The organizers of the bi-annual Toys and Games Central Fair continue to build their brand.
Their recent Autumn 2016 event (August 21-23) at the GTA’s International Plaza Hotel not only saw a 20 percent increase in the number of exhibitors, but it also notched up buyer attendance.
Gilles Strauss, spokesman for the TaG Central organizing team, said that while figures were still being collated, it was evident through the first two days of the fair that retailer traffic was up slightly. Plus, more retailers were making repeat visits, with a few registering for the show’s entire three-day run.
He added that more retailers from south central Ontario and beyond had become aware of the show’s focus on the needs of specialty retailers. TaG Central offers perks like show-sale specials and a valuable points-reward program.
The addition of several new vendors, such as Daan Groups, Filo Import Inc., Go Games, and Sago Sago, may also have resulted in increased interest in the venue, says Strauss.
With holiday gift-giving season just around the corner, exhibitors displayed a wide range of product — baby blocks to R/C vehicles. As always, at this time of the year, retailers are eager to see what’s new as well as reorder their customers’ favourites. So, the latest introductions rubbed shoulders with evergreen best sellers and traditional shared booth space with new tech items.
Toys & Games visited on Day Two of the show and, as always, discovered far more excellent products than could possibly be mentioned here. So, below, we look at just a few of our top picks.
Dinosaur Figure & Puzzle Landscape Kit: From Schleich comes this delightful four-SKU collection of activity kits featuring four mini dinosaur figures and a 24-piece puzzle that builds out to form a playscape. Makes a great stocking stuffer and kids will want to collect every kit. (Playscapes can be used together.) From A Plus Sales
NHL Hockey Figures: Playmobil continues to expand its best-selling line of NHL players, playsets and accessories by adding 24 new single player packs. Kids will want to collect all figures, which are usable with Playmobil’s ultimate playset, the tabletop Hockey Arena. From Playmobil Canada
Spacerail Glow-in-the-Dark Kit: This 200-piece construction kit includes everything (plastic base, metal rods and marbles, elevator, track, battery-powered gear box) needed to build an exciting marble roller coaster featuring loops, runs and drops. Structures can be rebuilt for endless hours of activity. From The Daan Groups
Ban Bao Building Kits: This extensive line of snap-together building block kits lets kids, four to 15 years old, create everything from dinos and dump trucks to themed playsets. Kits range from small individual projects with about 22 pieces to larger more complex structures with about 3,000 pieces. (Building blocks are compatible with Lego.) Older kids will definitely love Ban Bao’s new licensed BMW car kits. From Filo Import Inc.
Bio Blo: This award-winning, German-made line includes two kits: 120-pieces and 204 pieces. Each building kit features 11.5-centimetre (4.5 inches) rectangular shaped blocks that are made from sustainable recycled materials. Kids, three years old and over, can use their imaginations or the included illustrated booklet to stack blocks together and make a variety of structures. From Autruche
Honeycombs: This addictive matching/strategy game offers kids, seven and over, three ways to play. It comes in a beehive-shaped drawstring storage bag and is designed for one to eight players or teams — making ideal for home or school. Players must match images on the multi-sided tiles, which are made from sustainable bamboo. From Go Games Inc.
See It? Slam-It!: This hot-off-the-press, Canadian-made title is fast-paced and easy to learn. Designed for two-plus players, it challenges players to be the first to link their letter cards to words represented by any part of an illustrated image card. Because See It? includes 264 multi-layered image cards, players can find something new in each playing. From Outset Media
Storytime Huxley: Featuring Cloud b’s signature super-soft plush, this adorable 20-centimetre tall (8 inches) bear combines hugability with interactive fun. By pressing his hand, kids, three years old and over, can hear five classic nursery stories, including Goldilocks. Begins shipping November 2016. From Do-Gree Fashions
Cow Puppet: Folkmanis’ new stage-style Holstein hand puppet is the perfect prop for creating and acting out stories. Cow features sounds, a workable tongue, soft realistic hair, and a weighted head that tips back to emit a characteristic moo. From Fire the Imagination
Harry Potter Poster Puzzles: Harry Potter fans, 12 years and over, will want to collect all four of Wrebbit’s new H.P.-themed, 500-piece puzzles. Using Wrebbit’s signature foam -backed pieces that fit snugly together, puzzles build out to a 48 x 66-centimetre (19 x 26-inches) size suitable for hanging. From Wrebbit 3D Puzzles Inc.
George Luck Animal Puzzles: Young puzzlers, 24 months to six years, will love this extensive line of wooden layered puzzles made from birch and non-toxic soy inks. Piece counts range from an eight-piece puzzle that’s suitable for toddlers to a 95-piece count for early graders. All puzzles feature animals — the Arctic, and Polar titles will have special appeal for young Canadians. From Hape International
Bajo Activity Toys: Made in Poland using hard maple wood, this gorgeous line of wooden activity toys offers a wide variety of play for kids, 18 months to five years old. The collection includes everything from blocks to a train puzzle and a delightful elephant-shaped Safe Box for kids to hide their special trinkets. From Le Gite du Cerf Volant
Flipop: Hand-made in Canada under the Rustik brand, this exciting tabletop game puts players’ dexterity and perseverance to the test. Players, four years old and over, are challenged to slingshot their pucks up and around the centre barrier and on to the point scoring section of the board. Designed for two to eight players. From Bo-Jeux Inc.
For more information about the Spring 2017 Fair, contact TaG Central.