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He-Man in the Annex? Action figures found around Toronto

05/20/2015 05:14 EDT | Updated 05/20/2016 05:59 EDT
Shawn Reicker could have donated the 100 or so action figures he amassed over a decade to a thrift store.

But toys should be played with, the 39-year-old collector says.

"I wanted to donate some of them — the ones I was willing to part with — but I didn't want to just drop them off in a box at Goodwill," Reicker told CBC News.

After moving between several apartment units in Toronto, he says he no longer displayed the figurines styled after the heroes and villains of his favourite comics.

"I had them packed away ... so they were just sitting in boxes. It felt wrong," Reicker says.

Around Christmastime, he started to tuck an action figure here and there around Toronto: a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle next to a Cabbagetown fire hydrant, He-Man in the Annex and the Hulk at the waterfront.

"It was something to do with them that was a little out of the box," he says.

There are around 40 action figures — some found, some yet to be — conspicuously posed in Toronto neighbourhoods so far, Reicker says.

"In the beginning, I wasn't putting as much thought into it but as it's kind of progressed, I'm looking for spots that speak to that character, whether it's in film or in the comic books." 

Reicker says a friend suggested creating an Instagram account and the hashtag #toyarttoronto to chronicle where he put a figure.

He-Man in the Annex, Raven Spawn in Christie Pits

Sean McKenna, on a long weekend stroll with his wife and daughter, says they found He-Man in a garden on Euclid Avenue, north of Bloor Street West.

"I remember He-Man from when I was young so likely I got more of a kick out of it than my daughter at first," he says.

McKenna says his daughter insisted on taking the figure home as a reminder of their day together.

"She thought it was awesome someone did that ... kind of a nice little memory for us."

Last week, Joshua Skye Engel says a father and son stumbled upon an action figure at Christie Pits Park.

"He came over and asked what he should do. I said he should tweet it with the hashtag #toyarttoronto as it said in the note."

On Twitter, Engel and another parent quipped that the peculiar find had the makings of a horror flick.

Although he is a fan of action figures, Engel says he is not sure if he would have taken the action figure home.

"It was a bit creepy," he says. "I might have just planted it elsewhere and followed it on Twitter."

The latter is what Reicker hopes those who find an action figure do.

"I'm just hoping someone either is walking by, sees it, and kind of gets a laugh or takes a photograph and shares it or takes it home," he says.

"I think it'd be great if they ended up with someone who can appreciate them."

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