By:  Monica Kucharski

While it’s certainly more convenient to buy gifts on line, when it comes to toys, visits to the traditional brick-and-mortar toy retailers are definitely more fun.

And toy fun is coming to Mississauga big time, just as gift-giving Christmas season approaches:  the iconic U.S. toy brand FAO is opening temporary pop-up spaces at every Hudson’s Bay Co. in Canada.

In Mississauga, Hudson’s Bay has three locations:  at Square One, at Erin Mills Town Centre, and at Pearson International Airport. It’s been two years since HBC offered a toy department (albeit a temporary pop-up space), which it closed almost a decade ago.

The FAO Schwarz pop-ups will offer a mix of their hit toys like Our Generation dolls, alongside technology-based playthings like microphones and mixing boards, as well as plush animals and classic toy trains.

Canadian parents and kids will also be able to feast their eyes on (and maybe take home) such FAO Schwarz favourites like over sized giraffes and play mat replicas of the life-size piano that Tom Hanks famously danced on in the 1988 classic film “Big.”  (That one may just prove irresistible to Generation X and Y parents as a nostalgic gift to themselves!)

The pop spaces, ranging in size from 27 to 111 square meters (300 to 1,200 square feet), will stay open until the end of December.   “We are thrilled to be entering the Canadian market,” FAO Schwarz chief merchandising officer David Niggli told The Canadian Press.

Niggli wouldn’t say whether the HBC partnership was a sign that FAO Schwarz will look into entering the Canadian market permanently. “We always consider. We never say never,” he said.

“At Hudson’s Bay we are always looking for ways to offer our customers new, exciting and exclusive opportunities and experiences,” Alison Colville, President, Hudson’s Bay, said in a recent press release.

“There is something special and nostalgic about shopping for a perfect toy to bring joy to someone you love. We are thrilled to launch the FAO Schwarz brand in Canada and bring that sense of magic and wonder to our customers.”