Brika is the Queen East brick-and-mortar location of the design e-store by the same name. Other locations include Queen West and Square One in Mississauga.
The brainchild of two women, Kena Paranjape and Jen Lee Koss, the company began over coffee when both decided they were too fed up with their day jobs not to sell elevated handmade goods crafted by a network of artisans.
All of the products are handmade and many are Canadian and local, but American makers are featured at the shop too. Brika makes it easy to differentiate with blue maple leaf stickers that signify an item is Canadian.
The name Brika comes from the Spanish word "fabrica," derived from the verb "fabricar" which means to manufacture or build.
Building this physical store was meant to enhance visual interaction with Brika's customers, and there are plenty of bright colours and soft textures here to coo over.
This is especially true of an entire far corner dedicated to children's items. Clothing the little one in a Mr. T jumper by Mi Cielo will prove any parent is still with it. If that's not hardcore enough for you, kits are also available from Kiriki Press to help you embroider a doll yourself.
For the whole family, The Oyster's Pearl makes graphic tees printed with "Mama Bear," "Papa Bear," and "Baby Bear."
There's no shortage of Toronto-themed goodies, from tote bags printed with variations on the spelling of our beloved "Turonno" to coasters, placemats and key rings intricately carved with the names of neighbourhoods around the city.
Charlotte & Castel is based in Georgian Bay, where they make pretty marbled sea-salt soaps in their studio.
If you're visiting Brika for a gift, to top it all off they have one of the widest, wittiest gift card collections out there. "You're a mom. WTF" pretty much says it all, and these arty opposite-of-Hallmark cards are pretty enough to just hang on your wall.
In fact, if that's what you want to do, Brika also carries a range of handmade inspirational prints that you can stare at lovingly every day, remembering the tranquility of Brika's bright bohemian atmosphere on Queen East.
Photos by Hector Vasquez