Best Bets for Back to School Shopping in Toronto
We don’t want to rush your summer —it’s not done quite yet after all—but September and back-to-school is just around the corner. Is your family fully stocked up on new shoes, lunch supplies, backpacks, clothes, warm coats… yeah, it’s a long list. If you do need to do some back-to-school shopping in Toronto, check out our roundup of over a dozen Toronto-and-area businesses where you can pick up all the essentials your kids need.
Almost all of our suggestions offer online shopping and most also have a real-world store. They’re also all independent, mostly locally based businesses. While we completely understand why families turn to the convenience of Amazon, big box stores, and chain retailers, it’s always nice to support the little guys whenever possible. Afterall, these are the businesses that help to make our neighbourhoods blossom and can usually be depended on to help with donations to school fundraisers and sponsorships for sports teams.
Local Back to School Shopping in Toronto
As one of the country’s largest retailers of second-hand kids’ clothing, Toronto-based Beeja May has everything you’re looking for, from the baby stage to teens. High-quality photos and lots of filtering options make browsing through this site a breeze and the steady stream of new products make visiting it a bit addictive. Beeja May offers free shipping on all orders over $75 and take note, it’s eager to purchase your kid’s preloved clothing and will even pick the items up from your house, depending on your address.
946 Queen Street East, Toronto
Looking to buy second-hand clothes in person? Then head to the new brick-and-mortar location of Canopy Kids (formerly known as Lode Store). Here you’ll find everything from pants to coats to tops with licensed characters on them for kids up to age 14. There’s even a “multi-ethnic” section, which features kids’ clothes for cultural celebrations. In addition to the store, you can also shop online. Free delivery is available to parts of Toronto’s east end, so long as you buy at least $20 worth of products, while the rest of Toronto and Ontario have free shipping for orders over $80. And yes, Canopy also wants to buy your children’s gently used clothing.
Cute Kid Stuff
75 Fernstaff Crt., Unit 28, Vaughan
The name of this store says it all: It’s packed with adorable (and useful) items that will send your kids back to school in style. As one of “North America’s largest one-stop shop for packing fun and healthy bento-style lunches,” this shop has everything you need to meet your kid’s school’s litterless lunch goal. Also available are backpacks, pencil cases, and labels for all your school shopping in Toronto needs. See the wide selection yourself at Cute Kid Stuff’s warehouse, which is open for public shopping, or order online, where you’ll get free shipping on orders of $99 and more.
295 Roncesvalles Ave., Toronto
Your kids will get an A for style with purchases from this Roncey shop that offers clothing from such elegant French kids’ brands as Petit Bateau, Minikane and Risu Risu (as well as options from some non-French brand). Sizing varies by item but expect to find items mostly for kids under 10. All kinds of accessories, from hats to hair clips to even child-size umbrellas, are also available as are all the essentials for a leak-free lunch. And if your kids are in French, you’ll want to check out Hey Kiddo’s selection of French books. Can’t make it over to Roncesvalles? Online shopping is available, with free shipping for orders over $120.
542 Danforth Ave., Toronto
Looking for thermos, reusable utensils, ice packs, and other lunchtime items? Then stop by the Danforth and iQLiving, a household goods store that is packed with practical and kid-friendly products that will make your kids excited to dine at their desks. Besides the usual items, this shop sells everything from protective cases for bananas to scrubbies that claim to help get water bottles sparkling clean. In addition to its bricks-and-mortar store, iQLiving offers online shopping that includes free shipping for Ontario residents when they buy at least $99 worth of products, and for some Toronto residents, same-day delivery is also available.
Jill and the Beanstalk
814 College St., Toronto
This small but mighty shop offers a collection of kids’ consignment clothing (including footwear) where you can score some incredible deals. Looking for new socks or rain or winter gear? Jill and the Beanstalk has your children literally covered! Also available are a variety of backpacks and lunch gear, including water bottles that won’t leak. In addition to in-person shopping, Jill and the Beanstalk offers free delivery in central Toronto for orders over $60, along with an online shopping option.
