Spin Master: Behind the scenes at Toronto Entertainment District’s Toy Lab

POSTED ON December 18, 2018 BY Justine Smith

Think back to a time when your most prized possessions weren’t your car, money or house, but rather, trinkets and toys from your youth. Did you grow up nurturing your own Earth Buddy or did you dabble with Devil Sticks? Were you obsessed with your Tech Decks or did you fly Air Hogs? Odds are, a lot of your favourite toys were created by none other than Spin Master – the global children’s entertainment company based in Toronto! Recently relocating, Spin Master is now creating childhood memories from right here in the Toronto Entertainment District. After opening its doors in 1994 by three friends from Western University, the brand took off with the introduction of Earth Buddy – a pantyhose covered head filled with grass seeds. Successful tapping into the toy market, Spin Master subsequently created epic favourites like Air Hogs, Bakugan, Hatchimals, PAW Patrol and Hedbanz. Curious to see how toy concepts come to life with our own eyes, we visited the magical Tinker Lab – the District’s version of Santa’s workshop. We sat down with Senior Vice President and Global Business Unit Lead, James Martin, for an inside look at this year’s hottest toys.

  James has seen the company grow since 2004 and has helped propel its evolution into the global megabrand it is today. James explains the corporate culture in the lab, telling us, “you have to be open to ideas. Everyone at Spin Master is encouraged to always come up with ideas”. From remote control flying aircrafts to interactive A.I. robots, Spin Master continues to think outside the box, providing consumers with quality products while having fun doing it.

“The Tinker Lab – this is one of the coolest spaces… [we’ve] got the highest tech equipment that allow us to create things from the ground up. Ideas become reality in this room seemingly overnight.” – James Martin

Spin Master

Life in Toronto’s Entertainment District: Now operating in the heart of the Toronto’s cultural hub, Spin Master has integrated itself among all the excitement in only six short months of being here. James tells us, “there’s an energy here that mirrors the energy we have internally” and savours working in an area so dense with entertainment. You might find Santa indulging in milk and cookies, but you can find James treating himself at PAI, Byblos or Gabby’s, to name a few of his fave Entertainment District eateries.

“You could never eat at the same place twice for six months and then start the rotation again – it’s so good!” – James Martin Taking a trip down memory lane, let us remind you of some of Spin Master’s most popular relics from years gone by. After Earth Buddy exploded on the market with popularity came the rise of Devil Sticks in 1995. These spinning batons influenced the company’s eventual rebranding from Seiger Marketing to Spin Master. Three years later, Air Hogs took off with the help of British inventors who presented the partners with an innovative idea: a model plane powered by compressed air. To this day, kids are still enamored by the magic of Air Hogs – a truly timeless toy. Fast forward to 2007, the acquisition of Tech Deck brought the collectible skateboard replicas to new heights, becoming a global phenomenon. Last but not least, who remembers the boom of Bakugan? With the exploding spheres taking 53 countries around the world by storm, this toy quickly became Spin Master’s most successful product of all time. This year’s hottest toys: And now, the moment you’ve been waiting for. With the holidays rolling in, we’re letting you in on this season’s must-buys! If you’re a last-minute shopper unsure what to get that kid who has everything, consider these awesome toys from our very own Spin Master. Zoomer Playful Pup

Spin Master

Mimicking a real dog, Zoomer will react to your voice and touch with the ability to roll over and do tricks – without the commitment and responsibility of a live furry friend. Boxer Interactive A.I. Robot

Spin Master

This interactive cube is a smart little robot and reacts to remote control or hand-movements! Boxer will come to life and includes 10 different activity cards to scan. Watch it play soccer, sing karaoke or even go kart! HatchiBabies 

Spin Master

In the latest from the HatchiBabies craze comes new ways to interact! Once the egg is hatched, use the secret toys to help soothe, play and pamper your baby. Air Hogs Supernova

Spin Master

Air Hogs have evolved over time, becoming cooler and cooler each year! Check out the latest gravity defying, hand-controlled flying orb and watch it soar with just the motion of your hands. You’ll definitely believe in magic – or science! – with this one. PAW Patrol Ultimate Rescue Fire Truck

Spin Master

Adding to the lineup of PAW Patrol gear, Marshall is now roaming around town with lights and sirens! This epic truck has enough room for six friends to ride aboard and features an extendable ladder for those hard-to-reach emergencies.

“It’s got this amazing ladder which actually goes up 2 ft. tall, which in kids’ terms is more like 100 ft.” – James Martin For the latest toy teasers and launches, follow Spin Master at @spinmaster on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook!