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Just one street over from this trendy strip is the Ontario College of Art and Design, Queen Street West is one of the top shopping streets in the city. When young artists graduated and were desperate for cash, they would bring their treasures here to sell. Soon small shops stuffed with unique items began popping up on Queen Street West. Today, you can still find unusual gifts from cool clothing to antique comics either in the stores or from one of the many friendly street vendors. It's also a hot spot for restaurants and bars such as the Epicure Cafe, the Rivoli and the Queen Mother Cafe.
Known in the 1930s as the Jewish Market, Kensington today is an awesome display of the city's multi-ethnicity. Here you will find shops packed with products from Europe, Middle East, South America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia and you will hear dozens of languages spoken. A visit to this neighborhood is like taking a trip around the world! With more than 100 shops in all selling everything from second-hand clothing to fresh produce, from exotic pastries to art objects and furniture, you won't go away empty-handed.
Chic shops and posh restaurants like Sassafraz and Yamato Japanese Restaurant, and the perpetually crowded sidewalk cafes make Bloor-Yorkville a quaint spot for those with expensive tastes. During the evening, wrought-iron lampposts light your way as you dip into art galleries, cocktail lounges and tiny boutiques selling haute couture. The area is frequented by celebrities, so you never know whom you will bump into next.
Although there are several Chinese districts in the Greater Toronto area, including the Don Valley Chinatown East, purists still refer to this one as the main Chinatown. On wide streets lined with bright lights, shops sell everything from medicinal herbs to take-out kung po gai ding. While some of the small shops hold form to more traditional ways, the Dragon City Shopping Mall at Dundas and Spadina is the ultimate East meets West shopping experience. The district is also restaurant rich and although some of them may look daunting to the uninitiated, the food is invariably excellent.
Bloor Street is a major business, residential and shopping hub. It is also referred to as the Fashion Mile or Mink Mile due to the multitude of high-end fashion houses, accessory and jewelry stores. Popular shops include the flagship branch of Holt Renfrew, Louis Vuitton, Porsche, Dolce and Gabbana, Banana Republic, The Body Shop, Cartier, Burberry, Hermès, Harry Rosen flagship branch and Michael Kors. Due to the high rental rates in this area, it is one of the most expensive streets for retail space in the whole continent. If you are not prepared to spend a bomb, meander into the side lanes where you will find trendy yet cheaper outlets.