Craig’s Cookies Embraces the Rainbow

Toronto’s premier cookie place goes all out for Pride.

7 min read

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Pride is a year-round celebration for Craig Pike of Toronto’s popular Craig’s Cookies.

You can order their famous Pride Cookies, dotted with rainbow chocolate chips, any time of year. All of Craig’s Cookies come packaged in pink boxes, sealed with a heart-shaped rainbow sticker, and their storefront in Toronto’s Queer Village is painted in cheery rainbow colors. 

“When I was figuring out what to paint,” recalls Pike, “I wanted to celebrate members of the community — not only our queer community but also BIPOC and our trans community.”

“During Pride week, it's a really big celebration,” says Pike. “It means a lot for folks who work for Craig's Cookies to feel comfortable representing themselves at work so that anybody who comes to our shops can see that there are many different people that live in our world, and we're happy to celebrate so many of them here. We celebrate each other all year round.”

He adds: “We might go a little overboard and extra with our decorations during Pride, but we are clearly a queer-owned business throughout the year,” says Pike.

And business is booming: Since opening their first location in Parkville in 2018, Craig’s has set up shop in multiple neighborhoods across Toronto — including Leslieville and Bayview — with another due to open inside Union Station in July. Plus, there’s a store in Saint John’s, Newfoundland, and plans to open more locations throughout Ontario. 

The Craig’s Cookies concept  is simple: It’s one base cookie dough, his mother’s recipe, with many mix-ins. “It’s like the perfect classic chocolate chip cookie, in my opinion. It's nice and soft and buttery, with a little bit of caramelization on the edges,” describes Pike. 


Pike started selling the chocolate chip cookies he grew up on (“a staple of our childhood,” he says) in 2013. At the time, he was a working actor in film, television, and theater, but he was between acting contracts and short on cash for his phone bill and rent. He found he enjoyed baking the cookies and delivering them on his bike — and they sold fast. The next month, on a whim, he mixed in a strawberry Pop Tart. “That worked out,” he recalls, “and then I thought, well, maybe I can put anything in a cookie.” 

Now, Craig’s Cookies stocks more than 70 flavors, including that original strawberry Pop Tart. Pike says: “We do Mars bars, peanut butter cups. We've used Doritos, pepperoni. We're launching a new flavor for the Canadian National Exhibition here in Toronto — poutine. So it's gonna have cheese curds in the cookie dough, served with a side of gravy for dipping.”

At any one time, there are about 15 flavors at the counter, rotating out every five or 10 minutes. When you order through DoorDash, you will get a random sampling. You choose whether you want a dozen or half-dozen, and there are gluten- and nut-free options as well. The surprise combinations are part of the fun: “You just never know what kind of cookies you're gonna get, but you'll always get a minimum of six different flavors, what's freshest and warmest and right out of the oven,” promises Pike. 

For this year’s Pride month celebration, Craig’s launched a new Pride cookie mix: six cookies in six different colors of the rainbow. Green is matcha white chocolate; red is red velvet; purple is blueberry white chocolate; orange is orange dark chocolate; yellow is lemon white chocolate; and blue is “a cookie monster cookie with Oreos. It looks fabulous,” says Pike.  

“I think Pride is such an important time,” he says, “and a fun time for folks to celebrate who they are. Whether or not you're a member of the queer community, it’s a time to find pride in yourself. We all have closets that we hide in. So I think Pride is a really great month to be reminded to take risks to be yourself and to be seen for who you are — but to also accept people for who they are.”

Along with providing inclusive confections, Craig’s Cookies plays another very specific role: “We offer a sober space. Within the queer community, there's a lot of partying; there's a lot of drinking. But that's just one component. So to be able to offer a space that reflects different parts of the community is really great. It's not the purpose of why I opened the shop, but the byproduct is that it offers a sober space for folks and for families to be able to come to the village and gather here without having to drink.”

For Pike, Pride is a time for reflection. “We spend so much time, which is important, celebrating and dancing and having parades. But we also have to remember that in Toronto, Pride started out of the Toronto bathhouse raids in the early eighties,” he says, referring to the infamous 1981 incident, when, on a cold night in February, more than 150 Toronto police officers raided four downtown bathhouses with crowbars, arresting almost 300 men while subjecting them to verbal and physical abuse. 

“Out of that came a call to arms and the first gatherings of allies and members of the community to protest, to get together and say ‘This is enough,’” says Pike. “Out of that came Pride, so it’s similar to Stonewall in New York. I think it's important that we remember and honor those who lived in a time when they couldn't have pride, and they couldn't comfortably put the rainbows on cookie boxes. For me, that's what Pride is about.”

PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy of Craig's Cookies