Shopping On Bloor

Last week I told you about visiting Varsity Stadium when Peter and I sauntered along Bloor St. on a Friday afternoon. But that’s not all we saw on that well-known cross-town street in mid-Toronto.

Bloor is famous for many tourist places and activities: the ROM with its infamous crystal jutting out like an ugly growth and its unique gift shop inside, or the Bata Shoe Museum which houses Elvis Presley’s blue patent loafers, or the old Park Hyatt 18th floor Bar from where we used to be able to see the CN tower.


Bloor St. holds personal memories for me too. Many decades ago I studied at OCE, the Ontario College of Education. I lived in a one-bedroom apartment with 2 other young women. We had all our clothes in one tiny closet, and we put on all our make-up in one tiny bathroom. And we are still friends! I have also visited the Royal Conservatory of Music on a couple of important occasions. Once I took our grand daughter Sophie for her piano exam. I was almost as nervous as she was; I wanted so badly for her to do well. And she did! Recently my niece’s husband Ryan, a violin maker, was part of an exhibition in the same building, where he and a couple of other exhibitors were chosen “best in show.”

OCE where I studied. Twenty years later, when it was changed to UTS, Peter’s daughter Andrea went to high school there.

Ryan’s violin

Some of my best Bloor memories are about…shopping! After I graduated from OCE, I found a teaching job and got my first real paycheck. What did I do with it? I bought a pair of brown shoes at a very expensive store called Brown’s Shoes! It was located in the newly constructed Colonade, one of the early shopping malls in Toronto.

During the holiday season many shoppers take advantage of Bloor St, soaking up the festive atmosphere and doing a lot of window shopping. On that particular Friday, Peter followed me along reluctantly as I checked out the windows with their finest window dressing. I went to Holt Renfrew first because that is the company that began this trend several years ago, Then I caught sight of a couple of window dressers doing up Harry Rosen in style. Farther along I noticed that Dior and Vutton had “gone rogue” with some nouveau art designs. And then, I am sorry to say, Peter had run out of patience for shopping. We went home to relax and watch TV.

Hold Renfrew’s 2022 Christmas window.

Harrry Rosen being gussied up for the holiday season.

Sadly for Peter, shopping has been in the news a lot lately. We watched a story about “vanity sizing” where factories mark jean sizes smaller than they actually are, so that customers can indulge in a fantasy that they have lost weight. Another story making the news was about “convershopping” – the idea the people shop only to keep up with the current small talk. “Have you heard about the latest xxx? Well I managed to get one of the first ones on sale at yyy!”

By this time, Peter was falling asleep in his chair.

Good luck with your holiday shopping,


Vutton and Dior go rogue for the holidays

3 thoughts on “Shopping On Bloor

  1. Weird windows for the last two! At least Peter went shopping with you. I can’t remember the last time that Gary did. On the other hand he gets sufficiently impatient that it’s more pleasant to shop alone. I haven’t been on Bloor since university days and your article makes me want to go back and have a look.


  2. Oh Sue! You brought back my BEST memories of Toronto. Bloor is my favourite street, right from High Park to Bay. My parents had friends, a childless couple. Zoltan and Teresa. My own parents were hard-working and busy, but Teresa was so chique and had the time to take me to the Colonnade. For chestnut puree and real whipping cream. For my first – and last – lapsang suchong! From her and those shops: probably where I got that champagne taste for life.

    The iconic and beloved ROM was a regular haunt. Bata was yet to be built…

    I have taken the strangest courses at OISE: one on past life regression and one from a New York dominatrix (LOL!) –all in the name of expanding one’s mind, of course.

    Thank you for those gorgeous photos that echo my memories…I was already dreaming of a lottery wind and splurging at Nordstrom’s.


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