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Wayne Gretzky’s son Ty Gretzky holds up his father's 1979 All Star jersey from the WHA at an exhibit of the Great One's memorabilia, in Toronto on Jan. 30.Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

A sign in front of 594 Richmond St. W. in Toronto points to Gretzky’s Basement. Through Saturday a treasure trove of the Great One’s memorabilia will be on exhibit as part of a pop-up hockey museum.

Wayne Gretzky’s sons, Ty, Trevor and Tristan, have done their best to duplicate the basement of the family’s home in Brantford, Ont., where the late Walter Gretzky kept cherished mementoes.

The display is intimate and brings to life moments in the Hall of Fame player’s career.

“Our whole family is so close that we were able to do this together,” said Tristan Gretzky, 23. “We can’t wait for everyone to see it. I think people will feel nostalgic and the kid in them will come out.”

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From the left: Wayne Gretzky’s sons Tristan, Ty, and Trevor stand outside the Gretzky’s Basement popup museum at 594 Richmond St. W. in Toronto.Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

The first pair of skates Wayne strapped to his feet as a three-year-old are there. They are so tiny they look like baby shoes with pieces of metal attached to the bottom. There is a plaque from a novice scoring championship. A puck from his first Junior-A hat trick. A plaque from when he was chosen the NHL player of the year for 1981-82 by The Sporting News. The Conn Smythe Trophy from 1984-85. Sticks from all-star games, covered in a film of dust. Jerseys. A red Team Canada helmet. Items borrowed from the Hockey Hall of Fame, including a photos of him hoisting the Stanley Cup. Family photos. Walter’s 1998 Roots Team Canada jacket from the Nagano Olympics.

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“My grandpa wore it every day,” Tristan Gretzky said. “He was so proud of it.”

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Framed Gretzky family photos line a shelf at the exhibit.

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Wayne Gretzky’s first pair of skates.Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

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Wayne Gretzky’s first Junior A hat trick puck.Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Wayne Gretzky did not participate in curating the exhibit. He knows his boys have been up to something but they haven’t told him much. They have wanted it to be a surprise for him when he arrives in town for Saturday’s NHL all-star game.

“It is going to be exciting for our dad,” said Ty Gretzky, 33, who operates the Gretzky Hockey School. “I haven’t told him too much about what we are doing. He will be more excited than anyone.”

There is no cost to visit the pop-up exhibit but it is suggested that anyone who plans to go should go online to reserve a time. Gretzky’s Basement can be found online.

Merchandise – but not memorabilia – will be sold. Proceeds will be used to cover the cost of setting up the exhibit, which is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Josh Kopeika, a Los Angeles-based brand expert and creative director, has helped oversee the project. The room includes a wall of vintage television sets that will play non-highlight reels.

“It feels personal, and there is such a good story to tell,” Kopeika said. “It is a rare opportunity for people to experience.”

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Ty Gretzky (front left) heads upstairs past his brother Trevor while setting up the exhibit.Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Walter Gretzky died at the age of 82 in March, 2021. He installed and repaired telephone lines for Bell for more than three decades. He was the world’s most famous hockey dad.

That can be seen in the display. Artifacts he kept because he was a proud father.

“There are so many things my grandfather saved over the years,” Tristan Gretzky said.

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