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George Olieux - The man who made model trains a popular hobby in Toronto

George's Trains is one of the largest and oldest established stores for model trains in North America, and all about model trains - nothing else - and one of the few hobby shops online dedicated exclusively to model trains.

George's specializes in the sale, repair, and trade-ins of all makes and types of model trains. As well, George's sells everything for layouts and sets, scenery, and model accessories. A family business, George's Trains is based on traditional values of honesty, fairness, and integrity. With staff highly knowledgeable about model railroading, George's Trains offers sales and service to both occasional customers and serious collectors around the world.

Read on to find out how this family business came to be what it is today.

George's Trains Begins

Always fascinated with mechanical items, George Olieux began tinkering with and repairing model trains for others just after WWI. George's initial interest in model trains grew after building a train layout for a young nephew. He began repairing trains out of his basement for five model trains shops around Toronto. With a strong work ethic, attention to detail, and a keen mind, George developed an impressive expertise with model trains and an exceptional craftsman.

Richard and John Olieux

His work became so well regarded, people wanting to have their model trains repaired were often lined up at his door when he got home from church. George did more and more work for Bob's Toy Trains, and when it went up for sale, bought the store in 1962 - the beginning of George's Trains.

George's Trains became very successful and well-known after he took over, and in 1976, George bought the store next door, tripling his space.

George's style of doing business was based on common sense, customer service, and honesty. Once, at an estate sale, George offered the widow $75 for a box of train cars. "The price on the box is $52. You're giving me too much", said the widow. "No", answered George, "I'm giving you today's market price." George built his reputation and success by offering fair prices, excellent service, honesty, and a friendly atmosphere - , practices that are still followed with pride today.

George in front of his original storefront

Not just a businessman, but an avid collector of model trains, George's favourite period was from 1901 to the 1950s. He even rented his collection to Disney Studios for the movie, One Magic Christmas.

George's needs no last name to identify him to model train collectors. In the early days, his catalogue reached model railroad aficionados around the world. Today, George's Trains reaches enthusiasts around the globe through the internet. George's Trains became one of Canada's premier model railroad shops. George, known and loved by model railroaders and train hobbyists around the world, passed away in 1995.

George's Trains Today - Still a Family Business

George's sons, Richard and John, entered the business in 1981 and 1984 respectively, and carry on the George's Trains legacy today.

John managed the store from 1981 for several years, but his passions lay with sports, especially scuba diving, and he left only to return years later. Richard, originally involved in the auto trade, took over the management of the business in 1984.

Today, both brothers are fully involved, with Richard showing his passion and expertise for model trains, and John his passion and expertise for the family business. Together they have kept the original values of George's Trains while moving with today's age by making George's one of the premiere hobby shops online.

Toronto location before closing and moving to Markham

In January, 2007, Richard and John saw the need for a location outside of Toronto's busy downtown core, and purchased Railview Trains and Crafts in Markham. With their parking lot located right beside the CN main line, the new location was already established as being one of North America's best railfanning spots. Customers can see trains traveling east and westbound at almost any time of the day from both outside and inside the store.

In May 2009, the brothers leased out the unit next to the Markham location, and the downtown store was closed and amalgamated into one giant George's Trains in Markham, Ontario. The legacy continues...

Like George originally did, today's George's Trains still proudly offers fair prices, excellent service, and a friendly atmosphere - values George built his business and reputation on. Today, however, products are featured on-line as well as at the stores, enabling George's to more easily reach hobbyists and customers around the globe.

George had an encyclopedic knowledge of trains, and his philosophy of knowledgeable service and support is still very much in effect. Model railroaders in Canada and around the world continue to be well served by the family business started generations ago.

George Olieux would be proud to see how his small family business grew from his basement to what George's Trains has become, and how his traditional values of honesty, fairness, and service carry on in today's world.