The Canadian Toy Association

William Simpson Thomson

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Canadian Toy Industry Hall of Fame Inductees


William Simpson Thomson had a rare gift when it came to toys – those that he distributed always made it into the homes and hearts of children. His career in the

industry started in 1946, after seven years of service with the Canadian army culminating in a staff positing on the staff of Field Marshall Montgomery with the rank of Major. Mr. Thomson, who was trained in business, joined the firm of Menzies and Company Ltd., which was well-known for its high standards and for introducing Gilbert Erector sets and Canadian Logs to Canadians nationwide. That company eventually became Macpherson Thomson Ltd. and its tradition for distributing only quality items carried on. In the early 1950’s on a hunch, Mr. Thomson brought Scrabble into Canada and that quickly proved to be an ongoing bestseller.

His firm’s reputation as a powerful distributor spread worldwide and earned Mr. Thomson and his partner Harold Macpherson the exclusive wholesale and retail distribution rights to Playschool, Mattel and Brio in Canada. Thanks to his famous selling skills, Mr. Thomson not only brought these lines to Canada, he helped make them household names by ensuring that they were given prominence in every major toy store in the country. Mr. Thomson sold his company in 1980, but long before that he had carved out his place in the industry’s history as a trailblazer with his business acumen and uncanny understanding of what makes a toy special.




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