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Canada at Play: An online exhibition of toys and games


Online exhibitions have taken on new relevance in the age of COVID-19. Canada’s national museum of human history offers more than 90 virtual options, including one focused entirely on Canadian toys, called Canada at Play: An online exhibition of toys and games.

The exhibition includes four main sections: Playhouse, Manufacturers, Play!, and Teachers’ Corner.

The Playhouse features more than 175 images from the Museum’s extensive toy collection. Photos selected for the exhibition include toys designed and made in Canada as well as those made elsewhere and imported into the country. The photos are organized by the location where they were typically used, including Girl’s Room, Boy’s Room, Recreation Room, Dining Room, Backyard, and Sidewalk. The section also features a series of “Other Toys”, including Handmade Toys, Construction Sets, Toy Figures, and Play Sets.

The Manufacturers section provides an overview of four prominent Canadian toy companies: General Metal Toy Company, Viceroy Toys, and Reliable Toys, all based in Toronto; and, Lincoln Toys of Windsor, Ontario. In addition to text and photos, the museum has included several scanned catalogs from its library, providing a glimpse at several of the companies’ past toy lines.

The online exhibition is rounded out with Play!, a series of online educational games with answers based on information provided in the exhibition; and, Teachers’ Corner, a resource for teachers with downloadable, curriculum-ready materials about the toy collection.

Plan your next vacation to include a visit to a play-related store, museum, or private collection.