A Brief History

The Canadian Toy Collectors' Society is an incorporated (not for profit) club dedicated to the collection and preservation of all types of toys, particularly those of Canadian origin.

The Society's origins can be traced to late 1970, when three fellow toy collectors left their telephone numbers with the proprietor of a Toronto store (Leonard's Hobby Centre, 1586 Bayview Avenue, Toronto), which, at the time, was an excellent source of obsolete Dinky Toys. One of the three was John Hall, founder and managing director of the well known company, Brooklin Models.

A year later, through the encouragement of collectors in New York State, the club officially came into being as the Toronto chapter of the "Motoring in Miniature Association" (MMA) of Buffalo, New York, in November, 1971.

During the ensuing year, considerable efforts were made to promote the group's existence and recruit new members. The club participated in numerous events including, a display at the Jaguar Owners Association meeting (November 1971); the hobby show at Sheridan College, Oakville (January 1972); a seminar presented to the Antique & Classic Car Club of Canada (March 1972); and displays at the Craven Foundation official opening (June 1972). The membership grew to seventeen.

During the time of our affiliation with MMA, several new events were introduced, involving the first ever collectors toy show in Toronto. The first, Mini Toy Show (member only event) was held in May 1973, while August saw the first display at the Canadian National Exhibition. The inaugural toy show held on Sunday, November 25, 1973, at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch at Bloor and Islington, was billed as the "First Antique Christmas Toy Show". There were thirty-five dealer tables, and despite the show being held on Grey Cup day and the U.S. Thanksgiving weekend, some 800 people were in attendance.

The spring of 1974 brought about dramatic changes in the club's existence, a new executive was elected, whose first task was to re-evaluate our association with MMA in Buffalo, and its emphasis on collecting model cars. After much deliberation and a mail survey of the membership, it was decided overwhelmingly in favour of withdrawing from MMA and adopting a new identity, the 'Canadian Toy Collectors' Society '(CTCS).

The second Toronto collector's toy show was held October 6, 1974, at the St. Lawrence Market. A collection of full size classic Cadillacs and sixty tables tempted in excess of 1300 people to visit the show. At year end, membership stood at thirty-nine.

From this point the Society grew by leaps and bounds. In addition to a spring Mini Toy Show and the Annual Toy Show, scheduled monthly meetings were held at a west end Toronto hotel. The club began a campaign to promote toy collecting in all its facets; and arranged for displays to be presented at public libraries, museums and art galleries around southern Ontario.

In 1978, the current logo, a harlequin figure with arms overflowing with toys of all kinds©, was adopted to better communicate the club's purpose. A successful toy show was held at the St. Lawrence Market, with over 3000 people in attendance. Club membership for the year grew to seventy-seven.

The summer of 1979 was a time of mixed emotions. The toy show, for the first time, would offer a limited edition, "Brooklin" model of a 1940 Ford Sedan Delivery van in navy blue. This unfortunately coincided with the relocation of John Hall's family and "Brooklin Models"©, from Brooklin, Ontario to Bath, England. "For old times sake" (as John put it), "Brooklin Models"© produced a limited edition model every year up to, and including 2014. This assisted the Society with its operating costs and provided a means of raising funds for various Toronto-based children's charities.

By 1981, organizing the annual toy show had become a major undertaking, though still managed by club members. The fall classic has changed locations a number of times. It was at the Harbour Castle Hilton Hotel (1984); the Sheraton Centre (1985); then moved to The International Centre, where it remained from 1986 until 1992. The show moved to the bright and spacious Skyway Trade & Conference Centre in 1995, and was held in this location for the next few years. Following that period of time, the Show moved to a facility in Downsville Park for three years after which it re-located to the Etobicoke Olympium where it is currently held

1982 saw several new developments for the Society. A library of toy related books was purchased for the use of members, (this has proven to be a valuable asset over the years particularly in the pre-computer and early internet eras), an enamel lapel badge was produced to assist in identifying members at toy shows and other events, and purpose-built display cases were obtained in order to display the Society's extensive toy collection at numerous locations throughout southern Ontario.

The Society was incorporated on October 30, 1986, as a not for profit corporation under the Laws of the Province of Ontario. The Society retained legal counsel to assist with this incorporation and subsequently to advise the Board of Directors on any legal issues which might arise. Mr. John Hamilton, himself an avid toy collector and Society member, agreed to be the corporation's legal counsel.

The Society has assembled an extensive collection of Canadian toys, dolls and games, and is working toward the establishment of a permanent display home for this unique representation of Canadian history. The CTCS collection is housed in Toronto, Ontario and is periodically placed on display in Town and City Halls, southern Ontario libraries and venues such as Pearson International Airport's Malton Gallery. Plans were made to display a significant portion of the collection at the Museum of Civilization in Ottawa, Ontario. However, due to a shuffle within the Crown Corporation overseeing the operation of the Canadian Museum of History, the Canadian War Museum and the Virtual Museum of New France, these plans did not materialize.

The interests of our members range from cast iron banks. slush cast, die cast and white metal models, lithographed tin and clockwork toys, dolls and dollhouses, farm toys, lead soldiers, toy trains, science fiction toys and action figures.. It is not just the toys themselves but also the history of the companies, (particularly Canadian companies that no longer exist), and the processes they utilized that intrigue our members.

Because of the established success of both the C.T.C.S. Brooklin Model and the Annual Toy Show known as "Canada's Greatest Collectors' Toy Show and Sale"©, and thru the generosity of "BROOKLIN MODELS"© who have, from time-to-time, generously provided exclusive white metal models which the Society has auctioned or raffled, the Society has been able to contribute funds to various well known children's charities, including the Bloorview Hospital-Hugh MacMillan Children's Foundation, the Good Bears, the Jimmy Lomax Christmas Fund and the Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association.

As an example: a special edition of the 1990 CTCS "Brooklin Model" (a silver 1949 Monarch Coupe), was sold at auction for $5400.00, as part of a drive that raised $9,000.00 for the Toronto Bloorview Children's Hospital. 1n 1997, the CTCS held a "One-of-a-Kind" Brooklin Model Charity Raffle which raised $2,000.00 for the Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association and donated $5,000.00 to the Bloorview Hospital-Hugh MacMillan Children's Foundation.

Benefits to members have continually evolved, and in addition to the extensive lending library, society subsidized trips to museums such as the Canadian Automotive Museum in Oshawa, Ontario, the Margaret Woodley Strong Museum (with a large toy and doll collection) in Rochester, New York, and other Society events, provide members with the opportunity to add to their automotive and toy collecting knowledge, something which has been called on time and time again over the years. The Society established the Bryan O'Brien Bursary to aid in the research or restoration or production of materials relative to Canadian toys and the CTCS currently maintains a high on-line presence thru its website at and a Virtual Toy Museum
In addition, CTCS also publishes, both on-line and in print, articles and reviews of interest to toy collectors and non-collectors alike.

Currently, regular meetings are held on the second Friday of the month (some exceptions ... check here for current dates) at the Etobicoke Olympium located in the west end of Toronto.

For all other information, contact:

P.O. Box 91033
RPO Burnhamthorpe
Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada
M9C 5N5


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