Location: New Glasgow

A Real Life Toy Story

A Real Life Toy Story

We all love nostalgia! It carries us back to a time and place where we can hover over some of our most cherished memories. When I was a little girl I used to sit and watch my grandfather make the most wonderful wooden toy trucks, trains and animals. My brother and I were able to give a truck and a duck a good home at our house but mostly my grandfather made them for the children in the hospital here in Vancouver. He loved making them and I loved watching. One year he surprised me with my very own doll house. It puts a smile on my face even today as I sit here writing about it.

When I walked into the Toy Factory in New Glasgow, PEI those memories came bounding back. I was so excited to find out that handmade wooden toys are still being made right here in Canada. As a child I loved those very simple toys. They were fun for me because they gave my imagination an unbridled freedom that many of the toys I see today just don’t allow. I believe I can give credit for the imagination and creativity I have today to some of the simplest toys I used to play with.

Kathy and Dan Viau

When we arrived at the Toy Factory it was busy and we weren’t able to talk to the toy makers and the Toy Factory owners Dan and Kathy Viau for a half an hour or so. Secretly, this was fine by me as it gave my eyes a chance to wander through the store from floor to ceiling to see what treasures were waiting to be discovered. I found this goofy looking wooden marionette dog. Kathy had taught it some tricks and showed Gary and I how it could lay down, cross its paws and go to sleep. What a marvelous pooch! We also found all kinds of cars, trucks, boats and trains but if your preference is to be a pedestrian there are also the wooden feet to help you get around. At The Toy Factory we found the classic rocking horse and for the young aviator’s and aviatrix’s out there a new twist to the horse, a rocking plane. We also found the timeless wooden YO-YO. Somehow, I just don’t remember it being so challenging as it was that day.

Please click on the thumbnails below for the big picture!

Dan and Kathy have been designing and making wooden toys at the Toy Factory since 1990 in what used to be a General Store built in 1847. It is situated at the T intersection in New Glasgow, PEI and can’t be missed. The brightly painted building stood out like a beacon in the drizzlely rain the day we visited and large wooden toys were lined up on the front porch awaiting our arrival. If not for the lack of snow and reindeer, I would have thought we had arrived at Santa’s very own workshop.

Dan and Kathy take pride in the wooden toys they make. They pay attention to the importance of keeping the toys simple, long lasting and fun and with the forethought that they will be cherished for years to come. The Toy Factory should definately be included on anyone’s list of places to visit when going to PEI. In the mean time if you are interested in any of the toys you can contact Dan or Kathy at toys@toy-factory.ca and watch for their upcoming website to shop online.