A pop-up house set up shop in the heart of Toronto at Yonge-Dundas Square this week (May 28-30), inviting those with environmental allergies to learn more about combating their symptoms with engaging multimedia displays and experts on hand to offer advice.
Known as the Merck Allergy Relief House, the picket-fenced building is well worth a visit as it makes its way across Canada. It has already stopped in Vancouver, moves on to Toronto’s Yorkdale Mall in June and financial district  workers with pollen and dust issues will next get a chance to visit at Toronto’s Bay and Wellington streets. Then the Relief House heads off to Montreal.
A giant touch screen offers an allergy-quiz to test knowledge, while a 3D display shows an in-depth visual description of allergy symptoms, without the need for 3D glasses. Tablets, mounted on stands, can be found throughout the house, welcoming visitors to participate in questionnaires, quizzes and an allergy app.
The Claritin room contains a touch-screen allergy quiz, plus a tablet running a special Claritin app, which gives up-to-date pollen and mold counts for the area. For those interested in getting a closer look at their allergen, the Aerius room contains powerful microscopes showing highly magnified images of pollen and dust on attached screens.
Friendly brand ambassadors provide helpful information on the products and respond to any questions visitors may have. For questions they can’t answer, an allergist and a pharmacist stop by during designated hours to field questions from anyone who is interested.
Numerous product samples (at the cost of a penny for legal reasons) are offered. Anyone can take the samples with them to see which relieves their symptoms the most, or to give to a friend who has allergies. 
Visitors are encouraged to join communities connected with the products using the provided computers and tablets. These include the hydraSense “Dolphins Club”, where members get free coupons, a newsletter, and can even get help planning a baby shower.
Other screens display a contest entry form for Aerius, prizes of which include an in-home visit by an allergist and $10,000-worth of allergy-proofing home renovations.
The Merck Allergy Relief House is at the Toronto locations until June 21. It will be up and running again in Montreal in the fall.
Relief House’s full schedule:
June 10-16, Yorkdale Shopping Mall (3401 Dufferin Street)
June 18-21, Royal Bank Plaza (corner of Bay and Wellington)
September 16-22, Complexe Desjardins (150 Rue Ste. Catherine West)
For more information, including the allergist’s schedule, visit allergyreliefhouse.ca .