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"Why are there no good wargames stores in Toronto?" Topic

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Alexander Keith Inactive Member05 May 2009 5:17 a.m. PST

I have been living in Mississauga for about seven months and have yet to find a good wargaming store in Toronto. I have been to Crossed Swords and frankly was completely unimpressed by the non-existent selection and overall rundown appearance.

Two stores in Ontario which have got it right are sadly not in Toronto. Bayshore Hobbies in Hamilton is the closest to me. North Bay Hobbies is in North Bay and actually worth the trip. Is there no such store in Toronto?

CmdrKiley Inactive Member05 May 2009 5:57 a.m. PST

What about Planet Hobby on Yonge St. or it's other store in the Square One Mall?

I haven't been to Toronto in years, but always enjoyed hittng those stores when I was there.

Beowulf Fezian05 May 2009 6:15 a.m. PST

There is the Hairy Tarantula, if you don't mind thick layers of dust…

Vosper Inactive Member05 May 2009 6:31 a.m. PST

For right in Toronto, try the Dueling Grounds – – if you're after current stuff, like ccg's, FoW, AT-43, Wings of War, Warmachine or a selection of board games. They have a gaming area downstairs.

If Bayshore (a great shop) is closest, then you could try The Hobby Kingdom – – in Burlington, just off Walker's Line. They carry GW, various roleplay, boardgames, FoW, Battletech, Heavy Gear, and some other stuff. Just call ahead if you see something on the website, as it's not quite as accurate as it could be. They have several rooms for gaming, and big comfy chairs and a TV in the main store.

There is Hairy-T (downtown and West) – – which carries comics, graphic novels, anime, Reaper, various roleplay, and boardgames. Their minis are mostly Warmachine, Battletech, some older ecclectic stuff.

There's also Black Knight Games in Hamilton – – they have GW, FoW, roleplay, Wings of War, some other stuff. Nice gaming area too.

My suggestion is to avoid any store that uses clowns as sales staff (seriously, CS does that) even if they're not in facepaint. It's just wrong. Sadly, they used to be the only shop in town with historicals, and that hasn't changed as far as I know. frown

Vosper Inactive Member05 May 2009 6:33 a.m. PST

One other note, if you're not aware of the MIGS gaming club, they are in Hamilton – – and meet regularily and even hold a convention every year in the fall.

Alexander Keith Inactive Member05 May 2009 9:30 a.m. PST

Vosper you are a gold mine! I knew there had to be something else in town. The Planet Hobbies in both Square One and Younge St. seem to cater exclusively now to the comics/manga/CCG side of things. I can pick up some Valjeo paints and some heavily discounted Reaper and Confrontation figs at the Square One location.

Beowulf, I will try the Hairy Tarantula, dust doesn't scare me but the combination of dust and staff clowns as Vosper has mentioned do tend to put me off.

As always TMPers come through with the right info, thanks again guys!

GarrisonMiniatures Inactive Member05 May 2009 9:54 a.m. PST

Importers can't get anything through Canadian customs?

TodCreasey Supporting Member of TMP05 May 2009 11:13 a.m. PST

Garrison many of the other cities have pretty good stores (Ottawa has Fandom II and Calgary the Sentry Box for instance) but Toronto has always had a shortage. Perhaps the cost of rental space was prohibitive.

Crossed Swords has actually always been pretty good for me as they are a great source of Essex Ancients/Medievals.

CmdrKiley Inactive Member05 May 2009 11:17 a.m. PST

Ah that's a shame about the Planet Hobby, they used to carry lots of old minis and games I loved exploring through. I remember when I first discovered Planet Hobby (I think they went by a different name then) and ran across Hairy Tarantuala. The HT seemed more like CCGs than anything at the time.

Duelling Grounds looks like a neat place to hang out.

Personal logo andygamer Supporting Member of TMP05 May 2009 11:43 a.m. PST

For paint, plastics and model kits, there's North Star Hobbies on Dundas a stone's throw away from the Mississauga-Etobicoke 'border'.

allthekingsmen05 May 2009 1:17 p.m. PST

Dammit, this thread has me trying to remember the name of the great hobby shop at the corner of Bloor and Yonge many years ago. It had multiple floors and a replica of the Star Trek bridge. I want to say it closed in the mid-80s. Anyone?

