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Holt Renfrew: Iconic and Luxurious

WHEN IT COMES TO LUXURY SHOPPING IN CANADA, IT'S HARD TO BEAT THIS DEPARTMENT STORE

Holt, Renfrew & Co., popularly known as Holt Renfrew or just Holt’s, isn’t merely a chain of upscale department stores: It’s a rich part of Canadian history.

Holt 's was founded in 1837 as W.S. Henderson & Co., a modest hat shop in Quebec City, by Irish merchant William S. Henderson. Soon after, it was adding more merchandise to its inventory and expanding.

The Vancouver location of Holt Renfrew, has an impressive beauty hall and a women's shoe hall that dazzles.
Holt Renfrew

INSIDE THE STORES

By the late 19th century, the shop had changed hands and owners more than once and was known as G.R. Renfrew & Co. It was named “furriers in ordinary” to Her Majesty Queen Victoria. By 1901, the company had become Holt, Renfrew & Co. and went on to be furriers to Queen Alexandra, King Edward VII, King George V and Edward VIII.

Holt’s had also begun expanding into Toronto and other Canadian locations, and in the 1930s established exclusive accounts with leading European designers. In 1947, it hosted Christian Dior, the world’s most famous designer at the time, when he was launching his “New Look” collection in his bid to reinstate French luxury fashion and femininity in the wake of World War II.

Holt Renfrew
The company's 1926-27 fur catalog.

INSIDE THE STORES

Today, Holt Renfrew is controlled by the Selfridges Group, which has W. Galen Weston as chairman and also owns Selfridges in London. And over the years, the stores have become the No. 1 destination in Canada for luxury goods. Locations in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver cater to buyers, offering high-end retail, including a number of exclusive brands, in a bright, spacious atmosphere.

Among the brands exclusively offered at Holt Renfrew you’ll find womenswear and footwear brands Alani, Ba&sh, Juun. J and Dorateymur; menswear brands Sunspel and Title of Work; and beauty brands Grown Alchemist, Frederic Malle, Nannette de Gaspe and Erno Laszlo, among others. These are available alongside wellknown luxury names like Gucci, Prada, Hermès and Burberry.

Meanwhile, Holt’s announced in 2017 that the on-site Holts Cafés in five locations would be transformed into Colette Grand Cafés, an upscale sit-down French-inspired restaurant operated by Toronto’s Chase Hospitality Group, and renowned for culinary excellence and creating beautifully designed spaces.

Locations in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver cater to buyers, offering high-end retail, including a number of exclusive brands, in a bright, spacious atmosphere.
Holt Renfrew

INSIDE THE STORES

Finally, ethically minded shoppers will be pleased to know that Holt’s requires its vendors to adhere to strict trading standards that include no child or forced labor.

In recent years, American brands Saks and Nordstrom have made moves into Canada, but it’s Holt’s that remains steeped in illustrious Canadian history and in Canadian hearts.

Holt Renfrew
A Loewe accessories pop-up at Holt's.

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