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Designer destination, Castlefield District Toronto

Toronto's Castlefield Design District features a mecca of shops and restaurants you don't want to miss.

Where it's located:

The Castlefield Design District sprawls throughout a residential/industrial neighbourhood, northwest of Toronto's Dufferin St./Eglinton Avenue, and south of the 401.

Why we love it:

Toronto`s Castlefield Design District, with its concentration of higher-end home fixtures and furnishings shops, has long been a mecca for professional interior decorators and homeowners with deeper-than-average pockets. In recent years, it’s gained even more cachet with the increasing migration of sensational shops from downtown to the conveniently roomy warehouse spaces that abound in this quasi-industrial area northwest of the city centre.

Where to shop:

Barrymore moved to the area in 2005 from the Liberty Village area. The company carries a range of home furnishings from well-known manufacturers, but its unique claim is the upholstered furniture meticulously crafted on the site from Canadian lumber. If the showroom seating is luxuriously supple and supportive, it’s because it has eight-way, hand-tied springs. The naturally lit fabric room displays some 7,000 samples. Barrymore also has a strong commitment to eco-friendly practices, particularly in reducing VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) in its wood finishing and seating foam. barrymorefurniture.com

The Art Shoppe is a newcomer to the scene. Founded in 1936, the company introduced Torontonians to important international design pieces from the Art Deco movement through Modernism and up to the most current trends in furniture and lighting. Its former location on Yonge Street was an iconic landmark, but its stunning new 50,000 square-foot showroom promises to become an equally popular destination for people looking for contemporary or traditional pieces. theartshoppe.com

The Door Store moved here well over a decade ago. Originally, it dealt in castoff architectural bits and pieces picked up on the curbside. These days, the stock is as likely to be collected in Cairo as Toronto. It’s the place to go for unique fittings like reclaimed and reproduction antique heating duct grates, salvaged institutional light fixtures, vintage doorknobs and one-of-a-kind finds like stained glass panels and fireplace mantels. And yes, they still have lots and lots of doors. thedoorstore.ca

Named for the initials of the company's Parisian founder Léon Tenenbaum, Elte is renowned for its outstanding collection of carpets. He opened his Toronto business in 1944. It was located for many years near the downtown Distillery Historic District, but made the move long ago to the current 200,000 square-foot buildings. Now a fourth-generation business, Elte carries a full spectrum of furniture and lighting, but still specializes in carpets that range in price from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. Have a look at their Second Life collection of antique rugs that have been overdyed in a new colour. And drop in on their chic café, with its eye-catching industrial lighting, for fresh, organic and local sandwiches and salads. elte.com

Where to refuel: The Castlefield-Caledonia area is one of the hubs of Toronto’s sizeable Italian community, and Commisso Brothers & Racco Italian Bakery is a legendary mainstay that literally stays open all night to produce a stream of fresh and fragrant artisanal loaves, from healthful whole grains to vanilla-sweet brioches. Whether it’s a hot veal sandwich at 3 a.m., half a dozen perfect cannoli, a box of meltingly crumbly Italian cookies or a brilliant pastel assortment of macarons, Commisso fills the bill. commissobakery.com

Don’t miss:

Ginger's Bath and Summerhill Hardware (gingers.com) has been fitting out Toronto’s fanciest bathrooms for generations. Part of the Elte com pany, Ginger’s is an original lynchpin of the neighbourhood. If you think you’d never fall in love with a faucet, you’ve clearly never been to Ginger’s. gingers.com

Also fabulous!

  • Imperial Carpet and Home (carpetandhome.com)
  • Missoni Home (missonihome.com)
  • Sescolite Lighting (sescolite.com)
  • Union Lighting and Furnishings (unionlightingandfurnishings.com)
  • Weaver's Art (weaversart.com