Toronto’s Mink Mile is a must-visit location for label-loving fashion trendsetters. This swanky stretch of Bloor Street between Yonge Street and Avenue Road is lined with renowned luxury retailers such as Gucci, Tiffany, and Louis Vuitton. It’s the Canadian equivalent of New York’s posh Fifth Avenue or ritzy Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles.
You start at the bustling intersection of Yonge and Bloor, amid the mouthwatering aroma of grilled sausage from a nearby street vendor. As you approach the first store, the Austrian crystal maker Swarovski, you glimpse a sparkling silvery gown through the window. The rows upon rows of tiny crystals that make up this stunning full-length dress lure you inside for a closer look. Once through the door, you spot cases lined with twinkling jewelry, reflecting beams of light in every direction. A blingy bracelet catches your eye, and soon you’re walking back down the street, wrist glowing in the sunlight.
Back outside, the wide granite sidewalk leads you to the raspberry awnings that adorn the flagship location of Holt Renfrew. This iconic Canadian luxury retailer got its start in 1837 as a humble hat shop in Quebec City. In fact, one of its earliest clients was Queen Victoria. You feel like royalty as an elegantly grey-suited man, complete with porkpie hat and raspberry pocket handkerchief, opens the door and ushers you inside. As you wander the second-floor rooms showcasing chic designs from the likes of Chanel, Prada, and Tom Ford, you agree that Holt Renfrew is the place to indulge your high-end fashion desires. Before you go, you check the lunch menu at Holts Café. Lobster mac and cheese? Yes, please!
The urge to splurge grows as you continue along the tree- and tulip-lined sidewalks of the Mink Mile. You drool over a delicate lace shift at Dolce & Gabbana and pine for a buttery soft black leather Gucci bag. Suddenly, you spot a pair of sparkly, black Jimmy Choo stilettos in a window display. You’ve arrived at DAVIDS Footwear, another Canadian icon. DAVIDS has been selling luxury imported footwear for men and women since 1951. As you enter the soaring, two-storey space, you feel like you’re in an art gallery. Polished leather dress shoes and strappy heels from designers like Salvatore Ferragamo and Manolo Blahnik are artfully arranged on white, backlit shelves. As you try out a pair of Christian Louboutin pumps with their signature red soles, you imagine yourself walking the red carpet with Hollywood celebrities. So many shoes, so little closet space!
Saint James Hotel
After a long day of shopping, it’s time to kick off your shoes and relax at the Saint James Hotel. This boutique hotel is centrally located just steps from Yonge Street and its myriad restaurants and cafés. The dark wood furnishings and 42-inch flat screen television in your room are contemporary and elegant in their simplicity. As you sink back onto the plush white duvet of your king-sized bed, you log on to the free Wi-Fi to select a restaurant for dinner and make plans for round two of shopping Toronto’s stylish Mink Mile tomorrow.