by George Dyke….
Tradition runs deep in the Ottawa Citroën Club. Again this year the annual gathering (their 15th) on August 21-23 was a european style casual get-together that saw people gather from the Ottawa region, Montreal, Toronto and Durham New Hampshire. It was Paul and Lorraine Riccardi who came from Durham in their new Citroën Jumper camper van. Why it’s a Jumper is covered in another Citroënvie Blog article. Paul spent months doing all the custom cabinetry, plumbing and electrics inside (very impressive) and he and Lorraine had their first camping experience in it on this trip.
This year the gathering returned to the Upper Canada Campground, near Morrisburg Ontario.
View a full photo gallery of the event here:
While some folks arrived on Friday the main activity day was Saturday where Bob McLeod once again organized the Citroën Games, – an obstacle course of pylons mapped out on the turning circle of a 2CV plus two physical co-ordination challenges. Pairs were selected, a driver and passenger that did the co-ordination challenge.
For the challenge portion of the Games, an air vent tube from a 2CV was perched in a tripod where you had to successfully run 5 ping pong balls through it into a wine glass sitting on a french flag. Once you got one ball in, you moved the glass to another flag colour for your next attempt. I say attempt because most people missed altogether, (hey, it was a windy day) and only on two cases did anyone manage to get two of the 5 balls in the glass. The second challenge was to drop 6 2CV seat “donuts” (the rubber rings that have 2 hooks) onto a spike on the ground, – and do it from a standing position without bending over. Slightly greater success was had with the seat donuts with 3 being “nailed” in one case.
A variety of vehicles participated, numerous 2CV’s, a Méhari, two DS, a CX, a XM and a Traction Avant. Plus Mike Aubé attempted the course in a Peugeot tow truck! The course was wet from rain the day before and that morning, so after an hour or so running the course, Bob decided we’d better call it day before the grass became too rutted. As the field was being restored to order by volunteers patting down the ruts with shovels, dinner preparations got underway.
Dinner was a catered from nearby Kemptville. A line of eager diners quickly formed, to taste, pork roast, potatoes, hot vegetables, and chilled salads. A dessert cake topped off the meal, and candles topped the cake to celebrate Cor Baars’ 80th birthday!
After Cor’s congrats, it was time for Fabienne Thurler (Ottawa Citroën Club president) to say thanks to everyone and for Bob McLeod to hand prizes to the Citroën Games winners (all driving 2CV’s by the way); First place went to Fabienne and Christian Thurler with a time of 3:02.2. Yaro and Paul Riccardi placed second with a time of 3:00.0 – a mere two-tenths of a second off first place! And Bruce Grant and Ian Craib took 3rd place with a time of 3:02.4. (I got an honorable mention for even attempting the course in my Traction 15-6 and pulling off a time of 3:56.4.)
As the sunlight transited to dust, Christian Thurler lit the campfire and gave us an evening locale to relax, tell Citroën stories and catch up on goings on over the past year. Some, like myself, had to depart that evening because of other engagements on Sunday, while others camped on site or took a motel room in nearby Prescott and came back on site to enjoy a continental breakfast on Sunday.
As always, the Ottawa Citroën Club gathering serves as a wonderful way to get together in August with Citroën friends that you can’t wait to see again next year!