By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
1410 Broad St
Victoria, BC Canada
10 am – 6 pm Mon-Sat,
12 pm – 5 pm Sun
After much renovation to Cherry Bomb Toys mezzanine area, the store operators opened their National Toy Museum of Canada. After a few weeks, the guest book is indicating that people are keen on the idea. There were visitors from as far as Manitoba! Entry is by donation or purchasing an item at the store.
In what’s displayed brings plenty of fond memories. From the 1920’s is Meccano (‘Mechanics Made Easy’ was this construction set’s slogan and this product is modernized for today’s youths), during the early 1980’s several Mini-Arcades by Coleco brought video games to the home in a pint-sized package and made in the late 80’s were Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The original toys stood beside their 2010 counterparts to show how these heroes in the half shell evolved with the times. The highlight for me is with the toys from the 70’s, namely the Six Million Dollar Man and the robots who predated the Transformers craze. Plenty of GoBots can be spotted, but for me, Marvel Comics‘ Shogun Warriors (I have the complete run) solidified my nerdiness. I drooled over the display case, wishing I could paw, er play with them like a needy cat.
Other notable items included the catalog from the Propworx Stargate SG-1 auction from 2010. The props donated to this museum came from an anonymous individual and if I could only hold the Zat’ni’katel, the gun used to stun opponents with, I’d truly geek out. Even a panel of a Goa’uld ship and a door switch lays on display. Very rarely collectors give their memorabilia from such a prominent show away, and this operation will display items from private collectors willing to loan them out (I might consider bringing to them my Studio Ghibli stuffed doll collection) so what’s on exhibit can regularly change. Patrons could find something new, if not rearranged, to look at during a visit to this store / museum operation.
In what I hope to eventually see (well, to technically hear) is a mini audio kiosk so people can listen to the history of how some toys originated. I’m impressed with the information presented by a few of the displays, namely the LEGO mini-fig. Depending on how the toys are arranged, I’m sure more information can be presented. Biagio’s knowledge is very impressive (click here to watch at a video about the appeal of toy collecting and the hobby of modifying them) and a significant part of what’s on display at this museum comes from his collection, which he spent more than 20 years amassing.
None of these ideas I’m suggesting will happen until more space is available to Biagio “B” and Candice Woodward’s operation (the museum curators and store managers). This area is limited in size. Their plans for expansion will eventually get realized, but it will take some time to get the finances in place. They need either some private investors or more benefactors. For now, this area is open to people like Paul the Magician to display his talents to small groups and sell his introductory kits to folks interested in being an entertainer themselves (which took place March 12th).
Looking around at the mezzanine made me recall what I owned and did not. There were products even I was not familiar with like Starriors. Of course, the Star Trek and Star Wars franchise is wonderfully represented. I was not aware a toy version of Boba Fett from the Christmas Special existed. I grinned at seeing the box for the video game of Pitfall for Atari. I had that game (and Missile Command)! That’s the type of reaction I suspect most people will have when browsing the displays. I particularly like the attention to detail B puts into all the setup. Even a signed pair sunglasses from Bret “The Hitman” Hart is on prominent display, showing that this museum is not just about the toys. Here, the museum presents items which influenced what we define as pop culture.