View Full Version : My friend is moving to Toronto and needs recommendations

11-18-2003, 03:10 PM
Hi everyone. My good friend is moving to Toronto (actually to Hamilton, 1/2 an hour away from Toronto I've been told) with her 4 month old. She doesn't know anyone there and is from a warm weather area, and is pretty overwhelmed by the move. She doesn't even know where to begin. I would love it if I can pass on some recommendations on surviving with a baby in Canada. I especially want to know where to buy baby items. What big chain stores are to be found??? Where are good places to buy cheapish furniture, clothes (I'm sure she'll need to buy lot's of winter clothes fast as she has none). Also, do you have any suggestions on where she can meet other moms of children her son's age? Any info to make her move more smooth and get her settled in would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks so much
-E, mommy to Tom (2 months old)

11-18-2003, 08:21 PM
Well, since she's from a warm weather area, I'm guessing she doesn't currently live in Canada! ;-)

I have family in the Toronto area, and asked about big baby stores when looking for furniture; they don't have any. However, she shouldn't have any problem finding baby clothes at national chain stores such as the Bay and Sears.

As far as meeting new moms, I don't have any specific info, but I think Canadians and Ontarions (sp?) are the nicest and friendliest people around! She should certainly check in her yellow pages, but I'm sure if she just checks with her neighbors she'll find all she'll need to.

She's moving to a wonderful place!

11-19-2003, 11:27 AM
I am not from Ontario, but am in Canada (Alberta). The big stores are The Bay, Sears, Zellers, Walmart, TRU. They do NOT have good baby selections for the most part - no Britax, Maclaren, etc. In Toronto, there is a great stroller store called Macklems (I am sure there are others too). Furniture, I am not too familiar with in the area - there are probably a lot of good stores, since Canada has a lot of wood product manufactuing. Our city has some gorgeous baby furniture. For clothing, there is Baby Gap, Gymboree, Old Navy, and Children's Place just opened up here. The biggest problem is that very few places online ship to Canada and the shipping is very expensive, plus there is often duty and taxes.

Otherwise, the cold weather is a bit of a shock to the system, but it is very pretty, and I like the winter months. She can buy all sorts of winter items once she arrives - boots, snow suits, etc. are very easy to come by.

There are a lot of people from Ontario on these boards - KathyO, Hipmaman and PamelaMomof3 come to mind off the top of my head. They could probably help you out with more info and give you some ideas as far as mom's groups go. I am sure she will find Canada to be very nice and the people are very friendly (and not just Ontarioans - we Albertans are really nice too, LOL).

11-19-2003, 03:20 PM
She won't have too much trouble retail-wise in Hamilton - not only is it a goodly-sized city, but it's part of the "Golden Horseshoe" which stretches from Niagara to Toronto, so there's everything from Ikea to Toys 'R' Us and Costco. Some brands are harder to find - Britax only sells through a few boutique-ey stores in Toronto, but that's less than an hour away, so no problem.

Socially, her best place to start is the local Early Years centres. They are part of a major new initiative by the government to invest resources in kids under five years old. The centres are all new, and quite fab, with drop-in hours, assessment services, space to host various groups (Moms of Multiples, Baby Massage, etc.) and so on. They are NOT geared at the "welfare set" per se - they are for EVERYBODY to use. And they're free. For the centres closest to her, she can check out:


They can be a great place to hook up with other moms individually, and to find out about other resources/drop-ins/daycares/groups etc. in the area. Early Years centres also often offer free nurse practitioner services to babies who do not yet have family doctors (in some smaller cities it can be a hassle to find a family doctor). As well, YMCAs and other municipal recreation centres will offer Mom and Baby exercise classes, music classes, and that kind of thing. There will also be local chapters of La Leche League if she's breastfeeding, and we of course have Gymboree and Kindermusik and other stuff like that in the larger centres. And once she's hooked up with a few local moms, she'll start to hear more about where to find what, and the best deals.

For cheapish winter clothes for baby, Hamilton has a fair assortment of very nice consignment stores, and retailers like Zellers and WalMart and Winners will have the best prices on new stuff. Consignments can be a great way to go for winter clothes, since they only get used for one year!! For gear, Zellers and Walmart are mostly dominated by Cosco... if she'd like to go for something a bit nicer, Sears and The Bay are the place to go without breaking the bank.

Tell her not to worry too much about winter gear - most babies that age are fine with a snowsuit that has closed hands and feet, so mitts and boots are not necessary. Hats are optional if the suit has a hood. Hamilton, being right on the lake, is fairly temperate as Canadian cities go. Inside, he'll be fine with a few extra sweaters and some overalls/pants and long-sleeved shirts, and socks/booties to keep his feet warm. My daughter ditches her blankets in the crib, so I put her in ordinary long-sleeved sleepers and then a fuzzy bunting on top; no biggie. The biggest need will be good boots for HER - Hamilton can be slushy as often as it's snowy!

When is she making The Big Move?



11-19-2003, 03:51 PM
For the wonderful advice, I'm sure it will help to alleviate a lot of the stress of the move. She's actually moving tomorrow! so the info is very pertinent. Thanks again.


11-19-2003, 08:54 PM
She's actually coming at a pretty good time then... the daytime temps are still above freezing, and expected to take a jump into springlike temperatures for the rest of the week and weekend (I live 1/2 hour from Hamilton). At least she doesn't have to deal with snow in amidst everything else yet! May I be nosy, and ask what brings her to Hamilton?

