About Us

50 years of serving you!

History

John’s Hobbies was established in 1952 as a Camera sales and service centre in Toronto’s east end near what was soon to be the new subway’s last stop at Woodbine station. John was an aircraft technician for the Royal Air force primarily servicing Mosquito bombers by doing regular necessary maintenance to the gun and bombing sights and instruments. Upon finishing his service for king and country he used his extensive talents to set up shop and was soon doing photographic and home movie equipment service and repair for most major department stores in downtown Toronto.

As his business began to thrive he sought out experienced help to thwart the ever burgeoning flow of cameras from many countries including primarily the high end German made equipment. He found his relief in a young man “fresh off the boat” from Germany itself. With his business prospering far beyond expectations John decided to head to other pastures for a less hectic lifestyle. He would entrust his businesses future to no one other than his trusted technician, and so in 1968 John’s Photo and Hobby came into being. The already established repair centre had found itself well suited to selling and fixing the ever popular slot cars that were all the rage of the 1960’s and 70’s. Soon plastic models, radio controlled vehicles and model trains were entrenched into the ever expanding stock of hobby equipment. With solid established ties to the European model train and hobby manufacturers John’s soon became “the” source for specialty model trains and equipment from Germany. High quality goods had to be backed with high end service, and so a tradition of helping our customers find just the right item to meet their needs was founded. Soon after a much required renovation and expansion (to nearly triple our original size) in the early 1990’s, digital photography was introduced and changed the direction of camera repair service forever. A spirited decision was then made to expand our radio control department into the former photographic section, and we have never looked back.

Today

John’s Hobbies has grown to become Toronto’s largest full fledged hobby retailer. We are pleased to offer products from over 400 manufacturers from around the world and we pride ourselves on our in-store customer attention and unmatched selection. We have a dedicated shipping department for mail order which has sent items to happy hobbyists in all regions of the world. We hope this web site gives you a ‘taste’ of what lies inside our doors and we look forward to serving you whether it be in-store, on the phone or by e-mail.

Service

Our service department carries thousands of parts and accessories to keep your hobbies working in tip-top shape. We also carry a wide variety of lubricants, tools and after market replacement bits.
Our motto form the 1950’s was “we service what we sell” and that holds true to this day. We will go to great lengths to track down and obtain parts for our customers. We have service parts in stock for items that date back to the 1960’s or even earlier for some model trains. We welcome wish lists with part numbers for those seeking specific pieces.

Please contact us for further details.