I ventured into the big city recently to check out a new drum store and possibly buy a drum featured on their website. The drum was a mid-70s Ludwig Supraphonic with a brass shell! It turned out the drum had just been sold, but I still ended up having the most 'drum fun' ever.
Greg Millson opened Century Drum as a store front in Toronto's west end to cut down his reliance on road gigs and also to indulge his 'drum nerd' side. Far from nerdy, Greg is a humble guy with tremendous enthusiasm for and knowledge about old drums. While the store does have the occasional newer item, the majority are pre-1970.
The main focus is on snare drums. This, after all, is where drummers do most of their business. It's also the most personal drum in a drummer's set-up, and finding the right one can be a life-long quest. Well, I had no problem targeting a half dozen drums I'd gladly own -- and not just snare drums. (The first drum I noticed was a Leedy 11" tom that sounded unbelievable.)
The front room of the store is mostly snare drums. The walls are lined with snare drums, as is one wall of the adjacent hallway. In the middle of the floor was a line of newly arrived vintage Leedy, Ludwig and Slingerland drums, and the front window sports a couple of extreme vintage sets.
The hallway leads to a cymbal room, a teaching studio, and a drum set room. There are cymbals of every era here. My favourites were an old pair of 16" K Zildjian hats and a UFIP ‘reverse’ Chinese. The back room has mostly Rogers sets at this point, plus a couple of Ludwig kits.
Across the board, the quality of Greg's inventory is top notch. If a drum needs a bit of TLC, Greg has the knowledge and skill to bring it as near as possible to its original state. Obviously Greg is in this to make a living, but he's wisely chosen a mid-line pricing model. His drums are all affordably priced. Yes, some of the numbers are high, but they should be. When a re-issue of a classic drum sells for $1000, I think picking up an original one for $650 is a coup.
Century Drum Shop
985 Dovercourt Road (Just north of Bloor St,) Toronto ON