This is the 2nd in a ocassional series of posts on Hobby Shops that I frequent. This shop, is one of the two full service Model Railroad specialty shops in the Greater Toronto Area, being the west ends store. Credit Valley Railway Company has been in business since 1994, and I’ve probably been shopping there on and off since 1996 or 1997, which strangely enough is around the time that I had my full drivers license and a car. I don’t know if my parents ever figured out what i was up to, but I regularly would have the car and permission to do something in Kitchener-Waterloo where we lived at the time, and take off the hour up the 401 to visit Credit Valley, and the now closed North Star Hobbies on Dundas St in Mississagua. You could hide a lot more when gas cost $0.45 a litre to buy and not $1.10 as it does today!! I didn’t often buy much, but I loved at least thinking I was getting away with doing something I wasn’t supposed to be (such a rebel I am, taking the car to go plastic model and train shopping)!!
The unassuming exterior of the Credit Valley Railway Company.
Several years ago, Credit Valley realized that their original storefront space in the Streetsville area of Mississauga was not going to be functional moving forward, and took the big leap of going for a “warehouse” space in an industrial plaza, where they could expand their extensive offerings and create a destination shop. While the store lost some of the charm of the hunt through tight racks and aisles, it gained so much more in being a bright and airy shop, and a step towards the 21st century and keeping the hobby appealing. While what I call “Troll Hole” stores may have been acceptable 20-30 years ago, people aren’t willing to shop in dingy places where they get treated like a pest not a customer anymore (and nor should you with the price of things today).
Display Cases and N Scale layout in the entrance lobby.
When you enter the store now, you are greeted by two large display cases of new products or samples of upcoming releases, and an N scale layout, one of two operating layouts in the store.
Large HO Scale display layout in the back of the store.
Inside, there is a full range of products in HO, N, Z and larger scales, along with scratchbuilding supplies, tools, paints and DCC/Electronics. The store runs a regular series of clinics aimed both at beginners and more experienced modellers in a “Clinic Room” which is also used for sales and special events. There always seems to be a good number of staff around, and a number of the staff are well regarded Canadian modellers with expertise in DCC, weathering, repairs and all kinds of aspects of the hobby. I regularly overhear staff giving all kinds of help and advise to people in the store looking to get into the hobby, or who have come in with a problem with their kids “toy trains”.
Jason Shron from Rapido Trains doing a demonstration in 2011 in the Credit Valley Clinic Room as part of their promotional tour for the then yet to be released HO Scale set of The Canadian.
Credit Valley has a fully functioning e-commerce website as well, so you can order for delivery or to pickup in store. I can speak from experience when I say even pathetically small orders like those I sometimes place for one or two detail parts as a special order are handled with care and responded to promptly by their staff.
HO Scale Locomotive Display Cases line one wall of the space.
Previous Shop Profiles: