Classic cars lined the perimeter of the big field at Beaver Creek Campground on Tuesday.   John Boivin photos

Classic cars lined the perimeter of the big field at Beaver Creek Campground on Tuesday. John Boivin photos

Cross-Canada classic car tour stops in Trail

Classic cars bring 150th celebrations to small towns across the country

A leisurely wave of classic cars arrived in Trail Tuesday as part of a cross-Canada tour to celebrate the country’s 150th birthday.

The 100 caravaners with the Canadian Coasters Car Club set up at Beaver Creek Park after a short day’s drive. All day long classic cars, trucks and even a 1960-era tour bus — most with vintage trailers in tow — could be seen pulling through town.

This was the fifth night’s stop of the tour’s 7,000-kilometre trip that will take them from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean — Victoria to St John’s, Newfoundland — ending in early September.

“It’s the spirit of adventure, it’s the Canadian spirit, it’s Canada’s 150th, and it’s a lot of fun,” explains Fraser Field, who’s the wagon-master for the caravan. This is his third time across the country with the tour.

“These are car people, they enjoy the camaraderie, they enjoy the test of the car. They get them in tip-top shape and they can do the distance.”

Planning and logistics for such a large group moving across the country can be a challenge, and luck and circumstance brought the coast-to-coast tour to Trail this time. Past tours (they are held every 10 years, or on big occasions like this year’s 150th) have stopped in Castlegar. This year there was no room at local campsites there, so Trail was made the stop.

Field says the change has been a delight.

“Trail was just spectacular for getting us some spots,” he says. “Beaver Creek Park is beautiful, absolutely gorgeous. Nice and quiet, and now other car clubs are coming down to greet us- and that’s what it’s all about.”

Field says the caravaners represent more than 200 car clubs from across the country, so at every pit stop in every province, they have friends and local tour guides to show them the less-known sights.

“It’s a dream for a lot of people,” he says. “Because we don’t use the Trans-Canada very much, it’s all secondary highways, smaller cities. It’s a lot warmer welcome, a lot easier drive. We only drive about three hours a day, so you can keep the pace.”

Needless to say, the people driving these classic cars on a two-month tour have a fair amount of time on their hands. Most are retirees or self-employed, able to take the time to trek across the country.

This is Dianne Townsend’s second time taking part in the tour. She crossed the country with her husband in 2010. He’s since passed away but with her new beau, Bert Meilleur, she’s taking her classic black 1929 Model A — the oldest vehicle on the tour — on the trip again.

“It’s a fantastic way to see our country, and see it with fellow car enthusiasts,” says Townsend. “We get to see all sorts of things you would never know existed if you weren’t in a group like this.

“I have talked [to Bert] about this non-stop since we met three years ago. I think he is really pumped for the trip.”

While many of the caravaners are from B.C., there’s a contingent from most every province — even as far as Newfoundland. Many have done the tour before, and three did the very first trip across in 1967, as children.

The caravan can be a welcome sight for local businesses too. Field says over the course of the three months, they estimate the group will spend about $1.5 million on gas, food and lodging.

“We have a tour book that lists everywhere we stop, all the things to see and do — tourist places, Hell’s Gate, things like that,” he told the Trail Times. “And they stop everywhere. Things that aren’t open to the public are open to us.”

The tour ends in Cupid’s, Newfoundland on September 2.

It’s a great way to spend the summer,” says Field. “We’ll go through some of these small towns on the prairies that people don’t go through. And in some of them, we’re their 150th celebration when we pull into town.”

To learn more about the trip, visit canadiancoasters.ca.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

After gaining international recognition as The Konkens back in the 1970s, Frank and Ruby Konken had their two boys join the band in the ‘80s. They renamed themselves K-Kountry, performing country music to adoring audiences near and far. Photo: Frank Konken
Trail Blazers: Renowned musicians Frank and Ruby Konken

From country to Russian tunes, the Konkens are instrumental players in the world of recorded music

Louie Bedin at one of his rock walls with granddaughter, Felicia. Of his rock wall expertise Louie says, “You have to like to do it. You resolve. You say, ‘I did it.’ I’m happy I did it, because it is hard work, there is no doubt about it. I used to enjoy it.” Photo: Submitted
Celebrating Louie Bedin, Trail’s surviving stonemason extraordinaire

Luigi Giorgio Bedin said goodbye to his family in Italy on April 9, 1957.

Email letters to editor@trailtimes.ca.
Letter: Stand up for your taxpaying citizens

“We are no longer asking, but imploring that something be done.”

Nav Canada will not be closing the tower at West Kootenay Regional Airport. Photo: Betsy Kline
Nav Canada tower to remain open at West Kootenay Regional Airport

The organization was considering closing the tower

Dresses hang outside Nelson city hall as part of the REDress Project by Métis artist Jaime Black. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
Nelson’s REDress Project exhibit vandalized

The REDress Project brings attention to missing and murdered Indigenous women

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time doing yard work? It might be contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Nanaimo RCMP say a man was injured while pouring gunpowder on a backyard fire in Harewood on Wednesday, April 21. (File photo)
Nanaimo man hospitalized after pouring gunpowder onto backyard fire

RCMP investigating explosion in Harewood also came across a still for making alcohol on property

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. sees 1,006 COVID-19 cases Thursday, ‘alarming’ 502 in hospital

Vaccine bookings for people aged 60 and older set to start

Shannon Zirnhelt, from left, her son Lockie, 3, Julia Zirnhelt, 13, and Ella Krus, 13, co-founders of Third Planet Crusade are featured in a music video set to air on Earth Day, April 22, 2021. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
B.C.-made music video launched in time for Earth Day 2021

Singer songwriter Shannon Zirnhelt worked with Third Planet Crusade on the project in the Cariboo

Ambulance crews have been busy with a record number of emergency overdose calls this Wednesday, April 21. (BC Emergency Health Services)
B.C. paramedics responded to a record 138 overdose calls in a single day

Wednesday’s calls included 48 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region and 51 in Fraser Health

Most Read