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 intend to make a
much-anticipated return. We miss you guys 'n' gals! Will be great
to see you all again!
Major vendors, collectors, hobbyists, and enthusiasts enjoy this
one. Lots of room. You'll meet your friends at this one!
© 1996-2023 Central Ontario Hamfest