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Sports & Play

Toronto Model Railroad Club ousted by condos

Posted by Alexandra Grigorescu / October 31, 2012

model railway club torontoTerrible news for miniature train enthusiasts: Canada's largest (and best-loved) model railway is soon to be dismantled. The Model Railway Club of Toronto has announced that as of April 30, 2013, the club (in operation since 1938), will be leaving its Liberty Village home in the basement of an old armaments factory. And in particularly disheartening news, the move is prompted by yet another condo proposal which will see several character buildings demolished.

However, this is not the first such move for the Toronto club — it was previously ousted in 1946, following the war, from their original home in Union Station. In 2013, the club will yet again dismantle its O scale Central Ontario Railway, and has stated that plans are already underway to find a new home.

It's yet another David vs. Goliath moment in which dedicated hobbyists get bullied by larger forces (i.e. Lifetime Development Group), but at least the 2013 deadline gives you ample time to enjoy the railway in its current digs. The club is putting on a series of shows — dubbed "Romance of the Rails-the Last Run in Liberty Village" — beginning over the holiday season and continuing on into February 2013 (the club's 75th anniversary).

The last show will be on Family Day (February 18), and following that, the taxing task of dismantling the almost 500 sq. m. railway will begin. All proceeds from the various shows will go towards rebuilding it in its new home.

Photo by Bobcatnorth



cosmosuave / October 31, 2012 at 02:23 pm
Wow what a drag... I take my son there and he loves it... Such a shame for all the hard work that has been put into that display only for it to be torn down... Hope they are able to find some new digs...
Ford4ever / October 31, 2012 at 02:26 pm
Make way -- a better city full of infinitely more fascinating people needs that space.

Chris / October 31, 2012 at 02:28 pm
Cue the rants about the evils of Liberty Village starting in 1,2, 3....
Trs replying to a comment from Chris / October 31, 2012 at 02:41 pm
...annnd go: crowded cheap condos edging out buidings with character; another rush-job neighbourhood with no planning beyond the dollar signs in developer's eyes.

Liberty Villain replying to a comment from Trs / October 31, 2012 at 02:43 pm
You forgot the baby-punching.
Ford4ever / October 31, 2012 at 02:47 pm
I went there once. Neat stuff, friendly people.

I hope they find some good new digs. Onward & upward.

I regret my earlier sarcasm.
Daryl / October 31, 2012 at 02:53 pm
I had no idea this place existed. Sounds cool.
Trs replying to a comment from Liberty Villain / October 31, 2012 at 03:13 pm
lol! Yeah, King West Fitness has a baby-punching class four times a week.
McRib / October 31, 2012 at 03:33 pm
so......where is it exactly? and which buildings are planned for demolition?
jay / October 31, 2012 at 03:36 pm
What in Toronto isnt turning into a condo? This nonsense needs to stop. There are plenty of empty spaces even downtown where condos could go. Why do we have to tear out the heart of the city for them?

This has to be a provincial and municipal election issue. Enough is enough!
damnit / October 31, 2012 at 04:17 pm
I can't wait to get the hell out of this messed up city.

Horribly planned from the start with no change in modus operandi. Toronto is a city built on afterthoughts.

What a colossal joke we have become. Get out while you can.
Gary / October 31, 2012 at 05:01 pm
Thanks for posting this. I had no idea. Hope they find suitable new digs.
Elmo / October 31, 2012 at 09:37 pm
Yet more demolition of this cities history. Just so one man at the top of the developers corporation can be stinking rich. The destruction of our rich and fast diminutioning heritage just to pig MONEY.
Vic / October 31, 2012 at 10:47 pm
Soon condos are going to be built on top of the Rogers Centre and on Lake Ontario. I mean really where hasnt a condo been built in Toronto. They're becoming really annoying. At least build a half decent one if its going to be built
Douglas / November 1, 2012 at 09:10 am
I would have no problems with Condos if we had similar laws like Chicago. The city of Chicago gets final say whether the architecture meets the cities requirements . They have also but in a lot of bylaws now about creating river walks and boardwalks if your even just renovating a buildings along the shore.

