550 Boulevard Charest Est
Quebec City, Canada G1K3J
Doll & Toy Store
Benjo Inc. Description
It takes kids all of 10 minutes to figure out that this is the place they need to be. Quebec's version of FAO Schwartz is 25,000-square-feet of wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling wishes. Thousands of outlandish toys (toddler-sized treadmill anyone? Life-sized stuffed panda bear?) share space with the toys they love now (Playmobil seems have its own mini-kingdom) and the ones you collected as a kid (Smurfs!). Don't be surprised if neither one of you wants to leave.
Babies: A great one to visit during off-peak hours and while they're sleeping. The entire show is done with earphones which means you'll get to take in the show while they catch a nap.
Toddlers & Pre-K: The mohawk-helmet wearing conductor on the big kid- sized train that takes them on a store-wide adventure is one of the coolest things in the place. Make sure you check the Web site for the schedule and plan your visit accordingly (warning: the site is in French). Have your camera at the ready for the look on their faces when she says the magic words and a tunnel appears in the wall which they then go through! "Cool!" (At Christmas Santa is waiting on the other side!)
School-Age Kids: The Craft Workshop area offers ceramic classes for kids. For the cost of a trinket on the self and a $5-$7 fee kids can spend an hour making a creation to take home. The supervised activity could be exactly the break you need to check out the shops down the road.
Pre-Teens & Teens: They won't be immediately impressed, but point them toward the mad science section or unique toys like the marshmallow shooter and they'll come around.
- Plan to spend. You're asking for trouble if you let little ones into this treasure chest and then tell them it's just for looking. This isn't that kind of place. Better option? Set a small limit from the outset so they know what they're working with. Most toys are priced in line with any other toy store.
- Plan to stroll. The trendy Saint Roch district is filled with boutiques selling everything from home accessories to children's clothes to gelato.
- Rub the belly. The cast-iron frog outside is Benjo's mascot. It's said if you rub his belly and make a wish it will come true. Can't hurt.
Just the Facts
Hours: Store opens at 10 a.m. on weekdays and closes at 5:30 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, and 9 p.m. Wednesday through Friday. Weekends: 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m..
Recommended Time: 1 - 2 hours