CmdrKiley Inactive Member05 May 2009 1:28 p.m. PST

Is that the Silver Snail or something? Only a very very long time ago did I find any gaming stuff there. It was mostly old used miniatures, some I found very useful to my collection. Now they carry lots of comics and high end sci fi collectables.

wehrmacht05 May 2009 1:31 p.m. PST

Silver Snail is on Queen West…

allthekingsmen05 May 2009 1:32 p.m. PST

The Silver Snail was certainly a fixture back in my TO days, but it was (is) on Queen St East. This store was more northeast (and not Worldhouse, which was on College).

allthekingsmen05 May 2009 1:33 p.m. PST

Wehrmacht is correct… Queen W for the Silver Snail

CmdrKiley Inactive Member05 May 2009 1:56 p.m. PST

Ah yes, Queen St. It's been a while.

I do admit I was in Toronto about 2 years ago, running some Rezolution demos at the FanExpo, but really didn't get much time to go out of the CN center.

Looking up in my address book, there was a place called Excalibur Comics on Bloor that dealt in gaming material.

Vosper Inactive Member05 May 2009 4:07 p.m. PST

Gameway's Ark, I believe, was the name of the store on Yonge and Bloor. The very first wargame I bought was from there and it was Squad Leader. (Yes, I still remember such a momentous occasion as that grin)

The clowns are not at Hairy T, but at Crossed Swords (tho my info may be outdated, as I have not set foot into that shop since the clowns took over, nor will I ever). Hairy T has a whole different set of sales staff… and dust.

If you want model kits, consider checking out Wheels and Wings – – as they have an enormous stock of all sorts, including planes, ships, armour, 1:24 cars, etc. No lead/pewter, but plenty of 1:72, 1:48, and 1:35 scale military stuff, including many aircraft and pretty much the whole line of the 1:48 Tamiya military line. (Small disclaimer, I know the manager).

The Outlander Inactive Member05 May 2009 9:03 p.m. PST

Define "good wargame store"
I was thinking of opening one someday, somewhere

Dan 055 Inactive Member05 May 2009 9:54 p.m. PST

Goodness, I remember Gamesway Ark – 4 or 5 floors of hobby and gaming supplies. Back in the good old days.

allthekingsmen06 May 2009 5:00 a.m. PST

Gents, thanks for pulling me back from the brink of insanity trying to remember "Gamesway Arc." My fondest memories are going into Toronto for the tantalizingly taboo Boxing Day sales. Good times.

Alexander Keith Inactive Member06 May 2009 3:21 p.m. PST

I just got back from Hairy Tarantula 2 at 2949 Dundas St. West. not a lot of minis but some neat stuff all the same. Lots of Clan War, Void 1.1 and some Celtos and GW. Although dusty there were no clown working there and it was a pretty good shop overall. Lots of comics/manga and some board games. I will definitely be going back.

I had been to Military Matters before but their selection is pretty thin in 1/48 but looked really good for 1/72 scale models.

Terry L14 May 2009 1:29 p.m. PST

For wargaming there is nothing in Toronto. What I do is save my pennies and go to Coldwars in the US every other year. That's where you buy your gaming stuff.

Alexander Keith Inactive Member16 May 2009 5:01 a.m. PST

I have been to Cold Wars, Fall In and Historicon in the recent past and agree wholeheartedly with Terry L. The issue with buying at those cons for me is that you are limited to the same pool of manufacturers and vendors. Usually the same companies hit all three big US cons, which is great if your projects dovetail with their offerings but not so great if they don't. Sadly I have turned more to buying directly from the manufacturer on the internet, which has meant I usually just but paint, dice and flock at local stores.

I believe that having a well stocked, well run and clean game store close to you is a great thing. It is too bad we don't see that very much anymore.

Terry L10 Jun 2009 1:07 p.m. PST

Yeah and no fantasy crap like at Crossed Swords!

Vilmonn Inactive Member16 Jun 2009 4:05 p.m. PST

I lived in Toronto for years and years and was not only continually disappointed in the selection of game stores, but also in the lack of good organized play groups and game clubs. Then I moved to Edmonton and was blown away by the great support we gamers get here (from Calgary to St Albert). I frikin' hate Toronto now for so many reasons…the game community situation being one of them!

