Montreal-based fashion footwear brand La Canadienne is expanding its Canadian retail footprint with its first Ontario location officially opening in Toronto’s prestigious Yorkville area on Monday August 9.
The store is the retailer’s first foray outside of its Montreal home base and its third brick and mortar location.
The Toronto store, located at 138 Cumberland Street, is more than 4,000 square feet over three levels with two of those dedicated to retail space.
“We have known our Toronto customer for quite some time. Now she has access to us right on her doorstep,” said Nicholas Niro, President of La Canadienne.
“The reality is we already have a strong customer base in Toronto so we wanted to feature our full collection to that customer and really reinforce the brand in this important Canadian city. We are distributed across North America in key major retailers and independents including Holt Renfrew and Nordstrom. Our customer has been purchasing La Canadienne through these premium retailers.”
The retailer is ideally located in Toronto close to luxury neighbours such as Hermès and Chanel in the heart of the most premium shopping, dining, and lifestyle destination in the city.
Well-positioned on a street corner, the two-storey white-brick facade building is reminiscent of old Toronto heritage architecture, honouring the local history and environment.
The Yorkville La Canadienne location replaces a Kate Spade store that shut in June and occupied the building for about eight years. The exit of Kate Spade from 138 Cumberland Street was coordinated by DWSV Realty brokers Stan Vyriotes and David Wedemire. Ben Labrecque of Oakmont Real Estate Services acted on behalf of La Canadienne for the lease deal.
“Streetfront is part of our DNA. Both of our Montreal locations are streetfront,” said Niro. “And we thought that Yorkville was an important destination with key designer brands present in the Yorkville area. So it was a strategic decision to have our flagship store in Toronto in the Yorkville area.”
The company, which was founded in 1987, says it adopts a no-compromise approach to footwear that marries design, function and a fair made supply chain. With a brand vision focused on offering women with busy, urban lifestyles fashion-forward footwear, La Canadienne will further resonate with Toronto’s socially-aware, yet style-conscious consumer. The brand set out to make shoes from a different perspective, consciously made for city life, it says.
The Toronto boutique features La Canadienne’s Fall/Winter 2021 collection, which includes the trademarked City Dry footwear collection, and luxurious Italian-made outerwear, handbags and complementing accessories. At La Canadienne making waterproof leather and suede footwear is the retailer’s specialty, always ensuring that it offers the utmost in waterproof technology.
“There’s a long history of shoemaking here in Canada. What makes it quite unique is that it’s made in Montreal, made in the city of Montreal, for life in the city,” said Niro. “All of our components however are from Italy. So everything from our leathers to our suedes and our soles and our components. So we’re benefiting from the great history of shoemaking in Italy but consciously made for life in the city. Really keeping Canadian sensibilities in mind.
“One of the key aspects of our footwear is not only are they timeless in style but the leather and suede are City Dry and so our footwear is City Dry and the leather and suede is waterproof. That really allows our footwear to be resistant to North American rain and snow and all the elements.”
The retailer has one store in downtown Montreal which opened about five years ago and one store in Outremont which opened about 15 years ago. Its factory in the Mount Royal area has been around since the company’s inception. It has more than 100 employees.
La Canadienne products are also available at www.lacanadienneshoes.com, and distributed through premium retailers including Holt Renfrew, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s, Lane Crawford, and Zappos.
Niro said there could be more retail stores in the company’s future with selective retail in the key major cities. La Canadienne’s broker Labrecque said that Vancouver would be a targeted city for at least one location.
“But our major expansion will really come through our wholesale partners globally. For example, we’re launching in Hong Kong and China this season. That is our key expansion. But in terms of brick and mortar retail we are looking for selective expansion, really to reinforce the brand,” Niro said.