The Toronto Christmas Train Show

The Toronto Christmas Train Show celebrated it's sixteenth year on Sunday at the International Centre in Mississauga. The show featured a collection of vendors, detailed railroad displays, and an array of train paraphernalia, including DVDs, vintage tickets, and track maps.

While the show seemed like a train enthusiast's ideal outing, we found that the event was far less kid-friendly than in previous years. Sunday's experience was less impressive because there were fewer opportunities for children to engage with the train displays and vendors. There was a handful of model railroad set-ups, and only one offered a remote for children to operate. Very limited Thomas The Tank Engine toys were available to play with or for purchase, and they were quite expensive and recommended for individuals over the age of 14.

The absence of screening areas, set up for train lovers to watch video clips of engines speeding along the tracks and coupling on to box cars carrying cargo to far off destinations, was another missed opportunity. Finally, the hall inside the International Centre, once devoted to only the Toronto Train Show, also hosted the Toy and Doll Collectors' Show in the same space, at the same time (last year the Toy and Doll Collectors' Show was held on the same day, but in the an adjacent hall). Curious children interested in touching and playing with vintage cars, trucks, and Barbie dolls were often disappointed in being asked to only look, not touch.

Despite my critique of the the event, the Toronto Train Show did offer a unique opportunity to see the world of railroads to hopeful train engineers. But, here's hoping to more and improved kiddie-fun at next year's event.

For more info on next year's show, stay in touch with:

Take a look at our snapshots!

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