“What did you get me?” If these are the first words you hear when you get home from travelling, I hope you don’t get caught empty-handed. All that fun you had in Montreal, it’s possible to overlook (not “forget”) the little ones waiting for your return. Instead of grabbing something quick and generic at the airport, here are some shopping ideas to keep the kiddies happy…
Granted, I don’t have a mini-me of my own – yes, Mom, I know my clock is ticking – but I do have enough nieces and nephews to start a peewee hockey team. And seriously, they’re not shy about telling me what they want.
My oldest niece, Mélodye, is 13 going on 30, or so the saying goes. She plays hockey (with yellow laces in her skates like Ovechkin) and likes the cutie wolf-guy with the nice abs on Twilight – so she’s not exactly the precious princess type. Her younger brother Félix, 12 years old, is a little more on the artsy side, but the two of them both love skateshop extraordinaire Arsenic at Complex Les Ailes– the look these days for young hipsters is (still) oversized and baggy skater or snowboarder gear; what looks huge to me is “just right” to them.
Even younger is Jade, who’s 10. She’s a girly girl who has dabbled in ice-skating and violin, and now does tap, jazz and hiphop dancing. Anyhow, for Christmas, I was informed that she wanted something from Joshua Perets (available at the Eaton Centre), a colourful sportswear line that comes in adult and young-adult (read: pre-teen). The turquoise top I got her with bright pink print and a tiny doggy silhouette (pictured above) definitely got me top marks.
My 8-year-old goddaughter is Marie-Pascale; she’s an artist. I got her a little art kit from Renaud Bray (a French language bookstore) that showed my budding Van Gogh how to draw ballerinas, another one of her obsessions. It came with a rainbow selection of pencils and fancy dancer templates. I think that one put me on the Coolest Auntie Ever category, for a good two hours at least.
Next time I’m around the Bell Centre, I’ll have to stop by their official gift shop, the Habs Zone, which is open all week. Mélo’s favourite player is Andrei Kostitsyn and I’m sure she’ll freak out over a Habs jersey with the number 46 on the back – mind you, she’ll freak in a very nonchalant, 13-year-old fashion. They’ve got authentic jerseys, posters, notebooks and more, as well as a ton of Canadiens gear you won’t find anywhere else.
Another kid shop that’s on my radar for future gifts is Oink Oink on Greene Avenue in Westmount. They have toys and clothes and everything else in-between for the littlest tots to coolest teenagers. The last time I was there I even picked up a silver headband and beaded earrings for myself. The costume baubles actually started out as gifts for my other niece, Kiara, but ended up in my jewellery box instead. So, please, if you see her, don’t mention it. You know how kids are.
Arsenic, 677 Sainte-Catherine Street West, (514) 499-0444
Joshua Perets, 705 Sainte-Catherine Street West, (514) 849-7201
Renaud Bray, 150 Sainte-Catherine Street West, (514) 288-4844 (other locations across Montreal)
Habs Zone, 1909 Avenue des Canadiens-de-Montréal, (514) 989-2836
Oink Oink, 1343 Greene Avenue, (514) 939-2634