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O'Connor Hobbies, Toronto Ontario Canada

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  • #16
    You guys are both right I think. I remember going to both of these places but not recently.
    I think I have some old NIP parts with the Lorne Park price tags on them around somewhere. I'll look up and see what it was called and maybe there's an address.
    My "local" Hobby Store when I grew up was Vivian's Cycles and Hobbies in Bramalea/Brampton. I spent all my birthday and Christmas money there on HO cars and parts. Also bought my first unicycle there. Which was stolen from my house years later. (why someone would steal a unicycle is beyond me. I hope they at least learned to ride the thing)
    There was also a Hobby Hut? in one of the malls there I think. Shoppers World? or City centre

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    • #17
      I grew up with Ernie and Oconnor Hobbies, and still have my Pit box with an O'cconor sticker that I made in grade 7 shop class! We lived about 3 houses away from each other, played road hockey together as well as slots for years. We used to ride our 10 speeds there, pitboxes strapped on the carrier. Ernie raced upstairs, I was into HO and raced downstairs. Unfortunately I began about a 30 year hiatus when I discovered girls and 'recreational' activities when I was about 15.... The pitbox, sans about 60 or so cars was all that was left after a 'purge' of 'old junk' (not commited by me!)Anyway, decided a few years back it would be great to get my sons, 5 and 7 at the time a slotcar set, googled and found 'Raceworld', and lo and behold, there was a picture of Ernie...Needless to say, since then, "I've shown the purger"! a few hundred cars later...Great picture, and memories!!!
      Drew

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      • #18
        Does anyone have pictures of the store's front. Or the address? I moved into the area in '79 but never went there. When did it close up? I go by there every few days and always wonder where it was...!

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        • #19
          St.Clair and O'Connor

          The store closed, I believe, in 1978. It was located on O'Connor on the east side one block north of St.Clair. I remember a paint store and a music supply place near by. For food we had a choice of Mr. Submarine or " Mother Goose Burger ". They were at St.Clair beside each other.

          Funny, there was a speed shop down the street ( B & T Custom Auto ) I used to go and get decals for my slot box from them as a kid. When I got my driver's licence I bought intakes, holley carbs, Cragar SS wheels, valvecovers etc. from them ! See, it all goes back to slotcars !!!!!
          Last edited by challenger; 01-05-2009, 04:34 PM.

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          • #20
            The last O'Connor Hobbies store is now Audio Hardware (I'm pretty sure that's the name of the place - it seems to always have big speakers in the window). The first O'Connor was located several stores down (towards St. Clair Ave) and it had a High Banked Oval and a Road course.

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            • #21
              I used to race at North York hobbies in the mid sixties, which was on Avenue Road just north of Lawrence Avenue. They only had one wooden 8 lane track as I seem to remember, but we raced that track at least every weekend for about 2 years. My family moved north of Toronto, Tottenham if anybody knows where that is, and never got back into 1/24 scale racing again. Have had HO most of my life and just purchased my first 1/32 scale set.

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              • #22
                O'Connor h.o. stuff

                I took some pics of some things from 1976 :








                we used to run these on the wooden 8 lane "baby king" track downstairs
                Last edited by challenger; 01-08-2009, 04:36 PM.

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                • #23
                  If I remember correctly, and that's a BIG IF...we used to put .25 into a dial type/timer mechanism that gave you 15 minutes of racing

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                  • #24
                    25 cents = 15 min

                    Yes, you are correct !

                    Times have changed, what's track time now $ 5.00 = 15 min ? or more.
                    It was certainly a great way to spend the afternoon back then and it didn't cost much at all.

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                    • #25
                      Very cool stuff Challenger amazing that you have then all after all those years.
                      If you ever want to run them some time feel free to come on over for a race.

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                      • #26
                        My name is Mike Power - Oconnor raceway 1966-1970

                        It is so wonderful to see this picture and it brings back such a wonderful time. I remember this so well and it was a joy to grow up at O'connor Raceway - work there and race slot cars! I remember Grant Osborne like it was yesterday - What ever happened to him? I was around with Brian Ferguson, Tom Cinnamon, Jim Best, Glen Walker, Shawn O'connor, Brian Anderson, a guy called Frank (forget his last name). We used to go race at Parma Raceway in Ohie - does anyone remember that? - Man....the picture brings a tear to me....it's amazing and I thank you for posting this and bringing back such a great time in my life - the BEST! I remember GUY - he used to run it during the day - remember? I worked there and made enought money to buy a real car and then left - a whole new bunch of kids followed me. I worked (still do) at orenda Aerospace by the airport and remember dropping by a few years later - maybe around 1975 and everyone I hung around with had left. I wish I had pictures to share but thank you so much for this as it mad my year 2009!! - Mike Power


                        Originally posted by challenger View Post
                        My interest in slotcars began as a teenager growing up in the 70's in Toronto. I started with an H.O. set on a 4' x 8' sheet in my room and quickly graduated to other types of racing after a visit to a local store, O'Connor Hobbies. Probably most SCI members in my age group from this area can say they set foot in this store between 1966 - 1978. It featured a killer 1/24 scale wing car track upstairs and two more wooden tracks downstairs, a "Baby King" H.O. track and a 1/24 scale 8 lane that usually hosted womp-womp races. I have one photo that I'm going to post of the store and that's it, I'm wondering if anyone has additional photos they would like to share, or, if you have a similar story regarding a local shop growing up that influenced your attraction to this hobby please share it with us.

