The Canadian Toy Association

Jim Hastings

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Jim Hastings takes his place in the annals of the toy industry as one of the most ingenious retailers ever. He led the way in making shopping for toys an event children would cherish. Mr. Hastings began working his magic soon after he started in sales at Toronto’s Simpson’s toy department in 1950. Within two years he was assistant manager, and in 1967 he took over the entire toy department which expanded considerably under his supervision.


Throughout the years, he devised many promotional strategies that would influence other retailers. During the holiday season, Toy Town became officially known as "The Happiest Place in Town" and was set up as a series of small boutiques. He was also the first to bring in costumed characters to mingle with young shoppers.


Mr. Hastings cared for his suppliers in much the same way he cared for his customers. He made it a policy to try and buy something from most manufacturers in Canada, small and large, and to display their products fairly, so that everyone had an equal chance at success. He credits he own success to his passion for work. Mr. Hastings, who retired in 1981, said, “I always loved the toy department”. With him at its helm, it was truly The Happiest Place in Town.

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