Thousands of dolls from every era of toys are up for sale during a massive event held in High River starting this weekend.

The toys, collected for over 20 years by Maurine Arsenault and her husband, are all up for auction after the 2013 flood ruined their dreams of opening a diner and antique doll shop.

“We basically had to close that dream, open a new door and start selling off. We left the dolls to the end. They’re hard to part with and there are many memories into each piece I bought.”

None of Arsenault’s property or dolls were inside the building when the flood hit, but the building could not be saved. They’ve been selling off everything they collected for their business since and now, for the next two weekends, the dolls will be cleared out.

The collection has an estimated value of $400,000 and includes dolls from the 1800s in perfect condition, classic Chatty Cathy dolls and many that are still sealed in their original packaging, waiting to be played with for the first time.

“We’re spanning over 100 years in this room and there are so many things to offer that I just know that other people would love to take my dream and share a little piece of it. That’s my hopes.”

Arsenault says that the appeal of dolls comes from people’s fond memories about their childhoods.

“For someone who wanted that doll in the 70s and couldn’t afford it, to be able to offer it to them, that’s amazing.”

Alvin Miller, with Miller’s Auction Service, is overseeing the massive sale and says bidders can either come in person or watch the auction live on the web and even bid online.

He says this is the largest and most extensive doll auction he’s ever conducted.

“We got people registered from all over the States, in Canada for the sale this weekend and next weekend. It’s phenomenal.”

He says the quality of the dolls are a big draw to the Arseneault’s sale.

“We excited to do it and we’re ready for tomorrow.”

The dolls range in price from $10 all the way up to $8,000.

The auction is taking place at High River’s Heritage Inn, but you can also check it out online.

(With files from Alesia Fieldberg)