Niagara Gazette — It all started with a single baby toy. Now, 32 years later, that one toy tractor has grown into a collection of more than 3,000 items that is quickly outgrowing the large building that was constructed specifically to house it.
Clifford Grant has been collecting “farm” toys, mostly John Deere items, since his son Tracy was born in 1971. The first tractor was quickly followed by another — and another — and another.
“We started out keeping them all in the house, then we built a room behind the garage, then we moved them to their own building in 2000,” Grant said.
The Grants held an open house in 2001 to show off their growing collection, and many open houses followed.
This year, Grant’s Toy Farm hosted its first “regular hours” from 1 to 5 p.m. the first two weekends of the month, from June to August.
Grant said that so far, about 70 people have visited the “complex,” which includes the Toy Barn, as well as the Tractor Barn, which houses larger pedaled toy tractors, as well as a growing assortment of antique farm equipment, tools, milk bottles and canning jars. There are also several “real” tractors on display outside the buildings.
Although there are plenty of different collections inside the buildings, John Deere products dominate. There are the tractors, of course, but there are also hundreds of other John Deere items, including hats, shoes, plates, lamps, pillows, board games, Christmas lights, Legos, banks, lunch pails, cookie jars, wind chimes … the list goes on and on. In fact, patrons who use the restroom will find a fully furnished John Deere bathroom.
“John Deere has a great brand, they make everything,” Grant said.
One of the sections of the museum includes a portrait of John Deere himself, that was given to Grant during a visit to the John Deere Welland, Ontario facility.