Toronto Shopping Tips by rsilva
Toronto Shopping: 206 reviews and 249 photos
A great place to spend money!
Keeping for historical reasons. Tax refund does not apply to goods, but can still be claimed for things such as hotels. Please check the website for more complete information:
Visitors to Canada - GST/HST refund for visitors
Canada applies two taxes on personal items and services: GST (7%) and PST (8%).
Visitors to Canada are entitled to tax refund for eligible goods for personal use and/or and short-term accomodation (hotel).
In order to redeem the GST, each receipt has to have a minimum purchase amount of CAN$50 (i.e., 3 or 4 books/DVD's totalling CAN$51 is OK).
All goods purchase + short-term accomodation must amount to at least CAN$200 (before tax).
In order to claim PST, individual item must be over CAN$625 (jewellery would be a good example).
What you will be able to redeem taxes on:
- Personal goods such as books, DVD's, CD's, clothes, hotel stay, among other.
What you will NOT be able to redeem taxes on:
- Meals, transportation (including car rental and petrol/fuel/gas), alcohol, tobacco, services such as dry cleaning or beauty treatments, among other.
What to buy: In order to claim these taxes, there are two ways to go about it:
- Use one of the many tax refund services available in the city Like Sears, for instance. I even think there is one in the airport. This is NOT recommended, although you get your money immediately there are service costs of 15-25%!!!!
- Use the canadian government tax refund service. This will require a waiting time of a couple of weeks, but you will recveive a bank check (in my case, it was even in Euros!) and the only fees you have to pay are the local bank processing fees (in the Netherlands it was about 14 Eur).
If you opt for the second option (recommended), all receipt should be stamped at the customs office in the airport (there is one in each terminal, just ask someone where it is). After that ask for a form and take it home, fill it in and send along with all the original receipts, invoices. The leaflet that comes with the forms explains all the necessary steps
Check the website for more information.
This is the most famous music store in Toronto and it has a good selection of music.
I have read a lot about this place and about how it was THE place for many, many years. It is still quite nice and you can see it is old and there is a lot of history in it (look at memorabilia/pictures on the walls).
However, I was not very impressed by the service, I had to chase people to get help and even then it was not very enthusiastic. I was also disappointed as I did not find most things I was looking for (for instance Feist, who is a Canadian singer).
I find service in HMV and Sunrise records to be better, but this place does have its charms and is a very famous landmark. Just take a look at the illuminated records on the outside at night.
There is also a small cafe inside which provides free wireless Internet access.
What to buy: All kind of CD's, DVD's, video games and some Vinyl.
Address: 347 Yonge Street
Directions: Yonge and Gould, very close to the Eaton Centre
Maybe you can get CB4's jersey
Toronto is sports-crazy, hockey being the most important sport, followed by (in no specific order) Basketball, Baseball and Football. Toronto has a team in the major league in all these sports (I am not sure about football...) and at a time (some years ago), they were actually the only city with a team over .500 (don't worry if you don't know what that means) in 3 major sports: Basket, Baseball and Hockey.
For this reason, there is also big interest in sports items, mainly shirts, caps and other clothing items.
We were looking for something a bit more specific: Baby clothes and although there are many stores around, few had things for children under 3 years. After asking around a bit, we were told about this place and found that, not only it had the items we were looking for, but it also had other official jerseys, caps etc. that were cheaper than most other shops.
If you are looking for that Leaves jersey, this is a good place to start your search
What to pay: The shirts can cost as little as 10-15 CAD.
Address: 356 Yonge (at Elm St)
Directions: It is very close to the Eaton Centre. Just walk past Sam's and it is on your left-hand side.
Theme: Sporting Goods
It really is big
I don't know if it actually is the world's largest bookstore, but it is HUGE.
There are two floors filled with all kinds of books. Some sections are larger than most bookshops.
You will find almost everything that has been edited in Canada, but only in English or French, if you are looking for foreign books, this is not the place. They only had a few Greek ones.
The IT section is particularly large as is the children's book section. I have also never seen such a large section of science fiction books
There are also DVD's and videocassetes as well as Magazines for sale. "Navigation" is quite easy as well as the signs are quite explicit and easy to find. Should you not find what you are looking for, you can use one of the computers spread around the store and have it ordered (if you have the time to wait, of course).
Take a look at the sales section as there are quite some bargains to be found.
What to buy: Books, books, books.
Address: 20 Edward Street
Directions: Parallel to Dundas, one block north, on Yonge St.
Phone: 416 977-7009
Just like in Sweden, the sale of alcoholic beverages in Ontario is regulated by LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) and you have to go to one of its stores in order to buy something stronger (I think beer is still available in the supermarkets).
What could you want to buy in Canada? Well, here are a few suggestions:
- Ice Wine. Sweet wine made out of frozen grapes, produced in very few countries (Germany is the only other one that I know of).
- Ontario Wine
- Canadian whisky
There is usually always a very knowledgable "consultant" that will assist you with your choice.
There is one of these stores right in front of the Eaton Centre on Dundas.
Theme: Food and Drink
Sears is a huge department store that sells a bit of everything.
The main convenience of shopping here is the fact that you can find most of the things you might need, but prices are not the best. They are the same as everywhere else.
However... everytime that I have been there, there are sales on specific items.
Funny enough, both times I went to Canada, I came back with a new set of luggage as I got some Samsonite and Air Canada bags 60-70% off. Last time I also bought some Levi's pants and sweaters 40% off.
Weekends are usually good for sales as I guess they want to attract more people (it is located in a mainly business-oriented area).
In any case, if you are in Toronto for some time (a week or so) check in once in a while as sales come and go and often only last a day or two. You might try to get on the good side of one of the, usually very friendly, salespeople as you can get inside information on when there will be another sale.
My girlfriend bought a Guess purse 40 % off (30% plus an extra 10% scratch bonus we got that day).
Address: Eaton Centre
Directions: On Yonge and Dundas.
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