Like many knitters, I plan my travels around yarn stores—and that includes trips to my former hometown, Toronto.
These days, when I’m in the city, I’m on a whistle-stop tour, squeezing visits to my old haunts in between meals with old friends. Turns out that if you apply yourself, you can visit a surprising number of yarn stores in between massive breakfasts and ramen dinners.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of things for a fellow yarnophile to do in Toronto.
Note: Toronto is enormous, and full of yarn stores. I’ve highlighted my favorite downtown locations, easily accessible by transit and walking, but there are more to discover if you’re up for slightly more travel time.
Day One: Kensington Market and Bloorcourt
Once you’ve indulged your taste buds, head over to Nassau Street and Yarns Untangled. Inside, find a carefully curated selection of yarn and notions (plus a comfy couch or two for the weary-footed). Speaking of feet, they’ve got a great selection of sock yarn—I rarely leave without at least one souvenir skein.
Now it’s time to head to EweKnit. This is a fiber lover’s paradise. If you can stitch with it, you’ll find it here.
The yarn selection practically glowed in the dark on the night I visited, and the selection of Liberty of London fabrics seemed to cover an entire wall.
You’ll also find embroidery supplies (from basic learn-to-embroider to advanced crewelwork and tapestry), sewing and quilting patterns, project bags and notions, and a selection of books. Plan to spend some serious time here.
Day Two: Queen St. West and Roncesvalles
Once you’re duly fortified, it’s time to head west. Your first stop: Romni Wools. Photos don’t do this place justice. Plan to spend at least an hour, maybe two, exploring. (Don’t forget the basement!) Whether you’re looking for hard-to-find European sock yarns, hearty Canadian worsted weight for a snuggly sweater, or a tiny ball of cashmere for that special someone, you’ll find it here. (Don’t be afraid to ask for help tracking something down–the skeins are piled high.) Word to the wise: Romni is closed on Sunday.
Now it’s time to hop back on the westbound streetcar. Destination: The Workroom. Here you’ll find enticing displays of fabric, patterns and sewing notions, and a massive wall of buttons. I could spend hours poring over vintage treasures in The Button Dept., and I suspect you could, too.
The Workroom also offers a wide variety of classes. One of these days I’ll manage to sync up a trip with a weaving class. I’d love to spend an afternoon making one of these dishtowels. (Wouldn’t it pair perfectly with a brand new ball-band dishcloth?)
If you’re an MDK reader, you may also be a Bullet Journal enthusiast, and that means it’s worth a jaunt across the street to Paper Plus Cloth, a paradise for people who love notebooks, pens and washi tape.
Tired yet? If yes, head back to base, but if not, it’s back onto the streetcar for a trip to Roncesvalles, where you’ll find The Knit Café, which happens to be in the vicinity of great brownies, books, barbecue and ice cream. If you need a break from the city’s hustle and bustle, head across the street to High Park for some restorative nature time.
Day Three: Queen St. East/Leslieville
For day three, you’re back to Queen Street, but this time, heading east. Before you hop on the streetcar, though, stop for the full Irish at George St. Diner.
Look familiar? This diner featured in the film What If (aka The F Word), starring Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan. Also playing a strong supporting role in that film was your next destination…
The Purple Purl. Walk through the door and you’ll be overwhelmed by rainbow upon rainbow of yarn.
From superfine lace for the finest of shawls to sweater quantities of Canadian-dyed sport and worsted weight to extra-chunky yarn perfect for arm-knitting, there’s something for everyone (and in every color)
Yarn bags bulging? Feeling hungry? Take a stroll back down the street, where you’ll find all sorts of options, from stick-to-your-ribs sandwiches at Completo, to fresh, healthy salads at Eadrey, to the sweetest-of-sweet cupcakes and treats at Bobbette & Belle, where the air is perfumed with sugar and vanilla.
That concludes your knitter’s weekend in Toronto. Don’t forget to wave to the CN Tower as you fly by!
Toronto Tips and Tricks
–There’s one thing you need to know to survive Toronto: when it comes to escalators, walk on the left and stand on the right. Ignore this advice at your peril.
–When in doubt, start with “Sorry.” It’s a Canadian stereotype for a reason! You’ll soon learn there are about 1,000 shades of meaning, some of which don’t involve being sorry at all, but hey—it works. Especially if you just got yelled at for standing on the wrong side of the escalator.
–Hungry? Get a hotdog from street vendor. No, really, even the New York Times was impressed.
About A Knitter’s Weekend
Each piece in our series A Knitter’s Weekend is written by a knitter with local knowledge and a personal point of view. If you have additional places or information you’d like to share, we’d love to hear it—please leave a comment. And if you think you might get to visit Toronto, here’s how to save this article in your MDK account with one click.