Toys “R” Us names new ‘chief play officer’


MONTREAL – Emile Burbidge loves to jump and a pogo stick is his favourite toy.

So it’s not surprising it was the first thing the 12-year-old boy from St-Bruno, Que., tried after being selected as “chief play officer” for Toys “R” Us Canada.

Burbidge was plucked from hundreds of potential Canadian candidates, with the field narrowed to 11 finalists before he was chosen.

So what did he do upon hearing of his good fortune? Jumped for joy of course.

“It’s really cool,” Burbidge said in a lunchtime interview from his house. “It’s like being (elected) the president of good fortune.”

Burbidge’s job is to try out products — sometimes even being the first to do so — make recommendations and take part in media appearances and events.

“What’s better than that?,” he quipped.

One of his first tasks will be a national tour this spring to present his favourite toys.

“I’ve already received toys and I’ve started testing them,” he said. “I’m looking forward to the tour, it’s going to be fun.”

The toy retailer picked Burbidge after parents and guardians from across Canada helped kids apply.

Emile is the fourth chief play officer to be hired since the toy retailer created the position in 2009.

He takes over from Alex Thorne of Pickering, Ont., who had the job from August 2013 until last December.

Aware of his luck, Burbidge intends to share the spoils of his new role with friends and family.

“I have three sisters aged 17 to 21, lots of little cousins, friends who have little brothers,” he said. “So they’ll be able to profit from the fact I’m CPO.”