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A classic car tour comes to Thunder Bay

Canadian Coasters 2022 are in Thunder Bay during their 55th anniversary tour of the country

THUNDER BAY — A caravan of classic and vintage vehicles from across Canada has arrived in Northwestern Ontario.

The owners of 38 vehicles are participating in the National Association of Automobile Clubs of Canada 2022 Coasters Tour.

They arrived at Trowbridge Falls campground on Tuesday, with about four weeks of travelling still left before they finish their 66-day, 6,000-kilometre cross-country trip from Newfoundland to British Columbia.

Fraser Field is a co-coordinator and Wagon Master for the project.

He said it takes about four years to make preparations, so the last one was in 2017.

The original tour happened in 1967 to celebrate Canada's centennial.

"About half the people on this tour have been on previous tours, and for the other half it's their first time," Field said.

Thirty of the vehicles are pulling camper trailers, while the people travelling in the remaining eight stay in motels along the way.

Field said the caravan doesn't just follow the Trans-Canada Highway, but also hits more remote spots.

"We want to learn more about Canada and the small towns and cities that we visit from the locals, and we want to share our adventures with other Canadians," another spokesperson for the group explained.

It's why the participants welcome visits and inquiries from people they encounter along the route, including members of local car clubs.

"That's one of the greatest things. They look at the cars we're driving and they say 'You've driven this from BC?' We drive twice. We've driven from there, and we drive back," Field said.

He said the cars are "fairly reliable but old, so anything can happen."

His own vehicle had a breakdown on this trip but with help from members of a local car club it was repaired within a day.

"They enjoy that sort of thing, and the same would happen if a car from another part of the country broke down in our neighbourhood," Field said.

The caravan took a side trip Tuesday to the residence of a local classic car collector.

Field said that it's not only the car community but residents who make the travellers feel welcome in every place they stop.

People appreciate the excellent condition of the vehicles, he said, because they might normally expect to see them on display rather than in the middle of a transcontinental journey.

He said the group has found that in Thunder Bay "there's a lot to do. It's an excellent, fun town. We really enjoy our stay here."

The tour wraps up in Duncan, BC on Sept. 6.

More information about the Canadian Coasters 2022 tour is available online.


Gary Rinne

About the Author: Gary Rinne

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Gary started part-time at Tbnewswatch in 2016 after retiring from the CBC
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