A new Ottawa toy store and a giveaway!

by DaniGirl on August 11, 2013 · 21 comments

in Reviews, promotions and giveaways

Way back in the spring, I was invited to the grand opening of Ottawa’s newest toy store, Mastermind Toys. Do you know them? I found out that one of my all-time favourite toy stores in my home town of London is a part of their chain, as is the gift shop at the Ontario Science Centre.

I was lucky enough to attend the grand opening of the store in Kanata Centrum, and I see that just this weekend they’ve opened up a second location on St Laurent Blvd in the east end.

I was really impressed with the Mastermind Toy store in Kanata. From the moment I walked in, I knew it was the kind of store that kids and parents alike would appreciate. It’s a big store with a boutique feel to it, and I could tell that the toy lines were chosen with an eye to the kind of educational and creative toys I love to give. Speaking of giving, if you don’t happen to have your own live-in toy consultant (Beloved does almost all the toy buying in our family, as he is deeply in touch with his inner child!) they have staff dedicated to helping you choose the right gift for any occasion, and they have complimentary gift wrapping, too!

When we visited the Kanata store, we were treated to a sneak peek at some of their best sellers and new favourite items. I can honestly say that almost all the toys they showed us were either something I’d like to give or something I coveted for myself. Two in particular leapt out at me. The first was a personal slushie maker by Zoku. I have always loved slushie drinks, and I was intrigued by how the Zoku worked. The second was a toy that you sort of have to see in action to appreciate, but from the moment I saw it I knew the boys would love it. Imagine you crossed a yo-yo with a kite and a boomerang – that’s the SkyTrix Stunt Glider. When the lovely peeps at Mastermind Toys asked if I’d like to do a review and giveaway, I knew those were the items I would love to share with the boys, and with you!

Those personal slushie makers seem pretty popular right now. I’ve seen at least two other brands, and we had even bought one to try it before we saw the Zoku version. It was such a waste of money that we brought it back to the store after a day – it didn’t make anything except cold water. The Zoku, on the other hand, is AWESOME! You put the cup in the freezer overnight, and then pour any cold liquid into the frozen cup. Wait a minute or three, and you’ll see the liquid starting to freeze to the sides. Use the included spoon to scrape down the sides and suddenly you’ll find the whole thing starting to slush up. It’s really quite impressive – and delicious! We tried chocolate milk, lemonade, orange juice and… COFFEE! Seriously awesome!

In fact, we liked it so much that when Simon needed a theme for his movie-making camp earlier this summer, he chose to make a Zoku commercial. Remember this?

The SkyTrix is one of those toys that’s brilliant in its simplicity. No batteries, nothing to assemble, just a plastic glider about 9″ across attached to a long tether. First you hone your throwing skills, but by hanging on to the tether you can start to make it do tricks, or play catch with it, or, erm, retrieve it from the neighbour’s tree.


It’s one of those toys that you can play with straight out of the box, but that’s intriguing enough to keep you picking it up. It’s also a great diversion while you’re waiting for the burgers to finish cooking on the BBQ. πŸ˜‰

And now, thanks to the awesome peeps at Mastermind Toys, I have a Zoku Shake and Slushie Maker and a SkyTrix to share with you! Want to win? Leave a comment on this post and tell me about a toy you like – any toy. A fave from your childhood, your favourite one to give, one you saw and coveted when you were wee, just tell me about a toy that you thought was interesting and why.

Here’s the fine print:

  1. This is a giveaway for either a Zoku Shake and Slushie Maker or a SkyTrix stunt glider courtesy of Mastermind Toys.
  2. To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment on this post telling me about an interesting toy.
  3. Two winners will be chosen at random from all comments posted. The first winner chosen will win the Zoku Shake and Slushie Maker and the second winner will receive the SkyTrix glider.
  4. Everyone who “likes” Postcards from the Mothership on Facebook will get a bonus entry. (This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.) If you already like Postcards from the Mothership on FB, just say so in your comment.
  5. This giveaway is open only to residents of Canada and the United States, excluding residents of Quebec. (sorry!)
  6. This giveaway will run until 11:59 pm EDT on Friday August 16, 2013.
  7. If you win, you must be willing to provide your full name and contact information to me to share with Mastermind Toys, who will ship the toy directly to you.

Thanks to Mastermind Toys for the fun toys to share, and for a terrific new place to shop for smart, fun toys in Ottawa! Good luck to all entrants!

