The Host Files: Caitlan’s Favourite Toy

This blog series comes from our dedicated and awesome Visitor Host staff, and topics range from favourite artifacts, thoughts on our latest exhibits, and anything else in between!

By Caitlan M., Visitor Host

As our Toys and Games exhibit has just ended, I can’t help but think of my favourite toy who I could never bare to see leave. When I was about 2 years old my Nan took me to Marineland where I become obsessed with Orca whales, this lead me to finding my forever best friend – a stuff animal orca whale. I gave him the most original name possible, Whale or Mr. Whale for those fancy occasions he likes to attend. Today I like to think I was just calling him Whale because that’s what he was and my parents thought that’s what I named him, chances are I just wasn’t creative.

Throughout my childhood Whale would follow me where ever I went. If I wasn’t holding him, he would either be beside me or in the same room. I couldn’t sleep when he went to the drycleaners, or as my mom called it a holiday for him. Over the years Whale has been on every vacation I have been on, and I can remember when I went to Europe to visit family when I was 14 and my dad asked if Whale was coming with us. Going through the sassy know-it-all stage in my life I just gave my dad that look of ‘of course he is coming with us’, my dad then asked if Whale would be going in my suitcase – why my dad would ask me this I will never know, what if my suitcase would get lost or stolen then Whale would be lost to me forever. I can remember getting some weird looks from security and flight attendants, they probably thought it was a bit weird seeing a teen with a stuff animal but Whale quite enjoyed looking out the window during the flight. At the end of the day, to me Whale was another member of the family and I didn’t care what people thought.

I find it sad that these toys do not have the love they once had. Yes they are being taken care of and will continue to be taken care of but some of these toys could have easily been a Whale to some other little girl or boy. Whale has seen/been through practically everything I have. He has gone blind in his left eye (well his left eye has fallen off) and his tail is very fragile, but he continues to live on my bed ready to give me a comforting hug when needed.

The Host Files – The Gift of Play


By Carmela D., Visitor Host

When I was a child, my favourite toy was my red Easy Bake Oven.  It’s exciting to think back at those simpler days.  I would plug it in my playroom’s “House” section, in anticipation of playing “grown-up” and creating a scrumptious dessert.  I would often bake chocolate cakes.  I would serve them on my play dishes. I would then wash all of my dishes in the kitchen sink.  I felt like I was a mini version of my mom, who spent a lot of time in the kitchen.

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Today, my daughter has a purple Easy Bake Oven and we spend time together baking, sometimes even with her friends.  The baking options have expanded from simple cakes to layered cookies, cake pops, cupcakes, and more.  It seems more complicated from when I was little, but it is still a fun way to play the “Mommy” role.

Interestingly, I don’t really bake in my adult life, but I hang onto those fond memories in my playroom and cherish the continued Easy Bake memories with my precious daughter. My son is more than welcome to join us, but he generally chooses not to.  Perhaps it instilled a confidence in me and love of the kitchen because I am a really good cook and seem to entertain a lot.

On display until April 2016: The Gift of Play: Toys of Yesterday

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