Southern Ontario Tour

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Southern Ontario Tour

Postby oldcarfudd » Tue Aug 02, 2016 9:25 am

Folks who follow northeastern HCCA activities know that the Southern Ontario and North Jersey Regional Groups have a longstanding affinity. Every year, one group or the other puts on a week-long, family-friendly event and invites the other club to join the fun. The Canadians, having fewer members and being spread over a much larger territory, are the hosts every third or fourth year. Their turns are eagerly anticipated, and this was their year. Tourmasters Debbie and Sam Tzountzouris (HINT: the Ts are silent!) and their committee spent three years organizing this one. They asked for, and got, a lot of support from the local AACA chapter. And a wonderful week we had! Before I get started, here are a couple of pictures to whet your appetites.

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I believe this is Hugo Vermeulen's 1905 Buick

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Peter Fawcett's 1906 Cadillac


We were headquartered in Owen Sound, Ontario on Georgian Bay, an extension of Lake Huron. The waterfront hotel, just far enough out of town to have no traffic, had good rooms, good food, a good bar, helpful staff, and lots of trailer parking. The terrain was gently rolling farmland. The excellent roads had very light to moderate traffic and, except along the lakeshore, were laid out practically dead straight in an east/west, north/south grid. This, together with the detailed local maps in our tour packs, made it easy to overcome any hiccups in the written instructions. We had mostly great weather, although Thursday had high, hot winds that beat us up a bit.

Bad news first. My one-lung Cadillac had a spindle failure and shed a wheel. Joan was thrown out of the car and had a concussion but no broken bones. She rode modern the rest of the week, and took about half the pictures in this post. She’s pretty well recovered now, and is ready to ride a horse but not yet a horseless carriage. We were very lucky. People were astoundingly kind, helpful, and competent. And I mean everybody: passersby, fire, police, ambulance, hospital staff, trouble truck and other tourists. Thank you, Canadians! Those who want the mechanical details can read my post in the Automotive Discussions section of this website.

We now return you to all the delightful parts of this tour. But before we start, I’d like to share one local’s wish list, that he summed up in only seven characters.

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Joan and I enjoyed this local's comment on the world situation.


Monday we had a welcome breakfast and meeting, followed by a 60-mile tour. On the way to Meaford, a pretty town right on the lake, we could visit a sawmill producing hardwood, a waterfall, and a country store with a coupon for cider and cookies. There were several lunch options in Meaford, including getting a take-out lunch and eating it along the waterfront. An interesting alternative was The Leaky Canoe – sounds dangerous, but I hear the food was good. The after-lunch stop was a gem – Jolley’s Pedal Car and Toy Museum. This is one man’s accumulation of row upon row, shelf upon shelf of wondrous toys for our parents and grandparents when they were kids. Mr. Jolley brought out several examples for the kids on our tour to ride. Know what? Those toys were just as big a hit now as they had been many decades ago.

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No, Charles Tosch's 1915 White wasn't one of the riding toys in the museum!

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The Churchill Cadillac and Danzig Buick at the Rolling Toy Museum.

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I believe this is Robert and Audrey Gairing's 1914 Locomobile.


Did you know there’s serious surfing on the Great Lakes? The town of Southampton, the lunch stop of Tuesday’s 69-mile run, apparently is a surfing destination, although you couldn’t have proved it on the day we were there. But it’s a pretty town with several good restaurants. Joan and I ate, very well, at Walker House. On the way we visited a huge outdoor market that had Joan wishing we weren’t eating out, since there was an outstanding variety of fresh produce, home-baked goods, and flowers in gay profusion.

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Lots of flowers at the outdoor market.

We also visited the Bruce County Museum, which had several things of interest – maritime history, a Marc Chagall exhibit, and a hands-on demonstration of basket weaving by members of the Ojibwe First Nation. That evening there was an ice cream social and full-throated sing-along at the Tzountzouris trailer.

Tom Thomson was a self-taught painter of rugged, natural scenery. On Wednesday we visited a local museum dedicated, in part, to his work. The museum also included the work of other artists, including some who worked in glass.

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Glass art at the Tom Thomson Art Gallery

We then drove to lunch at a prestigious country club. Beautifully situated on the lake, it’s the home of the Cobble Beach Concours d’Élégance, well known in Canada. Our brass cars were artistically parked, and presented the spectators with a concours of comparable élégance.

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A 1914 Ford at Cobble Beach

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A beautiful day for a car show.

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Some of us were surprised to see cars parked on a putting green.

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The Nunnink Pierce-Arrow and the Swann E-M-F at the concours.

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Lunch at the Cobble Beach Country Club.

From there we went to see Wiarton Willy, Canada’s answer to Punxsutawney Phil.

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Rich and Gini Cutler parked at a sculpture of a table set for tea along the lakefront - - -

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- - - and Rick photographed Gini indulging.

