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Photo by Gord Bowes

Photo by Gord Bowes

Max Weston sets up the five-foot-tall K’Nex roller coaster on display at the Hamilton Toy Museum, which opened its doors Wednesday for a preview.

Play date at Hamilton Toy Museum

By Gord Bowes, News staff

The Hamilton Toy Museum is one step closer to opening its doors.

“I think the grand opening will probably be in September,” says Chris Weston, who’s been working with his wife, Shannon, for three years to get the project off the ground.

The couple held a sneak peak of the museum, located at 1231 Main St. East, on July 9.

“We’re not 100-per-cent ready but we’re dying to get people in and show things off.”

Since taking possession of the building about 15 months ago, Weston has been working most weekends and whatever spare time he could find to turn what was a dank, empty space into a bright playground.

“Whenever I could steal an hour here and there, I was here,” said Weston, whose main job is teaching physics at Sherwood Secondary School. “Now it’s at the point where my kids can come and enjoy it, whereas when it was under construction it wasn’t safe.”

Angela Migliore, who brought her family to the preview, said she has been watching the progress on the museum’s Facebook page

“It’s so exciting to finally be in the space after seeing the buildup,” she said. “It’s an exciting thing to have in Hamilton. It’s great for kids. I like the idea that there’s something hands-on.”

She donated some board games and action figures from the early ’90s.

Her daughter Sabrina said she was impressed by the variety of items on display, including the vintage toys she had not seen before.

“It was pretty cool, how old it was.”

The museum offers a walk down memory lane, with vintage toys dating back to the 1940s and earlier, all the way up to present day.

Among the items on display during the preview were two Second World War-era table hockey games. Unlike today’s counterparts, they have a wooden frame and one lever to control all players rather than the individual player controls like today’s models.

“They were originally sold in the Eaton’s catalogue for five bucks,” said Weston. “The people I’ve talked to who have played it say you can get a lot of action even with the one control once you get the feel for it.”

The plan is to have revolving displays, said Shannon Weston.

“So when parents bring their kids back there’s something new to look at,” she said.

The museum will also include a play area and Weston said he plans to have groups, such as school classes, in for themed or curriculum-based activities.

“There’s more to come,” he said. It’s just a matter of unpacking all the boxes he has stored away.

“I still have a lot to bring over.”

For more information about the Hamilton Toy Museum, to make a donation or check for future open houses, see the museum’s website at thtm.ca.

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