I used to live very close to Toronto’s Yorkville district. Not knowing much about Yorkville when I moved in, I did what anyone would do and explored my new neighbourhood. I was fascinated by all of the stores… many of which I had never heard of before. I soon found out why I hadn’t heard of these places: I wasn’t exactly in their target market… especially as a broke student.
I’ll never forget going into Holt Renfrew for the first time. I knew nothing about Holt Renfrew. I figured it was a department store just like Sears (ha!) and they had pretty pink bags. I am not always known for a shrewd sense of “being with it-ness” so for most people, the presence of a doorman would have been a big clue that this was not a regular department store. Me? I just wondered why Sears hadn’t thought of having a friendly doorman.
I made it all the way to the ladies’ shoe department on the second floor before it began to register that perhaps this wasn’t a store for me. (Again, the cosmetics companies I’ve never heard of, hoity-toity salespeople, and the fact that the place was so clean you could eat off the floor should have been big, big hints.) I remember seeing a lovely pair of ballet flats and picking them up to inspect. It was then I noticed the price – $400. In Andrea world, that’s the price of at least ten pairs of shoes. I quickly scooted back down the elevator and back past the friendly doorman. He was still very nice upon my exit – even though I wasn’t clutching a pink bag like everyone else. Maybe he’s entertained by clueless girls from the suburbs, who knows.
Needless to say, I’ve darkened the door of very few stores in Yorkville but it’s still one of my favourite Toronto haunts. Why you ask? First of all, the “regular people stores” have to step it up in the Yorkville neighbourhood so the Roots, Gap, Jacob, Lululemon and even HMW are carefully staffed and offer fantastic selection.
Another reason to love Yorkville? This is celebrity sighting central. I ran into Owen Wilson while shopping at Lululemon.
Also, I’ve learned that Yorkville is a fantastic place for free samples. I’ve scored multiple free sodas, hair products, skincare samples and makeup by going for a walk in this neighbourhood. Now I just need a pretty pink Holt Renfrew bag to put them all in and I’ll fit right in.