Like a magpie to glittery things I was drawn back to West Queen West (the two Wests are important) several times during my visit to Toronto. Was it the proliferation of pastel coloured cake shops, the multitude of sweet tea at Tealish or the tongue-in-cheek names of stores like Green Shag that drew me in? That’s a tough call to make!
The best of West Queen West
In this minimally decorated store you will find cupcakes with maximum taste. Flavours are rotated according to days of the week, refer to the menu on the counter and note what day of the week is best for you. The sponge of the cupcake contains the same flavour as the icing for double scrumminess. I selected a peanut butter and chocolate combination and devoured it in my hotel bed for the ultimate luxury experience.
At Nadege find yourself mesmerised by a pastel rainbow of macaroons. The delicate treats are bursting with flavour, I couldn’t get enough of the candy floss one, although the vendors tell me the salted caramel is flavour of the moment.
To wash down all those sweet treats head into Tealish where giant canisters of every tea flavour imaginable are waiting for you. I stuck my head in one named ‘Fairy Dust’ and purchased immediately. To counteract all the cake consumption I then spotted a jar called Skinny Minny – a loose leaf Yerba Mate tea ‘for the slim trim hottie inside of you’.
Yes the name of this trendy menswear shop is as rude as it sounds, the shop window displays the tagline – ‘everyone needs a shag’. It was hard to pay attention to the clothes as the beautiful owner explained why he likes the shag concept, but the shop decor is definitely eye-catching.
Drake Hotel and Bar and General Store!
The Drake is not just a hotel, or bar, or gift shop – it’s a destination. Whether visiting the fairy light lit coffee shop, rooftop bar, or browsing quirky knick-naks at the General Store, the Drake is an inherently cool place to be.
Dark Horse Espresso
At the Dark Horse you can find buff, tall, tattooed men in skinny vests, and apparently the coffee is quite good too. There is also free wifi but don’t even pretend to be working, just look at those biceps..
West Queen West is not the kind of place you will find general high street clobber. Every boutique has it’s own individual look or speciality which makes browsing them a joy. Toronto also has a large concentration of vintage stores, my all time fave things to browse, and image consultant Wendy Woods introduced us to some of her favourites in West Queen West.
Preloved – funky outfits made from reclaimed vintage fabrics.
The Cat’s Meow – beautiful boutique filled with vintage couture dresses and accessories. The lace, sequin and chiffon concoctions had me drooling.
Cabaret Vintage – filled with new dresses based on vintage designs that are great for occasions like weddings or balls. There was also a pop-up shop downstairs when we were in town with everything from records to red coats.
Thanks to Toronto Tourism for organizing my visit to this tasty city!
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