Photo credit: abdallahh
Don't let back-to-school shopping destroy your end-of-summer travels. Forego your annual August trip to the nearest mall and embark on a back-to-school shopping adventure instead. Canada is home to some of the world's greatest shopping cities, where spending your savings on another pair of sneakers and several pairs of Levi's can be a whole lot of fun.
You don't have to be a big spender to enjoy the ultimate back-to-school shopping excursion in Montreal. And you'll get to teach your little ones a bit about Canadian history and culture too. The French-speaking city is known as the cultural capital of the Great White North, but you'll have to pull yourself away from the affordably priced boutiques and department stores to sightsee. Find the more budget-friendly stores along Rue Sainte-Catherine or pick up the latest high-end fashions on Rue St. Denis. Montreal is also home to the famous Marche Jean-Talon farmers' market, so don't confine all of your shopping to clothing.
Photo credit: paul bica
Toronto is the largest city in Canada, offering everything from funky boutiques to flagship stores and celebrity favorites. Yorkville is where many shoppers stock up on their favorite luxury brands, including Burberry, Chanel and Louis Vuitton. However, you'll probably find yourself spending more time perusing the independently-owned, trend-setting shops on revived Queen Street West. It's nearly impossible to see every store in Hogtown, with more than a dozen shopping malls, several flea markets and so many places to support the community by shopping local.
The West Edmonton Mall is North America's largest shopping mall, but it offers far more than the traditional shops, kiosks and food courts. The West Edmonton Mall houses a complete indoor amusement park, an 18-hole miniature golf course, a water park, an ice rink, a manmade lake, music venues and themed wings, including Bourbon Street and Chinatown. However, you don't even have to step foot in the massive shopping center to shop your heart out in Edmonton.
The city is home to several other malls and a downtown area that's bustling with locally-owned boutiques and specialty shops. Fort Edmonton Park, the Muttart Conservatory, the happening Whyte Avenue district and a number of family-friendly green spaces make Alberta's capital city a must-visit.
Photo credit: winnipeg's grumpy old man
Winnipeg's unique shopping scene dates back thousands of years. The area now known as The Forks, at the junction of the Assiniboine and Red rivers, was once a place of commerce for Aboriginal people. Later, it was used as a marketplace for traders, merchants and hunters. Now, The Forks attracts shoppers from around the globe with its indoor marketplace loaded with unique shops, eateries, galleries and more. Make your back-to-school shopping an adventure by perusing the many funky, handmade and historic items in this one-of-a-kind shopping city.
Vancouver, British Columbia
The only reason you wouldn't want to do your back-to-school shopping in Vancouver is because you may be completely overwhelmed. From the Vancouver Mall, the contemporary Aberdeen Centre and the international designers on Robson Street to Main Street's hip, local trends and Chinatown's endless array of accessories, you'll never find yourself wishing you had more options. Fortunately, you can kick your heels up at the end of a long day and enjoy some of the country's best cuisine in Vancouver's countless cafes, casual eateries and world-class fine dining establishments.
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