Thanks to the low exchange rate (everything’s 30 percent off for Americans!), there's no better time to visit our friendly northern neighbor for a weekend of retail therapy.
Boho-chic apparel, hipster fashion and simple sloganed t-shirts (see: Canadian as F*ck written on the front) can be found at Milk on William Street. Buy a small gift to take home like funky stationery or cheeky pencils (one has Thug Life etched in its side). Talk about a statement piece.
Head to the Goods Shop for a hyper-local collection of prints, accessories and homeware all from Ottawan artisans and creative types. (We love the cozy wool blankets and cool mugs.) There’s even a pantry section with items like blueberry gin jam, bacon salt, thai chili-infused honey, plus an apothecary of goods such as basil and grapefruit sea salt soap, citrus eucalyptus bath salt and rose cardamom argan body lotion.
At the north end of Dalhousie Street (known as NorthDal) is a blossoming fashion district where you’ll find a handful of charming boutiques. Victoire has a mix of vintage and Canadian threads, delicate jewelry, leather purses and more. Our favorite: a pair of deerskin and rabbit fur moccasins.
This luxury sweatshirt line — yes, you read that right — finds the sweet spot between style and comfort. Ottawa-native and owner Stacey Bafi-Yeboa got the idea while she was living in New York City as a Broadway dancer and sewing in her spare time. A few years later, after seeing a market for the look, she set up shop back in Canada. All of her products can be worn multiple ways, making the J’Adore, Signature and Sweetthing jackets fly off the shelves.
Schad / Wolf & Zed
Don’t worry guys, we’re not leaving you out here. Schad/WOLF & Zed, along Sussex Drive, has your back. The store is stocked with sleek menswear (try on the blazers), sharp shoes (the loafers are super trendy) and sick swag. But don’t let the sticker shock dissuade you; it’s more than worth it for the quality attire.
Browse the racks at Kaliyana for unique fashion-forward designs. Each has an unstructured shape with asymmetric lines, flowy layers and bold pops of color (chartreuse, plum and turquoise in the spring/summer; burnt orange, teal and burgundy in the fall/winter). One of its most popular concepts? The anti-suit: a three-piece set including an oversized white shirt, a long black jacket and soft cotton jersey pants.
The Modern Shop
Tucked in a corner of Ottawa’s historic ByWard Market, The Modern Shop is one of the area’s edgiest design stores. Check out contemporary light fixtures by Jonathan Adler, retro graphic textiles from Scandinavian studio ferm LIVING, brass and copper kitchenware by Tom Dixon, plus avant-garde Dutch furniture courtesy of Moooi.
You’ll never get bored of shopping at Roadtrip, a clothing boutique that changes its products every week. The shop also has a rotating destination-based theme (right now, it’s Nashville, so expect to see lots of plaids and patterns.) We can’t take our eyes off of the Matt & Nat black leather backpack, perfect for traveling.
Looking for the perfect fit? At Farah Studio, which just opened last month, haute-couture outfits are made custom in-house and elegant ready-wear is tailored by hand. If you ever have a dressy event, ask Farah for an evening gown and she’ll come back with a gorgeously detailed frock made of fine fabrics, so you’ll be the belle of the ball.