The Neighbourhood Toy Store – Where Everyone knows your Name #TeachMeTuesday

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By Joanne Sallay

With summer in full swing, parents are looking for fun, inventive ways to keep the learning moving along. On the topic of educational fun, I decided to swing by Toytown. Nestled in the heart of Toronto’s midtown Avenue and Lawrence area, this fun emporium is Toronto’s oldest family-run, independent toy destination. It’s the Cheers of toy stores where “everyone knows your name.”

This local hotspot has served generations of families. Even grandmothers, who used to shop as young mothers for their children, return to the store time and time again. There’s also a massive contingent of those who come through the doors as a result of recommendations from family and friends. In my opinion, it’s one of Toronto’s best-kept toy secrets, catering to all ages from toddler to teen. Some may be surprised to learn it is also a hub for camp-related items


In today’s age of big-box stores, Toytown is a real treat. Rooted in traditional values of exemplary customer service, patrons are greeted by friendly staff who are ready to offer personalized recommendations for your little tots. Their goal is to make it a real shopping experience for all who enter their doors.

I had the pleasure to meet with Shari Bricks Zeiler, the toy maven and matriarch herself. Shari’s father took over Toytown in 1984, and she has been involved from the very start. Now, Shari is the lead at Toytown and she is definitely in her element. According to Shari, all toys can have an educational purpose. They go to great care to personally pick items that children will love, yet also enhance their learning and development at the same time.

Looking for the perfect gift? You now know where to go!




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Joanne Sallay

Joanne Sallay is a Director at Teachers on Call, a personalized home tutoring service with more than 25 years of experience. Teachers on Call’s Ontario Certified Teachers specialize in providing one-on-one instruction in all subjects and grades including summer enrichment and French Immersion tutoring.

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