Founded in 1992 by museum professionals Edward Cavell and Donna Livingstone, Livingstone and Cavell Extraordinary Toys has developed into a delightful destination on Kensington Road N.W.
Cavell and Livingstone are married, and over the years have created an impressive toy collection.
“Instead of them hoarding a multitude of classic and vintage toys at home, they decided to open up a toy store,” said Neil Lalonade, who has worked in the store for four years.
“The store exist because they like to accumulate things.”
The store’s toys are imported from around the world, attracting a wide range of customers, from children to serious toy collectors.
Livingstone and Cavell Extraordinary Toys carries vintage wooden toys, wind-up toys, classic puzzles, vintage dolls and hand-made collectors’ items.
More than half the people who come here who are older are buying the toys for themselves, said Lalonade.
“Seventy per cent of our revenue is in November and December and most of the toys are being gifted to an adult or elder,” said Lalonade.
“There is an immense demand for higher-end toys, gag gifts and young children’s toys.”
One of the most enduring categories of vintage and antique toys is toys that move, pull toys, or wheeled toys powered by the user, according to collectorsweekly.com.
Prior to opening up the store, Cavell has done historical photography work in Canada for more than 30 years.
He was the photography curator for the Whyte Museum in Banff and has published seven illustrated history books.
His most popular book, Rocky Mountain Madness, is on display at the toy store and is available for purchase.
Cavell and Livingstone were both residents of Banff for over 25 years before Livingstone’s career brought her to Calgary.
The story has a great appeal to it. – Anthony Garcia
Livingstone was appointed president and CEO of the Glenbow Museum in May, 2013, a post she still holds.
She has previously served as director of the University of Calgary Press, and executive director of the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre and Planetarium in Vancouver.
“The store has a great appeal to it. As a serious toy collector, I have found a lot of toys, trinkets and vintage prank toys there,” said Anthony Garcia.