They have strived to make Chicago the Paris of America and they are doing a pretty good job.

Toronto could have and should do the same... to bad we wont.
mike in parkdale / November 1, 2012 at 09:39 am
The Railroad club was setup when Liberty Village used to be filled with cheap (but large) spaces. I used to work in that area in the late 90's, and we were there because of the cheap (but large) spaces too.

The entire character of the area has changed virtually overnight (okay, more like in 5 years, but that's lightning quick for an entire area to change).

I just hope that the railway club can find a new cheap (but large) space somewhere that isn't being uprooted so quickly. Maybe in New Toronto or Mimico?
Albert / November 1, 2012 at 11:25 am
The sad part... This was supposed to be a "master planned community" I'm not going to point fingers.. Cough!~ Canalfa.. Sold out for fast money...
Well Paid....Not Wealthy / November 1, 2012 at 11:28 am
Have read all the articles on this proposal for the building and yeah if it goes through it will be shitty for some of the small businesses tat exist. Now what I see is King West gym wasn't the reason why the owner made a stink was so he didn't have to be memed on not paying rent? Will the businesses not get first dibs on rental on the new store fronts being built? and 5yrs is a long time before anything goes on. I could be wrong on all these points. Poor choo choo trains.
simuls / November 1, 2012 at 12:26 pm
Yet again, misinformation in a blogto post. There are not "several buildings" being torn down for the Lifetime proposal, but approximately 1/8 of ONE heritage building. Technically, Lifetime, in order to get its allowed density could tear the entire market building down if they felt like it, what they're doing avoids that by placing all the density in a small footprint instead of spread across the entire site. I'm really sorry to see the model railroad club leave too and hopefully they can relocate somewhere else within the neighbourhood.
cyberdude2007 / November 1, 2012 at 12:53 pm
Terrible news?? I guess there are no other locations in this city that could support a model railroad.
needmorejava / November 1, 2012 at 04:26 pm
Lifetime Developments has graciously allowed the Model Railroad Club of Toronto not only to continue to reside in its current location for the previous number of years, they additionally agreed to extend their stay until the end of April, 2013. This was to allow time to attempt to find new space, and to arrange for the Holiday Shows and Final February Shows, and then time to carefully dismantle this historic treasure.
It is understandable in today's "plug and play" world that few might appreciate or comprehend that it has taken many 100s of thousands of hours over the past decades to build this vast model railroad, Canada's largest and one of the largest in the world. It is not something that one can just buy in a store. With the Club's immenent move, even though some parts can be salvaged and rebuilt into a new location, many things are just not replaceable and any rebuilding effort will literally take years and years.
Show your support to part of Toronto's heritage. You just have to see this amazing miniature world. It is one of Toronto's Hidden Treasures. Check them out at one of their upcoming shows.
Gul Jassad replying to a comment from cyberdude2007 / November 1, 2012 at 04:43 pm
Have you EVER considered the thought that maybe there aren't any that the club could afford and still be in downtown (central) Toronto? Instead of the club having to relocate to Scarborough, Etobicoke, North York, or York?
Jamie / November 2, 2012 at 10:39 am
It's a shame and a bit ironic. People want to live downtown because it has easy access to amenities, yet these amenities (clubs, theaters, restaurants) are closing down because they are being forced out by condo developers so more people can live downtown near amenities which are now closing. A bit of a vicious circle and one that shows city hall has no vision for our city.
pete replying to a comment from cosmosuave / November 2, 2012 at 01:29 pm
Lifetime should pay for EVERYTHING related to the railroad club's move and find them a suitable alternative home. Without question. The club's model railway is not only a piece of fine art, but is a piece of our shared provincial history too. Its loss is everone's.
Elmo / November 2, 2012 at 09:51 pm
Not to mention corruption in the city planning department, but what happened to the city's height bylaw?
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