Those Deadly Little People™

March 26, 2010

We have a lot of toys. Our house is filled with them, and there’s one whole room devoted to action figures, Barbies, tanks, Hot Wheels, racetracks, trains, toy guns and Nerf. Sometimes I even let the kids go in there.

The most popular toy in our house isn’t any of those. It’s actually the oldest: it’s Mrs. Weathereye’s Fisher Price castle, from her early-70s childhood. You might have had one. I didn’t, but I had the airport and the garage. I’ve managed to find the garage again, along with the house and the school, and the kids love them.

These were the ubiquitous toys of that era, and they were populated with those wonderful Little People™. We have a few of those, too; the dog, the red-haired kid, the bald black guy, the knight, the queen, the prince, a cowboy, the farmer and that weird kid with the red pot on his head. These little round-headed limbless characters are common elements of my children’s playtime; they team up with Littlest Pet Shops, serve as cannon fodder for the thousands of toy soldiers that march through our house, and serve as people for Batman to rescue.

Some of ours are the original wooden-bodied toys, others are plastic. They’re simple and colourful and fun, and they never fail to make me think of happier, easier times. And now I have to throw them away.

A decades-later disposal order has been issued by Health Canada in relation to the Little People™. Apparently their narrow diameter makes them a choking hazard. This makes sense to me, and I will comply, because I’m a parent first, a toy geek second, and a lot of toddlers and babies visit our house. I took care of my friend’s toddler for an afternoon last week, and the only toy she had eyes for was that castle.

The Little People™ rock. And it’s a shame to see them go.

The reason for the order is simple: millions of these things are still around. They weren’t disposable. They have been passed down from generation to generation, sold in hock shops and at yard sales, donated, thrown away and found, but they’re indestructible, and would probably have survived a few more generations if Health Canada hadn’t stepped in.

It’s really a shame that such a classic, simple toy has to die.



  1. Leanna still has hers too, and our two-year-old plays with them all the time. They didn’t wipe out our generation, and a little supervision will make sure they don’t wipe out this one…

    • When I was a kid, my friends and I used to dip Matchbox cars in gasoline and set them on fire, then send them rolling down the street. And we all had BB guns. Just sayin.

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