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A daily look back at the toys, games, and objects that captured our attention as children and continue to fascinate us today.
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The Friday Five

Look into the minds of movers and shakers in the play industry – five questions, one fascinating person.

The Friday Five: Vlad Dragusin

Candylab Toys applies a mid-century modern aesthetic to vintage-inspired, wooden toy cars. Through crowdfunding, Candylab Toys has experienced a success that may not otherwise have been possible in today’s world of cheap, cookie-cutter manufacturing. Co-founder Vlad Dragusin talks with Toy Tales about his inspiration, crowdfunding experience, and lets us in on what’s in store for the future.

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The Friday Five: Benjamin Woo

Benjamin Woo is Assistant Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. His new book, Getting a Life: The Social Worlds of Geek Culture, examines the communities that thrive within geek culture.

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The Friday Five: Sean Kenney

Sean Kenney is an award-winning LEGO artist and one of only 19 LEGO Certified Professionals in the world. In fact, Kenney worked with the iconic brick manufacturer to create the LEGO Certified Professionals program, which supports the work of LEGO artists to produce awe-inspiring works of art. Kenney tells Toy Tales how his childhood fondness for LEGO evolved into a career and gives insight into his internationally renowned exhibit, Nature Connects.

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The Friday Five: Brooks Peck

Marvel: Universe of Superheroes exhibit. Exhibit curator, Brooks Peck, tells us what fans can expect to see and hear at this first-of-its-kind installation.

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The Friday Five: Annie Jacques

Annie Jacques, exhibition interpretation officer at the Canada Science and Technology Museum, explains why The Art of the Brick – a travelling LEGO-art exhibit with a worldwide reputation – will delight audiences of all ages.

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The Friday Five: Matthew Baker

As the popularity of LEGO increases among adults, so too has the number of adult LEGO user groups. Fueled by a desire to build and share their experiences, LEGO user groups (LUGs) continue to proliferate around the world, with members acting as informal ambassadors for the LEGO brand. Matthew Baker is one such ambassador. Baker is an executive member of ParLUGment, an Ottawa-area LUG. He talks with Toy Tales about LEGO collecting and explains the qualities that make ParLUGment unique.

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The Friday Five: Rachel Jones

As the counterfeit industry has proliferated through the advent of online shopping, so too have the efforts to halt corrupt manufacturers. Through SnapDragon, Rachel Jones – CEO and founder – is at the forefront of the fight. Jones explains the fight’s importance and why it’s crucial for consumers to exercise diligence when making online purchases.

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The Friday Five: Kim Smith – Learning Beautiful

Kim Smith is an advocate for teaching computational literacy to children. An artist and designer by trade, Smith spent time at MIT’s Media Lab collaborating with computer scientists to create wooden toys that tap into children’s natural curiosity and pave the way for learning the basic concepts of computer science. Her time at MIT led to her co-found Learning Beautiful, a company created to further her research and bring her analog toys to market. Here, she elaborates on why computational literacy is important for everyone, including children.

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The Friday Five: Lucas Harskamp – Toys and Games Researcher

Lucas Harskamp created waves in the toy industry when he published an opinion piece in ToyNews about children’s television content and franchise-related toys. In this edition of The Friday Five, Harskamp expands on his theory and inspiration.

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The Friday Five: Eira MacDonell – Mrs. Tiggy Winkles

In recognition of Neighbourhood Toy Store Day Canada, we talk with Mrs. Tiggy Winkles’ general manager about the current retail climate and the importance of independent toy stores to the communities where they do business. 

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The Friday Five: Paul Nelson – Laser Tag

Paul Nelson’s tale of the genesis of Laser Tag is a story of business lessons learned the hard way. But, his experience of trying to bring the game to market was his first “real” lesson in business that has led to countless other successes.

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The Friday Five: Michael Arzt

Atari changed the way we played video games and thought about home entertainment when it released its Atari 2600 game console in 1977. The new ATARI Connect division is extending that legacy of innovation to new generations.

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The Friday Five: Brian Heiler

During its heyday in the 1970s, Mego Corporation produced some of the most innovative and popular toys of the times. The Mego Museum’s Brian Heiler tells us why their merchandise continues to capture the attention of new fans and avid collectors.

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The Friday Five: Stephen Lane

Stephen Lane, CEO of Prop Store, a movie and television prop auction, shares his story with Toy Tales and tells us about his favourite collectibles.

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The Friday Five: Andrew Farago

Andrew Farago has the enviable job of head curator of the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco, California. He shares with us the mission of the Museum and what he hopes people take away from a Museum visit.

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