Where to Shop in Toronto

Details, May 2010

“Toronto,” said Steve Martin on 30 Rock, “is just like New York, but without all the stuff.” He was only partly right. Thanks to its Victorian roots, the city has, for a long time, actually had stuff—it just wasn’t very exciting. In the past decade, however, the capital of Ontario has shed its provincial sensibilities. It’s now teeming with modern-art galleries, high-concept restaurants, and fashion-forward boutiques, making for a cosmopolitan weekend of northern exposure.

Klaxon Howl
At Klaxon Howl, owner Matt Robinson sells vintage military gear that comes with backstories: When you buy a pair of double-buckle boots, you’ll learn they were made in the 1960s for the French Foreign Legion. That shawl-collar denim utility coat? There’s a photo of it draped on its original owner at an alpine base camp in 1944. The store’s new products, which include Belstaff jackets and an in-house line of chambray shirts (designed with tobacco pockets) and Japanese selvage denim, feel equally authentic. 694R Queen St. W., 647-436-6628; klaxonhowl.com

Sydney’s carries everything from high-fashion labels like Dries Van Noten and Jil Sander to obscure Japanese lines like Viridi-Anne and Individual Sentiments. But in a few months, owner Sydney Mamane will make room for Kin, his own collection of minimalist, meticulously tailored dress shirts, toggle-free duffle coats, and ultra-slim wool suits. If you can’t make the trip north, don’t worry: Kin is coming to Barneys New York, too. 795 Queen St. W., 416-603-3369; shopsydneys.com

After catering to sneakerheads with their first store, Goodfoot, Jesar Gabino, Zeb Munir, and Matt George wanted their new venture to reflect the evolution of their tastes. So at Nomad, instead of Air Jordans and Stüssy T-shirts, you’ll find Comme des Garçons jackets, APC jeans, and Porter bags alongside homegrown items like fleece blazers from Wings + Horns and leather wallets by Want Les Essentiels de la Vie. 431 Richmond St. W., 416-682-1107; nomadshop.net

Jonathan + Olivia
In the past five years, the onetime working-class area around Ossington Avenue has developed so quickly that the city recently put a moratorium on new construction permits. Luckily, Jackie O’Brien opened Jonathan + Olivia just in time. The stark white loftlike store hosts a well-edited selection of hipster stalwarts like Band of Outsiders oxfords, Rag & Bone work jeans, and Surface to Air knitwear. 49 Ossington Ave., 416-849-5956; jonathanandolivia.com

When You’re Not Shopping

Sam James Coffee Bar
297 Harbord St., 647-341-2572; 

Black Hoof
298 Dundas St. W., 416-551-8854

The Gladstone Hotel
1214 Queen St. W., 416-531-4635; 

View the slideshow at Details.com