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Sep 12, 2014, 10:02 AM
Registered User
Thread OP

Best choices for Canadians 2014?

Hi, I've been getting more into this hobby and want to get access to the huge variety of inexpensive parts available online.

As all Canadians know, customs fees or gratuitous shipping rates are par for the course trying to get anything across our borders... usually the USA is out due to insistence on shipping UPS for some reason...

There is a lot of stale info out there. Where are fellow Canucks ordering from this year that result in minimal fees?

Looking for motors/lipos/servos etc... also a good deal on a radio
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Oct 09, 2014, 05:32 AM
Registered User
If you live near the US/Canadian boarder get aPO box in the states and have stuff shipped there
Oct 13, 2014, 12:03 AM
i Like RC
Weekend Flyer's Avatar
I have been in the RC Airplane hobby for four years and have yet to find anywhere worthwhile other than my two local hobby shops. If I wait for a sale the prices are usually better than ordering on line. I live one hour from the US border and shipping stuff to a PO Box is not cheap when I consider using 2.5 hours of my time for a return trip, $30 worth of gas plus the US exchange rate.

I used to be disappointed that as a Canadian I had to pay so much more than Americans but when I look at the final outcome, my LHS is better. I just bought a new Great Planes Dirty Birdy for $220 CDN from my LHS. Tower Hobbies has it for $299 USD plus shipping, brokerage and duty. I also bought an Evolution 0.60NX for $149 CDN. Online stores are selling them for $149 USD!

The only place I order from on line is Hobby King International for Lipo batteries which is a huge saving compared to my local hobby shops.

If you don't have a hobby shop nearby there is Hobby Wholesale which at least saves you PST since they are located in Alberta. There is also Great Hobbies which has free shipping if you spend over $100 plus save on PST since they are also in Alberta. They are both in Canada but still priced higher than my two local shops.
Oct 14, 2014, 10:27 PM
Registered User
Thread OP
Used to live 30 mins from the border and bought EVERYTHING in the states and picked it up. Never paid customs.

Now I live out at the farm in the middle of nowhere, and we have no easy access to the border or to a LHS. Saskatoon hobby shop is mostly cars, not planes unfortunately.

Found Great Hobbies through a friend who bought a couple planes through them, the free shipping is really nice and the prices are pretty fair.

But the prices at HK are insanely cheap, as I have been looking at doing a medium range FPV setup with a Turnigy 9XR with OrangeRX 1W UHF module (Radio $60, module $30, receiver $20 - where are you going to find ANYTHING comparable in Canada!)

It looks like HK makes Turnigy and would be the sole supplier, but I have heard so many bad stories about their shipping - and still don't know if I would have to pay customs! How have your Lipo orders worked out?
Nov 07, 2014, 12:06 AM
i Like RC
Weekend Flyer's Avatar
I have placed 5 orders for lipos from HK. Orders ranged from $20 to $80 and I have never paid customs or sales tax. It takes a while to get them because of the new lipo shipping laws but I can live with that.
Jun 15, 2016, 11:53 PM
Walked away from all landings
DonRhone's Avatar

Canadian Stores for RC - Great Hobbies

Until recently I have shopped mainly at Great Hobbies. They are Canada's largest on-line hobby shop.

They offer free shipping for orders over $100.

Their site indicates that there may be a $10.00 surcharge levied by Canada Post on oversize parcels.

On a recent order I was charged $30.00 for an oversized parcel. I would thought that they would have contacted me before they levied a fee of that amount. I could have bought the same plane at another hobby shop and I confirmed that they would not have charged me an additional fee for oversize parcel and they too offer free shipping for orders over $100.

I am also taken back that I contacted Great Hobbies and added a couple of items to an existing order and I told them to hold the existing order until the new items arrived, as they were not in stock. I was told it would take a week for them to arrive, I said fine, I am not in a hurry so please hold the entire order until the backordered items arrived.

The sales agent confirmed my instructions, yet they mailed the parcel the next day and I know have a few backordered items that I will have to pay to have shipped to me.

I do not know why their customer service is so hit and miss.

Not sure if I will continue to shop with them anymore if instructions can not be followed that were confirmed by their own staff.
Jun 25, 2016, 01:31 PM
Walked away from all landings
DonRhone's Avatar

Force RC - Not recommended for Canadians - FedEx

Force RC, which was Diamond Hobbies, and renamed when Horizon Hobbies took over is no longer on my list of vendors that I would do business with.

Their parent company, Horizon Hobby, has changed the shipping carrier and Force RC now only uses Fed Ex.

I do not know why USPS and USPS Priority are no longer shown as optional shippers. I only know that with FedEx the shipping taxes longer and that like UPS the customer ends up with a Brokers Bill as well. So if you buy a typical plane it means about another $50 Can that you will end up paying.

Also FedEx does pay Provincial and Federal taxes and they recoup those from the customer along with a Bond Disbursement fee as well.

On occasion I have ordered RC planes from HK and China and in most instances have not paid any taxes and also never any additional fees unless the package was opened by Canada Customs which results in a few of about $15 if I remember correctly.

When I ordered from Diamond Hobby (no Force RC) before using USPS
I( usually was not charged any taxes. Taxes seem to be hit and miss, or random. I have paid taxes on about 1/4 of my rc plane packages if shipped by USPS from the states, almost never if the package is from Hong Kong or China.
And never any Brokers Fees.

So I, and also the local flyers will no longer be shopping at Diamond Hobbies or Force RC as they are now known since being bought out by Horizon Hobby.
Oct 09, 2016, 02:20 PM
Registered User
Uncoiler's Avatar
Just noticed this thread and thought I would update or heads up about Great Hobbies here in Canada. I placed two orders in the summer of 2016 and both times asked about the free shipping over $100 thing. I was told it was a limited time offer that is no longer valid and so I had to pay shipping on both orders. FYI
Aug 11, 2019, 03:11 PM
ror1's Avatar

watch out when ordering from HH

I am a canadian and was getting a warranty item from HH shipped to me.
I asked them how was it being shipped and they said USPS and I said great.
Fedex is a killer shipping to Canada as we all know.
Well I received my warranty item valued at $52 CAN.
Duty/taxes where $17 !!! why?
Because HH use a mailing service "Bestway USPS Priority Mail"
I think that forces all parcels through customs no matter what the value is.
Any parcel of $52 value coming from normal USPS office to Canada would not have taxes charged...
$10 service charge and $7 tax !!!

Just so you know...
Aug 11, 2019, 03:12 PM
ror1's Avatar
Originally Posted by ipeifer
If you live near the US/Canadian boarder get aPO box in the states and have stuff shipped there
look up your nearest myusaddress location...cheaper than USPS..
Aug 11, 2019, 05:34 PM
Registered User
Originally Posted by ror1
look up your nearest myusaddress location...cheaper than USPS..
And there are other forwarding outfits (outfits with U.S. addresses and Canadian pick up points) that one should research.... I haven't used it yet but I registered with this outfit and get occasional emails from them updating holiday hours, etc. .. they have two locations/pickup points in the Toronto area, one in Markham and one in Mississauga

But over the last half dozen years I think I have only bought from one US retailer (Aloft Hobbies ...and their small packages go thru directly to my home without attracting Canada Border Services attention). And the private buys from U.S. modelers similarly come directly to my home, via USPS, and also rarely attract Canada Border Services attention.

Michael in Ontario, Canada

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