Welcome back to the continuing saga of Terry Sutfin's quest for
Vernor's Ginger Ale and HSS's in Toronto.
Sunday morning was a gorgeous Spring day, sunny and mild. After a
hearty breakfast at Lindy's where they serve the most steaks in
Toronto (that's what the sign says), we headed off toward our next
HSS, Panther Hobbies. The road took us along Lake Ontario over
several freeways in varying states of repair. I had taken the
precaution of printing out a Mapquest map of the whereabouts of the
store so that I wouldn't appear completely foolish wandering around
the West side of Toronto.
Unfortunately, I didn't print the high resolution driving map so the
street names were omitted! Oh well, plan B was to count the corners
from the main artery that was identified. We had all day to get
As luck would have it, we pulled off of the freeway in the direction
of Dundas West that should, would lead us to Panther Hobbies. Along
the way there was a large supermarket so we decided to try our luck
with our second mission...Vernor's Ginger Ale. Eureka! we struck
gold on our first try. Believe it or not, we left the store with 6
cases of Vernor's that I must deliver to Terry next July at the NTS.
Mission accomplished...now on to the HSS.
With the weather being so good, I was able to spot the street of our
HSS before my copilot so I appeared to actually know where I was
going. Turning the corner, we immediately arrived at our destination.
The owner, Alex, greeted us with a smile and invited us to explore
the shop. Sundays were slow he explained so he would take the time
to do some dusting and arrange the shelves. From my vantage point, I
don't think that the store had been dusted in the 8 years since its
We had found another charming and cozy hobby shop. The Z inventory
was Micro-Trains this time round. Terry was surprised to find Peco
flex track in good quantity. Terry also was interested in a Z car
but he said he wasn't sure if he had already added it to his
collection. Now Terry did something then and there that was awe
inspiring...he took out his pocket organiser and checked his Z
database of rolling stock to see if the object of his desire was
already part of his collection. No, so out the box came from the
Hey, I had my complete inventory on my Jornada which was happily
filling up one of my pockets. I spotted a UP 40' box car that looked
unfamiliar. Instead of scratching my head trying to remember if the
markings meant something to me, I adopted Terry's method and checked
my inventory list. Fortunately, thanks to my new glasses, I was able
to read the road number on the car. Not in the database...one new
car for the VECRR.
Terry and I split up to comb through the drawers and shelves of the
store. I had a suspicion that there was more Z lurking in dark
corners...and I was right! I found a Märklin catenary set in the
scale accessories section and Terry found Z couplers and trucks in
another area. I picked up some Bachmann EZ lube condutive fluid to
try to give my F7s another lease on life and headed over to the
counter to pay for my treasures.
I struck up a conversation with Alex who finally confessed to have a
personal Z collection although he had never heard of Ztrack Magazine,
or of any other Z related publications or
groups. Suffice to say, we filled him in quickly with a mountain of
information. He said that he would be happy to place a flyer for
Ztrack Magazine and Z_Scale in the Z display case to encourage other
Z modelers to connect. At this moment of bonding between Z brothers,
Terry came over to the counter with a newly discovered treasure, a
set of ISM (In Service Miniatures) container trailers. Alex picked
it out of Terry's outstretched hand and slipped it into my bag of
goodies! Terry was paralyzed from the neck up! The look of
astonishment on his face was unforgettable. I suddenly realized that
Terry had been robbed of his discovery. Alex had a good laugh and
gave the set back to Terry who then announced that there were two
sets in the drawer he had been rummaging through. We BOTH got
presents from Alex!
Terry and I left feeling like two missionaries who had made a
convert. We promised to send a sample of Ztrack Magazine and to
forward news from the world of Z scale.
The rest of the afternoon was spent in great conversation and fine
eating at Tuckers Market Restaurant. We made more plans for Germany
next March and made hotel reservations for Nashville, TN in
preparation for the Great American Train Show (GATS) to be held July
7-8, 2001 on the weekend before the NTS in St. Louis. We also
decided that Monday morning we would make one final HSS before our
friends had to continue their journey.
Stay tuned for the final episode in the Great Toronto HSS