Our History

Please Note - See a video about us by Multiview Productions.

The Old Toymaker

Faire Tyme Toys was formed a little more than fifteen years ago in response to a need that we saw throughout Canada and the United States in the world of historical reenactment and living history museums.

After creating and successfully operating one of North America's largest War of 1812 reenactments for over 15 years ( in excess of 4000 students on our Education Day each year and over 10,000 for the annual public days) we quickly came to see that there was a real need for something to get interested children in history at reenactments, in classrooms and at museums. They were crying out for involvement but wanted hands-on and active involvement not provided at very many schools, museums nor living history venues.

Knowing that we had a niche market and responding to the large demand for our services that was growing exponentially among museums, living history festivals and educational institutions, we decided to form Faire Tyme Toys and take our unique venture into the market place and "on the road".

Our objective was to visit museums, schools, and historical reenactments and festivals, from all time periods, and stage hands-on workshops as well as allow the playing with of these toys and games for children of all ages (5 to 95).

The purpose of these presentations was to allow them to touch and play with toys and games as children would have done so in the 1700s and 1800s.

Most children and adults had never seen or even heard about the toys and games that we brought (and are always researching and recreating new ones) with us to festival, reenactments and museums. A few historical toys and games are typically shown in museums but most have no reproductions for programming and no one was allowed to even touch them let alone play with them.

As one can imagine this singular approach that stressed historical accuracy ( i.e. toys and games were made in the old fashioned manner, presenters dressed in historically-correct period clothes and we brought a historically-correct Marquis tent with us that acted as our "toy booth" or "toy store") became rather quickly very popular and we are now much in demand throughout Canada and the United States.

We also now sell our toys and games to many museums throughout Canada and the United States as well as to Australia, Scotland and even South Africa!

We are unique in North America for we are, to our knowledge, the only period toy and game company that not only sells these products ( our range of period-correct toys and games far exceeds any other company) and visits sites to provide hands-on workshops, lectures and presentations.

Our toy and game line is also quickly growing among the general public who wish to buy environmentally friendly ( i.e. wooden) toys and games that are not made of plastic, require no batteries and encourage their children to be active rather than passive and to use their imaginations.

All things old become new again and when our workshops take us to schools anywhere in Canada or United States the one comment that we are sure to get from a number of students is - "Why can't modern toys be as much fun as the old fashioned ones"?!

A historic sketch of
old time rocking horses

Each October, just as the leaves are starting to turn a festive red and there’s an exciting nip in the air, you’ll hear the excited screams of children, of all ages, softly echoing back to us from a time long past. From near and far they come, to take part in the annual spectacle known as ‘The Faire At The Forks”. For a magical three days, this 19th century fair materializes out of the mists of time and settles in on the banks of the Thames River, in present day Chatham, Ontario, Canada. It’s populated with sutlers, merchants, actors, puppeteers, musicians, soldiers, rogues, vagabonds, farmers, slack rope walkers, sword swallowers, dancers and a host of other visitors from all stations in life.

However, ask any young lad or lass (and even those NOT so young!) that you might stumble upon at the fair, and they will tell you that, in a tent nestled in an almost magical spot near McGregor’s Grove, you’ll find the most wondrous spot of all....Faire Tyme Toys! There you’ll find The Forks’ Master Toy Builder -one John Skakel. With a delightful twinkle in his eye, and always a new trick or two up his sleeve, he’ll take great pleasure in showing you his latest toy creation. Whether it be his Moon Winder, Whimmy Diddle, Flipperdinger, Wonder Turner, Thunder Spell, his graceful Graces or his latest wondrous invention, it will be sure to amaze, astound and delight.

So great were the tales of this Master Toy Maker, that it soon became apparent that the intense fascination that fair-goers had with these traditional folk toys was much too great to be confined to only three days at The Faire At The Forks. Children, aged eight to eighty, demanded that these toys be made available for more people in more places and not be trapped by time.... in time. As a result of this, Faire Tyme Toys has been gleefully plucked from the early 1800s and given a permanent place in today’s world.

An old sketch of a boy
with his favorite boat

Not content with only bringing you the delightful toys found at The Faire At The Forks, Faire Tyme Toys also plans on introducing you to some of the fascinating and delightful characters that inhabited The Forks of the early 19th century and who grew up being as amused and amazed with Toy Maker Skakel’s creations as we know that you will be! John and Martha McGregor, the McCraes, Mrs. Eberts, Miss Schwenger, Miss Reaume, the Johnston Clan, the Fields, Duncan and Cynthia as well as a host of other characters that populated The Forks in the early 1800s, will amaze you with their unique personalities and interesting stories as much as Master Skakel’s marvellous toy creations! Watch for their stories as they appear in the toys that you purchase from Faire Tyme Toys.

Welcome to the wonderful world of Faire Tyme Toys!

Look for the distincitive Faire Tyme Toys packaging.

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