Toronto native Janette Ewen gives us the scoop on her must-visit YYZ haunts.

We’ve talked to designer Janette Ewen for just about everything: her and Parker Barrow partner Jef Hancock gave us a tour of their Hel-Mel neighbourhood, she shared her quick-and-easy home decor hacks and she gave us the scoop on how to design a bold, black kitchen. And just when you thought we couldn’t get any more advice from her, we went ahead and asked her to share her fave Toronto haunts, too. From a delectable sweet shop and museum-like furniture store to a designer perfume lab and vintage market, these are Ewen’s top six must-visit spots in the YYZ.

Avenue Road

“Formerly the Consumers Gas Company, this stunning heritage building was reimagined by Yabu Pushelberg and now houses one of my favourite furniture stores. Avenue Road features a range of classic and contemporary furniture, lighting and accessories—it’s like visiting a museum filled with the most beautiful furniture you’ve ever seen! The vast, cathedral-like style of this space will truly take your breath away.”

Saks Fifth Avenue

“Saks Fifth Avenue opened its first Canadian location a little over a year ago and I could not be happier about it! Whether you’re creating your own scent at Le Labo or finding the perfect pair of sunglasses, Saks has everything you need…or don’t need, for that matter!”


“When you’re exhausted from shopping, saunter down to Leña, located on the Saks main floor, where Chef Anthony Walsh serves up delicious South American cuisine in an Instagram-worthy space. Stunningly executed by DesignAgency, Leña’s interior features an eclectic mix of patterns, leather upholstery, marble and unique furnishings—all while embracing the building’s original art deco elements. Have a seat at the octagonal bar, sip my favourite cocktail (aptly named “Leña”) and snack on salt cod fritters. And for dessert, is there anything better than churros dipped in chocolate?”

Second Voyage

“Yes, I love designer clothes—but I also love a good bargain. After a successful run at the Arts Market, Second Voyage opened its first standalone store near Queen and Sherbourne, and has been warmly embraced by the Corktown community ever since. It’s a vintage-meets-Etsy-shop hybrid, if you will. There’s something in every corner—from eclectic art, home decor, clothing and jewellery to fresh flower arrangements, local soaps and lotions. My favourite buy definitely has to be my vintage typewriter.”


“Roselle specialize in cakes, cookies, caramels and more—and the entire staff is so friendly. Owners Steph and Bruce make all their confections using seasonal ingredients and like to incorporate many elements from their travels. My go-tos: earl grey soft serve (!) and melt-in-your-mouth caramels.”

The Distillery District

“Taking a stroll through the Distillery is like stepping back in time: it’s a magnificent union of old and new, perfectly blending Victorian industrial architecture with impressive 21st century design. Bustling with creative people, the distillery district is filled with one-of-a-kind stores, galleries, restaurants, theatres and so much more. Grab a coffee at Balzac’s while you peruse the shops and galleries and finish the day with margaritas and guac on the patio at El Catrin.”

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