Surplus Tuesday

Long before the Maker movement. Long before the Raspberry Pi. Long before the Internet and Amazon and shopping online… there was ACTIVE Surplus. After 30 years on Queen Street West in Toronto, ACTIVE is closing its doors this month. Rumour is that it’s moving and not closing but still, it’s a sad day.


ACTIVE was my fun store, and for 25 years (at least) I’ve been walking into ACTIVE to get a needed plug, part, cable, whatever. Sometimes I would just browse and marvel at all the stuff (new and used) and get inspired. Yellow Flipping Shape for 25 cents each, sure! I bought things that I had no idea what they did just because they looked cool and the price was right.

As a number of posters on blogTO have commented, ACTIVE was the place where generations of high school students would go to make LED-based true or false quizzes for their science fair Bristol boards and ACTIVE was also the kind of place where when you’d go and ‘there was always someone buying parts for his time machine or Transmogrifier or both.’

I need places like ACTIVE to inspire me and fuel my imagination. ACTIVE is exactly the kind of store that brings out the best in a modeler. It’s a ‘what if ‘ kind of place. What if I use that mirror, or what if I built that blinking circuit. What if…


Professor Banana, until we meet again, you’ll be missed.


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