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Wiarton Willie

The day’s official tour was 52 miles. That evening there was an optional short lakefront tour to a Scottish Presbyterian church, built before Canadian Confederation, where Tom Thomson is buried. It’s now a restored historic site, retaining most of its original wood. We were treated to an interesting presentation by a couple of its volunteer caretakers.

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A Model T at the Leith church.

It’s not obvious, when driving the gently-rolling roads in this area, that we’re very close to a geological ridge that starts south of Lake Ontario, runs north across Niagara Falls to Georgian Bay, and ends up on the west side of Lake Michigan. Most of us on Thursday chose a 79-mile tour to the base of a ski area on this ridge. With 750 feet of vertical drop, it looks more like Pennsylvania than Vermont, but it gets much more snow and has a much longer ski season. On this hot, windy day, the season was long over and there wasn’t a skier to be seen, but hikers and mountain bikers were having a great time. We were parked together right in the middle of the resort, where we found the food, ice cream and chocolate (m-m-m-m, yum!) better than at any Pennsylvania ski area. There was a fine view of the lake from the top of the gondola.

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The Wallaces' Packard arrives at the ski resort. No skiing today!

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Cars parked at the ski resort

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More cars at the ski resort

That night we heard from a couple who, about 30 years ago, spent two summers and falls taking a horse-drawn, iron-tired, unbraked covered wagon from Toronto to the foothills of the Rockies in Alberta. They started out in a group of nine wagons, but they were the only ones who finished the trip. Real white-knuckle adventure. And I thought WE were nuts!

Friday gave us a choice of three short tours, so we could get back in time to put the cars away and clean up for the banquet. Those with steel-toed shoes could tour the Monroe shock absorber factory, employing 600 people. In this soft economy and rather remote location, that’s a Very Big Deal. Another choice was a major printing plant, in business for over a century and a half and also employing 600 people. I went to Billy Bishop’s boyhood home, now a museum. Who was Billy Bishop? Canada’s top fighter ace and one of her most highly-decorated servicemen in World War I. He was credited with shooting down over 70 German planes when the life expectancy of a new pilot was measured in days. (P.S. He survived the war.) Joan and I had a good lunch in a lovely park, went to a waterfall (more of that geological ridge), and visited the Grey Roots Museum and Village that had ice cream and - of all unlikely things! - a travelling exhibit of good reproductions of artifacts taken from King Tut’s tomb.

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Inglis Falls, near Owen Sound. That geological ridge keeps turning up!

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A 1909 or 1910 Ford at the Grey Roots Museum. I'll bet the speedometer isn't working!

The banquet was well done. In the spirit of international friendship we sang God Bless America and O Canada. A few awards were awarded. It was announced that Steve and Darlene Bono, who live neither in North Jersey nor in Southern Ontario, had just been dragooned into putting on next year’s tour in New York State, where it should be accessible to both Regional Groups. Fair warning: Prepare For Hills! The festivities ended with Jeff Mahl’s presentation of his great-grandfather’s 1908 drive around the world.

Gil Fitzhugh the Elder
oldcarfudd
 
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Re: Southern Ontario Tour

Postby hcca » Tue Aug 02, 2016 12:42 pm

Wow Gil, thanks for sharing all the great pictures and write up! Too much fun!

Sam Tzountzouris just sent me a link to local newspaper's write up and video "review" of the Tour. Thanks to Jil McIntosh for her recap and video and driving.ca for showing what HCCA is all about:
http://driving.ca/auto-news/news/century-old-cars-hit-the-road-at-ontario-horseless-carriage-club-of-america-meet

It's great to see HCCA in the news. What were others' experiences on the Tour?
hcca
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Re: Southern Ontario Tour

Postby Wagoneer76 » Tue Aug 02, 2016 5:25 pm

Hi Gil

Just want to say you wrote a great article on the tour !
Deb is our sister and we were more than happy to help her and Sam to make this a memorable tour for all, and I hope they accomplished this for all participants.
I am glad to hear you had a great time despite the hiccup ..kudos to both of you!
Our own adventure was presented on the Wagon Train night which I am glad you enjoyed.
The Kemerer's advised us that the vehicle my Grandfather was driving was a 1912 Flanders 20 and just happened to be driving that vehicle in the tour.
They gave us a ride at Grey Roots and made our day!
Thank you Kemerer's !!!!
I really enjoy getting to go on these grand adventures with the Deb and Sam.
The cars were all amazing to see lined up or stretched along the roads and if your lucky to get a ride or a great shot along the way.

Hope to see some on down the road
Barbara Houghton
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Re: Southern Ontario Tour

Postby FullerMetz » Tue Aug 02, 2016 10:45 pm

Wonderful tour report! Thank you GFtE!
A lot of fantastic cars in those pictures.
Glad that you and yours are okay after your incident.
W2
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