Sam Ganz is one of the industry’s leading visionaries. He started in the business at 18 years old stuffing teddy bears in a small factory in downtown Toronto. Along with his father, his brother Jack and his future wife Gitta, he worked 19 hour days. Such was the beginning of Ganz Brothers, the largest manufacturers of plush toys in Canada.
The three Ganz men arrived in Canada in 1948. Survivors of the Holocaust, they spoke no English and had little money when they decided to start up a toy making business. Their first line of five toys was made with remnants of crushed material and bore a mishmash of seams. But the partners were as determined as they were dedicated and after five struggling years, the company started to grow. Mr. Ganz forged links with the outdoor entertainment industry and became the top supplier of plush animals to fairs and exhibitions.
Mr. Ganz, who is now chairman of the company, which is operated by his son Howard, was president of the CTMA in 1969 and 1970. During those years he was instrumental in ushering in Canadian toy safety standards which are considered the best in the world.