About Our History

Central Ontario Hamfest is Hosted by the Geulph and Kitchener-Waterloo Amateur Radio Clubs - GARC and KWARC.
The Central Ontario Hamfest was founded in the late 60's by the Guelph ARC as a fund raiser for the St. Joseph's Hospital Amateur Radio club station. GARC was instrumental in acquiring and setting up the ham station at St. Joe's — VE3SJH. As well, the volunteers taught beginners classes for many long-term-care patients resulting in a very active station at the Hospital.
The original Fleamarket was held in 1975 in the driveway of Rocco, VE3HGZ now VE3YJ's QTH and the following year, in the side yard of Gord McPhail, VE3IH. Over the years the organizers did such a great job in promoting this event that the increasing attendees kept overflowing larger and larger Guelph facilities forcing the club to make a hard decision on how to continue accommodating the growing crowds.
Faced with this growth problem, Guelph approached the Kitchener-Waterloo Club (KWARC) who joined forces with the founding Guelph club. The space problem was resolved by moving the event to Kitchener's Bingeman Park and then in 1998 to the Fergus Community Center. Whilst at Fergus, the Tailgater presence has been growing steadily, especially since we were blessed with beautiful weather every year!
In 2010, our 36th year, we moved our hamfest to a new location the Waterloo Regional Police Association. Our guests find our new site easier to access — it's on the other side of Hwy 401 from Princess Auto.
2020, 2021, 2022 we had to skip, to avoid becoming a COVID-19 "super-spreader" event. In 2023 we made a much-anticipated return. Was great to see you all again! The event was a huge success, with record numbers of public visitors. We hope you'll join us in 2024 and hope it will bring you just as much success!
Major vendors, collectors, hobbyists, and enthusiasts enjoy this one. Lots of room. You'll meet your friends at this one!

© 1996-2024 Central Ontario Hamfest