Edited to add: This giveaway is now closed. Thank you for all your comments and congratulations to Elizabeth, winner of the Zoku Shake and Slushie Maker and Tara, winner of the SkyTrix glider. πŸ™‚

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Susan Blackmer August 11, 2013 at 11:00 am

My favourite toy as a child was my pogo stick. Still think it’s such a fun idea.

2 DaniGirl August 11, 2013 at 11:21 am

I always wanted a pogo stick!! Now that I reflect on it, I’m pretty sure it’s a good idea that I never got one. πŸ˜‰

3 Valerie August 11, 2013 at 11:33 am

I loved those huge balls with the handle that you sat on and bounced around (a la Romper Room).

I can’t believe I haven’t been to Mastermind yet – we passed by once when it was closed and the kids are begging to check out the new PlayValue (hwy7/hazeldean – NOTHING else out there!). I’ll have to take them to Mastermind instead.

4 Joy August 11, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Mastermind is a very cool store! We have the Zoku popsicle maker, and it really works too! Would love to try the slushie maker! Our favourite cool toy, is more of a cool art kit – the DJECO kits are lots of fun, and make really cool art that you can hang on your wall when you are done. Also, I love seeing good old DoodleArt back in stores – remember those?

5 Joy August 11, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Oh, and I follow you on FB too! Thanks!

6 DaniGirl August 11, 2013 at 4:47 pm

Hey Joy, speaking of “remember the good old art kits”, one other cool thing they had that I forgot to mention — remember spirograph? I loved that and it’s back; http://blog.mastermindtoys.com/index.php/post/its_back_the_classic_fun_of_spirograph

7 Sarah Mccormack August 11, 2013 at 6:36 pm

We had an orange “hoppy”… you know the big ball with a face & ears you hold onto and jump around the garden on. we must have had it in use for 10 years. I bet my folks still have it, deflated, in their shed. we loved that hoppy!

8 Just an Ottawa Dad August 11, 2013 at 6:54 pm

Gotta go with Lego. Was the best toy, and still is.

Knowing my kids love of smoothies, I’ve gotta try the Zoku slushie maker.

9 Allison August 11, 2013 at 7:59 pm

We got our (then) two year old son a toy called a “curvy board” last year for Christmas and I still think it’s super cool. (Basically it’s a big wooden curved board with a million uses!)

10 Elizabeth August 11, 2013 at 8:27 pm

When I was a kid, my favourite toy was Trac Ball. I wasn’t an athlete by any means, but the Trac Ball racquets helped my hurl the ball farther than anyone else in my family – I felt like a star!

11 smothermother August 12, 2013 at 8:29 am

The jellybean would LOVE the ZUKU. All he ever wants are slushies. I see Christmas gifts!!

I LOVED my Star Wars action figures. Played with them for hours. Even my Headless Hans Solo. The dog bit off poor Hans’ head.

12 smothermother August 12, 2013 at 8:30 am

Oops, I forgot to say that I like you on FB.

13 Bonnie August 12, 2013 at 8:09 pm

I would have to say Lego. I like the “3-in-1 Creator” sets that have detailed instructions to build 3 different models in one set.

14 Sean August 12, 2013 at 8:57 pm

One interesting toy our kids love is skylander toys where the toy is part of the videogame! The figure comes alive on the videogame console!

15 Windex August 13, 2013 at 6:48 am

Fav toy to give is lego. A toy I so wished I had when I was young was those Pogo Balls but as we lived on a farm my parents never thought it was worth while to get…pretty hard to bounce on gravel roads!

16 Areta August 13, 2013 at 2:11 pm

I like the voice transformer – http://www.mastermindtoys.com/Voice-Transformer.aspx

I liked Postcards from the Mothership on Facebook.

17 Tara August 14, 2013 at 2:21 pm

My favourite toy as a kid was Legos. I especially loved the battery operated train sets. I don’t think you can ever have too much Lego (though my husband would disagree when he his tripping over the stuff)
I already like you on Facebook

18 Rosanna August 16, 2013 at 9:46 am

With two little girls, our favorite toys around here are babies and dolls!

19 nik August 16, 2013 at 1:34 pm

My favorite toy as a little kid was Play Doh, then there was the obsessed-with-Spirograph phase, followed by the Shrinky Dink craze when I was old enough to use the oven. I still get the urge to play with all of them.. πŸ™‚

20 DMP August 16, 2013 at 1:56 pm


21 Monarda August 16, 2013 at 7:14 pm

My brother and I spent hundreds of hours playing with Fisher Price Adventure People, we accumulated a number of sets over the years and we took them on many an adventure. I have looked for a similar type of toy for my kids but so far haven’t found anything that quite compares. Just found out about your site today and have already enjoyed several articles, so I will “like”…

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