PayStar: The Collector


By: Sam Martin

Photos By: Eric Rank

In the 1,000-person village of Athens, Ontario, the ratio of people to vintage International® trucks is around 6:1. And while the man responsible for this demographic anomaly may not be the mayor of this town, that might only be because he refuses to run. 


International Truck lover George Tackaberry’s private collection of trucks and tractors, one of the largest in the world, is the hidden gem of a town that sits 20 miles north of the highway connecting Montreal and Toronto. George has spent his life here building a construction business from scratch and giving back to his local community whenever it needs help. And while he’ll speak only sparingly and modestly about his philanthropic contributions (which are significant enough to have warranted a motion by the Canadian parliament in 2011 in his honor), he will happily talk about his trucks for as long as you have time to listen.


For lovers of International trucks, visiting this collection is similar to a religious pilgrimage to the Vatican—except that this pope is clad in plaid and topped with a trucker’s cap. “Tack’s Toys,” as they’re affectionately known, are housed in 12 hangars built across two separate properties in Athens. Inside these heated buildings, almost 180 International trucks dating back to 1913 sit quietly, each of them immaculately restored, keys in the ignition, in working order and ready to run.


George shares his collector’s passion with his two sons, Charlie and Kevin, both of whom also work at the family business along with his daughters June and Karen. G. Tackaberry & Sons, founded in 1957, specializes in public and private works projects in and around Athens. Its fleet of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles is made up entirely of PayStars®, ProStars® and TerraStars®, all sold to George by his best friend and International dealer of 40 years, Gerald Tallman of Tallman Truck Centre Limited. Their success in powering George’s construction business is an example of a man’s hobby bleeding over into his professional life.


This past fall we took a trip to Eastern Ontario to walk the collection with George, ride shotgun with the boys on some work trips, and learn more about the life of this great Canadian.