of your favourite designer brands, including a few new ones, along with Canadian designers mixed in.
It’s definitely worth a stop inside one of their fancy flagship stores in major cities across Canada. I like going there to look for designer denim, a fancy dress, a major coat or purse purchase and their upscale casual pieces.
The best way to describe Simons is that it’s like a French Canadian H&M with their house brand and other brands mixed in. It has a department store feel, but the majority of the sales floor is devoted to clothing, with a small accessories, and home linens department. Kind of like a Kohl’s. The buyers do a great job of featuring cheap and chic, like an H&M.
I LOVE it because the basics are pretty affordable here and they have stylish and fun pieces like sundresses, weekend wear and some great office wear pieces too. Simons is originally from Quebec and it has slowly been expanding to locations across Canada.
My absolute favourite place to stock-up on tea! What you want to look for are their gift sets and sampler boxes that give you a little taste of everything. David’s Tea does exist in the US, but only in a handful of major cities right now.
So if you’re a tea fanatic like me, you’ll have to go have a look at all their different teas and super cool tea accessories.
Yes, I know you can technically buy books anywhere – but Indigo Books is KILLING it when it comes to their home decor, gifts and lifestyle section. I spotted so many cute things under $30 including ombre mugs, fancy notebooks, throws, pillows, socks, serving pieces and more. All of it super stylish and on trend.
I also did all of my Christmas toy shopping here for my nieces and nephew. They have a well curated selection of STEM toys in their children’s section that were thoughtful and reasonably priced.
If you find yourself near an Indigo Books, definitely stop in and head straight to their home section – you’ll find some amazing pieces and great souvenir gifts to bring home.
SHOPPER’S DRUG MART
After schlepping through a couple old and dingy drugstores in other places, I have truly come to appreciate the gem that is Shopper’s Drug Mart. The stores are bright, clean, and well-organized. It’s more than just a drugstore. You can find household paper goods, regular old drugstore stuff, groceries AND they’re make-up section is the bomb.
Yes, I do love Sephora – but Shopper’s Drug Mart is a must-stop when I’m in Canada.I do love their beauty stuff and you’ll have a chance to discover some cool Canadian products on their shelves as well.
THE REAL CANADIAN SUPERSTORE
I don’t really pay attention to the groceries here because I beeline straight to their home decor section. It’s 70% grocery store and the other 30% is home stuff, a pharmacy and clothing. Sort of like a Fred Meyer store.
The Real Canadian Superstore reminds me a bit of target when it comes to their home section – though smaller in size. The stuff there is always affordable and on trend. I am constantly amazed by all the cool stuff they come out with and how stylish it all is for a grocery store. The parent company is Loblaws, which is a bit more upscale. The Superstore is similar to a Wal-Mart per se but not as bargain-like as a No Frills grocery store.
Definitely have a look at their home accessories, entertaining pieces and even their dishes! I also love the seasonal napkins and paper plates they come out with for all the holidays.
Ok nothing beats Bulk Barn. I haven’t come across anything that I like just as much in the US yet. Bulk Barn is what your snack dreams are made of. You can buy as little or as much of you like at this Canadian bulk palace.
It’s hard for me not to go crazy here for ringolos, gummy candies (I like ALL of them), sesame sticks, and chocolate when I get here. Think of it as, “Stocking up for the plane ride home…” I use that excuse all. the. damn. time. Just go with it.
Where are your favourite places to shop in Canada?