07/20/2012 12:20 EDT | Updated 09/19/2012 05:12 EDT

Specialty brand Free People to open first Canadian stores in Toronto, Calgary

TORONTO - Canada will be home to the first Free People boutiques outside the U.S. as the brand broadens its reach into the international market.

The Philadelphia-based specialty women's clothing brand, part of Urban Outfitters, Inc., is set to open a tri-level, 1,500 square-foot (139 square-metre) store in Toronto's Yorkville shopping district on Aug. 3.

A second location is slated to launch at the Chinook Centre in Calgary on August 31.

The brand channels inspiration from bohemian chic in its vast array of apparel and accessories. Free People's range includes dresses, tunics, sweaters, shorts, skirts, shoes and denim, as well its own in-house labels, vintage collections and a vegan leather shop.

As part of its northern expansion, Canadian e-customers will be offered the option of direct duty payment up front. The retailer says this will enhance the overall shopping experience and remove any post-purchase charges.

The launch of Free People precedes the arrival of other chains slated to make their first forays into Canada.

Ted Baker London and Kate Spade New York will open their first Canadian boutiques at Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto this November.

The U.K. and U.S.-based companies will be joined at Yorkdale by Ann Taylor and Loft, which are both under the umbrella of New York-based parent company, Ann Inc. The womenswear brands will also be making their Canadian debuts.

Intermix, Marshalls, Express, Tory Burch, Topshop, Topman and J. Crew are among the U.S. and international brands that have recently established bricks-and-mortar locations in Canada.

U.S. discount giant Target is set to opens its doors north of the border next year.