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O'Connor Hobbies, Toronto Ontario Canada

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  • #46
    One of the last tracks to remain open was in London Ontario. A lot of die hards used to make the trek there in the nineties. I'm assuming it is closed also.

    As for Wings and Things, Donnie, the owner was a real die hard and had expanded his store and inventory; it was also very popular for the raliroaders. I was surprised to hear it closed down, as Donnies wife and kids were fully involved as well. What a shame to see such a great hobby being largely ignored in this computer age.

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    • #47
      O'Connor Raceway / Hobbies

      I think the reason I called the store O'Connor Hobbies was because that's how it was said to me the first time I heard mention of the place. I was a regular customer at John's Photo & Hobby on Danforth. I would take the subway and pick up some Atlas and Aurora Model Motoring cars and accessories for my H.O. home set. One day the store clerk asked me if I went to O'Connor Hobbies to race..... I said what do you mean ? He was very suprized that I had no idea what he was talking about. He just smiled and gave me directions and said " I think you need to check this place out " . I went directly to O'Connor and walked in the store and heard this high-pitched screaming sound. In the back of the store was the wildest track I had ever seen in my life ! There was a car going around the track so fast I could barely see it ! When the guy stopped the car I went over to check it out. I was told that the car on the track was a Group 27 Wing Car.
      WOW ! Very impressive, but I didn't think it looked much like a car. I was told to go downstairs and see the 2 other tracks and well,... I think I went to that store every day for the next 2 years !
      Last edited by challenger; 01-31-2009, 09:04 AM.

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      • #48
        Indeed a small world. I was into model trains and airplanes in my early teens, and I went to John's for most of my stuff. The shop was just a bit east of Woodbine so I'd bus down to the Danforth and back. Then O'Connor opened (and it was only a few blocks from my home)... so all former hobbies were very quickly forgotten!

        It became an obsession at one point. Mike Power was O'Connor's 'factory driver' and I was racing there and also working part time behind the counter when Guy Gatto, Paul Gatto, or Grant Osborne weren't able to be there. Mike and I became good friends and Mike had access to the place and the two of us often skipped school and were at the shop hours before Guy showed up to open the place! We built and worked on our cars in a nicely equipped shop in the basement. Whenever a new order cleared customs and arrived, Mike and I would go through it and make sure we got the bits we needed, before the stuff went up on the wall or in the display cabinets (usually my job). It was nice having an inside connection! I never saw a dollar from working there... it was all spent on parts! Perhaps a misspent youth, but man, it was great fun!

        Sorry for the ramble...

        Brian

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        • #49
          Gotta get Fergy racing again!
          Tom and Chris, you guys are evil! I drop into Race Haven to meet up with Tom and walk out with a new car for next Friday's racing.... what have I gotten myself into and how do I shake off so many years of rust?

          Thanks, Tom, for letting me beat the crap out of your car! You may have noticed I bought my car AFTER I started to settle down a little... And thanks, Chris, for the tire truing and basic setup hints!

          I'm definitely looking forward to racing again! Since I expect to be last, I can't end up disappointed! The location is perfect - 5 minutes from work - one of the reasons I haven't been able to get back into racing previously. And now... please excuse me while I go and start tinkering with the new Porsche...

          Brian
          Last edited by Fergy; 02-01-2009, 07:33 PM.

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          • #50
            Lol, two weeks back into it after 20 years and I already own four cars. Had a blast last friday at Race Haven. Now to keep one step of an old rival, Fergy.

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            • #51
              As I'd said earlier in the thread, Pitbox only tangible item that survived...it is over 35 years old!!!

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              • #52
                Yes! The decal! Thanks for that. Indeed, the store was renamed from O'Connor Raceway to O'Connor Hobby Centre & Model Raceway when it moved from its original location. I remember (now) seeing the original multi-layer artwork for that design. It was done with Letraset and overlays cut out with an X-acto knife. I think Grant Osborne did it but I'm not 100% sure.