Kids Club Toronto|
3377 Bathurst St., Toronto
Sure, this store might not look like much from the outside but inside you’ll find a fantastic selection of kids (and adults) footwear that will cover all your indoor shoe/outdoor shoe/rain boots/winter boots needs. All the usual brands, from Nike to Vans to Steve Madden, are available, as are a nice selection of feet-related accessories, and everything is served up with some top-notch customer service that knows how shoes should fit.
674 Queen St. W, Toronto
Budding fashionistas will adore Kol Kid’s excellently curated collection of hip kids’ clothes, which includes everything from colourful sweaters to comfy, neutral pants. Depending on the product, sizing ranges up to kids’ 14. The shop also offers dozens of different pairs of footwear, including products from Vans, Native, New Balance, as well as outerwear and a wide variety of accessories. A tasteful selection of thermoses, water bottles and other lunchtime essentials are also available. If you’d prefer not to have to deal with Queen West traffic, shop online, where there’s free shipping for Ontario on orders over $100.
Little White Sneakers
597 Mt Pleasant Rd., Toronto
Want to dress your kids in head-to-toe designer but aren’t up for the price tags that usually come with high-end clothes? Then check out Little White Sneakers, which specializes in pre-loved, designer children’s clothing. Expect to see items from Ralph Lauren, Neiman Marcus, and Marc Jacobs, in sizes up to kids’ 16. Of course, if you do want to splurge on something new, Little White Sneakers can help you out there, with a nice selection of never-worn items. And yes, in case you’re wondering, this shop does sell sneakers and other footwear, both new and second-hand. Fresh products are added to the shop every Wednesday and if you do want to do some online shopping, note that shipping is free on orders over $100. Little White Sneakers also offers free pick-up at the aforementioned Hey Kiddo on Roncesvalles.
Midoco Art & Office Supplies
3 locations: 555 Bloor St. W., 1964 Queen St. E., 146 Danforth Ave., Toronto
Students at Toronto public elementary schools generally don’t need to bring traditional school supplies (think pencils and paper) to school but your kid does require those items, or if you have older children who need specialized tools for their budding art career, Midoco can likely help you out. This Toronto-based chain sells everything from basic notebooks to fun pencil cases to fancy markers. Also in stock are water bottles and other items for lunchtime, and offers a nice selection of STEM focused activities and toys, in case you want to bring learning home. And if you happen to home school, Midoco has all kinds of valuable resources that can make that journey easier. This shop has three locations across the city or order online and receive $10 off for every $75 you spend.
Miles the Label
Online & various local shops
Okay, this is a Montreal-based company, but we know parents are eager for sustainable kids’ clothing and Miles the Label’s offerings of, “recycled polyester, eco-denim and luxurious organic cotton” fits that request. Tees, sweaters, pants, and more are available, mostly in neutral-ish colours and patterns, and in sizes from three months to 14 kids. Free shipping is offered for orders over $100 and everything is shipped out in compostable mailers. Want to see this brand in person? It’s carried in a number of Toronto boutiques, including August Kinn, located at 1374 Danforth Avenue.
58 Wade Ave., Unit 7, Toronto
It’s been a year of change for this beloved brand that’s known for their cozy, locally designed-and-made clothes. After saying good-bye to its long time Queen West storefront, Mini Mioche has launched a new location called the Human Kind Club house where you’ll find all the staples your kid needs, including solid colour tees, pants, and crew sweaters, and some of the softest hoodies around. Sizing for many items starts with toddler sizes and runs up to adult sizes. Can’t make it to the new Bloordale shop? Then order from Mini Mioche’s online shop, which offers free shipping for orders over $100.
Looking for ethically made children’s clothing that’s also colourful, eye-catching, and just plain fun? Then head over to Modern Rascals’ website. There you’ll find everything from T-shirts to dresses to rain and winter gear, all in bright, beautiful colours and patterns and all coming from designers that aim to produce sustainable items. Besides clothing, Modern Rascals also offers a selection of colourful lunch and snack bags and containers, as well as books, educational toys, and more. While Modern Rascals is based in Toronto, it’s currently an online-only shop that offers free shipping for orders on $125 and up.