Ever since Vogue crowned Queen St West one of the world’s coolest neighbourhoods in 2014, this 14km-long thoroughfare in downtown Toronto has boomed. Much to the chagrin of its residents (mostly artists), it turns out. Still, while the big labels have moved in to ride the area’s cred, new openings from Toronto designers like Hayley Elsaesser have kept QSW down-to-earth. The street style is bold and unashamedly hipster. “During summer, kick up your heels at the nearby Trinity Bellwoods Park,” says Toronto fashion writer Randi Bergman. “You get a killer view of the CN Tower and it’s where the neighbourhood’s stylish inhabitants soak up the sun between the stores.”
Cult neighbourhood concept store whose ethos is “made for women, by women”. Bag these cherry-red statement Harold pants with contrasting stitching which were a sell-out on their first in-store drop.
849 Queen St West
The coolest hotel in the city, The Drake, also has a design store over the road selling hip Canadian gifts. There are cool, illustrated tees, wildlife tea towels featuring moose and beavers and you can customise your threads with these Canadian souvenir patches.
1151 Queen St West
This hip accessories boutique selling bags and jewellery has its flagship in QSW. Go for the jewellery, which is minimal and simply made. These Raya Ear Jacket earrings are modelled on sun rays and hug the ear lobe.
753 Queen St West
A big, bold, Canadian shoemakers on Queen Street West catering to the fashion crowd. As well as their chic heels and loafers, they’re famous for their own-brand futuristic neoprene Bilos sneakers – the pick of the kicks.
395 Queen St West
Shy away from bold prints Toronto-based Hayley Elsaesser does not. UFO jackets, banana-dotted shorts and metallic foil jackets have more than a touch of kawaii chic. Pick up her designs for furry friends if you’re feeling less adventurous.
695 Queen St West