Jigsaw puzzles making a comeback

·2 min read

Businesses all across Canada are having difficulties keeping shelves stocked as the demand continues to soar. According to the Statista market forecast, puzzle sales in Canada will hit over $85 million US by the end of the year.

Here in Fox Creek, the demand is just as high, but with innovative thinking, the Fox Creek Library resolved that issue for residents. The library now has a collection of puzzles to borrow, the same as you would sign out a book. All you need is your free library membership card, and the puzzle can be taken home for the 21-day loan period. The collection consists of around 50 puzzles presently and varies in degrees of difficulty and size. For those up to the challenge, they even have box collections with multiple puzzles inside—no matter what level of puzzle, they have something for everyone. Whether you like animals, nostalgic pictures, beautiful outdoor scenery, mountainscapes or cottages in the country, take your pick. You can check out their Facebook page, choose a puzzle and call the library at 780-622-2343 to make a reservation for curbside pick up.

Like many other toys and fashions, Puzzles seem to have made a full circle in their popularity from decades when they were all a rave. The puzzle was first invented in 1766 by cartographer and engraver John Spilsbury. A map of Europe was placed onto a hardwood sheet and dissected the boundaries, thus creating a puzzle. Once complete, the puzzle was used for teaching children all about geography. It wasn't until the early 1800s when manufacturers picked up on the idea and began doing their puzzles. The puzzles back then were developed out of large, bulky wood pieces, cut by hand, then painted. The manufacturing of cardboard puzzles appeared about 80 years later but didn't become popular until the Great Depression. Since that time, puzzles have steadily improved in designs, the product used and how they're manufactured. On a fun note, a gigantic commercial puzzle available was manufactured in 2020 and contained 54,000 pieces. For those who have patience and love to puzzle, clear out your home and prepare for this beast.

Vicki Winger, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Whitecourt Press