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10 Best Places To Shop in Canada

Tour the country and don’t forget to bring a little spending money, as we reveal Canada’s 10 best places to shop.

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While shopping is clearly about buying and bargain hunting, it’s just as much about having a great experience while you track down some excellent finds. From upscale neighbourhoods with wonderful little boutiques to one of the biggest mega-malls in the world, Canada has some of the greatest places to shop. Here are the top 10 picks for all the shopaholics.

(Photo by West Edmonton Mall)


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1. Yorkville, Toronto, Ont.

A quiet neighbourhood of small streets sheltered from the overall noise and hubbub of downtown Toronto, Yorkville is arguably Canada’s poshest shopping district-store rent tops $300 per square foot, and those little streets are home to some of the biggest names in fashion and design, including Burberry, Prada, Hugo Boss and Louis Vuitton and Tiffany & Co. (not to mention dealerships for Rolls Royce and Maserati). Bring a credit card-or three.

(Photo courtesy of wyliepoon/Flickr)

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2. West Edmonton Mall, Edmonton, Alta.

Although the “West Ed” relinquished the title of world’s largest mall back in 2004, this place is still a must-visit spot for serious shoppers, with some 800 stores and services spread across six million square feet of commercial space. It’s also a great place for those who are serious about partying, with a full-blown amusement park that includes the world’s tallest and longest indoor rollercoasters, a five-acre waterpark, an ice palace, mini golf and lots of other fun attractions.

(Photo courtesy of West Edmonton Mall)

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3. ByWard Market, Ottawa, Ont.

Just steps from the Parliament Buildings in our nation’s capital, ByWard is one of the oldest and largest farmers markets in Canada-but it’s much more than that. Attracting as many as 50,000 shoppers on warm summer weekends, vendors line the streets around the main market building, selling everything from flowers to jewelry to Beaver Tails, while the area is also home to Canada’s oldest tavern, Ottawa’s oldest church, more than 100 restaurants, and the National Gallery of Canada.

(Photo courtesy of Thinkstock)

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4. The Forks, Winnipeg, Man.

This spot at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine rivers has served as a traditional place of commerce for Aboriginal populations for more than six millennia and, in colonial times, brought together hunters, merchants and traders, so it seems rather appropriate that it now hosts millions of fashionable Winnipeggers and visitors from across the country. Home to promenades and riverwalks, theatres, galleries and several top-drawer restaurants, you may (understandably) get distracted from all the shopping available at its impressive indoor marketplace.

(Photo courtesy of Thinkstock)

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5. Pacific Mall, Markham, Ont.

If you’re looking for authentic, East Asian delicacies and wares-but want to avoid the 12-hour flight-there’s no better place to visit than the Pacific Mall, in the suburban Toronto city of Markham. The largest indoor Asian mall in North America, the Pacific houses over 450 vendors, offering everything from herbs and flowers to Asian fashion, in a giant space modeled on traditional markets of the Pacific Rim.

(Photo of Flickr/Inspiration Point Studio)

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6. Old Quebec City, Quebec City, Que.

As far at atmosphere goes, it doesn’t get any better than Old Quebec City-once you pass through its historic gates and inside the walls of one of North America’s oldest cities, you’re effectively transported to another world (and another time). Famously known as “Europe without the jetlag,” Old Quebec, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, offers Continental fashions, Inuit art, a back lane lined with picturesque sketches of the city by local artists (Rue du Trésor), a tightly packed street of charming, atmospheric boutiques (Quartier Petit-Champlain) and the legendary Simons department store, opened way back in 1840.

(Photo courtesy of Thinkstock)

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7. St. Jacob’s Farmers Market

Situated in the picturesque Southern Ontario town of St. Jacob’s-a charming spot famous for its horse-and-buggy Mennonite population-the St. Jacob’s Farmers Market brings together the bounty of this rich agricultural region, with hundreds of vendors selling their wares year round. In the summer, stalls selling everything from meat and cheese, to baked goods, furniture and crafts, spill out of the main post-and-beam building. In the warmer months, you can even climb aboard a horse-drawn trolley for a Mennonite farm tour.

(Photo courtesy of St. Jacob’s Farmers Market)

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8. Yaletown, Vancouver, B.C.

A former wasteland of warehouses and rail yards, the wave of development that accompanied Expo 86 transformed this downtown neighbourhood into one of Vancouver’s hippest places to live, work and shop. No longer turning trains, the former roundhouse now hosts a community and arts centre, and the surrounding streets are lined with great patios, boutiques, and specialty shops selling designer fashion and jewelry stores.

(Photo courtesy of Thinkstock)

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9. Granville Island, B.C.

Set on a peninsula across from downtown Vancouver, Granville has transformed itself from a gritty factory district (its original name was Industrial Island) to a bustling spot that attracts shoppers from around the world. Shop to the sounds of dozens of buskers at galleries (where you can watch artists at work), as well as browse more than 150 retailers selling artisanal foods and handmade crafts.

(Photo courtesy of Thinkstock)

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10. Halifax Waterfront, Halifax, N.S.

Connected by a three kilometre boardwalk that runs along the edge of the famous Halifax Harbour, this downtown district hosts an eclectic array of attractions and amusements, including Pier 21-Canada’s foremost museum of immigration, the museum ship CSS Acadia, and numerous galleries and studios. It’s also home to the Halifax Farmers Market and The Piazza at Bishop’s Landing, where you can pick up anything from chocolate and wine to fine jewelry.

(Photo courtesy of Thinkstock)