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Canada Shopping

Asia West District
Vancouver , British Columbia

A visit to Richmond's Asia West district is an experience that's unique in North America. The malls here sprang up along a stretch of No. 3 Road in the mid-1990s to service a newly settled community of mostly Hong Kong expatriates. The malls now house Chinese herbalists, Japanese housewares, designer luggage, and plenty of fashion-forward clothes and shoes for petite women. There are also huge Asian supermarkets such as the T&T, where you can select a fish from the tanks and the staff will deep-fry it while you shop. Alexander Road, unofficially known as "Food Street," contains more than 50 Asian restaurants within two blocks; throughout Richmond you'll find more than 500 restaurants serving authentic cuisine by professional Asian chefs.—Kasey Wilson

The Block
350 West Cordova Street
Vancouver , British Columbia
Canada V6B 1E8
Tel: 604 685 8885

A Vancouver institution, The Block has been a trendsetter among clothing boutiques since the early 1990s, supporting new and upcoming indie designers along with more established indie labels. Steven Alan, Surface to Air, Ulla Johnson, and Fred Perry are some of the names you'll find in this friendly space, with plenty of personal service from attentive sales staff. You'll also find jewelry, shoes, and bags to accessorize your new outfit.—Kasey Wilson

Boutique Sachem
17 Rue Desjardins
Québec City , Québec
Canada G1R 4L4
Tel: 418 692 3056

This First Nations emporium sells every Native American item you can think of, with items from Southwest U.S. Navajos as well as Québecois and British Columbian tribes: bear-tooth pendants, moccasins, Indian rugs, rabbit-fur hats, and a wealth of shamanic drums, dream-catchers, rattles, and chimes. The traditional Inuit sculptures are carved from bone and ivory from marine mammals as well as stone. The figures—hunters, fishermen, and mothers with their babies—are very simple, which only makes them all the more compelling.

Open 10 am to 9 pm daily, June to early September; 10 am to 5 pm daily, early September to May.

Cours Mont-Royal
1455 Peel Street
Downtown Montréal
Montréal , Québec
Canada H3A 1T5
Tel: 514 842 7777

Don't call it a mall: With its chandelier and winding staircase, this upscale complex (part of the Underground City—the city's vast labyrinth of office and residential buildings, shopping centers, and hotels), is far more sophisticated than that. It's where to find primo brands like Dolce & Gabbana and Gucci as well as boutiques stocking emerging local labels. Three Monkeys is on the ground floor, a location that complements the shop's chic, streetwise clothing lines, which include Valerie Dumaine and Travis Taddeo, both Montréal designers (514-284-1333;

Holt Renfrew
737 Dunsmuir Street
Vancouver , British Columbia
Canada V7Y 1E4
Tel: 604 681 3121

The flagship boutique for this popular Canadian department store has become more crowd-friendly with the addition of a Designer Contemporary gallery, a great hair salon and spa, and the venerable makeup brand Shu Uemura—Canada's first cosmetic and eyelash counter with lashes that look like lace or are made with bird feathers. The central atrium lets you spy the perfect handbag from one floor up, and if you're here in August or January, the infamous "Now or Never" sales offer up to 80 percent off designer items.—Kasey Wilson

J.A. Moisan
699 Rue Saint-Jean
Québec City , Québec
Canada G1R 1P7
Tel: 418 522 0685

In business since 1871, this atmospheric, old-fashioned shop in an early-1800s building in the lower town claims to be the oldest grocery store in North America. The courteous, knowledgeable servers will be happy to answer your questions about the various delicacies on sale, such as Québecois cheese and pâté of Arctic caribou with mushrooms. Don't feel self-conscious about prolonged browsing: It's encouraged. Buy picnic fixings and enjoy them on the Promenade des Gouverneurs or Terrasse Dufferin.

Open 9 am to 9 pm daily.

