At Play It Again Sports, locally owned and operated for 20 years, athletes suit up to conquer challenges on the ice, in the field, or on the court with new and used gear from major-league brands such as Bauer, Reebok, and Adidas. An ever-rotating inventory keeps lockers stocked with spare balls, dressers filled with run-ready shorts, and dens populated with gleaming treadmills. Proud recipients of the Gold Standard Store award, amiable staffers stand ready to answer questions or assist with fittings, ensuring that each athlete leaves with the appropriate gear for their needs. Neglected equipment ready to leave storage spaces and rejoin the sporting life can be traded in for cash or credit for gear, completing the ethereal Circle of Sports.
At the age of 14, in the midst of a bike trip, Mathieu Albert realized the true beauty of cycling. And in the many years that have passed since, he’s rarely taken his feet off of the pedals, except for when he’s bathing or polishing his pedals. Mathieu has competed in more than 50 mountain bike competitions and 24-hour races, learned to weld and create his own bike frames, and worked as a technician and salesman at a number of bike shops. Now, as the owner of Vélos des Ronds-Points, he performs tune-ups for cycles and skis and equips fellow cyclists with bikes of all makes and models, including an impressive selection of Cannondale cycles.
Mrs. Tiggy Winkle's shelves stock innovative and traditional toys, games, crafts, and books to busy burgeoning minds. A helpful staff guides patrons toward the ideal toy to stimulate toddlers or distract newborns from the fact that they have no hair. Jaws gnaw on Sophie the Giraffe, a teething toy crafted from 100 per cent natural rubber ($24.99), and older tykes can nurture a Corolle baby doll ($37.99). Costumes by Melissa and Doug encourage a more theatrical playtime ($34.99), and Thomas the Tank Engine wooden trains and Lego blocks ($6.99+) keeps hands nimble. Pint-sized progeny can also skim the pages of Klutz craft books ($11.99–$24.99) or stitch secret compartments within stuffed animals with an introductory sewing kit ($29.99).
Grenouille Verte keeps youthful spirits of all ages at play with an assortment of specialty toys, books, and games that foster the expansion of minds and imaginations along with the development of bilingual skills. A set of trilingual flashcards ($9.95) instills hands and mouths with linguistic dexterity as it teaches the alphabet in French, English, and American Sign Language, and readers flipping through a Les Animaux book ($13.95) learn how to address their favourite animals by their French names. Young craniums in need of an analogue lesson can spend hours in front of a wooden clock ($14.95), whose ligneous countenance silently doles out lessons about shapes, colours, and time. Mitts looking to scare away finger-nibbling velociraptors can assume the terrifying identity of a T. rex puppet ($23.95), and nascent Mozarts compose baroque-infused power ballads on a Kidi Pop & Rock ($29.99) equipped with an electronic piano, a sensor-equipped guitar, and a hologram Mick Jagger.
Romantic Fireplaces & BBQs Inc. equips burger-flippers with the tools needed to achieve flame-broiled flawlessness in its expansive Romantic Smokehouse showroom. A knowledgeable team of grilling experts point cooks to the right spatula-swords and supplies, including a bag of Wicked Good charcoal ($27.99) and an assortment of stainless-steel rib racks ($59.99). Fowl flavourizes in a Weber poultry roaster ($52.99) and an assortment of sauces and rubs ($7.99–$29.99) enhance natural tastiness, and quality barbecue brands such as Kamado Joe (starting at $999) and Traeger (starting at $499) evoke the deliciousness of criss-cross meat tattoos.