Active Tech Electronics
I’ve been going to Active Tech way back since Grade 10 when they were still at the 32nd Avenue NE location. I was going to Lester B. Pearson High School and for the Innovative Tech class, I was making a “robot”. It turned out to be a 2 motor thing with 2 wheels housed in a playing card box tethered to a case with two DPDT switches. It did work and I got full marks for it! I still have and use the wire strippers and needle nose pliers that my dad got me from here. Active Tech is where I would go to buy small electronic components and sensors such as Arduino and Raspberry Pi stuff. They stock a good selection of electronic breakout boards from Adafruit and Seeed.
(The Calgary branch of Active Tech was acquired by Solarbotics and they share the same office. Active Tech is just upstairs of Solarbotics)
I would go to BE-Electronics more for electrical things as opposed to electronic components. So they’re good for things like power supplies, audio jacks, barrel plugs, Amphenol connectors, heat shrink, wire, banana plugs, etc. There is a small selection of Arduino sensors from Seeed if you need. If you have the part number you’re looking for, you can ask the sales desk for electronic components like capacitors, transistors, resistors, etc. I was a little shocked they stocked LM386 for my experiments with audio amplifiers. BE-Electronics has a good stock of MG chemicals like contact cleaner.
Doing what I do, I do have a Fluke 87V multimeter, but more often than not I’m probably using PowerFist test equipment from Princess Auto. They’re cheap and does the job. My favourite ratchet in my ammo/tool box is the 3-in-1 that accepts 1/4″, 3/8″ and 1/2″ sockets. You can get a good selection of organizers, hand tools and cables from Princess Auto. The surplus section often has small speakers and motors for cheap.