New West business offers a safe haven for fantasy fans

If you’ve been watching Stranger Things and are curious about Dungeons or Dragons – or just happen to be interested in fantasy, mysterious or “weird” stuff – you may want to make a trip to 12th Street.

Since opening at 630 12th St. about a year ago, Cackling Cactus Curiosities has been selling a variety of “mysterious, haunting or just downright weird” merchandise related to Dungeons and Dragons, Magic the Gathering, Pathfinder and more. New West resident Stefan LeBlanc opened the shop last year after returning home from university in Indianapolis, where he double-majored in journalism and critical communications/media studies.

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“I just got out of college, got my degrees and came back home and wanted to open up a shop. It’s been my dream for quite a while. It combines all my interests – Dungeons and Dragons, trading cards, collectibles, interesting things,” he told the Record. “I have had quite a few people stop by and say they really like the atmosphere of my shop.”

Cackling Cactus Curiosities is a place where people who are interested in Dungeons and Dragons, Final Fantasy, Magic the Gathering, Pathfinder and similar pursuits can find kindred folks – and a nonjudgmental atmosphere.

“It’s a pretty safe haven for those kind of people,” LeBlanc said. “I keep a cozy atmosphere here.  A lot of people come by just to talk and chill out.

Along with selling a variety of merchandise, Cackling Cactus Curiosities provides a space where people can enjoy these pastimes. It has nightly events where people can play Magic the Gathering (Fridays), Dungeons and Dragons (Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays), Pathfinder (Wednesdays) and Warhammer (Sundays).

“Whether they are veterans to these sorts of things or want to understand what all the hubbub is about, they are more than welcome to stop by, have a chat, take a look around and see if they’re interested in joining one of the events,” LeBlanc said. “Our drop-in D&D, it’s a nice mix of people who are brand new and people in the neighbourhood who have been playing for years. We like to keep it pretty casual here.”

Cackling Cactus Curiosities is open Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 2 to 9 p.m., Thursdays from 2 to 10 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. People are invited to pop in to take a look around or get more details on special events or the shop on the Cackling Cactus Curiosities page on Facebook.

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