Wasaga Beach Our Home, Our Community, Our Culture.
NOT WHAT WE DO: Ontario classic car culture under fire
Members of the Wasaga Beach Cruisers Classic Car Club performing a neighbourhood tribute cruise in June 2020. PHOTO BY COURTESY WASAGA BEACH CRUISERS
For car enthusiast Brian Currie, it’s all about putting smiles on faces.
And that was precisely the plan for the Wasaga Beach Cruisers Car Club last Monday evening, as dozens of their members lined up for a very special drive-by exhibition for one of their youngest fans.
“We’re doing a drive-by for an eight-year-old young man’s birthday,” club president Currie told theSun earlier this week.
“We’re not into smoke shows or who has the loudest car, that’s not what we do.”
“This whole thing started … when the town posted their news release — they didn’t say who it was — but said there was a ‘pop-up car rally’ and to be prepared as they would be rowdy, there would be drunkenness … just all kinds of stuff going on,” Currie said.
“I took offence to it — not the fact that they had posted it, but the fact they had posted it without stating it wasn’t a local car club.
“The local car club had nothing to do with this.”
As the tire smoke cleared from the streets of Wasaga Beach after the unsanctioned and reckless ‘H2Oi’ car meet on the Sept. 25-27 weekend, nobody was more horrified than area classic car clubs, which — thanks to sloppy journalism by some Toronto-based TV news reports — were unfairly implicated in what happened.
Town of Wasaga Beach press release from Sept. 23, 2020
With a membership of about 130 enthusiasts, 300 classic cars and more than 1,100 Facebook fans, Wasaga Beach Cruisers celebrate, restore and show off anything made before 1995.
While COVID-19 has curtailed many of these events, their drive-by tribute cruises are a local favourite.
“We’ve done it regularly since May,” he said.
“Our very first one this year was a ‘thank you’ tour, we had over 100 cars from Wasaga Beach and went past nursing homes, grocery stores, police stations and fire halls congratulating every one of our front-line workers.”
While OPP officers, who laid nearly 200 charges during the weekend, didn’t say where most of the troublemakers came from, those at the event or listening to scanners attest most were out-of-towners.
During the summer months, the car enthusiasts typically hold weekly cruise nights, show n’ shines, fun runs and charity fundraisers.
Brian Currie said the Wasaga Beach rally made their clubs postpone or even outright cancel planned events — already severely impacted by the ongoing pandemic.
“We were going to do a country tour, but we were advised by one of our members’ daughters who works for the OPP not to take our cars out of our garages on Saturday,” he said.
“And most of us did not.”
Currie, the proud owner of a beautifully-restored 1971 Oldsmobile Cutlass convertible, warned against placing this solely on the recklessness of youth.
A growing number of classic car enthusiasts are young, and he sees them as the future of Canadian car culture.
“Most of our members don’t own a boat or a cottage — this is their summer activity, a classic car,” he said.
“That’s car culture.”