Discovering Toronto – A Shopaholic’s Guide

Toronto is filled with many high end and unique stores. If you are from a small city, it must be hard to find popular clothing stores such as H&M, who are only available to large cities such as Toronto. Here’s a guide that will help you prepare for an efficient 1 day shopping spree in Toronto!

This was an entry in the winter vacation writing contest (though Toronto must be fairly cold in winter). I think we’re on entry #3 here.


Before your trip, reserve a rental car online. I would suggest using because they have several options and pricing for all budgets. The most affordable package I found was the economy pack from Enterprise; They offer a price of $137 per day for a mid size car.

Next, book your reservations at the Radisson Admiral Hotel located in Toronto’s Harbourfront. With prices starting from $185 CAD This is the perfect hotel if you are on a budget. The hotel is also located downtown, where there are so many places to discover such as Queen Street, Yonge Street and Chinatown! Being located near these attractions is essential for saving money on gas!

Lastly, I find it useful if you bring along a small notebook with important information filled with addresses, directions and locations. Start off by writing all of the contact information for the rental car place, hotels and attractions that I will mention below. Next, Google, Google, Google! Using type in your hotel’s location. Then click on the thumbnails pointing to your locations; Type in the location to your attractions. Google will provide instructions on how you can get to your requested places from your hotel! Write these down.

Purchase a map of Toronto and keep it with you at all times. From my experience, asking people for directions in Toronto is not helpful. Most people do not know directions to specific places out of their neighborhood, it’s a big city! I don’t blame them.

Day 1:

Once you’ve arrived at the Pearson’s International Airport, your rental car should be available at the pick up location at the airport (the details will be given to you after you’ve reserved your vehicle). Using your handy notebook filled with directions you’ve Googled up before the trip, drive over to your hotel. After you’ve unpacked, you may be a bit jet legged from the trip. Feel free to relax near the beautiful view of the Harbourfront.

If you are feeling a bit hungry, you should visit the Benihana Japanese Restaurant near your hotel. Not only can you taste exciting new food, it will also be a unique experience! A chef will cook steak and/or seafood at your table in front of your eyes! Just one warning, while the chef is cooking, don’t rest your arms on the table, it heats up. Are you excited already? You will need to know how to get here, go grab your notebook and write down these important information: Location: 100 Front St. W ; Phone Number: (416) 860-5002.

After your meal, you should have enough energy to burn while walking discovering downtown. Get your car and drive to the Eaton’s Centre (220 Yonge St). There are several parking spaces available here. The Eaton’s Centre is the third largest mall in Canada; This is surely a shopaholic’s heaven! With 4 levels filled with various stores, you will leave the mall with an empty wallet! Here’s a quick guide to discovering this large mall. If you are looking for bargains, start off at the basement level. The basement level is mainly the most populated because of the low prices which appeals to many teens. If you want more high end fashion stores such as FCUK and Banana Republic, go up to the third level of the mall. As you notice, the higher up the levels you go, the higher the prices raises.

Next, walk down to Yonge Street (this is only a few minutes away from the Hotel). There are several stores varying from music stores (such as HMV) to clothing stores. In my opinion, the stores aren’t as impressive as Queen Street’s since they seem to have many clothing franchise stores, so don’t spend too much time here.

Walk to Queen Street West. There are so many amazing small independent clothing boutiques such as “Le Richie.” They sell awesome punk clothing and accessories that you can’t find anywhere else. If you have a comic book fan, check out Silver Snail, their collections in the stores will blow your mind away! While walking along Queen Street, don’t forget to smile while walking past Much Music; For those who don’t know, Much Music is a music station similar to MTV. If you have near Much Music around 5 – 6 pm, they are filming “Much on Demand” which airs nation wide. Walk past their group of audience and you might be filmed!

At the end of Queen Street, you will meet Spadina Avenue. Turn to the left to enter Chinatown. There are so many cheap prices on products at Chinatown. One warning, if you see a vendor selling phone cards at low rates, just note that it may be a fake. As for clothing, they are extremely cheap. While walking down the street, pay attention to the stores who sell 3 t-shirts for $10 CAD. These shirts are fairly decent with a nice Toronto or Canada print on them, these are the only articles of clothing I would recommend purchasing because of their decent quality.

As it gets darker, you probably want to carry your shopping bags home. After walking to Spadina Ave, I wouldn’t recommend walking all the way back to the mall to get your car. On Spadina Ave, there are many buses (they are red, white and black if you can’t notice them). Take out enough change for the ride. The fare for an adult is only $2.75 CAD which covers the subway ride too. If you miss the bus, don’t worry, they come every 5 minutes or so, they are really quick! Take the bus that leads to “Spadina Station.” At the Spadina Subway Station, take the subway leading to the Queen Station. (There’s a map located right when you exit the bus into the subway station). When you stop at Queen Station, go through The Bay and exit into the Eatons Centre mall. Once in the mall, you can easily find your car.

After this long day of shopping, you must be exhausted. Go rest in your comfy white sheets. Prepare to pack up all of your shoes, clothing and souvenirs for tomorrow as you will be going home.

While you’re shopping in Toronto, make sure you make time to eat. This list of restaurants Toronto might give you an idea of where you’d like to stop for food.

Important Information:

Here are the addresses & phone numbers that should be in your notebook:

Pearson International Airport

Location: 5925 Airport Road

Radisson Admiral Hotel

Location: 249 Queen’s Quay West

Phone Number: 416) 203-3333

Benihana Japanese Restaurant

Location: 100 Front St. W

Phone Number: (416) 860-5002.

Eaton’s Centre

Location: 220 Yonge St

By: Myra Phan

Filed Under: 2006-2007 winter vacation plan contest entries

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  1. Experienced Traveler says:

    This is a horrible suggestion for a trip.

    First of all, $137 for a single day of car rental, and $185 for a hotel room is definately not cheap for a budget-conscious person. Why waste all that cash on fluff when you can spend it in the stores? Not sensible.

    Second, why pay for the rental car to park it all day, and then PAY MORE just to get a ride back to it because you end up walking all day anyway? Again, not sensible.

    Third, Benihana? Honestly, if you’re going to take the time to enjoy the culture of an international city such as Toronto, why on earth would you want to eat at a chain restaurant that you can find in any city? And it’s not an economical lunch either, Benihana’s quite an expensive meal. I would recommend trying some local food. If you’re going to bother googling where to shop, you ought to google where to eat too. Benihana doesn’t have poutine–And you won’t find that in the US.

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