Kid Culture, a cute-as-a-button, schoolhouse-themed shop for tots in the Junction
The Place: Kids (and even their parents) are romanced by this whimsical children’s boutique from owner Clare Raman, who is still in the process of designing an interactive play area for tots at the back of her rectangular room at 2986 Dundas St. W. There is currently a miniature picnic table, along with puzzles, colouring books and animal figurines to keep children entertained while their siblings try on clothes. Even without a glut of toys luring the under-six set into the store, kids have been coming with mom and dad for a look at the wares in this schoolroom-inspired space. Vintage school desks, chairs and globes aren’t usually kid bait, but when it looks like the prankster from The Cat in the Hat switched the floor with the walls, they’re kid magnets—Raman has ingeniously used wall-fastened furniture as shelving.
The Stuff: Lifelong Junction resident Raman is a local girl who likes local stuff, so she carries only, you guessed it, local goods—everything on offer is both designed by Torontonians and made in the city. The selection of ankle-biter attire is wide ranging, with clothes designed for boys and girls from ages zero to 12. The Candi Factory shirts with a 504 King streetcar print are perfect for the urban planner in training, and for those who don’t want to say goodbye to summer, Things Aren’t So Terrible skirts ($30) come in bright colours and fun patterns such as gingham, polka dot and Dr. Seuss-style lizards. Aside from munchkin garb, Raman carries funky plush toys that she makes herself, pillows by The Blushing Maple and feline-themed stickers ($4) and bags ($25) designed by illustrator Cathy Peng.
The Shoppers: Young Junction families who have sought refuge in this artsy community for its quiet, tree-lined streets and still reasonable rent.
Our Favourite Things: Raman’s own brand of children’s clothing, Buttercup Days (the name took its inspiration from a poem by A. A. Milne—of Pooh Bear fame), is adorable, and if Buttercup Days rings a bell, that may be because Raman had a store by the same name in Mirvish Village in the ’90s. Back then she was focusing solely on creating up-cycled jewellery, which she also wholesaled to La Cache. Our favourites of the Buttercup Days line were Raman’s pint-sized ’60s-era coats made from a combination of new and vintage fabrics—all of the coats ($120) and dresses ($65) come with a little plush friend in the pocket. Again, adorable.