A Montreal non-profit service has found a simple yet effective way to save parents money and help save the environment - through toy lending.

Joujoutheque offers families hundreds of toys at a fraction of the price. With a treasure trove of toys at each of its four locations, it's every child's - and parent's - dream come true.

Members Virginie Bachand-Lavallee and her 3-year-old daughter Orleans pay a small annual fee to select as many as four toys to keep up to three weeks at a time. Centres have as many as 800 toys.

"There are a lot of toys, a good turnover. They're toys you would like to buy, but are too big to buy, for example, a little kitchen for kids. My daughter loves that," said Bachand-Lavallee.

"In two weeks, kids have time to play a lot and I can see after two weeks, the interest goes down, and I bring toys back," said member Annie Brousseau.

Without the hassle or the big price tag, Joujoutheque has remained popular for 30 years. It was first designed with low-income parents in mind, but now, a different clientele is eye the lending library, drawn by their principles.

"This is a way to be more ecologically responsible," said Remi Masse.

Despite its popularity, the non-profit centre is only open two mornings and one evening a week, because it relies on volunteers to keep its doors open.

To visit a centre or to volunteer:

  • Joujoutheque Saint-Michel

9480 Irene-Joly St.

Montreal, QC H1Z 4L2

(514) 381-9974

  • Joujoutheque YMCA St Laurent

1415 Filion St.

Saint-Laurent, QC H4L 4E7

(514) 744-6268

  • Joujoutheque De L'association Des Parents De Cote Des Neiges

6767 Cote-Des-Neiges Rd

Montreal, QC H3S 2B5

(514) 341-2844

  • Joujoutheque Bordeaux Cartier

2005 Victor-Dore St.

Saint-Laurent, QC H3M 1S4

(514) 332-6552

  • Joujoutheque Rosemont

5675 rue Lafond

Montreal, QC, H1X 2X6

(514) 722-1851