Nick Messina tried to purchase a "Daniel Tiger" plush toy for his infant daughter Carina after noticing her eyes "lit up" while watching the popular children's TV show Daniel Tiger's Neighbourhood.
Hoping to buy it as an Easter gift, he drove to his nearest Toys "R" Us, which didn't have the toy in stock.
Then he called another Toys "R" Us in Montreal where clerk informed Messina there were two of the toys in stock.
However, the clerk told Messina that he couldn't buy a Daniel Tiger because the toy is unilingual.
Daniel Tiger talks and sings 14 different phrases — but they're all in English.
Messina said the clerk thanked him for letting them know the toy only spoke English, and said it would be shipped back to Ontario.
"I kind of felt a little bit turned off. I felt it was discriminatory against the English-speaking community in Montreal. After all, Montreal is multi-ethnic, multi-cultural," he said.
Not giving up, the father tried to purchase the doll online — only to discover the Toys "R" Us website wouldn't ship the product to Quebec.
English-speaking toys illegal
Messina didn't know until a few weeks ago, but because of Quebec's language laws, it's illegal to sell a unilingual toy unless the toy has a French-speaking counterpart.
He says it should be up to parents to decide what toys they can buy for their kids, not the province.
"I don't understand why, when it comes to the choice of purchasing a toy for our children, that we have to be subjected to these kinds of rules and regulations," he said.
"It's kind of saddening."
Toys "R" Us admits mistake
In a statement to CBC News, a spokeswoman from Toys "R" Us apologized for the inconvenience, but said the toy shouldn't have been on the shelves.
"Toys 'R' Us shipped in error the English-speaking product to one of our Quebec stores and a customer tried to purchase it. Our store did not sell the product to the customer and we apologized for the inconvenience that this caused our customer. We immediately communicated to our store that this product cannot be sold," said the statement.
Happy ending for family
Messina's perseverance paid off. He did manage to buy the doll eventually; he bought it on Amazon for about $50 more than what Toys "R" Us was asking.
Though it was more than he planned to pay for the doll, Carina adores her new toy.
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