Shopping the Boutiques of Queen St West

For our free day in Toronto, Kara and I explored the Queen St West neighborhood. Mainly running along the major thoroughfare, this street is filled with unique gift shops, delicious restaurants and quirky clothing stores.

We started at the far western end near the adorable handmade boutique Brodawka & Friends. It is filled with handcrafted accessories and gifts made right there in Toronto, including some fabulous purses. They opened like a Chinese food box! Their shoe display made a statement too, showing off all the latest styles running right down the center of the store.

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There are lots of awesome vintage shops along this entire stretch of street so I loved checking out the variety of styles. Some are high end consignment shops with fancy designer duds and well selected accessories. Others offer amazingly curated on-trend hipster pieces. I fell in love with a leather backpack at Chosen and wound up buying a statement cocktail ring at 69 Vintage. There were almost too many second-hand shops to choose from!

Another shop that had an adorable selection was Lady Mosquito. Featuring handmade and fair trade jewelry, this shop had a colorful selection of tagua and acai beaded pieces. The price point was great and they also offered classes for people looking to get into beading! Kara and I even found a gift for our coworker there.

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In the market for a splurge worthy pair of leather shoes? Then look no further than Gravity Pope! Their map filled windows won me over from the outside, and their selection won me over on the inside. This two story designer clothing retailer has an entire first floor of shoes for men and women! Their featured brands are totally on trend, featuring  designers from the US, Canada and Europe. Plus their staff looked straight out of black and white instagram campaign!

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If clothing boutiques aren’t your thing, there is no shortage of other awesome shops along Queen St. I spent far more money on cat printed paper supplies than any grown woman should at Hanji. Adorable hole-in-the-wall book shop Type Books has an excellent selection of indie titles and quirky coffee table books. I fell in love with modern kitchen decor and specialty cookbooks at Old Faithful Shop. You can wander through aisles of weird Japanese food at Sanko or if you are a tea drinker, Tealish has an extensive selection of loose leaf teas and tea pots.

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Overall, I had so much fun exploring this area of Toronto and I was honestly envious that we didn’t have something similar in Chicago. This would be the perfect place to shop for the holidays, and I love seeing so many local businesses and small shops thriving. This is getting more and more rare in the US, so it was a breath of fresh air to explore Queen St West.

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Author: Megan Arz

I am a travel and food obsessed Midwesterner living in Chicago and dreaming of the world. I work as a full-time program manager for Greenheart Travel, but I am also committed to integrating the travel lifestyle into my every day routines. I am passionate about ethical travel, meeting new people, creating unique memories and eating local cuisine!

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