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O Canada: Where Toys ‘R Us still exists.

Toy Store Guide gets their Passports and takes a ride to the closest Toys ‘R Us they can find.
Of course there are local Toy Stores on the way.

Note: We at Toy Store Guide are fully aware of the Toys ‘R Us flagship store at the American Dream Mall. We love that it is open and that people, especially children, can visit a Toys ‘R Us in the United States. It just doesn’t feed the nostalgic hunger we at Toy Store Guide are looking to feed. So for the purpose of this article, the Toys ‘R Us location in St. Catharines is the closest one to us. 

The closing of Toys ‘R Us locations throughout the United States was a main factor in why we started Toy Store Guide. It was a metaphorical earthquake that Toy Stores were going to be harder to find. The outrage that the last of our childhood toy stores were closing up was more aggravating knowing that other countries still had them. 

Which brings us to needing a passport to drive to Toys ‘R Us… The closest Toys ‘R Us to me is located in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. Just 15 minutes from Niagara Falls. 

But First, Let’s Take a Look at Some Local Toy Stores in the Area.

Just a short 30 minute trip from Toys ‘R Us you can visit Kool Stuff Toys and Bounty Hunter Toys. The two stores share the same neighborhood in Hamilton, Ontario. The two stores can not be any different… Kool Stuff has been at their location for over 20 years, usually some level of organized chaos comes with that kind of longevity.

I spoke with Jeff the owner of Kool Stuff Toys and he communicated to me that he has been fighting with the landlord and municipalities that are trying to evict him in order to turn the location into apartments. This is a prevalent issue known as renoviction where a landlord evicts a tenant by claiming they will complete major renovations, often then out pricing the former tenant.

On the opposite side of the coin, Bounty Hunter Toys has recently moved to a new location. So recent that the owners have not yet had time to set up their front window display, but know that it is coming soon. The store is organized and not overly cluttered, as you could expect when a store just opened or changed locations. 


From my brief time there it would seem that their selection of wrestling figures can not be beat anywhere close by. Both stores play prominent roles in the first season of Action Figure Adventure which is currently available to stream on Amazon Prime Video in the U.S.

Back to Toys ‘R Us

When you pull off the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW is a highway in Canada) you see the sign you remember, the sign that is still found throughout the U.S. but this one is not just a tease. The Toys ‘R Us behind the sign is not abandoned. As we pulled in and parked there were families walking in, with the kids running ahead in excitement. Just like I did as a kid.

As a kid I would go to Toys ‘R Us and only care about a few aisles, the aisles with the Action Figures. Super Heroes, G.I. Joe, Star Wars, and whatever property I had recently seen a cartoon or movie about. Toys ‘R Us had so much more… Video Games, Barbie, Baby Toys, Games, Remote Control Cars, Ride-On Toys, even Books. Sections of the store I just ignored because I was laser focused on the toys I wanted. As an adult I can now notice the other parts of the store that are not action figures. It would seem that in the interest of diversifying the sections for action figures is a bit smaller and sections devoted to learning toys, books, ect. are a bit larger. BUT most likely I am just misremembering the TRU of old and they were always this way.

Toys ‘R Us – St. Catharines

87 Meadowvale Drive 
St. Catharines, ON L2N 3Z8

The store itself is familiar but not without updates. The standard long tall aisles of the 80’s and 90’s are gone and replaced with more modern sections made up of short aisles, both in length and height. More like displays for the specific toyline. If memory serves, the Toys ‘R Us in the states had displays like this before they closed up shop.

The largest change I noticed at the Toys ‘R Us in St. Catherines was the lack of Video Games. It would seem that the video game section has been replaced by the “Fan Vault”. The Fan Vault section of the Canadian Toys ‘R Us is where they keep the POPs and the collector’s figures like NECA and Super7. This makes sense as the collector market has grown and even though video games are still huge, so much has gone over to downloading.


I did a full video walkthrough of the St. Catherines location, as soon as I put my phone down I was asked by a Toys ‘R Us representative if I was from the states. She said she is always able to spot people who cross the border and are excited to be inside a Toys ‘R Us again. I was excited to step back into a Toys ‘R Us, to step back into the past where it all began for me, where it began for most of us. Mostly I was excited to walk into a store and see shelves and peg hooks full of toys. Something we don’t often see at the chain stores in the United States.

Guess we will have to just get our toys from the local toy spots…

Written By: Dave at ToyStoreGuide (ToyDeLorean on Instagram)

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