Expect to see hundreds of children—and their dolls—downtown this weekend. The American Girl boutique at Chapters (788 Robson Street) will have a grand opening Saturday (May 3).
American Girl is a brand of dolls owned by Pleasant Company, a subsidiary of Mattel. The dolls are based on books portraying fictional eight- to 11-year-old girls living in America. When the first set of characters were released in the late 1980s, the stories mainly focused on different eras of American history—from the arrival of European settlers, to the Victorian ages, to World War II, and more.
Today, the dolls and books are based in contemporary America, with more of a focus on character, personality, hobbies, and interests. Stories, which are written for young readers, navigate tricky pre-teen topics, including bullying, family relationships, friendship, poverty, racism, and animal abuse.
In the U.S., American Girl is very popular, with entire stores devoted to the dolls and books across the country. Now, the brand is coming to Canada, with two boutiques slated for Chapters Indigo locations. One is in Vancouver; the other is in the Indigo store at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping centre.
The Vancouver boutique is situated on the second floor of Chapters on Robson. The shop includes collections for American Girl ($125 per doll) and Bitty Baby ($90 per doll)—a line of baby dolls and accessories targeted at younger children. This year’s American Girl “girl of the year” is Isabelle, an aspiring dancer living in Washington, D.C., and a small section of the boutique is dedicated to displays of Isabelle in various dance outfits.
Another section of the boutique features American Girl books and movies, and a small area of the store houses the Doll Hair Salon. Kids with American Girl dolls are encouraged to bring their dolls to the Doll Hair Salon to receive hairstyling ($5 to $25) and ear piercing ($14). American Girl has also created a line of clothing, so that children can dress like their favourite dolls.
On Saturday, tickets for the grand opening will be distributed starting at 7 a.m., and the store will open at 9 a.m. The grand opening will include giveaways, contests, music, and entertainment. Visit the Chapters Indigo website for more details.
Below, photos taken at the American Girl media preview in Vancouver today (May 1).