qsw2.jpg Baby L. and I recently took a trip to Toronto. I’m starting a new research project there and needed to get the lay of the land. Turns out that the neighborhood where I’ll be working is right next to some of the city’s hottest baby and kids’ boutiques!

Together with a friend, we walked up and down Queen Street West. If you haven’t been to Toronto lately (or ever, as this was my first trip), its time to get yourself there. I was blown away by some of the stores we found:

ellaelliot.jpgella + elliot is a newish boutique specializing in all things modern for baby. We loved their selection of products, from Netto to Dwell to all sorts of European labels new to us. A beautiful store (pictured at right) with a thoughtfully chosen selection of items.

Polka Dot Kids is a narrow, airy store full of treasures to discover, including many from Japan. It was here that I saw the most delicious Imps and Elfs grey woolen smocked trapeze dress. I doubt it will be there when I return this summer, but if it is, I’m buying it!

Kama Kazi Kids is one of those kid stores that you wish you could shop at …. for yourself! They have one of my favorite U.S. lines, Imoga, and lots that were excitingly new to me such as Chipie and Minisu.

Kol Kid is a store stocked with classic and popular treats–toys and clothes that were familiar to (and loved by us). Lots of good standards such as Haba and Skip Hop and excellent quality items from throughout North America and Europe.

My favorite store, however, was one that specialized in only Canadian designers: Planet Kid. Some amazing, amazing things, many of which need to make their way down here to the U.S., and in honor of which we are naming this Canada Week. Each day will have a new post about one of the great Canadian, including many Torontan, designers featured at Planet Kid.

queen-street-west.jpgWe were in Toronto on a chilly, but brisk and sunny day in December. Queen Street West is a neighborhood full of hot boutiques, trendy galleries, and enticing restaurants, bars, and cafes. Most irresistible to us after an afternoon of walking and shopping? Dufflet Pastries. Dufflet is a Toronto institution and has more than earned that title!

Think up the perfect dessert, be it chocolate, or caramel, or raspberry, or whatever it is your heart desires. Add yummy drinks on top of that, lots of unique Dufflet label chocolates and other goodies to go, and Dufflet is a must for any Queen West outing.

Good chocolate and stunning baby and kids boutiques. Other than some warmer weather, there’s not much more that I need!