I wouldn't mind at all getting together with her, but unfortunately I'm expecting my second any day now, and am not leaving town for a bit! I'm sure she'll be fine, though.



11-20-2003, 10:57 AM
Thanks again. She's going to Hamilton with her husband who has a postdoctoral position at the University there, in mathematics. She's a physician but won't be looking for work in the beginning. Congratulations on expecting your second!

pamela mom of 3
11-20-2003, 06:11 PM
Clothes wise here is a shop i luv lol ;)


You can do online or store.

I am far away from TO but do travel there for the "good stuff" as mentioned macklems, lil niblets and baby sprouts carry some of the more upper end stuff..ie:maclaren, zooper...britax.

As for furniture sears is pretty good for selection and sales plus they have online shopping/catalog.


For my last baby i had a special carseat bag, it is polar fleece and not at all thick to mess with the carseat straps.

the url is

After that robeez do great to help keep little feet warm and are available in many stores in Canada.

As said we have gymboree, roots, gapkids, old navy and childrens place, our toys r us have babies r us inside them so selection is more limited than the US.

That's all i can think of for now and yes as Kathy said we are doing pretty good weather wise...but i never get too comfy at this time of year :D you never know when the snow is going to fall!


11-20-2003, 08:13 PM
A physician? Oh, she's in clover, then. We are chronically short of them in this end of the province right now. And in Hamilton she has her choice of a number of practice setups and (I believe) billing styles. There are lots of folks from Hamilton's immediately surrounding communities (including mine) keen to court physicians to practice there too - tell her to make the most of the "wooing" they'll be keen to lavish on her!!!



11-21-2003, 11:31 AM
My friend is probably landing there now as I type. I forwarded all your helpful responses to her already. I'm sure it will take her a few days to get settled and check her email, but once she does all this info will be of great help.


11-22-2003, 10:59 PM
Since she is in Hamilton she should check out Springy's on Barton St. He carries a large selection of Peg products and wonderful Canadian wood furniture (but not over the top in term of price).

There is also an OshKosh outlet in Hamilton, but for the life of me I can't think of the street name. Ask around, most moms from the radius of 100 miles seem to know of this place, lol.

I'm sure there is a Bonnie Togs in Hamilton too. They carry a good selection of clothings and outerwear. The big stores like the one in Oakville also carries baby gear.

A little further out of Hamilton (toward the Niagara direction), there is BabyWorld in Stoney Creek. carries zooper, peg, baby bjorn, nice selection of furniture from cribs to beds.

A little out toward Toronto direction, she can go to Burlington. There are several baby boutiques. The closest Ikea is also in Burlington for more affordable furniture and wooden toys.

And of course, going closer toward Toronto or in Toronto, the selections for baby gear and clothings increase many folds. Toronto is probably the best place to shop in Canada, in terms of availability. If she needs to find anything American that is not sold here, she can always try shopping in Buffalo which is only about 45 minutes from Hamilton.

As for where to meet other moms, she should try the Early Years centres like Kathy suggested. But also try the libraries, community/recreational centres which usually have programs for babies/toddlers.

Btw, I'm Oakville which is about 25-30 minutes drive from Hamilton. If she ever needs to venture to Burlington/Oakville/Mississauga and need help, I can try to help.

There will be more things for her to enjoy comes the spring and summer, but the winter in Southern Ontario is probably one of the mildest (beside lower BC). It has been great this year. And Mac is a great institution (no I didn't go to Mac, lol).

Hope that helps further.

11-28-2003, 12:16 PM
*Ottawa* BBB Friend here! Well I think everyone covered all the bases!
How is your friend adjusting?

12-01-2003, 12:34 PM
Thanks for asking. I've only spoken to her once and she sounded pretty shell shocked, but she's already been to IKEA, so the shopping is ok :) I don't know what the weather is like now, but I'm sure it will be tougher for her when the real cold hits. We're from a warm weather climate, winter here is a little bit of rain and temperatures around 10 degrees Celsius, LOL. Thanks everyone again, maybe once she gets settled and gets internet access I'll convince her to become a regular poster on this BB.


12-22-2003, 04:27 PM
Sadly, the OshKosh outlet is no more...it used to be on Sherman Avenue North, just a bit north of Barton. They had a huge sale around this time last year when I went, and now they are gone :(. It looks like the whole factory shut down. It's too bad...more Canadian jobs gone, and they made the BEST pyjamas.

There is also the Kushies/Kooshies outlet out on Barton St. in Stoney Creek. They have their cloth diapers plus a lot of the clothing and other baby stuff...last summer I picked up a couple of pairs of their swimming/beach shoes for $1 each! It is pretty far east, past the Mohawk campus.

Hamilton is great- a much underrated city. I grew up there and miss it, even though I love Ottawa.

>There is also an OshKosh outlet in Hamilton, but for the life
>of me I can't think of the street name. Ask around, most moms
>from the radius of 100 miles seem to know of this place,

12-23-2003, 12:42 AM
LOL, I grew up in Ottawa. Love it but now that I'm in the Toronto area, I think I have grown soft was the winter in Ottawa is now too harsh for me, lol.

It's the best place to be in the other 3 seasons though...

06-30-2004, 05:22 PM
What other B&M stores sell Kushies items arount T.O.?


ETA: I guess Kushies items are everywhere--the first baby store I went to in GTA had a complete line. Interesting how I couldn't find two PNP sheets in the same pattern though.