OTTAWA -- A volunteer organization that for decades has given countless parents independent advice on which toys are the best for their children is closing its doors.

The Canadian Toy Testing Council says it will no longer operate, effective the end of June.

For decades, the council has issued an annual Toy Report, ranking playthings and books by age group for their durability, safety and ability to capture a child's imagination.

The CTTC enlisted volunteer families each year to test hundreds of items, from traditional board games to electronic toys.

Under the program, children would take the toys into their homes for six to 12 weeks.

The toys were then rated based on safety, durability, design, function and play value.

Under financial pressure for years, the council's board of directors voted last month to cease operations following an exhaustive, but vain, search for new sponsors.

"Over the past year, as part of our efforts to secure operational funding, we engaged an experienced funding consultant who conducted an exhaustive search of opportunities for funding, partnership and support," the group's board of directors wrote on its website.

"Members of the board and other CTTC supporters also pounded the pavement in search of backing that would enable us to keep our doors open and our program running," the statement said.

"Unfortunately, our efforts were not successful."

The CTTC has been in operation since 1952, counting on donors, corporate sponsors and volunteers to fund its testing programs.

Supporters of the organization were quick to react to the announced closure on the council's Facebook page.

"Very sad news for the Canadian Toy Industry Association and Canadian consumers," wrote Kirsten Anderson-Pochodaj of Coquitlam, B.C.

"Back in the 1990's when the CTTC book hit newsstands with the gold star winners it was such a big deal."

The council said it will hold a sale at its Ottawa headquarters on April 18 to dispose of the toys and books it accumulated over the years.