Canada may be a hotspot for retail expansion, but lease costs in the country's fanciest downtown shopping districts are still a relative bargain compared to other global centres.
Toronto's Bloor Street area was the priciest in Canada at $291.66 (U.S.) a square foot, according to Colliers International. Toronto is the only Canadian city to make the Top 50 in the report, coming in as the world's 37th most expensive retail leasing market.
The most expensive space in the world can be found on Fifth Avenue in New York, where lease costs are $2,150 a square foot - gaining 70 per cent over last year. The top five is rounded out by Hong Kong's Russell Street ($1,510, up 25 per cent),London's Old Bond Street ($962, unchanged), Zurich's Bahnhofstrasse ($955, up 14.2 per cent) and Milan's Via Monte Napoleone ($943.39, down 2.7 per cent).
Ste-Catherine Street West in Montreal was the second most expensive Canadian location, at $204.15, a drop of 4.5 per cent. Saskatoon saw the biggest jump in Canadian lease rates, with Broadway Avenue gaining 25 per cent to $34.03.
Other Canadian sites included: Calgary's Uptown 17th Avenue at $53.47 (down 26 per cent), Downtown Edmonton at $43.75 (unchanged), Halifax's Sprig Garden Road at $48.61 (unchanged), Ottawa's Byward Market at $38.89 (down 20 per cent), Vancouver's Robson Street at $194.44 (unchanged) and Victoria's Government Street at $53.47 (unchanged).
"After two successive years of lackluster growth, the world's top retail streets once again regained their vitality, as reflected by a general rise in rents in many of the world's premier shopping districts," the report states.
"As the lingering effects of the global downturn faded during the latter half of 2010, rising demand for the world's most prime retail real estate was evident in many countries as many new retailers sought to establish a foothold in the world's most prestigious avenues."