As the holidays approach, it always seems like there are so many people to buy for and deciding what to buy can be a bit of a challenge. In the spirit of supporting local businesses, I paid a visit to 100-Mile Child on The Danforth to start my holiday shopping. This unique store opened on a year ago with the goal to stock as much merchandise as possible from suppliers within 100 miles. All the products in the store are ethical, local and non-toxic.
Owner Kate MacDonald and her husband Ian Rodhouse decided to create 100-Mile Child after their frustration with trying to find a Canadian made toy for their niece. Kate MacDonald decided to address the need for locally made children’s products herself. A former teacher in England, Kate decided to turn what she knew about children’s education into a store that provided products with conscience. She does her best to source as much as possible within 100-miles, but some of the items in the store come from as far away as British Columbia and Quebec. All are made ethically and are non-toxic. The store offers a range of toys, clothing, games, books, and even cosmetics (non-toxic nail polish).
Getting to Know the Merchandise
100-Mile Child employs a sticker and sign system to let customers know where the products were made, and even includes written biographies of the artists who sell their wares in the store. All items bearing a red bus sticker have been made within 100 miles. There are also made in Canada stickers and green “e” stickers. In order for a product to earn a green “e,” it must meet four criteria: it must be manufactured within 100 miles of the store, created with sustainable materials, packaged in an eco-friendly manner and manufactured in a facility committed to green practices.
One of the best things about 100-Mile Child is the unique and interesting selection of products made by local artists and manufacturers. While visiting the store, I was particularly impressed with something called “Smittens.” Smittens are made-in-Toronto mittens that kids can’t take off. They are designed for children 6 months to 3 years old and seem like a dream come true to a mom like me, who has lost countless mittens to my little escape artist.
Other stand-out products include multilingual letter blocks, made from sustainable Michigan basswood, and a wide selection of clothing made with high quality fabrics by locally-based fashion designers. There is also a wide selection of imaginative role-playing toys, like tea sets, tools and play houses. 100-Mile Child has something for kids of all ages. There is a comprehensive baby section, as well as a number of toys and games for older children. Items are also available to order online through the store’s website.
As the holiday season descends upon us, and we head out in the crowded malls and stores to buy gifts for our loved ones, it is important to think about supporting our local economy. 100-Mile Child is a great Danforth Shopping option, with the added bonus of selling local and safe products for kids.
348 Danforth Avenue, Toronto, 416-254-0150