If you're shopping for dolls, there's one brand you'll probably see everywhere you look: in stores, online and (of course) at the top of the kids' Christmas lists. American Girldebuted for the first time in the late ’80s, and they've been some of the most popular dolls on the market since then. However, most American Girl dolls now retail for around $139 CAD (or more), which is a little rich for my blood.
Luckily for us, there are a few lines of dolls like American Girl available in Canada – so we put together a list of some of the best ones. While these brands don't come out with a Girl of the Year doll or quite as many customization options as the American Girl Truly Me collection, they're more affordable, just as fun to play with and all sold across the country. So here's our list of the five best American Girl alternatives in Canada.
1. Our Generation Dolls
If you put American Girl dolls and Our Generation dolls side by side, you'll see that they're almost identical – but they sell for about half the price. Like American Girl, these dolls come with different skin tones, hairstyles and all the accessories, playsets and outfits you could possibly dream up. Our Generation dolls stand at 18" tall, which means they're compatible with American Girl clothes, too. They're available at stores across Canada, including Hudson's Bay, Walmart Canada and Well.ca.
2. Journey Girls
Here's another set of American Girl look-a-likes! Journey Girls are exclusive to Toys R Us Canada, and each doll retails for $34.99 – which is a bargain, if you ask me. The Journey Girls are all best friends who love to travel and share their talents, like surfing, cycling and skateboarding. Since these are 18" dolls, they're compatible with most American Girl and Our Generation outfits and sets, so you can mix and match them with the other dolls and accessories you already have at home.
3. My Life As Dolls
Looking for dolls with a little more diversity? You might not know it from most of the photos out there, but the 18" My Life As dolls come in all different skin tones and hair colours – and they have pretty cool careers, too! This collection is exclusive to Walmart Canada, and each doll usually sells for $34.93 online (but you may be able to find some on Rollback). They're students, ballerinas, bakers and fashion designers. You can even find a few boy My Life As dolls and some mini-sized dolls, too.
4. Lori Dolls
One of the best things about Lori dolls is how accessible they are. You can find these dolls and all kinds of accessories at stores like Hudson's Bay, Chapters Indigo and Mastermind Toys. If you can believe it, most Lori dolls sell for $16.99, and you can usually find at least one or two on sale if you're willing to look for a bit. They're much smaller than American Girl dolls (at 6" tall), but they're a great alternative if you're looking for something your kiddos can bring with them on trips or on playdates.
5. Maplelea Girls
Okay, these are pretty cool. Maplelea Girls are actually made in Canada! There are seven dolls to choose from, all with their own stories and distinct personalities. You can buy dolls, outfits and replacement parts directly from the Maplelea Girls website, but just know that they run on the pricier side, at $115 a doll. They also sell Maplelea Friends, which (like the American Girl Truly Me dolls) are made to look just like real kids! So if you're looking to shop Canadian, these are a great option.
What about Newberry Dolls?
There's so much to love about Newberry Dolls. They're 18" dolls (which means you can share clothes and accessories with American Girl dolls), and they're affordable, with prices usually starting around $29.99. Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, Newberry Dolls were exclusive to Sears Canada, which recently closed all their stores across the country. They're a little tricky to find in Canada, but occasionally we'll see one for sale on Amazon.ca. Stay tuned if you're hoping to buy one, because we'll let you know if any are available!