|Ron Bodnar & his family|
Ron, 67, grew up on a farm north of Innisfree. In 2007, he retired after 25 years of owning the family’s oilfield materials manufacturing business. It was during that year that the family worked tirelessly to create the topnotch antiques display.
On the main floor is a recreation of an old-style rural Main Street -not mere facades, but fully finished glimpses into the past. The eras range from the 1920s to the 1950s.
Represented are a North Star service station, Rexall drugstore, Red Indian/McColl-Frontenac service station, dress shop, hat shop, hardware store, Texaco and B/A service stations.
The fire station exhibit features numerous toy fire trucks. Another area displays additional brands of gas pumps and oil tins.
The Franklins parked on the floor include two 1930 Convertible Coupes (one finished, and one chassis with powertrain awaiting its restored body), a 1929 Model 135 Sport Sedan and a 1929 Victoria Brougham.
A 1955 and 1957 Ford Thunderbird grace their surroundings (an off-site 1956 example completes the babybird trio). Other Fords present are a 1948 Super De Luxe coupe and a 1947 half-ton pickup truck.
Ron’s 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air convertible has a companion two-door hard-top elsewhere. Four restored John Deere tractors boldly occupy a corner of the floor space.
Behind a long wall are a number of themed rooms: general store, jukeboxes, barber shop and soda shop -with individual spaces for Coca-Cola, Orange Crush, 7Up and Pepsi-Cola memorabilia. Included are an ice cream parlour and café.
Upstairs, hundreds of cowboy toys are most dramatically highlighted by walls full of toy cap guns and holsters. Next is an exhaustive series of assembled Meccano sets. Then an overwhelming assortment of Canadian-made Lincoln and Minnitoys pressed-metal toy trucks.
"We’ve got a real passion for this stuff," explains Conrad.
Freshly finished, the Bodnar collection hosted its first group tours. In just over a year, about 25 collectibles and special-interest clubs and associations have wandered in wonder among the astounding artifacts. The catch is that you have to know someone to get a peek at the treasures.