Active Surplus lives!

I’m delighted to discover that Active Surplus still exists in Toronto, and even appears to be in the same location.

Back when I was taking electronics at GBC, I used to stop by Active about once a week to see what goodies they had. Very eclectic store. They had the usual selection of loose components and hobbyist supplies you would expect – resistors, capacitors, copper-clad boards, tools and so on, but that was only about a third of the store.

The rest was whatever they happened to have recovered from surplus and salvage sales. That often included things like photocopier control panels, oddball LCD and LED displays, laserdisc players, motors, cheap solar panels and so on, but didn’t always have to be electronics. I got a large chunk of my comic book collection here for about 25 cents per issue on average – I raided the comic troughs mercilessly so long as they lasted, because even back in the late 80s and early 90s that was a good deal. Discovered a lot of interesting and odd comic series there.

It didn’t hurt that the Silver Snail comic shop was on the same block, and there was another electronic surplus store across the road; this was a great one-stop nerd shopping place. A couple of blocks away was one of the major Apple computer stores in Toronto, and my friend Nav often accompanied me to go in and poke around – and we’d taunt each other at the same time since we were on opposite sides in the Great Mac vs. PC War.

Judging by their crappy Website, Active has slightly gafiated in that they’re carrying things like bubble-packed audio cables, but they still do seem to have some classic stop. Active is definitely a major stop on my itinerary next time I’m in Toronto.

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