American Girl boutique opening at Chapters on Robson Street

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      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).

      A basic American Girl doll costs $125 and accessories are extra.
      Chapters employees are tasked with creating stylish hairdos for American Girl dolls in the Doll Hair Salon.
      A wall dedicated to American Girl books.
      Books features American Girl "girl of the year" Isabelle.
      American Girl books targeted towards young readers.
      Perhaps your American Girl dolls enjoys horseback riding?
      American Girl dolls portray diverse backgrounds and abilities.
      American Girl "girl of the year" Isabelle in a display case by the entrance of the boutique.
      American Girl dolls portray relatable "tween" experiences, such as sleepovers, in displays around the boutique.
      The Bitty Baby collection of dolls.
      A Bitty Baby doll and her mini piano on display.
      Fans of American Girl can dress like their favourite dolls.



      Kathryn Morton

      May 2, 2014 at 12:50pm

      Did you know that Canada has their own award-winning Canadian Girl dolls, called Maplelea? By selling direct to their strong and enthusiastic customer base from coast to coast to coast Maplelea provides the best in value and service. Maplelea dolls are designed in Canada and their story journals are a fun way for Canadian girls to learn about our country's heritage, culture and geography. From a complete hockey uniform to the prettiest ballet set, from an Anne of Green Gables set to 'dress like your doll' clothing for girls, Maplelea has everything your Canadian girl needs!


      May 3, 2014 at 8:22am

      Unfortunately, the mapelea dolls have a "dead eye " doll look which is not very endearing despite their adorable outfits and concept.


      May 4, 2014 at 3:25am

      I agree with Carol! the Maplelea dolls face mold and eyes do not appeal to us at all. I do love their clothing and accessories but not the dolls themselves. I had one and sold her quite quickly after buying her. I would love to support them if they would redo the faces and eyes!


      May 23, 2014 at 1:44pm

      i agree I tried to get my daughter to buy Mapelea and she said they looked funny so I went online to see for myself and I had to agree with her. They should try to refashion the eyes and mouth. I do buy thw clothes and accessories.


      May 24, 2014 at 9:44am

      I find these comments about the Maplelea dolls to be exceptionally strange. My daughter has 3 Maplela dolls, and I think their faces are lovely. I don't see at all the "dead eye look" complained of. Yes, their faces look slightly different to the American Girl doll faces, but it's hardly revolutionarily different, and not at all unattractive! Call me stumped... In any event, still looking forward to seeing the AG store, as my daughter likes both these lines of dolls (and does have one AG doll).


      May 24, 2014 at 9:50am

      The American Girl dolls have funny bodies which look like a mix between a toddler and a 10 year old. I have one so I have seen this.


      Dec 10, 2014 at 7:49pm

      I own Leoni in the Maplelea doll and I think that her face is quite pretty...However I have noticed a couple of the dolls Jenna for one has starry eyes however the dolls are well made and adorable..I am a doll collector