                A lot of history in those old slot boxes!

                Oh, and Tom... you are definitely a step or two ahead of me! Great fun to be racing again!

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                • #53
                  great pics !

                  Thank you Porsche911 for posting ! A real piece of history

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                  • #54
                    My Hoffman box was behind the counter at Oshawa Raceway when they had their fire. The box survived and I refinished it, but there were smoke stains inside, hence when we arrived to race at O'Connor they called us the "Crispy Critters." Sadly my pit box did not survive our house fire two years ago. I kept it's charred remains for a bit but could not bring it home after the house was rebuilt as it stunk to the high heavens and was not worth rebuilding.
                    Was I still racing there when Drew was? Don't remember.

                    Oh, and Tom... you are definitely a step or two ahead of me! Great fun to be racing again!
                    That's good, not that I am a competitive person or anything.

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                    • #55
                      when we arrived to race at O'Connor they called us the "Crispy Critters."
                      I remember that like it was yesterday! Losing the Oshawa facility was horrible, but it was a huge gain for those of us racing at O'Connor when you guys migrated westward. It was also the start of a number of good friendships.

                      not that I am a competitive person or anything.
                      You? Nahhhh...

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                      • #56
                        pics of more old stuff

                        I was looking for some parts this morning for the February Brant's Hatch 1/24 event later this month and got a bit side-tracked when I found some old O'Connor / M.C.R.A cars. The "Model Car Racing Association" operated in the 70's in Toronto and several other cities. It was run by Brant Snow and Jim Pearsal. While most of the racing was in people's homes, O'Connor occationally hosted some of the TransAm / Sports / F1 and Enduro events. I located some Sports and TransAm cars that are over 30 years old :







                        Last edited by challenger; 02-14-2009, 04:53 PM.

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                        • #57
                          A Titatanium Ti22! Lol, I went through a lot of those bodies "during the day".

                          With my third race back, I am enjoying my return to the sport at Race Haven, no podiums yet, but managed to grab the single lap track record which I do not expect to hold for very long, on my way to a 4th in the Slot it Super Series last week. Having a blast! Thanks, Challenger for putting the bug in my ear and to Chris Walker for tips and encouragement.

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                          • #58
                            I'm so glad to hear what a good time you're having Tom !

                            This hobby has brought me so many friends and fun filled days, and today was no exception. I got a call this morning from O'Connor graduate Victor Czerwony and we headed out on quite the adventure. We were taken to a secret warehouse location ( somewhere in the Golden Horseshoe ) to bid on a large quantity of slotcar equipment ( old stuff, some new, some used ) We negotiated a sweet price and went home with our treasure. All I can say is it was a good thing we brought two cars, my back seat was filled and Victor and I could barely shut our trunks ! It's going to be a while before we inventory everything and split the booty, definately worth the drive !

                            See you soon, Jim

                            ( assorted Scalextric booklets from the 60's were part of the score )




                            ( check the .10 cent price tag ! )

                            Last edited by challenger; 02-16-2009, 09:12 PM.

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                            • #59
                              Wow, I googled Mossetti to find his store and ended up here.

                              Mike Long dropping in to say hello. I have many fond memories of O'Connor hobbies and recognize many of the names on this thread. I raced and worked there for years. Hello to Mike P, Tom C and Brian F.
                              I've scanned an article about O'Connor written by Dan Camilleri from Model Car, April 1973. Hope you can read it. Grant, Mike P, myself and Bruce Adamson mentioned on page 2. Save it to your puter and read it off line if you need to zoom in.
                              Oppps, scanner problems.....article to follow later.
                              Cheers!
                              Last edited by FlyingNow; 03-06-2009, 03:23 AM. Reason: fixing attached files

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                              • #60
                                Hello Mike! Yet another O'Connor veteran surfaces! How are you?

                                Oh, and where is the link?

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