                        Thanks ( see if you can identify a famous Canadian slot racer : )



                        ( I will give you a hint, he's also a slotcar store owner and chassis manufacturer )

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Mpower View Post
                          It is so wonderful to see this picture and it brings back such a wonderful time. I remember this so well and it was a joy to grow up at O'connor Raceway - work there and race slot cars! I remember Grant Osborne like it was yesterday - What ever happened to him? I was around with Brian Ferguson, Tom Cinnamon, Jim Best, Glen Walker, Shawn O'connor, Brian Anderson, a guy called Frank (forget his last name). We used to go race at Parma Raceway in Ohio - does anyone remember that? - Man....the picture brings a tear to me....it's amazing and I thank you for posting this and bringing back such a great time in my life - the BEST! I remember GUY - he used to run it during the day - remember? I worked there and made enought money to buy a real car and then left - a whole new bunch of kids followed me. I worked (still do) at orenda Aerospace by the airport and remember dropping by a few years later - maybe around 1975 and everyone I hung around with had left. I wish I had pictures to share but thank you so much for this as it mad my year 2009!! - Mike Power
                          You bet...I remember that you got your picture in Car Model magazine for a podium finish against the top factory East Coast and Midwest racers. I'm originally from Vancouver but lived in Toronto from 1980 - 2002...and just missed out on racing at O'Connor.

                          Brian Ferguson is still around and living in Dundalk, Ontario. I used to run into Jim Best at Ernie Mossetti's Raceworld in the late 1980s. I still have a 1/24 scratchbuilt chassis that he built for me back then.

                          cheers,

                          Bob S.

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                          • #28
                            O'Connor Raceway

                            Thanks for the reply Bob.

                            I got in touch with Tom Cinnamon - been 37-38 years! He's running his own business in Newmarket.

                            Sad news from Tom - Brian Ferguson's wife passed away a couple of years ago from Cancer and Jim Best is quite ill with M.S....feel very bad for these old friends...

                            Mike Power

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                            • #29
                              Tom Checking in

                              Mike Power was Joe Gutz? Funny I have heard the name Joe Gutz, but never in reference to Mike Power. Mike and I were both in the group he refers to and we were all pretty tight for a number of years, even after Mike stopped racing. Maybe Mike can shed some light on the Joe Gutz monicker. I first raced against Mike in 1968 at Oshawa raceway in a 9 hour enduro and after that location burned to the ground in that same year we started racing at agincourt mall and O'connor. O'connor soon became home for myself and Frank Grant who was also from Oshawa. Like I said it became a close knit group and we all, many times, travelled to Lorne Park Plaza, Grell's and another track in Buffalo, then Parma in Cleveland. The first time we went to Grell's I was amazed at the size of the store. They had several King tracks, I remember racing on their, Blue, Orange, Black, and one other. Mike's brother Robert raced Grell's weekly with another Torontonian who's name escapes me. We all made treks to Mosport during the seventies and once borrowed my sister's Winnebago to travel to the race course at Mid Ohio. Those were, ahem, "Heady Times."

                              Of that original group of guys, I still see Jim Best and Glenn "Curly" Walker. The three of us were involved in car racing together for a number of years and we still camp at Mosport for two or three races per year.

                              For a number of Years Jim, Brian, Glenn and myself ran a an H.O. club for a long time with over 30 party folks, two tracks in two homes. One was a modeled after a Blue King and it was amazing. BTW the H.O. track in O'Connor's basement wasn't a "King" track. It was built onsite and was a one off design. "King" was originally a prefab manufacturer and the track designs were designated by their color.

                              After O'Connor closed I spent some time with Bill Woloschuk, Dan Camillari and Ray Noones. In the first photo, that would be Ray, fourth from the left on Orange lane. We travelled in the eighties and early nineties we made excursions into Hartford Michigan, Cinncinati and a couple of other US tracks for some Pro/Semi Pro races.

                              Currently my racing is done online with a PC, 40 plus guy's every Thursday night, running American Lemans type cars at www.champion-motorsports.com

                              Mike, it was really good to hear from you after all this time. Gotta get together.

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                              • #30
                                Hi Cinny, there are two Mike Powers...both guys awesome racers.

                                Dan Camillari, that name rings a bell. I bought one of his monorail chassis at the Purple Mile in 1980. It's the only time that I raced on one of those big 220' American Sovereign (Purple) tracks. It was at Yonge and Lawrence but closed down sometime during the summer of 1980.

                                cheers,
                                Bob

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