Reflections - 1996 in the GTA
As we come to a close on another summer of Airsoft, certainly not the end of this season by any means, I realized that it’s been exactly 10 years or so since the Electric Age of Airsoft hit Canada.
I moved to Toronto late that year (1996), after having helped Peter Kang get Asia Pacific off the ground in Vancouver. Airsoft was becoming a major discovery in Canada.
After a couple guys on my team out in Vancouver finally convinced me of AEG’s (I’ve always been partial to GAS) – I caved and got a fully loaded MP5 PDW (Used it recently at TTAC3, yeah baby!). Dual Mag clamp, claw mount, Red Dot, toaster oven – come one man, the LCF is the shit.
Back in Toronto, I remember an Indoor Paintball place in Toronto just off the 400, it’s closed now, but it was on Norfinch Drive between Steeles and Finch. I was talking with none other than a very old, good friend Kwokwai Wu here on ASC at the time – I think it was there that we hooked up for the first time, and I ‘demo’ed my JAC MP5 SD6 as well as my JAC M16A2. Airsoft then was referred to "Holy Fu*k..."
I have a hard time remembering the names (it’s been 10 years!!!), but these guys were actively involved in bringing Airsoft to places like Sgt. Splatters and Paintball City. (Kwokwai, help me out here buddy…who was the guy that drove that Black Ford Contour?)
I also hooked up with Wilson from SD-Unit, and the 3 guys at AMC (AutoWings) shop in Pacific Mall – from there we all started to organized a lot of games at the old Flag Raiders, Sgt. Splatters, Wasaga. Before that, I hooked up with Kelley from REGIMENT Airsoft, and I actually did a road trip with X-Ring and 2 others on my team to London to go see him and see his downtown storefront shop. That was interesting to say the least. $3 to test fire in his range. Or was it $5? Ah the memories…
Anyone remember an abandoned Paintball field in Tillsonburgh? Thru Kelley at Regiment and another old friend of mine I know – Tony Boros out of London – we organized a few skirmishes there. This was PRE INTERNET days mind you, not to say that the internet wasn’t around, but shit, we didn’t even have email to alert others of upcoming games. I would spend entire Saturdays on the PHONE calling a list of players at HOME (Pre CELL!! LOL!!!) to organize games. Ammo was like – the hardest to get back then. Somehow tho we managed, and we had a few good turnouts back then at that field (20 or so players). We only played there a few times tho, as the commute from Toronto to Tillsonburgh was a little much. Looking back, I now know why I have 250,000 kms on my frikkin car.
Airsoft bloomed as the Internet did, and retailers such as APEC, SD Unit and AMC were doing really well. I practically lived at Wilson’s house during those years – I got the comment from one of his aunts that this gwai-lo used chopsticks better than their kids…1997 was a busy year with an Airsoft game happening at Flag Raiders almost every 2nd weekend. We were constantly fighting for time slots with Paintballers – and I think for anyone who’s been around that long can always recall the look on a Paintballers face when the Airsoft crew hit the field. Woodland was the ONLY pattern back then, that and SWAT BLACK! In the BUSH! Yeah baby!
Another guy I remember was Casey Wong – a really great guy that I miss. He brought his group of players out to many of the games we organized, and even tho there was the language barrier and everything – we certainly had some kickin' games that left us laughing.
I’ll have to scan a few ancient pictures to go with this thread, as Digicams were the size of a 1982 Cell Phone at the time. Anyone have any stories from the GTA Area in the 1996/97 era? I figure if anything, this would be a USEFUL contribution to this board, rather than seeing so many ‘I got scammed by <Insert ASC User here>, “What the hell is wrong with <Insert Retailer Here>….*sigh*