Hahaha, but I'm over that now…


Kevin in Edmonton.

Terry L22 Jun 2009 1:33 p.m. PST

Kevin in Edmonton,
I live in Toronto and unfortunately I have to agree with you. There is a good gaming group located in the London Ontario area but that's a little too far for me to travel. I'm envious of you!!!

Nick The Lemming Inactive Member22 Jun 2009 1:43 p.m. PST

Terry, when the new Dueling Grounds shop re-opens, the Toronto Historical Miniature Gamers will be continuing to meet there. We mostly play Flames of War, since that's what the group grew out of, but we also have a number of people who play Field of Glory (15mm and 25mm), Victory at Sea, Wings of War, and some of us are playtesting the new Field of Glory Napoleonic. If you want more info, check out (there's a link to the forum there too). If there's some other game you enjoy playing, you'll probably be able to find an opponent, especially if you can demo a game.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2009 5:01 p.m. PST

You know, there are lots of smaller cities in Canada with decent gaming shops – the (relative) absence of them in TO always has baffled me

Nick The Lemming Inactive Member22 Jun 2009 7:22 p.m. PST

It's possibly the overheads – TO rents tend to be quite a bit higher. It would definitely be better with a wider range of wargaming stuff available though – Dueling Grounds is good, but only if you like FoW and WoW – there are no other historical figures available there, sadly.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP23 Jun 2009 7:23 p.m. PST

Good point about the overheads – one of the (many) reasons that I left Toronto was the high cost of living

krasturak Inactive Member08 Feb 2010 6:41 a.m. PST

I spent a lot of time at Mr. Gameways Ark as a teenager.

Many of the regulars from the games club still get together from time to time, but there hasn't been a good gaming venue in Toronto since then …

… until now: link

Terry L09 Feb 2010 2:32 p.m. PST

Hotlead gaming convention in Stratford Ontario is coming up. There will be dealers there. For historical stuff though I recommend start buying stuff on line. If it's coming up from the States then I get a mailing address in the States. I get my more expensive stuff shipped to a friend who I see once and a while. I save on shipping and on customs fees.

RJ Smith Inactive Member15 Apr 2010 2:09 p.m. PST

To update Nick's post the new Dueling Grounds is up and running, with a much larger cleaner, brighter gaming area in the basement. THMG meets usualy on Wed nights to either play or just rag on each other before going for beers and wings.

FOW, LaSalle, WoW and every now and then VAS are the group regular games, but we're open to new systems. The store carries a good selection on FOW/BF stuff as well as paints etc and Wayne the owner is usually pretty receptive to new ideas.

DaveyJJ Inactive Member18 Feb 2011 6:59 p.m. PST

Mr. Gameway's Ark was actually down Yonge on the northeast corner of Wellesley, south of Bloor. I recall walking up there with my (very young) brother after telling my folks who were shopping at the Eaton Centre I wanted to wander off "for a few minutes" by myself. That was a long walk and they were very very mad when we finally got back. That said, I was clutching my first copy of D&D in that white box and was a very happy camper.

Crucible Orc Inactive Member20 Mar 2011 6:56 p.m. PST

Vosper: the reason why there is a clown manning the Cross swords stores is mainly because the owner(Dan Stapleton) is a clown by trade. Not that you should shop there, i just thought the reason might make it a little less weird.

TerryL : have you tried MIGS in Hamilton? we are playing alot of Sharp practice( FIW, 1st Carlist, and no 18th C imaginations) and a fair amount of Disposable heroes WW2(all 28mm)

the other reason there aren't as many stores kicking around with historical miniatures is due to the fact that a lot of the manufacturers have gone to direct sales(Old Glory, Renegade, TAG, etc)and undercut the retail distribution system.

Since Plastics have started getting a decent range of periods has the idea of historicals in stores Just resurfacing( except the obvious FoW). Hobby kingdom in Burlington carries a pretty decent range of Warlord/Victrix/Perry plastics, and Bayshore Hobbies & Black knight games carry a small of historical plastics as well.

Imperial Hobbies Inactive Member21 Mar 2011 4:01 p.m. PST

There is a new distributor in Brantford who has brought in the 28mm plastics and Army Painter products from Europe.
It is much easier for us to get them, so we are starting to bring them in.


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