Clockwise from upper left: Jon Levy, Paule Rancourt, Kelly Woon, Shannon Parsons, Anisah Ahmad, Deborah Mulock
The Canadian Toy Association (CTA) proudly announces the 2023 inductees into the Canadian Toy Industry Hall of Fame and the 2023 Rising Star Awards winners, two prestigious accolades honoring excellence in the toy industry.
2023 Hall of Fame Inductees
The Canadian Toy Association (CTA) is pleased to announce the 2023 inductees into the Canadian Toy Industry Hall of Fame. Jon Levy, Founder of Mastermind, Paule Rancourt, Managing Director of KID Toy and Kelly Woon, Vice President of North America Sales of Funrise, will be showcased and awarded for their contributions to the industry on November 16, 2023, at the Hall of Fame Gala Reception and Dinner at the Mississauga Convention Center.
Established in 1995, The CTA Hall of Fame is a signature event to honour and recognize people who have impacted and positively changed the industry through innovation, leadership, community impact, and philanthropy. CTA members have proudly nominated their peers and colleagues. To date, forty-nine deserving individuals have been inducted into the Hall of Fame.
“It is an honor and privilege to help usher in three well-deserved and respected individuals to this year’s Canadian toy industry Hall of Fame,” says Graeme Bissett, Chair of the Canadian Toy Association. “We look forward to celebrating their Canadian roots and outstanding global achievements in person on November 16, 2023.”
Mastermind founder Jon Levy will be inducted under the retail category. Jon’s dedication and vision have left an indelible mark. He transformed Mastermind into a household name, opening eleven stores in the GTA by 2010 and expanding nationally to 68 stores by 2019. Jon now continues his impressive work with Spin Master, a prominent player in the toy industry who he, over many years, built a trusting relationship with. In this role, he brings unparalleled expertise, seeking entrepreneurs who share his passion for innovation and play. Jon’s legacy in the toy industry is nothing short of extraordinary. His vision, leadership, and impact deserve the highest recognition.
KID Toy Inc’s Managing Director, Paule Rancourt, will be inducted under the distributor category. Paule began her career in the toy industry 40 years ago as co-owner of a toy store in St-Georges de Beauce, Québec. A few years later, she joined with some other independent toy stores in Québec to form a buying coop, ultimately becoming KID Toy Inc., the largest distributor in Québec and one of the largest in Canada. As Managing Director of KID Toy for the past 35 years, Paule has spent her career supporting independent toy stores in Québec and across Canada, helping to keep those stores relevant by providing access to the newest toy products. Under her leadership, KID went from servicing a handful of stores to supplying toy and baby products to hundreds of stores nationwide, ranging from traditional Toy stores to Book stores, Drug stores, Hardware stores, Discount stores, National Chains, e-commerce sites and museum shops. Paule further supported the health of the Québec toy industry by organizing toy shows for the Quebec market, making it possible for independent store owners with limited travel budgets to source the newest items while giving small manufacturers/inventors access to Québec and wider Canadian retailers.
Funrise’s Vice President of North America Sales, Kelly Woon, will be inducted under the vendor category. Kelly is a toy industry veteran going back more than 30 years, starting as a retail associate and moving quickly into administration and leadership roles in sales and marketing. Kelly started her toy career at Toys ‘R’ Us, working there for more than 15 years in almost every part of the business, from retail associate to administration to associate buyer, eventually becoming the Party/Impulse Buyer and then completing her tenure as the Seasonal Outdoor Buyer. Following Toys ‘R’ Us, Kelly moved to the manufacturing side of the business, working at Nurise Sales and Marketing as the Sales Director for their major Canadian accounts, including Toys ‘R’ Us, Walmart Canada, and Canadian Tire. Building on her Director experience, Kelly then joined Funrise in 2007 as their first Canadian hire, with a goal of building a Canadian sales team and establishing the brand in the market. Kelly is now Vice President of North America Sales at Funrise and has helped establish Funrise as a trusted partner to retailers, licensors, and consumers. With in-house brands like Gazillion to major licenses like Cat and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Funrise is available at all major Canadian and US retailers.
2023 Rising Star Award Winners
The Rising Star Award recognizes today’s top talent in the toy industry whose achievements reflect ongoing and exceptional growth in contribution to the industry and extraordinary leadership, responsibility, and sphere of impact across manufacturing, retail and marketing.
Congratulations to the following 2023 Canadian Toy Association Rising Star Award Winners:
Anisah Ahmad, Director Retail Strategy, Hasbro
Deborah Mulock, Senior Brand Manager, Moose Toys
Shannon Parsons, Senior Manager, Lego
2023 Gala Event
Winners of both the Hall of Fame and Rising Star Awards will be showcased and awarded for their contributions to the industry on November 16, 2023, at the Canadian Toy Association (CTA) Hall of Fame Reception and Dinner Event at the Mississauga Convention Centre.
More information about the Gala event can be found linked here.