About Our History

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.  Since we've been at Fergus, the Tailgater presence has been growing steadily, especially since we've been blessed with beautiful weather every year (so far!)..

In 2010, our 36th year, we moved our classic to a new location. We believe you'll find our new site easier to access- it's on the other side of  Hwy 401 from Princess Auto. Major vendors, collectors, hobbyists, and enthusiasts enjoy this one. Lots of room. You meet your friends at this one!

© 1996-2020 Central Ontario Hamfest

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