I saw one earlier this year in a fellows yard somewhere North Of Toronto.. Markus Schneider bought the M5A1 hull and turret last year, and he is working on it now and gathering parts for it. The other turret and engine cover went to a collector in Washington state a few years back. I am sure Markus will do a nice job on it, he is very capable of even fabricating missing parts. It was supposedly bought from Southeastern Equipment in Georgia back when they were selling some from Portugal. The late Peter Ford used to make regular stops at Levy's yard on his way through to Ottawa to research the Archives on Canadian Wartime Production records.
I believe one of his last visits was with Brian Asbury at the time Levy's was shut down. The property was huge, as was their military parts inventory, and their entire inventory control system was based on a manual card file system. Each part was assigned a bin number, on a shelf, in a shed in a given row on the property. This system worked extremely well in the pre-computer days when all the staff were familiar with it. Towards the end of Levy's, the system had started to fail them badly.
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Older, experienced staff left the company and younger ones just didn't give a damn. It was not uncommon at all for Peter to go into a shed and look at the label on a parts bin that said item "XYZ" was stored there. The front most box would indeed hold that part, but if you pulled that box out, one or more other boxes of completely unrelated parts could be found, pushed in behind. Staff would just shove a new box of parts onto the first available open shelf, relabel the shelf and walk away.
Sadly, this all happened just as world wide interest in collecting and restoring military vehicles was catching on and the value of their property in Toronto was climbing. Pity they couldn't have held on long enough to convert all of their inventory to a computer system. They could have made far more of a fortune in the collector's market than they even did in the official government sales and commercial venues. Levy's was probably the largest and longest active military surplus dealer in Canada.
Princess Auto out of Winnipeg would have been a distant second. Levy's was also a major player in the inspection and repackaging of military parts and it has long been suspected they were a major supplier of surplus military parts to foreign governments "on behalf of the Canadian Government", when it was politically incorrect for the Canadian Government to be seen as taking direct action themselves. Some of them probably worthy of a book at least, or a good movie! I recall going through Levy's yard just as they were closing. Row after row of long wooden buildings with narrow isles down the middle, floor to ceiling bins on either side.
The light coming in from the tiny open door at the far end gave some idea of the size.
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In many places the roof had fallen in. I collected about three crates of parts including a lot of carrier stuff and even a pair of periscopes for my Fox. The sad part was that I was in competition with the scrappers.
I looked in a bin, picked up a part and said "jeep" or "carrier" or "CMP". The scrappers were doing the same except saying "steel" or "brass" or "aluminum" and then throwing them into the correct bin for melting down.
A small mystery then: At this event on display was a restored Stuart tank with a placard on it that recounted the story of Levy's and Hurricane Hazel. The placard claimed that 3 tanks had been washed into the Humber but only one, that particular one was recovered and restored. It was parked so I can't say if it was a runner or not. From the above statements, I am uncertain which tank I saw! Also, has anyone done any metal detecting on the embankment behind former Levy's? I'm thinking that between and a great number of bits and pieces may have been buried and still lurk below the surface where the cleanup crews overlooked.
I am sure there are items in the river behind where Levy' s was. It would take some metal detection equipment and a diver to check. Anything there may have sunk into the mud ,though, right out of sight, but it' s worth a look. That would be something to pull out a couple of Stuarts!
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I know for a fact that the 2 M5A1 turrets which were at Elliott Auto Parts were pulled out of the river behind Levy' s after the storm. I guess I should read more. Peter Simundson, in an earlier post, said there were 8 Stuarts at Levy' s , and 3 partial ones out of that were recovered.
That leaves 5 unaccounted for in that area.
Just a little spoof. The Stuart is no longer is Markus' hands as far as I know. Apparently sold off to a collector somewhere. I was watching TV last evening. Alby Mangels is back.. But still with the young chick and dog and boats and aeroplanes He was in New Guinea in last nights show looking for WW2 relics and he found a Stuart tank , basically complete but very rusty. The scene where he finds the tank is all set up, or faked. Its probably been well known for years but he made out that he discovered it!
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I think there were a few other Stuarts in Canada, as I remember a collector friend telling me about a cut down M5A1 which was north of Ottawa. I went to see about it, but was about 5 years too late , as the local scrap yard guy remembered it, " a fairly big tracked chassis with Cadillac engines in it".
Someone had tried to use it as a bulldozer and eventually sold it. I don' t know where it went, but i seem to remember reading about someone in New Brunswick who bought a chassis like that in Ontario, maybe the same. So, I think a couple of Stuarts were sold surplus in the 50' s. I know that there were Staghounds sold in St. Hyacinthe at a surplus dealer there, and there was a turret-less Daimler armoured car big one which was being used as a snow plow by the city of St.
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