By: Chelsea Brunette

Canadian Toy Testing Council toy-tester Lyra Erhardt, six, plays with Fisher Price: Servin’ Suprises Cook N’ Serve Kitchen and Table Set in T102 at Algonquin. The game won one of the 10 Children’s Choice Awards.

Santa’s elves better move over. There’s some new toy testers in town and they’re running it with the Canadian Toy Testing Council (CTTC).

These testers are children 16 years of age and under from the Ottawa-Gatineau area and it was their results that formulated the Toy Report 2013 that was released Nov. 13 at Algonquin College.

“It’s chalk-full of really good information that comes from the kids. It’s toy-tested, kid-approved and therefore parents don’t have to go into an aisle and be daunted by the quantity of toys there,” said Liliane Benoît, executive director of the CTTC and mother of three. “This report tells you what the kids in the end liked.”

The CTTC, an independent, non-profit, volunteer based organization, held its 60th Toy Awards and Toymendous Sale in T-Building at Algonquin, where they released the toy report and announced the 2013 Best Bets and Children’s Choice Awards. The Toymendous Sale allowed for those in the midst of Christmas shopping to buy new or gently used toys while receiving anywhere from 30 to 60 per cent off purchases.

“We put the toys in real life environments, that’s why our ranking system is so different than any out there,” said Marc Favreau, member of the CTTC board of directors.

All this play doesn’t mean that the Toy Report 2013 is taken lightly. The CTTC takes the testing process very seriously. The children get to test the toys—ranging from board games to more technologically savvy games—for about eight to 12 weeks in the everyday setting of their own homes, while their parents record the results and gather their child’s opinions.

“It’s a good way to discover what people make, like the new kinds of [toys],” said Aiden Korycki-Striegler, 13, one of the toy testers for Mine Shift.

Over 400 toys were tested by approximately 200 Canadian families, toys and age categories all varying, to test the toys’ durability, safety, function, design and play value. Each toy is then rated, the ratings are three-stars for the best, two-stars for good, one-star for a little problematic and novelty for short toy lifespan and not recommended.

“This is my first time here, because I live in Toronto, and we don’t really have that toy testing [there], I really enjoy it here because there’s so many toys and you get to test them out. [It’s] fun like [with Ogobild Pod/Fort] you get to build stuff, like you can build wacky shapes and stuff and go inside them,” said Anastasia Leshchik, nine, a toy tester for Ogobild Pod/Fort and daughter of Alexander Leshchik, director of Yago Pool Canada Inc.

Ogobild Pod/Fort was just one of the 2013 Best Bets, but others include: Pizza Parlor, Stacker Truck, Spart Art and Look Look. And some of the 2013 Children’s Choice Awards include: Yago Pool: The Strategic Finger Billiard, Pick ‘N’ Choose, Billy & Betty Bricks and Mine Shift.

“Our goal is for families to make informed decisions when they’re planning on buying toys and this is a great opportunity, it’s a great report, our testing is, in my opinion, pretty intensive,” said Favreau. “It’s one of the few tests out there of toys where you really get the true play value.”
For more information on this year’s Toy Report visit or contact the CTTC at 613-228-3155.