“Maybe I never wanted to grow up, maybe I just love playing with toys too much.”
The words come out of the mouth of B Woodward as he walks around the new location of Cherry Bomb Toys, a Victoria business staple for nearly 20 years.
“I think I just appreciate everything about toys.”
B is always excited about toys, but he’s also excited about the much-anticipated reopening of the store at 719 Yates St. – a big move after being at the store’s previous location, 1410 Broad St., for 14 years. B Woodward owns the shop alongside his wife Candice Woodward, who also shares a passion for toys.
When Cherry Bomb Toys first opened, it was located on 630 Courtney St. for five years before moving to the beloved Broad Street location. The owners say the community was sad to see the store move locations.
Not only was the toy store located on Broad Street, but the Woodward’s lived above the space. When the couple’s store was located on Broad Street, they went through four different landlords before the final ones decided to take over the space.
While at the century-old heritage building on Broad Street, the couple opened the National Toy Museum of Canada. The museum became a hidden gem separate to the toy store as it was a collection of toys they had acquired over the years and wanted to display for visitors to enjoy.
“It’s always been in a sense a marker of history all through time” says B. “That’s why we created the National Toy Museum of Canada. It is to help preserve the history of toys. Show different times, and different points, and what was important during different aspects of our history.”
One of the new additions to the store has been the pinball machines and stand-up arcade games. B likes this entertainment feature to the store because “we are right next to the board game cafe and then there’s the haunted mini-golf. So we want to add to the more flavour of the family fun.”
Another perk of the new location is it is far more accessible. At the Broad Street location, a reoccurring issue was that many supporters of the toy museum had never come because it could only be accessed by stairs. There was no room for ramps or elevators to be built in the older building. At the new location, there is a temporary ramp that will soon be replaced with a permanent one.
“We absolutely are in love with our mural,” said Candice.
In the new space, the Woodwards added a mural featuring well-known toy, movie and video game characters. They’re hoping to stay at the location for “quite a while” so they don’t mind the mural leaving their mark. The Woodwards are both thankful to the community and B says, “we wouldn’t be here without our community.”