Toronto's best shops to gear up for winter sports

You know those super-active outdoorsy types? Every group’s got one: lycra-clad, cheeks aglow, uttering inanities like “dontcha just love winter?” Shudder. If that perpetual positivity starts harshing your nightly Netflix-pizza binge this year, try walking a mile in their showshoes. Because if you can’t beat them, (and believe us, we’d really like to) join them, and start making tracks to these TO outdoor gear retailers.

Sporting Life Inc.

001 Yonge Street 2665 Young Street, Toronto, ON M4P 2L6

A constant fixture in our fledgling attempts to safely throw ourselves down snowy mountains since the 1970s, this sprawling outpost stocks a staggering supply of sporting goods, from skis and snowboards to snowshoes and goggles. Most major brands are represented across its four Toronto locations, but its outerwear selection is particularly formidable, and, we must giddily mention, so is its sale section.

So Hip It Hurts

323 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V 2A4

The name of this Toronto skate and snowboarding institution may be a bit of a misnomer, as it appears to hire only the darndest down-to-earth and friendly staff in the whole GTA. You won't find any of that holier-than-thou 'tude that so plagues the industry, but rather an uber-helpful and inclusive bunch that'll get you geared up with the steezy boards, gloves and goggles needed for your next trip to Blue Mountain.

The Sign Of The Skier

2794 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4N 2J2

Since the 60s, this shop has supplied skiers with the high-end gear necessary to safely and securely scream down mountains at stupidly fast speeds. Family-owned and operated, service is impeccable and selection unbeatable. Best of all, when it's not stocking its shelves with the city's finest selection of boots, bindings and other boutique goods, it serves as an outdoor patio furniture shop in the off season. And who doesn't love a good sit?

Velotique 2013

1592 Queen E, Toronto, ON M4L 1G1

One of Toronto's most-beloved bicycle boutiques also moonlights as the city's epicenter for all things cross-country – skis, poles, bindings and boots – covering the full gamut, including race-specific carbon skis from Fischer and recreational-orientated planks from Salomon. Staff is warm and inclusive, and psst, they know some of the best in-the-city trails to get you started on the most scenic routes.

Just Hockey Source For Sports

900 Don Mills Rd, North York, ON M3C 1V6

It's not just a clever name, this Toronto institution has outfitted everyone from Timbits to pros, helmet to toes, coming on three decades now. Despite it's mission to always be on the cutting edge of the Canada's true game, the service here is decidedly old school – nothing, and I mean nothing gives these gals and guys more pleasure than finding you that pair of skates that fit just right.

MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-op)

400 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1K2

This mecca for all things mountain-y hardly requires an introduction, as year after year, they've consistently been the (price-conscious) curator of our extreme-weather exploits. From caving, canoeing, ice-climbing and winter camping, with friendly and knowledgeable staff always on-hand, the king of King Street (for now) still reigns supreme when it comes to outdoor pursuits.

Skating Boutique Ontario Ltd

6174 Yonge St, North York, ON M2M 3X1

Can you tell your Lutz from your Salchow? Do you spend dreary winter days dreaming of dancing in David Pelletier's well-defined arms? No? Uh, us either. Regardless of skill-level, from pro to absolute amateur, children to adults, you'll find what you need at this destination for all things dancing-on-ice related, including what has to be the largest collection of figure-skating getups in the country.

Europe Bound

383 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1K1

Heaven for hikers, bliss for backpackers, Canaan for climbers and campers, and an all-out ode to the great outdoors: with two downtown TO locations, the selection at these shops make us question in earnest if we'd need a roof over our heads ever again. You can get internet outside, right?

Long lines, entry fees, the same bric-a-brac you see at every other dang city market –yup, sounds like Christmas Market season in Toronto! This year, try straying off the beaten path and check out some festive pop-ups and alternative markets across the city, each promising truly unique, one-of-a-kind, and handmade holiday gifts. Yup, Santa would definitely approve.
For the average fella, few things remain more fulfilling than a proper barbershop hot shave. Whether priming your mug for a Movember masterpiece or merely taking some manly me-time, Toronto is stacked with steady hands skilled at the old school straight-razor.
Ah, fall in Toronto: that magical season for pumpkin-spiced sweater-weather and cottage-country leaf-turning treks. And, for the first time since the crack of Joe Carter’s bat thrilled the nation in ‘93, the Blue Jays are in playoff baseball again. Bandwagon? Bah! Parade your post-season pride with unique apparel from these local TO retailers. [photo courtesy of The Drake Hotel]
Close menu