Holiday Shopping in Toronto: You Can’t Get This Online

Find Hotels

There’s something about shopping for the holidays that’s extra special. Maybe it’s the Christmas decorations adorning street-shop windows, the festive music playing in the malls or the many handcrafted gifts that only make their appearance once a year at the One of a Kind Christmas Show. Whatever it is, it makes holiday shopping in Toronto a truly magical experience.

Get bundled up, grab yourself an egg nog latte and hit the shops to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list. You won’t get anything like this by sitting at home and clicking “Add to cart.”

Holiday window decorations at Hudson's Bay store in Toronto.

Window Displays Worthy of Santa Himself

As far as holiday displays go, you can’t beat the windows at the Hudson’s Bay store. Toronto’s version of Macy’s in New York, the flagship Hudson’s Bay at Yonge and Queen goes all out every year with their Christmas-themed tableaux. If you haven’t seen them in a while, it’s time to come back as brand new displays were revealed last year on Queen Street, along with Saks Fifth Avenue’s stylish windows on Yonge Street!

Inside even more magic awaits (of the retail variety). Eight levels of designer shoes, beauty products, fragrance, men’s wear, accessories and home décor (including fabulous Christmas decorations) make it an ideal destination for one-stop shopping. Other boutiques within the Hudson’s Bay store include Topshop for the latest fun styles and Kleinfeld for bridal wear. Saks legendary fashion includes European collections and influential designers not widely available anywhere else. New in 2018, FAO Schwartz, the legendary toy purveyor, is opening a pop-up store-within-a-store at Hudson’s Bay!

The fifty-foot tall Christmas Tree at the Toronto Eaton Centre.

Magic and Merriment at the Mall

You haven’t truly experienced the spectacle of holiday time at a mall until you’ve been to the Toronto Eaton Centre. Starting in November, Toronto’s most iconic mall becomes Holiday Shopping Central, complete with a dazzling lights, spectacular decorations and an artful 50-foot Christmas tree. The Nordstrom that opened in fall 2016 will add big style to your holiday shopping. After you’re done, make your way to nearby Nathan Phillips Square for free outdoor skating.

For exceptional shopping just beyond the downtown core head to Yorkdale where a fabulous Swarovski crystal tree adorns its south wing. Or try the refurbished Square One in Mississauga, Premium Outlets in Halton Hills or Vaughan Mills. Get your fill of the spirit of the season – and fill up some more shopping bags while you’re at it.

Read about more Toronto area malls.

The One of a Kind 2018 Winter Show

Looking for a special gift that you won’t find anywhere else? The One of a Kind Christmas Show is the largest consumer craft show in North America. Appealing to those in search of the unique and the fantastic, this ten-day long event brings together over 800 artisans, craftspeople and designers to display their wares. There’s no mass-market merchandise here – only quality, lovingly crafted goods.

This year’s One of a Kind 2018 Winter Show runs from November 22 to December 2 at the Enercare Centre at Exhibition Place. Browse handmade ceramics, textiles, Christmas ornaments and jewellery to find that perfect and exclusive gift for that perfect and exclusive someone.

The Gooderham and Worts sign in the Distillery Historic District during the Toronto Christmas Market.

Festive Cheer at the Distillery Historic District Christmas Market

Now an established tradition in Toronto, the Toronto Christmas Market is the epicentre for festive cheer. Starting in November and running the month of December, the Victorian-era Distillery District is transformed into a traditional outdoor European Christkindlmarkt. with carollers, charming craft and gift booths, rides and plenty of hot food and drinks that create a warming Old World atmosphere like no other. Free admission Tuesday to Friday; $6.00 admission Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday. Visit the Toronto Christmas Market website for the latest information.

After you’ve admired the 45-foot Christmas tree (!) and had your fill of mulled wine and hot chocolate, wander around the numerous indoor shops and galleries for holiday gift inspiration. Bergo, Distill and GOTSTYLE are all stylish places to find gifts.

Lights, Lattes and Luxury in Bloor-Yorkville

The most exclusive shopping district in Toronto is the place to go for high-end holiday shopping. Known as The Mink Mile the always-sparkly district gets even sparklier leading up to the holidays as lights are strung in trees along the sidewalks and store-fronts are decorated with festive displays. The carols playing in the background at Holt Renfrew may be enough to draw you inside, where you will discover floor after floor of high-end fashion and accessories.

A visit to Yorkville Village, a recently refurbished luxury mall features high-end boutiques, such as TNT, Belstaff and Jacadi and exclusive labels from top Canadian and global fashion designers such as Kenzo, Yeezy, Victoria Beckham and Smythe.

Pause in Yorkville Village Park to enjoy the view of the quaint neighbourhood then continue your shopping at the many chic boutiques and designer stores lining Bloor Street West and Yorkville and Cumberland Avenues.

Two men window shopping.

Fashionable Finds on Queen West

For a hip holiday shopping option, head to Queen West. This vibrant neighbourhood hums with culture and creativity. With a mix of indie boutiques, familiar brands and top menswear, this area will enable you to tick lots off your list. With the vintage selection, rummaging through clothing racks to unearth those one-of-a-kind finds is the name of the game here. Hunt for goodies at shops like I Miss You and Vintage 1. Then take a break in one of the neighbourhood’s funky cafés or take a stroll through lovely Trinity Bellwoods Park, a destination in itself.