Mountain Magic Equipment
224 Bear Street
Banff , Alberta
Canada T1L 1BL
Tel: 403 762 2591

Occupying a funky, four-story edifice in downtown Banff since 1975, Mountain Magic is piled to the ceiling with stuff for mountaineers, including tents, used telemark skis, camp fuel, and mountain bikes. This is the kind of place where the employees are grizzled experts and rock climbers scan the well-thumbed bulletin board looking for partners.

Open daily 9 am to 9 pm.

Old Faithful Shop
320 West Cordova Street
Vancouver , British Columbia
Canada V6B 1E8
Tel: 778 327 9376

Housed in a heritage building, many of the items stocked in this Gastown store seem from another century. Old Faithful is built on the concept of a general store and sells everything from household items to grooming products and pantry goods. Owners Savannah Olsen and Walter Manning hunt down the best handcrafted goods and then sparsely populate the store with their finds, lending a sense that it's not only a store but an art gallery for bygone times. The products are beautiful to look at, and the classic designs have a lasting appeal. You'll pay for their expertise—$275 for a chrome-detailed three-piece men's shaving kit made by renowned apothecary, D.R. Harris & Co., who's been in business since 1790, $139 for a maroon or gray Foot Soldier army blanket woven by Faribault Mills, or $280 for a vintage-inspired industrial task lamp with a braided brown fabric cord that's as beautiful as it is functional. Still, many of these items are hard to resist because they're so difficult to find anywhere else.—Kasey Wilson

One of a Few
354 Water Street
Vancouver , British Columbia
Canada V6B 1E6
Tel: 604 605 0685

If you have the urge to wear something no one else has seen, then the name of this store describes the desire. The boutique strives to stock designer clothing that's not easily found, especially in Vancouver, which almost guarantees whatever you buy here will not show up on someone else at your next party. You'll discover fashion-forward designers of international repute like Collina Strada, Dieppa Restrepo, and Rachel Comey, along with recycled leather bags, wallets, and accessories by Ashley Watson. Most impressive is the personalized service—there are stylists and wardrobe consultants on hand to assist you with your decisions. A second store next door called Two of a Few offers more women's fashions along with men's clothing.—Kasey Wilson

4229 Village Stroll
Whistler , British Columbia
Tel: 604 938 0058

This local retailer began outfitting the U.S. Winter Olympics teams in casual clothes in 2002 and soon got so much play that Saturday Night Live did a skit about it. The clothes are casual and urban, running to hoodies, sweats, and T-shirts. We especially like the messenger-style leather bags.

Ruby Tuesday
26A 4314 Main Street
Whistler , British Columbia
Tel: 604 905 6290

An emporium for wants, not needs, Ruby Tuesday peddles a huge array of necklaces, earrings, rings, and bracelets, in styles ranging from hip to elegant. Handbags and hair accessories round out the selection.

South Granville Shopping

South Granville, which runs from Granville Bridge toward 16th Avenue, bordering the prestigious Shaughnessy neighborhood, is also known as Gallery Row. Internationally known painters are on display in the galleries here. Also impressive are the 18 Karat, an Asian design emporium for those who want modern, organic furniture and housewares, and the avant-garde designer clothing and gifts at Bacci's and Misch. South Main Street from Eighth Avenue to 24th Avenue is known as SoMa and houses the best selection of local designers in the city.—Kasey Wilson

St. Catherine Street
Montréal , Québec

The city's main shopping strip is lined with North America's biggest fashion chains and shoe shops. Simons is Montréal's version of H&M—check out the flirty selection of socks and hosiery and the house-brand mittens, scarves, and toques, which are as warm as they are cool (977 St. Catherine St. W.; 514-282-1840; This is also where you'll find the red-stoned facade of the historic Hudson Bay building, home of department store The Bay (585 St. Catherine St. W.; 514-281-4422;, and its longtime rival Ogilvy (1307 St. Catherine St. W.; 514-842-7711; If department stores were siblings, The Bay would be a price-conscious suburban mom, and Ogilvy her snooty sister-in-law, draped in Louis Vuitton, Burberry, and Michael Kors accessories. Nearby The Bay is the headquarters of Birks, which stocks everything from diamond rings to gold watches to crystal decanters (1240 Phillips Square; 514-397-2511;

