The Best Toy Stores in Toronto
The best toy stores in Toronto serve neighbourhoods where the children of Gen Y and late-breeding Gen X are being painstakingly raised by parents who've read the books and websites and strive to fill their nurseries and playrooms with toys that are sturdy, attractive and educational, in varying ratios. It's where the dolls come in every colour, the choking hazards are kept on the high shelves, and toy guns are nowhere to be seen.
These are toys for children who will never know a world without high speed internet and omnipresent wifi, won't remember broadcast television, and will have at least one teacher who was once arrested at an Occupy protest. Parents can, of course, shop for toys at any number of chains, from Toys R Us to Indigo Kids to Mastermind, but this list concentrates on independent toy shops that tend to respond to local tastes.
Here is the list of the best toy stores in Toronto.
This deceptively roomy shop on the Danforth has only been open since last year but it has drawn in loyal customers from across the city. On a recent weekend, they couldn’t keep scooters from flying out of the store, but say Playmobil is probably their bestseller. They stock Lego’s line of urban building sets, and feature a packed wardrobe of dress-up clothes by the back of the store. More »
This Greektown toy store does every day what the big department stores only do at Christmas, in a generous storefront organized around a big cartoon boat. Ample shelf space means they can stock big chunks of popular lines like Corolle’s dolls, while mechanically-inclined kids can find inspiring projects from makers like Automoblox and Meccano. More »
This West Queen West shop sells handmade and local kids’ clothes alongside a spectacular range of toys in wool and wood and felt. There are tiny metal cafe chairs to match the ones mom and dad paid a fortune for in Liberty Village, and more than one item that parents will want to display on a shelf long after the kids have moved on to texting and MRPG. More »
There probably isn’t a birthday party in the Roncy Village/High Park area that doesn’t feature a gift wrapped at Scooter Girl, the provisioner general for so many West End family toy needs. The staff is friendly and helpful, and the shelves are filled with everything from Plan’s sturdy European wooden toys, to baskets of goodies for birthday party swag bags, and even the occasional on-the-fly good behaviour bribe. More »
This big double storefront on Avenue north of Lawrence features toys with a purpose, focusing on crafts, science, and activity kits to stimulate those developing synapses and neurons. They say their mission is to keep kids busy, whether learning their alphabet by building a train with letters for cargo, or working on kits designed to demonstrate science and engineering principles. More »
This tiny Wychwood shop is literally packed to the ceiling with a concentrated greatest hits of modern toys. Schleich animals and fantasy figures, Cate & Levi puppets, Corolle dolls and Calico Critters – it’s all here, tucked tightly into the shelves, next to bead looms, tea sets, and Lego. More »
This Yorkville shop has been around under different names for almost three decades, and features as many toys for adults as toys for kids. There are vintage tin wind-ups and gag gifts, as well as a dashboard Jesus and Buddha, and the perennial bestseller of wind-up chattering teeth. Probably the best stocking stuffer destination in the city. More »
Out in Riverside, this neat shop is full of carefully-chosen selections from toy lines like Plan, Green Toys and Manhattan Toy, all in the best of taste and featuring the most scrupulously sourced materials. There’s also clothing from Appaman and Egg, so your child will look as good as what’s on the floor of their room. More »
The shop at Gerrard and Coxwell just opened this spring, but the Sisters have been online for years, selling custom gift bags for birthday parties. The store expands their line of notions and craft gifts to include puppets and developmental toys, and one of the best displays of Melissa & Doug’s hand-painted wooden toys in the city. Also, they have ice cream! More »