Like it or not (don’t even front … you love it), Halton is equated with being an educated, affluent, big-spending population, which means the people of Oakville, Burlington, Milton, and Halton Hills have a far-reaching reputation for enjoying all things exquisite. But if that’s the case, why must we travel to Yorkville, Yorkdale, New York, or beyond to find lavish, extravagant things? Whether it’s taking care of our toned bodies (from Pilates, barre, or hockey) to hitting the trails, or our love for clean, vegan, and/or gluten-free cuisine, we shouldn’t have to apologize for deserving the good life. Here are 5 stores we wish were closer to home … way closer … so that we could continue to enjoy being ballers without leaving the region.
5. Farm Boy – Opening in Oakville in Fall 2018
This little eastern Ontario grocer has been stealthily circling the outskirts of the GTA and has finally opened in Etobicoke! … then it can eventually make its way into Halton (Milton would be perfect — they’ll have to find a way to penetrate the market amongst the Goodness Me! and Whole Foods faithful in Burlington and O-Town). Often dubbed ‘Canada’s answer to Trader Joe’s’, I fell in love with this store while living in Ottawa, where they’re scattered across the city, naturally making it an obvious lunch-on-the-go spot. The store – which began in 1981 as a Cornwall fruit stand – offers a superb selection of meat and produce, and has its own private label featuring items such as (delicious!) tortilla chips, salad dressing and salsa. (Plus bakery offerings which are wonderful — I love bringing home their mini chocolate chip cookies for my niece and nephew). But my favourite area, aside from the salad bar, is the hot foods counter. Items are made from scratch, and the menu is created by a chef and dietitian, who’ll work together to come up with delicious offerings which are healthy and don’t compromise flavour for healthy components. This is certainly no ordinary grocery store food. I love, love, love the *amazing* Mac and Cheese, Carrot Ginger Soup, Premium Steak Caesar Wrap, and Artisan Meatza Pizza, to name a few. But my favourite item of all time is the lentil/dal rolls (I forget the official name!) which came with a little container of tamarind sauce made by Rinag (it’s an Ottawa-based company), which is the BEST tamarind sauce outside of India (it’s made with shredded carrots and diced onions. So, so good!). At any rate, we’d love to not have to drive 90-plus minutes to get a Farm Boy fix.
Art meets jewelry in this high-end line, which oozes sophistication and class. It features a stunning array of bling featuring (my favourite!) exquisite lotus designs to choose from (if anyone would like to gift me any of the lotus rings, which I regularly drool over … my favourite lotus piece goes for $14,000). His line is inspired by the divine flower that rises above the murky waters and is composed of dreamy, intricate, white and pink layers and faceted pear rose cut petals. Flowers aside, there’s even an elephant ring, which in Asian cultures, symbolizes good fortune (but if you do yoga on the reg then you already know about the significance of the lotus and elephants in ‘The East’). Speaking of east, Modi was raised in Antwerp – the diamond capital of the world – and A-list celebs ranging from Kate Winslet to Priyanka Chopra (I’m not into fangirling *at all* but there’s something about Chopra that’s simply captivating – if you’ve never heard of her, she’s more or less the Beyonce of India – even the way she eats chicken wings is spectacular #amirite) to Rosie Huntington-Whitely rock his jewels on red carpets around the world. Modi’s boutiques are in New York, London, Mumbai, Delhi, Hong Kong, Singapore, Beijing, and Macau. All in all, it’s high jewels for posh people — which, if you ask me, sounds perfect for the women of Oakville.
It’s an amazing place to shop ‘til you drop. Nordstrom (and Nordstrom Rack) is going to be opening more stores across Canada in 2018. When it comes to where they’ve got new locations planned, some are as close as Mississauga (at Heartland, opening in fall 2018) while others are as far as Calgary’s Deerfoot Meadows (slated for spring 2018). The Seattle-based retailer rocks for many reasons, including their phenomenal-and-legendary customer service, plus their no-fuss return policy. It also does fun little ‘Pop-In@Nordstrom’ – versus pop-up – collections from lines such as Everlane, Goop, and KFASHION. Then there’s cosmetics … I recall being at the Charlotte Tilbury counter at Toronto’s Eaton Centre in 2016. The service was spectacular, and so was the selection of handbags, clothes, and shoes. I felt pampered as I left with a new luxury eyeshadow palette which has specks of gold and made me want to shine real bright.
2. Pottery Barn/Pottery Barn Kids
Because we shouldn’t have to drive to Toronto (Sherway, Yorkdale, or Bloor St.) to buy Artisinal Vintage items for ourselves or our loved ones … Pottery Barn Canada has six Canadian locations and while three are in Toronto (the others are in Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton), Halton is too high-end to not have one in its own backyard! The original store opened in 1949, among the docks and warehouses of West Chelsea in lower Manhattan. Home wares have been cool long before I was born, and my sister is a tad obsessed with this place. She’d force me (guess who’s older? *Sighs in defeat*) to go into the Sherway store and sure enough, there was one day when we bought some pretty epic candles and decorative turquoise stones with our mom (who still displays them on her mantle!). Over time, it became such a ritual that I’d eventually go to the mall without her and end up perusing the PB aisles anyway. From towels, to rugs, to baskets, to personalized blankets and backpacks, there’s just so much nice stuff. And now, they’ve partnered with Monique Lhuillier (brides already know) and their Semi-Annual Tabletop Event is on and I’m super pumped to buy some new mugs and Christmas charger plates.
Founded in a small Toronto warehouse about 60 years ago, Canada Goose has grown into one of the world’s leading makers of luxury apparel. I recall buying my parka at Sporting Life at Sherway back in 2011 — after spending five hours – that’s no exaggeration – at a crime scene in Ottawa, I nearly froze to death and realized a Goose is as essential as snow tires when living in the nation’s capital. But the thing with the Goose is, once you rock one, you can never go back to what you once wore outdoors … (and you’ll start sweating profusely the moment you’re indoors, even if you’re simply running a 90-second errand and picking up a tube of toothpaste from the drugstore). Their jackets are the best, the knockoffs are disgusting, and the company says it uses ethically sourced down, wool, and fur, and shearling. Anyway, the Canadian flagship store is at Yorkdale (the other ones are in New York City – SoHo to be exact – and Chicago is on deck) and certainly, we can’t be the only ones miffed that Halton doesn’t have its own minimalistic down-filled playground filled with exclusive items. If anyone can afford a “Made in Canada” Goose, it’s a Halton resident!