St. Denis Street
Montréal , Québec

St. Denis's blend of restaurants and furniture and clothing stores offers a peek at how native Québecers like to shop and live. Three-level Zone sets the tone for home design with modern classics like the Wassily armchair and more playful items like the Urban Dots bathmat with oversize polka dots in shades of brown and silver (4246 St. Denis St.; 514-845-3530; Côté Sud, with its teak furniture from Indonesia and white leather couches, follows suit (4338 St. Denis St.; 514-289-9443; Not to be missed is the teashop Camellia Sinensis, which imports from India and Japan (try the grass- and oat-scented hogi-cha). It's located on a hidden strip just off the main drag—look for the Quartier Latin cinema on St. Denis (351 Emery St.; 514-286-4002;

St. Laurent Boulevard
Montréal , Québec

Bounded by Chinatown to the south and Little Italy to the north, "The Main" is all about stylish boutiques. Lola & Emily (think Anthropologie north) feels like Holly Golightly's bedroom; check out the Voluspa candles and frilly Third Floor lingerie (3475 St. Laurent Blvd.; 514-288-7598; Head to U&I for a pair of Swedish jeans and an asymmetrical Vivienne Westwood blazer (3650 St. Laurent Blvd.; 514-844-8788; For loft living, ship home the Art Deco armoires and sectional couches stocked by Côté Ouest (5330 St. Laurent Blvd.; 514-278-3047), or Eames chairs and bulbous '60s pieces (both new and reproduction) carried by retro shop Phil'z 20th Century Design (5298 St. Laurent Blvd.; 514-278-2323).

St. Paul Street
Montréal , Québec

This street is a microcosm of the renaissance taking place all over Old Montréal. High-end boutiques and exclusive restaurants nestle side by side in ornate buildings that wouldn't be out of place on Paris' Left Bank. Actually, boutique Reborn would be more at home in NYC's Soho, with its expensive, trendsetting stock of international designers (Raf Simons, Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair). Reborn also has a considerable selection of menswear (231 St. Paul St. W.; 514-499-8549; Nearby is Collection Méli Mélo, a home-decor and apparel retailer with a global stock: huge ceramic fruit bowls from Morocco, reproduction Louis XVI chairs, Indian jewelry (205 St. Paul St. W.; 514-285-5585). Refuel at the homey bistro Marché de la Villette. The alpine mural on the wall signals the owner's homeland: Lorraine, France, whose namesake quiche they do rather well (324 St. Paul St. W.; 514-807-8084). There are also many galleries lining St. Paul, such as Espace Pepin, so you can even bring some of the area's bohemianism home in a painting (350 St. Paul St. W.; 514-844-0114;

119-4350 Lorimer Road
Whistler , British Columbia
Tel: 604 932 2526

A pioneer in Canadian snowboarding, Westbeach began its own Snowboard Classic competition, which has since morphed into the World Ski & Snowboard Festival held every April. Though the company no longer runs the competition, it outfits shredders in its own signature gear, as well as products from Burton, Forum, Libtech, and Gnu.

Whistler Cigar Company
Le Chamois Hotel
4557 Blackcomb Way
Whistler , British Columbia
Tel: 604 905 2423

Between Cohibas, Diplomaticos, Sancho Panzas, and many others, the Cigar Company presents North America's largest selection of Cuban cigars. Its walk-in humidor encourages browsing and sniffing.

Wilson Mountain Sports
Samson Mall
Lake Louise , Alberta
Canada T0l 1E0
Tel: 403 522 3636

Not many shops in the ski-snowboard universe are specialized enough to rent telemark skis, but Wilson does. It takes its role as Lake Louise's premier winter-sports shop so seriously, it insists all staffers ski or board—and gives them a four-days-on, three-days-off schedule to ensure they do. Wilson's owners invested $100,000 just in the tuning room, where you can get hand-finished wax and edge work. And if the airline loses your luggage—or if you just haven't packed warmly enough—Wilson's rents skiwear from IceBreaker, Marmot, and others.

Open daily 9 am to 8 pm.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.