A cross-Canada antique car tour that began when Canada celebrated its 100th birthday is gearing up to celebrate its 50th anniversary and Canada’s 150th.
The Canadian Coast to Coast Classic Vehicle Tour first crossed the country in 1967 to celebrate Canada’s centennial. That first year there were 125 registrations and nine cars traveled the complete distance from Victoria, B.C. to St. John’s N.F.L. under their own power. The tour was last held in 2010, and in 2000 before that.
“It’s quite a big operation to put together because … you have about 100 cars, I think we have 109, and so that’s 218 people to find places for meals and stuff like that, it’s really difficult,” explains Fraser Field. He and his wife are the wagon masters for the Canadian Coasters Car Club and are responsible for organizing the tour with the help of provincial coordinators. It can also be difficult to find enough camping and accommodations.
The tour will leave Victoria on June 29 and travel across the country to St. John’s in 67 days.
All of the vehicles on the tour are at least over 30 years old, and there are a wide variety of vehicles to see.
“Right from a Model A to trucks. There’s even a 1954 greyhound bus on the tour,” says Field. “It’s to celebrate transportation so there’s a real wide variety.”
Field himself will be driving a 1948 Chevy ambulance that came from Kimberley. “I was a paramedic for 30 years, so I’ve restored a couple of them.”
This year’s participants include 30 coasters who did the 2010 tour and four who did the 2000 tour, which was to celebrate the millennium.
The tour will arrive in the West Kootenays on July 4, and will go through Rossland, Trail and Castlegar.
On previous tours, participants have camped in Castlegar on the West Kootenay leg, but this year the coasters will camp in Trail.
“We were going to stay in Castlegar, but we just couldn’t find campgrounds because of the music festival you’ve got going on,” explained Field.
While they’re here, the coasters will meet with local car club members and hold a car show.
“People come down and see the cars and some [of the cars] are pulling older style trailers from the ’50s,” explains Field.
Details for the car show are still being nailed down, but it will likely be somewhere in Trail.
For more information, visit canadiancoasters.ca.