The neighbourhood toy store has become as much of an anachronism in the 21st century as ‘the neighbourhood’ anything else. However, as was examined in this space recently, Toronto does still have a scattering of these throwbacks. Silly Goose Kids is one of the indies, a relatively new store catering to East York children with a mix of toys and other fun things. We call it a toy store, but the evolved vendor also carries a variety of practical babies’ and children’s items.
The toys stocked by Silly Goose tend towards the educational and away from television franchises, and beyond that span a pretty wide range. Most Toronto families with young children already have sufficient representation of Dora or Thomas, so we don’t mind. Children’s musical instruments and dolls that aid in potty training are a little beyond the range of the typical mall toy store, and no aloof minimum wage earners will be seen behind the desk. The train table towards the back is helpful too, and the gift wrapping is free.
The ‘extras’ that Silly Goose carries, in addition to the toys, include a large variety of high-quality, and correspondingly expensive travel cups and skin care lotions, as well as a modest selection of good quality books for children, hats, and other miscellanea relating to young children. While Silly Goose could never hope to compete with fairly nearby Ella Minnow on book-store terms, the presence of a ‘greatest hits’ type selection allows parents to pick up the ‘something to go with it’ that some gifts need.
Given the area and the target market, parents would be justified in expecting high prices. Many of the items, however, are quite reasonable, being the same price as you would find at a box toy store which must be driven to. A recent shopping trip to Silly Goose netted a pair of exceptionally nice puzzles for under 40 dollars. The wrapping job got your faithful Examiner told facetiously by a Mom at the last birthday party: ‘You obviously did the wrapping yourself.’ The puzzles seem to be a hit, and future purchases have been chosen.
Silly Goose is still getting their website up, though they do the Book of Faces. There is no parking lot, but there is parking in the area; just watch the signs because the by-law enforcement can be exact. Even better, Woodbine Station is nearby, and a North-South bus route too. Whatever your means, it is the neighbourhood focus, the service, and the consistent quality that keep this East York store busy despite its newness.