Ontario Narrow Gauge Show

Today I attended the Ontario Narrow Gauge show for the first time.  It’s a show I’ve heard about for a number of years, but have only had a passing interest in narrow gauge until I decided to leap into it last year with my OO9 Talyllyn project and the HO Scale 40.5inch gauge Porter I’ve built.  The show is a reasonably small show, and very specialized.  No tables full of junk, just lots of high quality modelling by people really interested in what they are doing, as most niche areas of the hobby are.

IMGP8098RawConv.jpgOverview of the upstairs room of the show.

The show was well attended, with a mix of a few vendors, several layouts, static displays, and a contests area.  Narrow Gauge lends itself to lots of different things, and that was on show today.  Prototype narrow gauge to completely whimsical free lance was there.  My interests are definitely more in the prototypical end of narrow gauge (i apparently lack whimsy in my modelling! Crazy things from my mind just don’t seem to translate to successful projects).

Collection of layout and diorama photographs from the show.

While I normally don’t enter into or consider competition to necessarily be a good part of the hobby, in certain circumstances, it can be ok.  I brought my two locomotives to enter into the competition, not because I have any desire to see them judged, but because the awards here are voted on by those in attendance.  It’s not a competition to meet some created standard of quality or impress a judge, but a vote of those in attendance as to what they liked best.  There were some amazing models, and the winners all deserve recognition for their work.  Unlike many competitions, it didn’t feel like one where people were being pitted against each other, but where it was mostly an opportunity for very talented modellers to show off their work.

“Critters” and Locomotives from the Contest Tables.  Narrow Gauge has prototypes and inspiration both in the real world and the crazy freelance world.

On top of the modelling on display, they show had three very well done clinics.  One I skipped (I’ve seen it given before) by Jeff Young and Peter Foley on their book project on the original Huntsville and Lake of Bays Railway, and two I hadn’t seen.  One by Ron Guttman on tools and the right tools for some different modelling tasks.  The third was the most interesting to me.  A clinic, including hands on with Pan Pastels.  I’ve never used them, but some of my friends swear by them for weathering models.  The session was presented by Gerry Cornwell from Mt Albert Scale Lumber.  I learned a lot in it, and now understand a lot more about how Pan Pastels work, and see lots of opportunity for me to apply them to future projects.  I will most definitely be picking some up at some point down the road.  When that is, who knows, but I’ll no doubt write about it!  Pan Pastels are available at many art stores, apparently at Michael’s (though I’ve never seen them there), and at Curry’s in the Toronto area.  Gerry recommended a vendor in the US who puts together packages specifically targeted at Model Railroaders, Stoney Creek Designs.

Painting and Weathering with Pan Pastels clinic.  Hands on with something I’ve heard a lot about, but never seen being used or had any idea how they worked before today.

It was an enjoyable day out.  Hopefully in the future I will have a narrow gauge layout worthy of showing off at the show.  I am certainly looking forward to attending again in the future.

5 thoughts on “Ontario Narrow Gauge Show

  1. unfortunately the show has degenerated down to what you see now. There used to be lots of vendors of parts and locos. There was a fair amount of display layouts, both larger point to point and smaller 2′ x 3′ ones. Usually highly detailed.
    The contest room area always had a good quantity of contestants in various categories.

    Whats happened to cause the low turnout in spectators………price to get in ? Couple of lousy previous shows ? Low to disappearing vendors due to poor sales. I think it boils down to all of the above.

    I have no doubt the producers or club who run this event wish things would go back to the way it was 5-7 years ago. My friend bob from new castle and me from whitby decided to take a pass this year and from the looks of the pictures, glad we did.

    mike lynch

  2. Thanks for your comment Mike, but i don’t think your comments are really a fair assessment of the show as you weren’t there. I can’t compare the volume to past years having not been there. There was one large layout that i couldn’t get in frame upstairs, and several small and medium sized layouts downstairs. The downstairs room in the Schomberg community centre isn’t conducive to getting a good overview picture.



    • seeing as how you were never to any of the past shows, and this show as viewed thru you pictures clearly shows its nowhere up to prior show standards.

      I stand by my comments.

      mike lynch

  3. I don’t see how you think you can compare shows based on the pictures of part of the show and determine that you think it’s lesser, just as I can’t say it is greater or lesser than a previous show I didn’t attend.

    You are welcome to your opinion, but I certainly won’t accept that it is accurate based on no reference point, and I wouldn’t opine on the quality of a show I haven’t attended based on a handful of photos on a blog post.



  4. Mike: what, in particular, is missing? It’s easy to cast a general and very negative comment about a show but, by your own admission, you didn’t actually attend so couldn’t possibly have real, firsthand evidence to base your comment on. I’m sorry to read that you feel as you do and I’ll ask that you consider this in your comments here. Every one of these types of events benefits from attendance and I hope you’re able to attend the next one.

    Scrolling through these photos and reading this account I see a show displaying real modelmaking and a display of this craft. Further, I see a body of engaged modellers actively participating. I’m positively thrilled that such an event happens and I wish more modellers could have a chance to pariticipate – every region should be so lucky to have such an event. This is certainly quality and it’s exciting to see this happening.

    Thank you for sharing your experience with the show Stephen. Here’s to the hope that my schedule provides an opportunity to attend this show in the future.

    –I’m sorry if this comment is out of place in this thread. Feel free to remove it without worry.

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