A kid's paradise on the Danforth

I’m happy to report that there’s a cluster of new shops on the Dani, your favourite Toronto main street.

[attach]3227[/attach]FROM ONLINE TO IN-STORE

The [url=]100-mile Child[/url] opened on Halloween, owner Katie MacDonald tells me. Macdonald and her hubby, Ian Rodhouse, had been operating their biz online under a different name for about three years, selling locally made, ethical products for kids.

But shopping, we know, is tactile: turns out peeps wanted to see and feel the goodies, so MacDonald, previously employed as an educator for the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, decided to open shop on the Dani.

Housed in a former stationery shop, the location is perfect for those who frequent the Big Carrot and want locally produced toys and accessories for their kids, some of which have a definite eco bend.

Many of the items are made locally – within a hundred miles – but even those outside of that radius are still handmade, like the charming wooden toys from Stanhope, Quebec (the brightly coloured helicopter, $45, is a treat).

There’s often a misperception that locally produced/eco products are pricier.

Not necessarily. Large stuffed animals made with recycled sweaters right here in Toronto by Cate & Levi average about $65, but you can get darling framed pictures of fuzzy animals by the same company for $38 each – and the wooden frame is sourced locally to boot.

There are also dress-up costumes, wood-cut puzzles, clothing and PJs, baby stuff, sketchbooks and puppets galore.

348 Danforth Ave. 416-254-0150 [url=][/url]


I’ve been watching the progression of [url=]Melonhead Children’s Hair Care[/url] since about September, when workers could be seen putting the sign above the storefront that used to be the shop, Sürga.

[attach]3228[/attach]Open since early December, the kiddie salon (for those ages six months to 10 years) is owned by Rosanna Spina, who has lived in the ’hood her whole life.

As Spina points out, there was a need for a kids’ haircutting place on the Dani as the closest such joint is in the Beach.

Sounds as though neighbourhood parents are embracing the concept. You can walk in without an appointment – apparently many moms take advantage of this after school lets out.

Sure wish I could perch myself on a police motorcycle while getting my mop shagged. Or the Thomas the Tank Engine car (the most popular seat in the house, I’m told, that some parents and their kids will even wait for).

All chairs face away from the mirrors and toward TV screens mounted on the walls – a good strategy for tots who are squeamish over their first snip (and don’t worry: there are certificates for the first haircut to ease the angst).

You can also pick up barrettes and hair clips, all-natural kids’ shampoo, and fun little baubles. Umbrellas and sunglasses are arriving any day.

You can even grab a sucker from a bowl on your way out.

294 Danforth Ave., 416-778-9227 [url=][/url]


I recently wrote about the retail renaissance around Danforth and Woodbine. That shop synergy is revving up with the arrival of Cake Town Café, a bakery and café to the west of the condo development that’s been approved for the south-west corner of the intersection.

Open since October, the café is owned by Nadya Harris, who lives just around the corner.

A former dietician, Harris had been selling her handmade scones at farmers’ and artisan markets for three years before taking the leap into retail.

The reason: her scones, which come in 14+ varieties (she literally dreams up new concoctions in her sleep), were selling like hotcakes.

While I snack on sumptuous sweet potato soup made by a local grower, and a Montreal-style bagel (practically the only edibles in the place not made by Harris), a regular comes in for her stash of pear and ginger scones. She used to eat the plain scones but now she’s a convert.

All of Harris’ baked yummies are handmade on site with locally sourced ingredients. I’m full after my nosh so will have to go back for her latest scone creation, eggnog flavour.

The place has a casual elegant vibe, with light blue paint on the walls that Harris jokes is her tribute to Martha Stewart.

2039 Danforth Ave., 647-351-8696