Whether the kids are heading back to school or you need some new supplies for your office and a wardrobe shift, the options for fall essentials in South Eastern Ontario prove to be fun and funky all at the same time. Instead of the same old mundane supplies, think clever and quirky with these local businesses that will have you looking back-to-cool. Read on to discover 23 places to get ready for that first day bell!

1000 Islands Rideau Canal Waterways

1. Abel Mountain This shop in Merrickville has fun patterns and funky kids clothing, hats, accessories and styles for the whole family to start the year off right! Be sure to check out their eye-catching jewellery and treat yourself to something from their fun home décor section, too. Because, you know, back to school isn’t just about the kids, right?!

2. Life is Good Send the kids back to school with good vibes from Life is Good Westport! Get school ready with backpacks, comfy clothes, totes, footwear, hoodies, hats and lots of positivity.

3. Peach Pulp Paper Talk about unique. This is all about artisan handmade paper products, using recycled materials and zero waste practices. Look to Peach Pulp Paper in Merrickville for beautiful paper packs, stunning journals for class notes to keep you organized, and much more made in small batches by an award-winning papermaker.

4. Kilborn’s Thinking that some cute kicks and funky handmade jewellery would accent an adorable new dress? Then you must be thinking about Kilborn’s in Newboro. With lovely touches for the home, perfect gifts for helping uni and college students settle into their new places and on-point classy fashions, Kilborn’s is a go-to for locals and visitors alike.

5. Rosie Yumski’s Fine Foods This savoury store in Westport is brimming with clever back-to-school ideas, like bento boxes, adorable lunch bags (think bears roasting marshmallows, under the sea themes and dogs!) and even fun vacuum insulated stainless steel food jars. While you’re there, snag something to make your next dinner off-the-charts delicious. Gourmet foods, housewares and amazing culinary products await.

Bay of Quinte

6. Willow Lifestyle Boutique Colourful outfits for all body types and sizes can be found at Brighton’s Willow Lifestyle Boutique! All of the clothing at Willow Lifestyle is designed and made in Canada.

7. Itsy Bitsy Necessities Take a peek at this gem that is featuring everything from cutlery, ice packs and name labels to reusable snack bags, water bottles and insulated food containers – just in time for school. Located in Belleville, it’s a pre-loved store full of savings and ideas. A local favourite, Itsy Bitsy Necessities stocks clothing sizes from baby to 16!

8. Pure Honey Boutique Downtown Belleville’s Pure Honey Boutique offers a personalised shopping experience and a chic selection of outfits and accessories. Pure Honey works on finding your personal style and creating a wardrobe that reflects your personality by flattering your body type and enhancing your best features.

9. Quinte West Pop Ups Now in its third year, Quinte West Pop-Ups overlooking the Trent River features eight wooden cabins and five food truck stations, to entice visitors. This year, Mini Pop-Ups are also on-site, featuring essential oils, totes, bows, and much more. Stop by to see what’s in store!


10. Tulip Kids For trendy gear for kids and babies, visit tulip Kids in Brockville! From functional footwear to splashy styles and everything in between, this store is sure to put a smile on your face – and make your little one light up, too!

11. Bonita Bold This boutique carries stunning collections designed and made in Canada. The clothing here is known to leave shoppers with confidence. With their size-inclusive array of pieces, it’ll be a breeze to find that end-of-summer or back-to-school outfit.

12. Echo Clothing Co. A gem in plain sight, Echo Clothing Co. has a range of trendy clothing from cute dresses to flowing pants and even comfy sweatshirts, blouses, and skirts. Let their fashion consultants get you ready for the school year from head to toe!


13. Hip Kids Hip Kids offers a variety of lunch bags, kid-friendly containers and water bottles, backpacks, hair accessories and more!

14. Novel Idea Kingston Calendars and stationery and agendas, oh my! Novel Idea in Kingston is a downtown mainstay for all things reading and writing, even stocking journals, cards, planners and more to keep students on track this year.

15. Trailhead Find everything from kids and adult activewear to flannel as fall settles in! Eco-friendly lunch containers, water bottles, and lunch bags round out the experience at this downtown Kingston mainstay.

Gananoque 1000 Islands

16. Beggars Banquet Books An independent bookstore that is a cut above. Beggars Banquet Books in Gananoque is a local gem that offers every genre and has a fun kids section and even vinyl for fun record flipping. Treat your back-to-schoolers with a surprise book when they get home after their first day or play that new vinyl loud and proud on the first day when you parents finally have a moment to breathe.

17. Steel Style Garage Back to school collection is all about the style – backpacks, crossbody bags, wallets, hip packs and mini packs and more! You don’t have to sacrifice the look when toting books, notes and devices this year. Look here for everything from belts and shades to new arrivals of fall fashions for both guys and gals from top brands, all in the historic beautiful limestone building across from Gananoque town hall.

18. The Green Gecko Spend the afternoon looking around this whimsical shop in Lyndhurst and picking out the perfect quirky and beautiful bling or a new bag for back to school – or even a little something to welcome in the year with a smile with unique, curated goods from around the world.

19. The Tipsy Goat Beautiful bags? Local artisan creations? Specialty foods and imports all in a historic and colourful Victorian house? Turn back to school on its head and shop around at Lansdowne’s eclectic The Tipsy Goat. Great for teacher welcome gifts, going away prezzies for your kid who’s flying the coop, or even for hostess gifts for those who graciously hosted your crazy fam jam at their cottage this summer.


20. Kid’s Korner Find out how much can fit in your backpack here! From school supplies for kids to fill pencil cases, cool backpacks and lunch gear and even back-to-school memory boards for those first-day photos, Kids Korner on Pitt Street in Cornwall has it all.

L&A County

21. Starlet Shop back to school like a star! With a seemingly endless selection of jewellery, shoes, purses, lotions and hilarious greeting cards from some of Canada’s leading companies and designers, Starlet in downtown Napanee is a fun stop on your back-to-school journey.


22. Trousdale’s General Store This place is one-of-a-kind! The oldest general store in Canada is found in Sydenham, where you can enjoy great finds for heading back to class, including clothing, footwear, journals, neat pens, Canadian made bath and beauty products, and of course ice cream and sweets. Old meets new at Trousdales; browse and marvel at the place where history meets a modern shopping experience.

23. Nicole’s Gifts

While Nicole’s is mostly a gift and home décor store, it also has a great selection of purses, bags and jumpsuits, pants, comfy sweaters and the perfect dress to wear on the first day. Look to Nicole’s Gifts in Verona for beaded bracelets, too!

Think outside of the lunchbox when shopping for back to school in South Eastern Ontario this season!

Note that the specific items pictured may not be in stock at time of visit. These give you a general indication of what the shop curates. Happy shopping!