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NATASHA'S NOOK: Library becomes Barbie haven this month

Local Barbie collectors and enthusiasts have their dolls on display all month
Barbie collectors Natasha Philpott, left, and Celeste Mlynczyk are excited for the Barbie display that will be at the Bradford West Gwillimbury Public Library this month.

Indulge in the allure of Barbie this month at the Bradford West Gwillimbury Public Library.

We are thrilled to present a dazzling display case showcasing the epitome of glamour and inspiration — Barbie.

Prepare to be enchanted as we pay homage to the iconic doll that has ignited the dreams of generations of girls and boys alike. The exhibit will feature a carefully curated selection from my personal collection, alongside that of local resident and fellow Barbie enthusiast Celeste Mlynczyk. Combined, we’d probably have enough to fill 10 display cases, so we had to narrow down to just a few of our favourites.

Each piece captures the essence of Barbie’s allure, from her timeless elegance to her boundless sense of adventure.

For me, Barbie has always represented more than just a doll; she embodies a lifestyle I wholeheartedly embraced from a young age. I loved collecting and playing with dolls as a child, creating magical worlds alongside my younger sister.

Barbie was everything I wanted to be: pretty, fun, fashionable, and adventurous. She was inspiring, having dabbled in almost every career imaginable.

My unwavering devotion to the Barbie brand carried into adulthood. When my husband and I purchased our first home in Bradford, I transformed a spare room into a little Barbie haven, painted hot pink, filled with dolls and memorabilia. However, life’s journey took its course and, a few years later, I had to bid farewell to much of my cherished collection to accommodate the needs of my growing family.

Once we moved into our new home, I was able to reclaim my own space, dubbed ‘The Barbie Office.’ I carefully arranged the remaining dolls from my collection within its walls, cherishing their presence as a reminder of my enduring love for Barbie.

Then, in March 2020, the world abruptly shut down, confining me to the walls of my home. Amidst the chaos and the challenge of balancing a demanding job and caring for my young children, Barbie emerged as my solace, my lifeline. As I was unable to connect in person with friends and loved ones, these dolls became my companions and a source of comfort during those trying times. Looking back, it sounds silly, but Barbie’s escape from reality was a welcome respite.

For hours on end, I would immerse myself in online auctions, seeking out the most extraordinary Barbies to add to my collection, meticulously arranging each doll, and reliving cherished memories of my childhood. Along the way, I forged meaningful connections with fellow Barbie collectors online, and as pandemic restrictions gradually eased, my collecting slowed, but it never ceased.

Barbie will always be part of me and who I am.

I have had many Barbie adventures over the years. Last summer, I embarked on an exhilarating adventure at the Barbie World Tour in Mississauga, immersing myself in the wonder of the real-life Barbie Dreamhouse. In 2016, I ventured to Montreal to marvel at the Barbie Museum, and in 2014, I had the privilege of exploring the Barbie Dreamhouse Experience exhibit at the Sawgrass Mills Mall in Florida. Needless to say, I am thrilled to be able to share a piece of my passion with our community with my little display here at the library.

I am on vacation next week and will pick up when I return.

’Til then, happy reading.

Natasha Philpott is the marketing and communications co-ordinator at the Bradford West Gwillimbury Public Library. She can be reached at [email protected].