The Village Toy Castle in Brucefield is looking to not only be a toy store, but a must-see attraction in the town.
The store opened its doors Dec. 1, welcoming the community inside after a year of remodeling and construction at its Highway 4 location in a building with a history dating back to the 19 th century.
Owner Isaac Elliott-Fisher, a cinematographer with Definitive Film who grew up in Clinton, said he’s always been interested in toys but working on documentaries such as Turtle Power: The Definitive History of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Power of Grayskull: The Definitive History of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe pushed him further into that world.
“I guess I never grew up,” he said. “I always loved toys and making things.”
Elliott-Fisher said he believes early childhood years are the “most foundational, educational and important” time in a life, and that toys are a valuable tool for exercising a child’s creativity when compared with electronic devices, which may be less likely to encourage a child to be creative and use their imagination.
The Village Toy Castle offers a collection of action figures, dolls, figurines, board games and more, but those who venture into the back of the store are met with a colourful display of toys, acting as a museum showing off the history of action figures, starting with the Six Million Dollar Man and featuring more modern figures such as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Though the museum is already viewable, Elliott-Fisher said he has big plans for the future when it comes to attractions in the building. In addition to the store and museum, he is in the process of constructing a castle-themed play area for children, as well as viewing windows which will offer a glimpse into what will eventually be a manufacturing area for figurines created with an injection moulding process. He said though he’d like to see that part of the business up and running sometime in 2022, that process could take longer.
Elliott-Fisher said he hopes the store will be able to act as an attraction for those with children who visit the area.
“There’s not a lot to do here (for young children),” he said. “We’ve got communities like Bayfield with cottagers coming in. They can go to wineries and the museum, but what else? Even though we’re not building a big theme park, I hope it’s just enough to break the day up.”
Since opening, Elliott-Fisher said the store has seen a great amount of support from the local community, with some customers going out of their way to support local and buy Christmas gifts from the shop, even with its opening being later in the gift-giving season.
“People showed up and said ‘let’s support local,’” he said. “And everybody says that, but when the rubber hits the road, are you really going to do that? But they did. It was really great.”
Speaking about opening in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Elliott-Fisher said he hasn’t had any major issues, though finding people available to help in the building’s remodeling was challenging at times.
For more information about The Village Toy Castle, visit www.definitivefilm.com/toys or @TheVillageToyCastle on Facebook.