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September 22, 2021

The world's most expensive shopping districts

Most Canadians don’t need an extra reason to hate Toronto.

In the majority’s eye – as discussed before – the traffic sucks, the streets are dirty and there’s so much crime the city might as well be post-Katrina New Orleans, 24/7. This is nothing fresh.

But a new study gives the country’s elitist hub another reason to dwell on its hoity-toityness, and it could be enough to send plenty of Canucks over the edge.

Toronto’s Bloor St., which houses privileged outlets like Hermes and Prada, once again came in first as the country’s most expensive street for retailers.

According to real estate advisor Cushman & Wakefield, it costs an average of $300 USD per square foot to set up shop along Bloor, the street that stretches through the heart of the city.

Vancouver’s Robson St. ($210 / square foot) and Saint-Catherine W in Montreal ($110 / square foot) rounded out the list’s Canadian top three.

Yet while that $300 figure might seem daunting, it’s really just pennies on the global scale.

Toronto placed 21st on the Cushman & Wakefield list, relative light years behind the world’s most posh shopping districts.

Paris’ Avenue des Champs Elysees ranked third most expensive for retailers at $1,009 per square foot, just behind Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay at $1,525 per square foot.

The granddaddy of them all? New York’s Fifth Avenue, which costs retailers a ridiculous $1,700 per square foot, a figure that – while outrageous – is actually down 8 per cent from last year.

In fact, retail rents all over the world are tumbling (54% of the top locales reported a drop) from last year, though none more than Mumbai’s prestigious Colaba Causeway, which fell 63.5%. 

“The last 12 months have been one of the most difficult periods ever for the retail sector with consumer spending and retail sales down in many markets,” said John Strachan, Cushman & Wakefield’s global head of retail.

“There will undoubtedly be some markets which will continue to be affected (by the recession) over the next year, but we expect to see a greater number move back into positive territory.”

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...