This past weekend, my family and I enjoyed a lovely dinner at the neighbourhood pizza parlour, bought some delectable treats from the bakery down the street and rented movies from the guy who has owned his shop for 11 years.

The American Express Canada Shop Small program celebrates the role of small businesses in our communities.. Small businesses drive innovation, productivity, job creation and economic growth. They are vital to the livelihood and diversity of our neighbourhoods.

Don’t just take my word for it – 95% of Canadians agree that small businesses are important to Canadian neighbourhoods and 92% of respondents agree that small businesses contribute to their neighborhood’s culture… those are huge numbers!

I visited some fabulous small businesses in Toronto during my pledge to #ShopSmall and am happy to share them with you!

Snug as a Bug

3022 Dundas St. West, Toronto
(416) 534-6881

Snug as a Bug has been around for over 20 years! The shop designs and sells their own unique brand of pajamas for kids and adults. What I love is that all of their products are made in Canada. Of course my eldest son who is a huge hockey fan, would absolutely LOVE these hockey onesies!

amex shop small



The Cheese Emporium

1788 Avenue Road, Toronto

Mmmm cheese!  The Cheese Emporium sells cheeses from all over the world… Switzerland, Greece, Italy, France and even Australia. There’s a whole lotta happiness for your taste buds in this shop! There are two locations in Toronto for convenience – one on Avenue Road and the other on Mount Pleasant.

 amex shop small


Oink Oink

352 Eglinton Avenue West
(416) 322-8255

Oink Oink is an adorable, whimsical store from which you’ll have a difficult time tearing your children away. The first thing you notice in the store are the adorable piggies hang from the ceiling, clothing and toys and games in one amazing location from babies to school aged. Great gift ideas too.

 amex #shopsmall


Cobs Bread

1539 Bayview Avenue
(416) 416-0521

When you walk into Cobs on Bayview, the smell of freshly baked goods will make your mouth instantly water. Their French baguettes are crunchy on the outside and soft and moist on the inside. I tried their carrot cake scone with cream cheese frosting – delicious!

american express canada

Little Peeps

768 Queen Street East
416-406-5437 (KIDS)

This children’s boutique in Toronto’s Riverside carries so many amazing brands like appaman and morgan & milo, green toys, boon, egg by Susan Lazar, Babylicious and more. From baby to school aged, you’ll find stylish clothing, accessories and toys for your kids.

amex shop small

Join me in shopping small too! By pledging to #ShopSmall, you are supporting small businesses that stimulate our entrepreneurial spirit and keep communities thriving.

Don’t forget to visit the American Express Canada Facebook page and vote for your favourite Shop Small business in Toronto in the Neighbourhood Gems contest by April 21 and check back on April 29 to see if your favourite Shop Small business was voted to the final five. Remember, each vote also earns you one entry into a daily draw to win a $50 Amex Gift Card.

For more information on how Canadians feel about the importance of shopping small, check out this infographic!


This post was sponsored by Amex Bank of Canada. The views and opinions expressed in this blog, however, are purely my own.


Maria Lianos-Carbone is the author of “Oh Baby! A Mom’s Self-Care Survival Guide for the First Year”, and publisher of, a leading lifestyle blog for women.


  1. I love that little store – Little Peeps. So cute. Really nice people too.

  2. Check out Disera Drive in Thornhill.for ultimate small business delights
    Fashions = FashionWear (ladies) / Northboys (boys)
    Spas = Hand&Stone
    Ice cream = Marble Slab
    + Many restaurants, services, health and beauty shops…

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